View Full Version : What is the most underated RF by image?
What do you think is the most underated RF? Not Overrated, Underated.
For me the most underated RF from a pure image stand point has to be Olympus XA. Has to be. I have many images that I have photographed in slide (provia 100) and print that I have enlarged to 11x14 with incredible results. I have to admit that most of those images came from photos taken from a tripod(most important piece equipment in the photo world!!)
But the images always come out very crisp and colorful.
The mechanics of the camera are very simple, but not user friendly to those with large hands.
I highly recommend anyone who loves RFs to buy a use XA (no the XA2, XA2, XA4).
I would say that I don't have enough knowledge to truely answer this question, but I can see your point about the XA. I have never handled one, but when I see one it crys P&S to me. I have never read a bad review of it though, so it obviously is a worthy contender. Remember, you can't judge a book by its cover.
There are some excellent rangefinders that are so little known that they aren't rated or underrated by anyone. For all intents and purposes they are invisible and are rarely, if ever, discussed by posters on photography forums.
I will give you one example. In 1960 I purchased a Beauty Super II rangefinder (made by Taiyodo Koki of Japan) with a fixed Canter f/2.0 45mm lens for $35 from a New York mail order firm (I had seen the ad in Popular Photography). Despite the fact that almost no one has heard of this camera it is a gem ... compact, solidly constructed, and with very elegant styling.
This little Beauty rangefinder was my only camera until 1970 when I purchased a Canon FT-QL SLR. The Canon FL f/1.8 50mm lens was and is an excellent lens. When I tested the older Canter lens against it on resolution charts I found very little difference between the two - the Canon lens was marginally better, but not enough so that you could see the difference in large 16 by 20 inch prints (and I have such prints from both cameras hanging in my office and home). Both cameras also produced pictures that have been published in magazines, books, and scientific journals.
Overall, the little known Beauty Super II rangefinder that I bought new for $35 in 1960 was the most fantastic value I have ever seen in photography.
Oldprof, your story makes me remember a post from Bill Mattocks about the Aires 35 III-L (I think). Another 'forgotten' model somebody mentioned here was the Walz (or Waltz?) Envoy.
I think that the Full-Size fixed-lens RF's of the 60's are underrated. The Konica S2, The Minolta Hi-Matic 9, Canonet Full-size, etc. They go for a fraction of what the mini-versions did. Fast lenses, parallex corrected VF's, manual override, built quite solidly.
you're right about the bigger cameras, just as good but not as popular. but they sure do feel substantial in your hands.
I agree about the bigger rangefinders, in particular the Yashica GSN. The lens is wicked sharp with real nice bokeh wide open @ 1.7. I have two which I bought for 11.50 and 17.00, very cheap compared to the Oly's and Canons.
Used to be that one of the most underrated was the Retina IIIS. But now I think many people have discovered the wonders of this camera. Its sibling, the fixed-lens Retina IIS, also is an underrated camera.
The Kodak Retina Auto III is essentially a IIS with a trap-needle automatic and without slow speeds. It goes for a fraction of the IIS. I paid $20 for a near mint one with a perfectly functionaing meter and $10 for one that works on manual only. BUT they are limited to the fixed Xenar F2.8 lenses that is not as sharp as the F1.9 Xenon available on the Retina IIIS. The 35mm F2.8 Curtagon and 28mm F4 Curtagon also go for a song compared to other German and Japanese RF cameras.
I always liked the Konica C35. Inexpensive, extremely compact and a sharp little shooter. I had a beautiful C35 that I gave to my brother last year when he showed an interest in rangefinders. I actually miss that camera and wonder why more people don't appreciate them.
I think the QL17 GIII has come full circle - after the Pop Photography-inspired boom, people are chasing other compact rangefinders and there are a ton of very nice GIII's available for not much money.
Others - Konica S2 (sharp!), Olympus DC (an "automatic RD" - same lens, 1/3 the price), Olympus XA2 (zone focus, but it's the ultimate "this camera is going to get wrecked, but I don't care because it cost me $5" camera. I think I've drowned three or four XA2's over the past three years. (I am a lousy kayak pilot)).
I couldn't agree with you more. Such a splendid camera in a small, unassuming package. Maitani produced a miracle, and it's a damn shame more folks don't realize it.:)
For me the FED 3b with the Industar 61LD. On ebay it is considered almost worthless but I have had some outstanding results from it. Most dramatic colour prints I've ever taken are with this, yet it is universally derrated as cheap rubbish.
And I like the FED 2 which also is very cheap on Ebay.
Gotta agree with you on the XA. For years it's been my favourite carryaround cam. With a sharp 35mm 2.8 lens and aperture priority, plus manual rangefinder focus, and a 1.5 stop exp compensation for backlit, I've never met a more effective camera in such a small package.
On the modern P&S side (I don't consider the XA P&S) there's the Olympus Stylus Epic. Not many controls, but it's really small, fast to use, and the 35mm 2.8 lens is very sharp. It does have a quasi spot metering mode and you can get one brand new for around $80 US. My son liked using one of these before he got a small digicam.
My vote is the same as Duncanís..... the FED3b
Its easy to pick a nice one for less than $20 on ebay, all the lenses they came with are good performers, shutter speeds 1 sec to 1/500, thumb wind lever, fixed take up spool and they donít look bad (I cant say that about the bigger FED4 & 5). How can you go wrong with this very useful LTM camera for next to no outlay?
Originally posted by Gipsy
What nobody have the nerve to admit he owned a brick the Argus C-3. I thought every one over 40 had one of these at one time in there life.
I had one ... bought it from a high school friend for five dollars in 1958. But I wouldn't consider it underrated ... it opened 35mm photography to the American masses and is generally remembered with considerable nostalgia. The C-3 was capable of making fine pictures, but had a very squinty viewfinder, limited shutter speeds, and was egonomically challenged in the extreme. Winding the film did not cock the shutter - you had to do that in a separate action.
My vote is for the Argus C3 even though I'm over 40 and never owned one. My very first 35mm cameras was the competition to the "Brick", the Kodak 35. I didn't take the C3 seriously for quite some time.
As we are in the cameras most laughed at these days but take good pictures: My vote is for the Kodak Motormatic. Even though it is a bright-line "zone-focus", spring-motor, selenium metered, shutter-preferred trap-needle automatic, bakelite bodied, THAT 44mm F2.8 Ektanar lens with the built in Series V filter holder delivers sharp and contrasty photos. I was surprised at the pictures it delivered.
We have a collection of MF folders many which are rangefinders, not all of them cheap by any means.
But I have picked up a Yashica GT Electro 35 at a boot sale for £10 and spent a further £6 for a battery adaptor and I think it is a fantistic little camera. A solid feel, bright clear viewfinder with a good RF and a fast f1.7 lens.
Because the original batteries are no longer available these cameras can be picked up quite cheap now and battery adaptors are available so that a standard battery can be used.
I paid $10 for an Argus C3 about 20 years ago, specifically for its characteristic of cocking the shutter separately from film winding. I had a multiple-exposure project in mind, and it sure was a cheap solution! And an interesting bit of history.
I even have the 100mm Telephoto for my C3. Made in the "US Occupied zone of Germany". The later C3 manuals (at least mine) do not even mention that a wide-angle and Tele-photo lens were available, but state that the lens dismounts for use on an Enlarger!
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