which FSU rangefinder is easiest to repair and most reliable?
It's been a while...
I'm living in Poland, it's FSU territory. I walk a lot, I'm a long-distance hiker (by Polish measure), so I've figured I can shoot some nice, proper landscapes while hiking. I hike in winter too, I need something that won't just freeze and give up. I've just sold almost all I've got to get the second-hand Pentax gear and a semi-decent tripod. There's finally some peace and freedom on my shelves, used to be cluttered with manual lenses and strange cameras.
I was wondering if I could maybe invest in FSU M39 rangefinder. It should still produce professioanl results, but since it's the lens to do the job... I can't afford any original Leica, not even a lens cap, but we're flooded with Feds and Zorkis, so pretty much every popular model there was, is available, at least from time to time. This is now, in 20 years it may be different, that's why I'm careful and asking folks overseas, as you're short on parts already.
My question is: which of lighter, older FSU Leica-like model is both reliable and easy to repair or rebuild? All aspects count here: manuals/tutorials available, tools/skills needed and camera complexity. Apart from making photos, I'd be glad to learn how to service those cameras.
Weight is really important, I'll be carrying the gear for days on my neck.
I wear glasses, I don't want to scratch it, and I need to compose my image accurately. With -4 d I just need to wear glasses while working. Diopter adjustment won't help that much (it will help a bit though)
I don't need slow shutter speeds that much, I'd trade those for reliability. I'll shoot 1/8s and longer with a cable release, no problem not to have 1/15, even if the shutter sound on slow speeds is therapeutic for me.
I'm fine with single 50mm or 35mm (or 28mm) lens alone. It's not that hard to get Jupiter-8 here, and it's good enough, I reckon.
Ease of adjustments to the rangefinder and/or lens base plate is what I value a lot, cause FSU lenses (as well, as bodies) are all over the place with their dimensions and build quality.
I'm currently looking at Zorki 4, due to it's popularity, but models without flash sync are much smaller, I could as well have one of those oldies.
The camera needs to be "pocketable", I'm thinking even of taking one with one of those pesky Tessar-like lenses that fold in (or maybe I'll sell my soul for an old Elmar?).
I don't want anything fancier, than a tank. I'm fine with what those cameras are, and are not. As long, as the film is not being scratched inside, it's a valuable tool for me. I've been shooting with Zenit E SLR for a decade, I know the limits of crude hardware. I like to stop, look around, measure the light, decide where to set up a tripod, set it all manually on a camera, check and recheck if the camera is placed 100% horizontally. It's all part of the same process, the same routine, that walking for days is (you can call it pain, I'm calling it holidays :D). I don't want advanced compact with fast AF, neither Olympus XA, Canonet or Hexar RF. Just plain, cheap, dependable, lightweight, 100% mechanical camera with broad range of Leica-compatible lenses available.
I have Kiev 4 AM with excellent Helios 103 lens already, with a leather case. I like it a lot, but it's heavy for what it is.
For really light stuff, Minolta Hi-Matic CS is on it's way, should arrive on Monday - but without manual controls it's not always good and I wouldn't call it a "reliable camera". I'm pretty much sure I'll paint liliac, add a fake moustache on the front of it, and sell it away soon.
Moskva-5 is on it's way too, I hope for working or "almost working" condition in this case (cause I've sold my old Pentacon Six for this and a tripod, and I've sold my Voigtlander Bessa for this last purchase I'm asking you about, I'm without any medium format at this moment).
Feel free to chime in with some strange answers, like "for sketching you'll get along with your Kiev, just flex your muscles a bit. Be sure to just try this old Canon digital P&S camera you can buy for 20 bucks, you'll get RAW images with the strange firmware they've made recently". If it's valuable and reasonable rant, that would let me think, just write it.