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04-07-2011, 08:18 PM   #16
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I saw a Petri 7s with the Petri Amber 45/1.8 on eBay today. Seek and ye shall find. I had three of those but sold one. NO BATTERIES NEEDED! Uses solar-powered Magic Eye metering. A real Cult Classic, it is! And a replacement Olympus XA arrived yesterday, a birthday gift to my other to make up for the one I broke whilst trying to 'fix'. This one cost all of US$1.25 plus $7 shipping. With manual. But no flash. I should have kept the extra flash.

I had a pile of RF's until a few weeks ago but sold most because I just wasn't using them and they had no sentimental value. They deserved better homes. Bye-bye Kodak Signet 35 (sold for US$112!). So long, Ansco Autoset (a rebadged Minolta Hi-Matic, the model John Glenn took into orbit). Adios, Yashica Lynx, Minolta AL-F, extra Petri 7s. So now I'm happy with the Oly, the Petri's, the Yashica 35 GSN, and Dad's odd interchangeable-lens (IL) half-frame Universal Mercury II CX (that one is for show only).

I still have a couple copies of the interchangeable-lens Argus C3 (The Brick!) that aren't yet worth selling. Those were probably the most popular 135 RF's ever made, in production for decades, kept 135 alive in USA for decades. If you don't mind using a hand meter, a C3 is probably the most cost-effective IL-RF around. Its wide and tele lenses from Enna are rough gems, and cheap. More than a few prominent photographers were Brick-heads. Ah, the stories of war photographers using The Brick, and developing film in their helmets...

If you really want to s-t-r-e-t-c-h your film, use a half-frame. Those were popular in the 50's and 60's -- you get 72-75 shots from a 36-exposure cart! The Canon Demi-EE17 is a fast gem. And although it's not RF, the wind-up Canon (or Bell & Howell) Dial-35 is a wonder, looking more like a fancy light meter than a camera. So you sling another camera over your shoulder, and use the Dial-35 as if you're just metering, and nobody knows that you're shooting. Just wind it up every now and then.

But be careful -- once you start with 135/HF (half-frame), you'll want an Olympus Pen-FT SLR, created by the designer of the OM system and the XA. I carried an entire Pen-FT system in one field-jacket pocket, that's how small it is. Same frame size as an APS-C dSLR. No, it's not a RF -- but neither is the full-frame Voigtlander Bessamatic mentioned above. I sold one of those a couple weeks ago too. That's a 135 SLR with excellent lenses but a weird mount.

Besides the fixed-lens Japanese RF's mentioned above, Kodak made some RF's with superb Ektar lenses; and the tiny exquisite Rollei 35 is matched only by the Oly XA. WARNING: Avoid the XA-2 and -3 and any others with suffixes, they aren't RF's. The original XA is The Real Thing. Accept no substitutes. Except maybe the Rollei 35.

For more info, the Manual-Focus Lenses site [ Index::Manual Focus Lenses ] has a fat Film RF forum. A little gargling will probably uncover some other RF fora. Have fun!


Last edited by RioRico; 04-07-2011 at 08:24 PM.
04-07-2011, 08:18 PM   #17
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Another vote for the Contax G2, or the G1 for that matter. As others have pointed out, "affordable" is pretty subjective. But a nice G2 (EX cond.) with the Zeiss 45mm lens can be had for under a grand from KEH, less if you watch places like Rangefinder Forum. The Contax rangefinders were a little unusual in their operation and took some getting used to, but they were on a par with Leica, in my opinion.

Konica made some nice rangefinders as well, less expensive.
04-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #18
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If you want a inexpensive fixed lens rangefinder there are a lot from the 70's to choose from. One of my favorites is the Canonet QL 17 GII. Awesome 40mm 1.7 lens, and host of automatic features and manual over-ride. Has some issues with batteries, but there are workarounds. Also like any older camera seals can go bad and get gummy, but you can buy a kit to replace them.

Canonet QL 17 GII specs.
Canon QL17 GIII

Check out these links for other great rangefinder
Rangefinderforum.com Portal - Rangefinderforum

Classic Camera Profiles
04-07-2011, 08:55 PM   #19
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The Contax G system is great. The lenses are spectacular. Unfortunately the camera doesn't have a traditional viewfinder. It has a zoom-finder that zooms in and out to match the lens mounted on the camera. The viewfinder, for me, it the most important aspect of the rangefinder and I simply would not be able to settle for the G's zoom-finder. In addition, it is primarily an autofocus camera. Manual focusing, in my experience, isn't as nice as on a traditional RF. I prefer the Hexar RF, which remains a wonderful bargain. It has similar guts but retains the traditional RF viewfinder and takes M-mount lenses. The Hexar RF is now more expensive than the Contax G and G2.

You can only use the dedicated Zeiss G lenses on the Contax G cameras. With a M-mount camera, you can use hundreds of lenses going back to the 1920's from many different companies; M-mount lenses and earlier screw-mount lenses via an adapter. Pentax made their 43mm Limited available in screw-mount. This is the only RF lens Pentax ever made.

Another problem with the Contax G and Hexar RF is that if something goes wrong with them, there are little options for repair. The best option is to send the camera for repair in Japan.

Of the fixed-lens RF's, I like the Olympus cameras. They're prices are increasing however.

The Rollei 35 is a very fine camera. It is not a rangefinder however. It is a scale-focus camera.

Depending on how much is affordable to you, Leicas shouldn't be ruled out. If you have enough in your budget for a new Voigtlander Bessa, then you can probably afford a used M3, M2 or CL. One of the nice things about Leicas is that usually hold their value well. So if you buy one and then decide that you don't like it, you usually sell it and recover your costs. There is a good chance that you may even make money.


Last edited by Nando; 04-08-2011 at 05:31 AM.
04-07-2011, 09:19 PM   #20
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Woof, Rico. That seems a lot, yet not, for a Signet 35. Wonderful little cameras, though, if you don't mind a peepy little viewfinder (Nonetheless, the rangefinder is vivid and easy to see, not to mention somehow as bombproof as the rest of the camera, as far as I can tell. And the lens is sweet.


I suppose it's as well, though: adjusting for period dollars, apparently these cost as much as a K-7 did at intro price, or something like that.
04-07-2011, 09:55 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by lbenac Quote
I have a set with 35/2.8 (my favorite), 50/1.8 and 100/3.5.
I shoot FSU glass for my 35 (Jupiter-12 35/2.8) and 50 (Jupiter-8 50/2), but really want to find a clean Canon 100/3.5 for the long end. What a gem of a lens!


Steve
04-07-2011, 09:58 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
For more info, the Manual-Focus Lenses site [ Index::Manual Focus Lenses ] has a fat Film RF forum. A little gargling will probably uncover some other RF fora. Have fun!
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/

A pain to get an account there, but a good community once you are in.


Steve
04-07-2011, 10:00 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
Wow! I never knew there was a lot of users here of Rangefinders too since what I always read about are the 35mm SLR's...

If you wander over to RFF, you will see a lot of familiar names and avatars.


Steve

04-08-2011, 06:16 AM   #24
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There's also this thread to look through:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/non-pentax-cameras-canon-nikon-etc/99246-...gefinders.html

In which I think are presented some other RF's that may be interesting, these are a bit older and thus non-metered:
Kodak Medalist (620 film)
Kodak Retina series
and so on
04-08-2011, 06:51 AM   #25
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honestly, for a ‘traditional’ style rangefinder, right now you really cant go wrong with a Voigtlander Bessa. I bought an lightly used R3a for barely more than 400 bucks. you can get a used 40mm 1.4 nokton for about 400 or less in some cases. other voigtlander lenses are quite affordable. it has a built in meter and the ‘a’ versions R2a 3a 4a all have auto exposure. the 3m and 3a both have huge 1:1 viewfinders. real beauties that make focusing a peasure. nothing beats those wonderful 70’s era japanese fixed lens rangefinders (I have two Petri’s myself) but if you want something more ‘serious’ or prefer something with interchangeable lenses, the voigtlanders are the best deal on the planet right now. excellent bodies, excellent lenses at great prices.
04-08-2011, 07:25 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by séamuis Quote
I bought an lightly used R3a for barely more than 400 bucks.
...intense feelings of jealousy rising up...


Steve
04-08-2011, 07:34 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The Canon P has no built-in exposure meter.
This is true of most vintage gear of that era and is not that huge a problem in practice. If a working meter is required, the 70's or 80's vintage fixed lens is the best option in terms of ROI. For interchangeable lens, the various Bessa R models are definitely the best value.


Steve
04-08-2011, 09:22 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
...intense feelings of jealousy rising up...


Steve
400-500 is the typical price for used ones, as afar as I have seen. heck you can get a brand new one from cameraquest for 600 bucks. considering what you get (not counting we are talking about a film camera not a digital) its a really good price even new. a brand new R3m ‘250 jarhe’ set with the 50mm f2 heliar wet for just above 700 on eBay about a week ago. id love to get my hand on an epson RD-1s but they still go for over a thousand bucks used! the real deal I got was a local buy here in Savannah for the 40mm nokton with hood, practically brand new for 350 bucks. an impressive kit for sure.

The bessa’s are wonderful. they may not be quite ‘Leica’ quality, but considering I can get a brand new body and lens for less than a used M3, its a heck of a kit. and that 1:1 viewfinder is superb. even better in my opinion than the MX viewfinder, and that things is one of the best you could ever use.
04-08-2011, 09:30 AM   #29
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This thread inspired me to load up my FED2 and take it as my cam of the day. Beautiful sunny weather meaning I can use c. f/16 at 1/250 and not worry too much about the focusing!

Tomorrow sees a trip out with a SMC 28mm shift lens I have borrowed for the weekend. Time to put the grid-marked focusing screen back in my LX...

K.
04-08-2011, 04:53 PM   #30
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Original Poster
My head is spinning now from all the suggestions..too much for me to handle I guess and I haven't even gone to the battery issues like, can the batteries still be found or do they have replacements like LR44's or such?
I'm looking at the Yashica Electro GSN and I kinda like the way it looks and price seems to be affordable (for me)..and it can take LR44's which are plentifully available.
The other brands and models I still have to check and see what suits my tastes best.
The Olympus XA looks a bit like "Instamatic" cameras rather than the typical Rangefinder build (metal).
Rio-Rico's post is too much for my head..hehe..He's got too much cameras I guess!
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