Yeah the 203 is such a compact folder,
you wont find a compacter one with rangefinder.
Sleeping seagull :-)
The 203 has a LEICA / FED-ZORKI type of coupled rangefinder...
Its even coated on my early one!
If you dont change the aperture when shutter is cocked it will last 4ever,
I have no problems since the 90s.
ON ANY COMPUR TYPE OF LEAFSHUTTER CAMERA:
NEVER CHANGE THE APERTURE SETTINGS WHEN SHUTTER IS COCKED!!
I CANT MENTION THIS OFTEN ENOUGH ;-)
To my mind the little 203 folder is definetly the
best thing ever that came from China ;-),
This folder is so damnd flat when folded, you cant believe it without seing it... An ISKRA is much larger!
203 is flatter than a Kodak pocket camera....superior in ergonomic to most other folding 6x6. and that thing operates silent and smooth...
Same advise here, buy one older version with METAL FILM TRANSPORT LEVER they are the professional stuff, the later consumer ones with plastic transport lever still are good but the older one has the better finish.
Here you can see de difference:
Very first SHANGHAI 203 version from 1962 (these are the very best!!!) but they are only available in China from communist party members (Superior Quality Control made with several Carl Zeiss Jena parts)
The later street photographer Version from 1968-1980:
Seagull 203 full metal version (thats my version) still very smooth operation but made with more chinese parts....LENS STILL MADE WITH GLASS from Carl Zeiss (!) They are good, try to get a new old stock one or one with CLA!!
The last edition for consumers 1980-1995, lens still good but not at the same level as the older ones (Sometimes equiped with Japanese licenced lenses but made in China, so there you can find excellent sharp ones and others that make softer prictures...so its a gamble ;-) These are inexpensive so you can try several ones....)
Seagull 203 - I (Watch the black plastik lever!)
There is a nice US Export version too,
called Texer SR its a quite good one from the MK3 Series, these had a better quality control compared to the plastic lever version for the domestic asian market so the chance is good you find a sharp one (Japanese Lens elements) Avoid ones with defects caused by unexperienced people.
NEVER change the aperture control when shutter is cocked
NEVER EVER ;-) A single one of doing this may damage the Compur.
So you can often read the Seagull cameras have defective shutters or aperture controls.... okay people should read the manual book before using the camera ;-)
Than such a Camera lasts for 30 Years...
Last edited by AaTen; 01-21-2013 at 07:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.