Quote Originally Posted by sangetsu View Post
A Canon 7 or Canon P would both be good choices. They offer larger viewfinders than many of the Barnack type cameras or Soviet copies. The Canon rangefinder cameras are relatively inexpensive, and they are usually fitted with very good quality 50mm lenses. 35mm and 28mm lenses were also produced, or you can use LTM lenses made by Leica, Voigtlander, Nicca, etc. You can easily find a clean Canon 7 or Canon P with a 50mm lens for less than $500
Agreed on the P at least. (I haven't got a 7.) There are many threads on rangefinderforum.com comparing the viewfinders of these two cameras (and other models), such as this thread. I studied such things before settling on the P. I have thick eyeglasses for nearsightedness, and the 50 mm frame lines in the P's VF work well enough for me. The 35 mm ones are absolutely useless to me as they are way out at the edges of the VF. But you won't care if you're getting only a 50 mm lens.

The P is a really nice camera. I bought a QL17 first, as my rangefinder gateway drug, but the P is a whole different (higher) level of quality and makes the Canonet feel plasticky by comparison. The major advantage of the QL17 is the QL: I love that fast, foolproof film loading. Oh if only they had invented that early enough to put it into the P! The P of course is all mechanical, no meter. Get a Sekonic L-208 and bung it in the accessory shoe, if you need metering.

I got a P with the 50/1.8 lens (both in excellent cosmetic and mechanical shape, no CLA needed) for USD 300.

You'd pay much more with the 50/1.4, and the gain of 1/2 stop (or whatever it is) is not that crucial. I've heard the 1.4 is brilliant, and I'm sure that's true, but the 1.8 is a really good, unheralded lens and does less damage to your budget. Start with it, then move up to the 1.4 later if you come into more money and get lens lust.