View Full Version : Which RF Camera (60's-80's) did you have?
Just wondering How many fixed lens RF Camera did you have? which one you like the best? Which one you never used? and what is the next one you wish to buy?
I think my first (and only) fixed-lens RF camera (and this came AFTER I already had a Leica) was the Olympus 35RC. What a great little camera! Still have it too.
But my first 35mm camera some 10 years earlier had been a Regula, and I'm not sure it actually had a rangefinder at all.
I also recently got my Dad's old Petri 7s (including the wide/long lens attachments), and I have not used it. :-)
Used to have:
Yashica Electro 35 GS (never warmed up to it)
Konica Auto S2 (sorry to see it go)
Minolta HiMatic G (cute, faux rangefinder)
Canonet G-III QL17 (my backup camera)
Besides, I got:
Leica M6TTL (great stuff!!)
Think I'm unusual? Wait to see what other people have in this forum...
After some time, I've acquired / adopted:
- Canonet G-III QL17
- Canonet G-III QL19
- Minolta Hi-matic 7s
- Olympus 35 SPn
all these cameras have proved to be great users, with focal lengths around 40mm, which in my opinion offers a lot of versatility.
My other RF stuff is mostly composed by Russian/Ukranian cameras and lenses (Fed, Zorki and Kiev).
About your other questions:
- I'm liking a lot the Olympus in daily use, haven't got the results developed yet, but the glass in this one is supposed to be great...
- Very near, I like a lot both Canonets, they have a lot of interesting and cleverly designed features, and they are really compact and comfortable to use. Great glass also.
- The Hi-matic has also a superb lens, but being an early design, it's considerably bigger and heavier. If you don't mind that, it's really a keeper. That changed in the redesigned 7sII, but they command prices of $100+.
Curiously there are some cameras supposed to be clones of the 7sII that can be had for less, If I were looking for a next compact RF, I think I'd go for a Vivitar 35 ES / Revue 400 SE / Konica Auto S3 (the three 7sII little sisters).
And don't forget the Olympus XA !
And then let's give some free space for the 'real' RF owners here :)
I had a couple of Yashicas which are pretty much the same camera. The GSN, which I dropped into Yarra River (doh!!) and the GS. Then I bought the GS which had stuck focusing ring after I accidentaly slam it onto a bench. After experiencing a couple of those Yashicas I bought a used R2.
Oh yeah, on the way is Canonet QL17 GIII. I got this one for around US$30 but the lens has fungus/haze on one of the front elements. I keep my finger crossed.
Fix lens RF I want to buy next, Rollei 35SE with Sonnar 2.8 lens. Alas those collectors drive the price sky high!
Fixed lens rangefinders? There are the folding Retinas, the folding Agfa Solinettes, a couple of early Konicas, a Vito IIa (technically not a rangefinder), Rollei 35/T/S (again, technically, not a rangefinder) the folding Ikonta 35, Contina II and Contessa, a Contessa S 310, an Agfa Karat 12, a Super Nettel, some MF rangefinders and folders, and I guess that wraps it up. I've used all of them.
Each camera is for a specific purpose, though I never know what situation until it arises.
Canonet QL17 GIII - still have it, still use it, love it!
Congrats on your purchase, Kris, you'll love yours too.
My personal favorite shooter is still the Olympus 35SP line of cameras (SP, SPn and UC).
I have approx. 105 RF's (with about 6 more coming from E**Y), approx. 26 of which have interchangeable lenses. I guess the proper answer is approx. 80 fixed lens RF's. My first was a Pax M3, first 60's era would be Minolta Hi Matic 7S. Favourites? I don't really have one any more, I change daily. Lately I've been using approx. 4/week to try and exercise the shutters and kill time while I'm dealing with back problems. Finding the odd camera problem and fixing them as I find them. I have several I've never used yet, but I try to use each one at least once to find out any problems and image quality. Next acquisition? I have both a Konica C35 and C35 Automatic coming, have 2 Konica Auto S2's, several Yashica Electros, and a few Canonets. Guess I'll have to bite the bullet, jump on the bandwagon and buy a Canon QL17 GIII but I really have my eye on a few more Retinas and Voigtlanders (old ones, not Bessas). Being a renowned tightwad, I'll be keeping my eyes open. I can hardly wait to read Bill's answer, LOL. Nice to read you all, and keep up the good work. Curt in Canada.
hope the back problems clear up for you. i suffer occasionally also but most of that is my doing.(too much belly)
it's hard to imagine you being a tightwad with that many cameras.
i'm curious, what was your 'best' deal?
Actually, I buy way too many cameras and get burned with a lot of junk, but I also get lucky once in a while. My best deals so far? An anniversary Speed Graphic 4x5 for $35 Can., a prewar Contax II RF with Summitar for 0.50 Can. (broken shutter curtain ribbon), Edixa Edissimat SLR for $1.00 very dirty on E**y, 3 Canon AE 1, AE1 program, AT-1,all with 50mm (2 with 1.8, 1 with 1.4)+ a Pentax ME for $60.00 Can. as non-working (dead batteries and needed light seal kit), and a few others I can't recall. As far as "that many cameras", I hate to admit it, but I actually have a few over 550 now with 64 scale focus, 111 RF (picked up 6 at the border today), 59 folders, 29 box cameras, 23 TLR's and 68 SLR's. Plus a few more coming from E**y. I also have just under 200 lenses. I'm lucky I have an understanding wife, no kids and a lot of space for 3 china cabinets, 2 trunks, 2 dressers and lots of boxes and shelves full of goodies/junk. Keeps me busy (and poor) anyway. LOL. Curt in Canada.
Didn't mean lucky to have no kids, it's just I'd feel guilty spending cash on cameras that I should be spending on the family. Curt in Canada.
those are some impressive deals!
try as i might i don't seem to find them around here.
i'm gonna start hitting the local church, garage and yard sales this summer along with some flea markets and goodwill stores.
i did find a great camera store in town that has a treasure trove of cameras and other things photographic so i guess i should be grateful for that.
My bagful of dented Rollei 35s, 35Ts and a 35S (never liked the SE) often get an airing. My rucksac has a CCS pouch on each side of the hip belt so I can carry one with colour, one with B&W. I still think that there is nothing to match them. I got a Ricoh RF because I was getting worried that one of them might fail. The Ricoh was nice, but unnecessary - the beaten-up Rolleis continue to work. I gave the Ricoh to my step-father, who used it for about 20 years until he died and now I have it back. It's still a nice camera, waiting in my mother's house for me to use it.
The other fixed lens RF in my life: a Makina 67. I also have a Ross Autorange 820 and an Ensign Commando which get occasional use. They were the testers to see if I liked the folding RF way of working before selling the kids to buy the Makina. I wonder where they are now? Good swap, anyway.
Oh, I also tried a Minox 35 ML as a Rollei 35 replacement. A disappointment. It just wasn't up to the abuse I gave it. "Bad camera. Naughty camera."
And I've just had my Wirgin stereo camera mended - so now I'm plotting who I'm going to victimise with it.
And Bill hasn't posted here yet? Hmmmm... That is strange... :confused:
Kris, let's hope you're luckier with your next camera!
I read your earlier thread with your great deals from your local camera shop Joe, and I'm green with envy. PSSST, you can tell me where it is, I won't spread it around, LOL.
Hi Helen, I always enjoy reading your posts. A Ross Autorange and an Ensign Commando are both neat cameras and two I seldom see on E**y, maybe if you find them and get bored with them.....
Hi Francisco, always nice to read you, and yes, I find it strange not to see Bill here yet too. He might be busy with buying the new house or his new job. He always amazes me, with so many things going on, to be able to have the time and energy to write those great reviews and post those pictures. Wish I had half the energy and any of that computer savvy.
Curt in Canada.
Originally posted by cmc_photo
Just wondering How many fixed lens RF Camera did you have? which one you like the best? Which one you never used? and what is the next one you wish to buy?
I have the following,
Vivitar 35ES--really like this one
Vivitar 35EE--not bad, no manual exposure
Ricoh (black-Sears model) 500G--really like this one, almost the perfect exposure design. Auto-manual
Canonet QL17 GIII--haven't used it yet. Hear great things about it.
Ricoh 500G (chrome)--sweet little rig
Olypus 35RC-great design, great glass, need to use it more. Just acquired it.
Ricoh FF-1--funky Minox copy. Well built, alright glass
Walz Envoy 35--never used it.
Canonet 28--nice glass, no manual exposure.
Really like the Vivitar ES & Ricoh 500 G's
Small but usefull RF collection. 2 Olympus SP one in perfect working order and another I am restoring the light meter on as time and parts permits. I also have a Yashica Lynx 14e which I have restored except for the meter. The Nikonos I is not a RF but it has its place. All of them take decent to great pictures. I am kicking around the idea of getting a Yashica GX or CC(N), or a Konica S3. But then I am also trying to decide if I want to get into MF as I have plenty of 35mm choices right now.
Go with the Vivitar 35ES. I have found that it is great. Much better than the legendary Canonet QL-17 GIII & Olympus 35RC. You will not be disappointed".
I didn't really start shooting until a few years back, but I have a Petri 7 I got from my dad. Took it out recently to test it - nice contrast but all the images were a bit foggy/blurry. I think the lens or something in the camera is wrong. Thats my only fixed lens, my others are Bessa-L and Contax G1.
The problem with your Petri may be the same as one I found with two of mine (I have 8 Petri 7S now, don't ask why, I like them). If you look closely at the inside of the camera with the shutter on B and open, you might discover a very fine coating of fungus, more like haze than spidery kind on the rear element. One wipe with a Qtip with white vinegar and good as new in my case(s). At first I thought I was doing something wrong as I'd cleaned the lens, viewfinder, adjusted the rangefinder etc. then discovered the slight haze. Hope this works for you and enjoy the Petri. Curt in Canada.
Thanks Curt, I suspected something like fungus. I've never had to deal with that, so I wasn't sure what to look for or what to do. I think mine is the 7s too. Do you have the manual for it? I think I have the original manual in pdf format somewhere on my drive - PM me if you need it.
Thanks for the manual offer, but I already have one. Nice of you to offer though. Hope you make out ok with the Petri. Just out of curiosity, which lens do you have on yours? I ask because they came with both an f2.8 45mm or an f1.8 45mm. I have both and the 1.8 is a very nice lens to work with, although the 2.8 is no slouch either. Curt in Canada.
I have the f2.8. I just tried cleaning it but there appears to be something on the inside of the lens or an inner lens and I can't get it off. Maybe I'll pick up another one - they go pretty cheap at auction.
This inspired me to get out MY Dad's Petri 7S, and I see it has the f/1.8 lens. No manual aperture control? Hmmm.
And while the focusing is smooth I think there's something wrong with the shutter. There's a kind of "clunk" sound at the end of the winding stroke, and a tiny little click when the shutter button is pressed, but I see no movement of shutter blades from either the front or the back of the lens.
It does have a manual, and the set of wide/long lens attachments with a receipt showing $14, dated March '67.
I guess the camera needs some work
I'm confused as the 7S is in my hands as I type and the aperture control ring is between the shutter speed selector ring (also ASA/DIN) and the focus ring closest to the camera body. The numbers are in green except f8. As to the loud clunk at the end of the wind cycle, that too is perfectly normal for these cameras, similar to a Topcon Uni, or an Exa. Not fancy, quiet or sofisticated, but a rough and tumble street shooter with a very decent lens. Yours sounds like it might be in need of the camera repair tech's best tool, lighter fluid or Ronsonol if you must. Hope it works out for you as I'm sure you'd enjoy the camera. Curt in Canada.
Mine clunks too, I think it may be normal. Like Curt said, they're not quiet but they are tough. My (step-dad actually) used his for a while when he was staying in Alaska and it served him well there so it must be hardy to endure the extreme temps. I don't think the light meter is reliable in mine any more though.
Thanks, Curt and Scott... I see now there IS an aperture ring, but it's black with a little window to view dark (green) numbers. It was turned to an open f/stop around to the right and I didn't notice it.
The light meter is off, too, indicating 1/500 at f/16 (ISO 200) for a sunny shot. I'll get the camera cleaned up and see if it works...
My only RF has been the Canonet 17 (of course), but will soon have a Ricoh 500G to keep it company.
At first I didn't like the RF focusing and almost sold it right back on Ebay. Then, the more I used it, the more FUN I had and the better shots I've taken with it. Light, compacr, simple and a decent fast lens; all noble traits. It's not the "poor man's Leica", (my Nikkor 50mm f1.8 beats it), but for un-inhibited easy pleasure shooting, ya' couldn't ask for better!
Olympus 35RD, Konica S3, a pair of Konica Auto S1.6's, Chinon 35EE II and a zone-focus Olympus XA2.
The last two are not particularly well-regarded, but the XA2 can be stored/taken anywhere and the Chinon accepts a bunch of old accessories I had for a Konica C35. You just need cameras that can be placed in harm's way at times.
I use the 35RD the most and I do like the S3, (it has taken a beating and kept going), but one of the S1.6's is my favorite. It's not particularly handy in terms of size, but it feels right and is in beautiful working order. I picked up a second one for parts a few years back and haven't needed a single part yet.
1st fixed lens RF was new Canon Canonet QL19 received as birthday present in the late 60s. Later sold to friend.
2nd fixed lens RF is currently Canon Canonet 19. Bought used from
K. Nakamura and CLA'd by M. Hama. Has bottom trigger wind. I love the trigger wind.
Enough for now since I also have a Kiev 4 type 2 and a Fed 3b.
I'm intrigued by the bottom trigger wind. Will have to look into it.
My only RF is the Hi Matic 7. I have only shot two films through it and I am hooked, now I plan to get a Leica or Zeiss Ikon. Do you think I could trust the selenium meter it has (the camera has been inactive for years) or should I just buy a Digisix and be done with it ?
I use a Weston Master from the '30s with my Leica M2 and M3. I found it sitting in its box, virtually unused. If the Selenium has a good seal like the Weston, they remain accurate. I have three Canon 7 cameras and use their Selenium meters. The meters on my Kodak Retina's are also accurate.
Weston Master (original) and Leica M2:
(2)- Canonet GLIII
(1)- Zeiss Super Ikonta III
(1)- Speed Graphic 4x5 (has a Calart rangefinder on the side)
(1)- Leica M6 w/35 f/2 and Canon 50 1.2
(1)- Contax G2 w/ 28 (black), 40 (silver), 90 (silver)
(1)- Mamiya 6 w/ 80
Also an old Ansco Viking 6x9 (guesstimate focusing) and an odd AGFA 6x6 from the 30's (also guesstimate focusing). No idea what model. Clean lens though, uncoated I think.
1st, and only fixed lens RF, was a black Electro 35 (Professsional). My father gave it to me and it was my introduction to photography. I still have it, but it needs a visit to Mark Hama.
I've had 2 rangefinders with a 30+ year gap owning none.
First was a Mamiya-Sekor which I had when I was first getting into photography. I sold it years ago and am kicking myself for it. The people here helped identify it as the Super-Deluxe model.
I currently have a Canon QL17 GIII on which I got my baptism by fire in camera repair. :)
My first rangefinder was the ZI Contessa LKE, just like this one (http://www005.upp.so-net.ne.jp/chatvert/zeiss/rfcam/conlke.html) with the blocky text on the top plate. Bought it about two years ago for CAD$40 from an antique store. Worked well and took a lot of abuse, it did. :o
Beautiful lens on this camera. I shot Provia 100F exclusively with it, and was never disappointed. The only thing I would mention is that the lens is very prone to flare. It takes a screw in hood, which would probably be a good idea. It's currently sitting in need of some repair. :(
The shutter is very quiet (leaf shutter built into the lens). Overall, a solid camera with good handling and a nice lens.
Fixed lens RF's. Just look at my sig, and ignore the Zorki's, Leica, Kiev & Speed Graphic.
I believe my first was the Yashica Electro 35 GS.
Favourite fixed RF would be the Canonet GIII QL17. Sharp, easy to carry, meter works.
There's a Oly SP on the way and I would like to get a Oly XA for the sharp 35mm lense & easily pocketable clamshell format.
Right now though, the Kiev's are probably getting the most attention since that's my most complete setup. 3 bodies, 35mm, 50mm, 135mm & a J9 85/2 on the way.
Yashica Electro 35 GSN, Electro GX, Olympus XA
The GX is a lovely one, super sharp lens, though seldom used, the XA is always in a pocket with me.
The GSN is collecting dust due to too-many-cameras-syndrom.
My only fixed lens RF is an Ansco (Agfa) Super Memar with an f2 lens and Compur shutter. Bought it new about 1960. The shutter was dragging on it but I recently gave it a shot of Ronsonol and it seems to be fine now. I keep meaning to shoot a roll with it as it hasn't been used in probably 25 years.
Oh man, I hate questions like this cuz I start counting the cameras and come face to face with my collecting habit!
I could have worse vices I guess... anyway I own:
Argus C-4(maybe a 60's camera, not sure), Canonet QL-17 GIII, Vivitar 35EE, Zorki 10. A few other fixed lens cameras but they don't count cuz they are scale focus not RF.
I use all of those four fairly regularly except the C-4 as it needs some attention.
The Zorki gets the least use and the Canon the most. The Vivitar I take when I want a camera with me but figure I won't want to think too much(bowling nights and birthday parties, etc. Or : the times I know there will be beers or other focusing fluid flowing generously! :D )
I have a FED Micron2 coming that I hope I like as well as the pics and specs lead me to hope.
Someday I'd like an Olympus XA and a Minox.
"Hi. My name's Rob... and I a camera collector." :bang:
Some things are just worth keeping because of their inherent beauty, be it form or function. Certainly easier to keep old cameras than say, antique cars or gold Rolexs.
Like most I've got the Canonet QL-17. Then more recently the Olympus SP, Minolta 7, Yashica Electro GT (2 of them), Zorkis 4K and 6. And the large, but incredibly sharp Konica Auto S2
Keeping one in a pocket anytime I'm walking about makes for some very enjoyable photos AND the bonus of people noticing it and starting some great conversations. Sometimes I even meet other RFF'ers ~ ' - )
rf history and memories.
my first was the little plastic argus w a collapsible lens. took it to mexico on my first solo trip-1959-on a bus from tijuana to guadalajara.
then in 63 i picked up an aires 35V w a wonderful 1.5 lens. but my then wife knocked over the tripod and the focus was never the same even after numerous tries to have it fixed.
got my first leica IIIf in 74 or 75 and it just coincided with another extended mexico trip.
on return in 76 picked up a IIf w collapsible 50 cron which i used for years and years, numerous travels to europe.
then sometime in the mid eighties i got my great m3- still have it.
those got me through the 60s-80s and since then it has been crazy...
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