Quote Originally Posted by pstake View Post
There's an Agfa Karat 36 listed int he classifieds right now. I have no relation to that seller but the Karat 36 is one fine Rangefinder camera. Too bad that one needs rangefinder work.

It's fixed-lens but all the lenses available for that camera, were firecrackers. The Solinar is the less-exotic but super-sharp Tessar variant built for or by Agfa.

It's extremely well built; built to compete with the Retina rangefinders ... and the optics are the same as the Retinas. Fortunately, the Karat is not as well known as the Retina and the prices are much more reasonable.

If you need lens interchangeability, the early Kievs are fantastic and well built with excellent rangefinders that almost never go out of adjustment. Earlier the better with the Kievs. These are of course a little pricey but not nearly as high as a Leica; and a whole lot more user friendly than the early Leica IIIs that cost twice as much.

And of course there's the original Contax II and IIa, which is again more money.
Second that motion. I recently acquired a '59 Kiev 4a, this is not a carbon copy of the Contax (the baseplate is different and it lacks the stabilising foot) but it's a very well made camera. I had and used a Contax II with a collapsible Sonnar, and the Kiev sounds and feels just like the Contax. The Jupiter 8m behaves like a coated version of the Sonnar. There's little to choose between a good Kiev and the echt Contax, except for cost and the fact that Kievs have x synch. Either will likely need work when you get it, I replaced the shutter ribbons in my Kiev because they were getting frayed (after 55 years) and I didn't want them to fail in service, possibly damaging the shutter. After almost 20 years of using SLRs, I decided to get back into Rfs as a lighter more compact outfit - the Kiev is the system I'll be using. The rangefinders on the Kiev/Contax are the best I've ever seen on a 35mm camera bar none.