Hi there, I almost splashed out on a konica S2 the other day - until I realised how big it was! (You could knock a mugger out with that amount of solid steel). Now that i've realised my error (and finally gotten round to a bit of research) it seems as though all the smaller rangefinders (Olympus 35RC, Minolta Hi-Matic E, Konica C35 e.t.c.) are all shutter priority or worse PROGRAM! whilst the Yashica electro 35's have aperture priority but seem to be larger. I dont need a camera immediately but am wanting a small one for general candids (friends, family & street scenes), what I would like to know therefore is can I get a small RF with aperture priority or must I resign myself to shutter priority? (I would also like a manual option) - my budget ought to be roughly £40.
I have a Minox 35GT which fits in my front pants pocket next to my cellphone. The only caveat is that it's scale-focus (no rangefinder) and the exposure is by aperture priority (no manual or shutter priority settings). Originally I thought that a scale-focus camera would be too hard to use, but it's not. Because I've gotten use to scale focussing on the Minox I have been scale focussing on my Super Ikonta instead of using the rangefinder. Scale focussing to me is much faster than using the rangefinder, but there is a slight learning curve when you are getting used to judging distances which in itself is probably a good skill to have.
My Minox has a very sharp 35mm f/2.8 lens and I have no problems with it.
Have a look at the pages at www.photoethnography.com She has a great compilation of information about a lot of small rangefinders.
I personally carry a Petri 7S, which is fully manual with coupled RF. The meter is on the top of the camera, which is a little wierd, but it works.
I've been looking for a Yashica GX, but they seem hard to find at a decent price.
How about an Olympus XA? Aperture priority. Very good lens and small.
The Zeiss Ikon S 312 Contessa with rangefinder or the S 310 zone focus model are very small cameras. They are aperture priority and share the same Tessar lens.
This model also was marketed as the Voigtlander VF101.
For folders, there is the Zeiss Ikon Contina II with uncoupled rangefinder and the Zeiss Ikon Contessa -- an exquisitely overengineered camera.
Also, what many believe to be the best folding Retina ever made, the Kodak Retina IIa.