Q ... can I recommend that you look at a Minolta Freedom-Tele (aka Minolta Tele AF Super in Europe).

It does require a CR44 battery and it's autofocus, but it's stupid-cheap and has a phenomenal lens. I got three of them in working order for $20.

Very simple to use as well, so good for students.

Quote Originally Posted by q_x View Post
Darko,
I'm waiting for Minolta Hi-matic CS to arrive - in terms of cheap rangefinders with good lens it's about as cheap, as I could go.
I've just sold Oly mju III without many regrets for about the price of this Minolta. It made good photos, but it wasn't what I was looking for.
We have many cheap rangefinders available in questionable state, most of those are more expensive, than the Zorki was. And for some part of those there's extra problem with mercury cells, that are no longer manufactured. For mint condition or "tested and will work" state the price goes up.

My students have about 1/4 failure rate due to power problems in their cameras, they either have to charge batteries or lend a camera from their mates - that's within 90 minutes of classes. On a multiday trip I'd rather take what will work without electricity or something weather-sealed, like first Oly AF model, but with a battery easy to purchase on the trail - even fairly modest CR2 is not one of those (though LR44 cell is).

Now, I spent 25 euros for the camera. It's about half the price they want for Oly XA, Oly mju II or Canonets, and it's not what I'd take with me anyway. Minolta was about half the money. Plasticky, automatic, toy-like. And if it'll break I can't buy crappy part donor, start learning, take it apart and fix. It's broken.

I have some Japanese gear and I adore it. It is reliable, dependable, but not quite as hardy or serviceable, as FSU rangefinders. Plus still, I can sell my soul for top notch Leica lenses and produce proper results with it.
Cheers!