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Fixed Lens 35mm RF This forum is dedicated to the numerous and popular fixed lens rangefinders, including but not limited to the Canon Canonets, Konica III and S series, Minoltas, Ricohs, Vivitars, and so many others. Note fixed lens Olympus , Yashicas, Argus and Retina have separate forums.

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What's your favorite Fixed-Lens RF?
Old 03-10-2007   #1
Jeremy Z
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What's your favorite Fixed-Lens RF?

Bear with me, I want to try to keep the posts kind of brief.

Post your favorite fixed-lens RF or Scale Focus, and the top 3 reasons it is your favorite.

Please no posts like this: "Well, if I'm doing X, then it is Y camera, otherwise, Z camera" Just pick the all-around favorite.

I'll start:

Rollei 35

1) Character
2) Zeiss lens
3) Manual & Mechanical
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Old 03-10-2007   #2
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Rollei 35

1) Mechanical/manual
2) Professional quality
3) Takes great pictures
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Old 03-10-2007   #3
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This question is as simple as it gets for me: Zeiss Ikon Contessa 35. Arguably this camera was Hubert Nerwin's finest moment - and he designed a number of great cameras. You could easily call him photography's John Moses Browning... Good info here: http://www.cameraquest.com/contessa.htm

1) Exquisite construction. More chrome than a '59 Caddy...
2) Compact & simple to use as a P&S camera.
3) Zeiss-Opton T* 45/2.8 Tessar lens. It's a better lens than I'll ever be as a photographer. 'nuff said.

William
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Old 03-10-2007   #4
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Well, right now my answer has to be the Fuji GW670III, a recent acquisition from a fellow RFF member.

1) 6x7cm format
2) Large clear viewfinder with parallax compensation
3) Sharp 90mm Fujinon lens
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Old 03-11-2007   #5
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William: Interesting camera. What do you use for a light meter? Any optical comparisons between that and the Retina IIa? I see it has T* in the lens name. Does this mean that this lens was multicoated even in the 1950s? That would be pretty amazing.

Doug: I rather like the idea of a medium format RF, but am scared off by the prices. But I agree. I like the idea of the 6x7 format and a negative over 4X bigger than that of 35mm. The only thing that has kept me away from medium format so far is that I would VERY rarely print anything bigger than 8x10...
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Old 03-11-2007   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Z
William: Interesting camera. What do you use for a light meter? Any optical comparisons between that and the Retina IIa? I see it has T* in the lens name. Does this mean that this lens was multicoated even in the 1950s? That would be pretty amazing.
Oops. No star there - I was probably typing faster than thinking at the time. It's "only" a Red T lens though & the coating is very good. It's a very nice example of the Tessa design and I love the look I get with it from Plus-X & Reala. It has the typical look - sharp in the center with a gradual softening to the edges. I had one Retina but I could never get it functional and so sold it to someone who did. But no comparison alas.

As for the meter, the selenium meter on mine is accurate so I use it. You simply need to keep in mind it's limitations & it does an excellent job.

William
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Old 03-11-2007   #7
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Rollei 35:
1) Durable
2) Heft
3) Discrete/quiet
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Old 03-11-2007   #8
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Olympus 35 RC

1. The lens. It's great
2. Ergonomics
3. General cuteness

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Old 03-18-2007   #9
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Konica Auto S2

1.) Sharp lens
2.) Solid Feel
3.) Nice parallax compensation

Ask me again after I've shot a few rolls through my new hi-matic 7, Oly 35 RD, and (hopefully soon) Oly 35 SP.
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Old 03-19-2007   #10
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Canonet QL17 G3
1) It's the only one I have
2) It's small
3) The meter works well
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Old 03-19-2007   #11
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Konica Auto S2; ditto what kellymjones said.
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Old 03-19-2007   #12
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Well, I have a few but the one I like best is the Konica C-35, dents and all. Reason: $40.00 new in 1971, it has never not worked. If I lose it on a vacation, or drop it out of a moving cab like I did in El Salvador 35 years ago, or someone pours beer on it, like in........., or it gets thrown across a room. No big deal.
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Old 03-19-2007   #13
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Konica Auto S3
1. Lens:
- 38/1.8 lens, focusing to 36" The six element four group lens is an exceptional performer, called "one of the best semi-wide angle optics of its speed we have ever tested" by Modern Photography. Amazingly, ALL apertures had center values between 64 to 82 lines per mm.
http://www.cameraquest.com/kons3.htm

"Everyone praises the Hexanon lens which reportedly gets between 62 and 82 lpi, which is amazingly high performance (Leica-class) for a compact rangefinder."
http://www.photoethnography.com/Clas...html~mainFrame

2. Shutter
- Whisper quite, right up there with the GSN. 1/650 gives you a slightly broader range than than the typical 1/500th.

3. Excellent GN-based flash system with unique and easy to use fill-flash system.

4. Size - smallest "traditional" fixed lens RF camera, cool looking in all black. Fits in the palm of your hand, but with the solid all-metal build quality of yesterday with auto exposure lock.

5. Finder - verrry good. Not in the Leica high-end category but better than good enough...

Excellent budget street shooter...

Minuses:

Meter maxes out at 800ASA, shutter priority only - no manual control. Street shooter runner up, Yashica Electro CC and its excellent Yashinon 35/1.8.

Last edited by NickTrop : 03-19-2007 at 18:33.
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Old 03-19-2007   #14
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Minolta Himatic E for me.

Great lens, extremely accurate meter, and you just focus and click, which can be lots of fun cause you concentrate on taking the picture only, nothing else.
Oh and my cost: $2.00 (Canadian !) - thanks to my father.
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Whichever works at the moment.
Old 03-23-2007   #15
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Whichever works at the moment.

I agree with the Rollei 35 for character. The Oly RC for size and I used the Yashica Lynx 5000 for years, it was my favorite.

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Old 03-23-2007   #16
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Lately I am enjoying the Lynx 1000:

High quality finish and feel.

1/1000 and f/22

Auto parallax correction coupled to distance ring.

Shortest triggering distance from pushing the low profile button to the actual click.

Quality rangefinder optics.

Working selenium meter, with viewfinder unobtrusive correct exposure display. (yet, like with many hand held meters, under bright light situations you will have to shadow the selenium cell with your left hand)

Very nice balance of size weight and gripping.

Full manual mode only. This can be seen both as and advantage of disadvantage according to the user.

And the killing feature: a kind of shutter priority linkage allowing you to move both the speed and aperture rings while maintaining the same exposure value. This unique feature enables superfast adaptation of speed according to subject.

Overall from this camera emanates a strong feeling of quality fixed lens rangefinder.

Cheers,
Ruben
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Old 03-23-2007   #17
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Olympus XA
1) Superb lens
2) Small size
3) Good meter
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Old 03-23-2007   #18
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Ricoh GR1 but it's autofocus.
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Old 03-23-2007   #19
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Vivitar 35ES

1) beautiful BLACK brass body!
2) sharp f/1.7 lens
3) arent really rare or expensive

http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a1...IMG_2633_m.jpg
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Old 03-24-2007   #20
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Minolta Hi-Matic F.
Its the only fixed lens RF I have. I think I concentrate more on composition with this thing, since I dont have to think about exposure. Results from her have been more pleasing than from my Zorki. And the shutter speeds go down to 4 seconds.
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Old 03-24-2007   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop
Konica Auto S3
1. Lens:
- 38/1.8 lens, focusing to 36" The six element four group lens is an exceptional performer, called "one of the best semi-wide angle optics of its speed we have ever tested" by Modern Photography. Amazingly, ALL apertures had center values between 64 to 82 lines per mm.
http://www.cameraquest.com/kons3.htm

"Everyone praises the Hexanon lens which reportedly gets between 62 and 82 lpi, which is amazingly high performance (Leica-class) for a compact rangefinder."
http://www.photoethnography.com/Clas...html~mainFrame

2. Shutter
- Whisper quite, right up there with the GSN. 1/650 gives you a slightly broader range than than the typical 1/500th.

3. Excellent GN-based flash system with unique and easy to use fill-flash system.

4. Size - smallest "traditional" fixed lens RF camera, cool looking in all black. Fits in the palm of your hand, but with the solid all-metal build quality of yesterday with auto exposure lock.

5. Finder - verrry good. Not in the Leica high-end category but better than good enough...

Excellent budget street shooter...

Minuses:

Meter maxes out at 800ASA, shutter priority only - no manual control. Street shooter runner up, Yashica Electro CC and its excellent Yashinon 35/1.8.


I've never seen a "budget' S3, but I'm still hoping to............
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Old 03-24-2007   #23
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I just bought a Canonet GIII, I previously had one and I think it was the best combination of what I wanted, small, sharp fast lens, accurate meter, good RF/VF. Just a nice simple camera to use. I have a Himatic 7sII now also, and I like that, but it is a little too small, that was my impression of the Konica S3 also.
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Old 03-24-2007   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop
Konica Auto S3
1. Lens:

2. Shutter

3. Excellent GN-based flash system with unique and easy to use fill-flash system.

4. Size

5. Finder

Excellent budget street shooter...

Minuses:
I'm next to the said above. Great camera, never let me down. Unobtrusive and looks very "unprofessional", which is great thing for street work.
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Old 03-24-2007   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill58
I've never seen a "budget' S3, but I'm still hoping to............
I got "lucky" with a little eBay psychology. Was after this one for a little while, and a camera shop posted one on eBay with a $90 reserve. It was fully CLA'd with the battery voltage adjusted to take modern batteries. (No never-ready case though...)

As expected, bidders stayed away due to the reserve. I don't think there were any other bidders! It also didn't have a case, a generic lens cap (non Konica), and no X-20 flash (who cares?) Just the camera.

I've seen these cameras go untested listed "as is" for $150.

$90 is a bargain for this camera, I think, in light it being CLA'd. This isn't one of those cameras that will not have bidders you're gonna get for $20 like a GSN.
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Old 03-24-2007   #26
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I'm down to two fixed lens rf's - a broken Auto S2 (all the above descriptions are true) and my beloved Olympus 35 SPn. Once there were five: the Konica, the 35 SPn, a 35 SP, two Canonet QL17s. From all of these, I found my best bet:

Olympus 35 SPn:

1) the lens
2) the ergonomics
3) the spot meter (though I don't often use it)

Great post and some great cameras (35mm and MF).
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Old 03-24-2007   #27
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Minolta 7sII. Small, Quiet and does not require a battery to function ( Only for the meter and Auto mode ) The glass in nice as well.
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Old 03-24-2007   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop
I got "lucky" with a little eBay psychology. Was after this one for a little while, and a camera shop posted one on eBay with a $90 reserve. It was fully CLA'd with the battery voltage adjusted to take modern batteries. (No never-ready case though...)

As expected, bidders stayed away due to the reserve. I don't think there were any other bidders! It also didn't have a case, a generic lens cap (non Konica), and no X-20 flash (who cares?) Just the camera.

I've seen these cameras go untested listed "as is" for $150.

$90 is a bargain for this camera, I think, in light it being CLA'd. This isn't one of those cameras that will not have bidders you're gonna get for $20 like a GSN.
Thats why I listed the vivitar 35es... twin brother for less than half the price. Although, I would still like to pick up an s3
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Old 03-24-2007   #29
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I stumbled upon this while Googling for something.
http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~yue/misc/rangfndr.html


It is a great page for FLRs, especially Olympus.
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Old 03-25-2007   #30
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The "problem" with both the Konica and the Vivitar is the lower limit of the EV range ... only EV 4.5. EV 3, or better yet EV 2, are preferable for me.
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Old 03-25-2007   #31
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favorite Fixed lens would have to be the Yashica Lynx 5000.

1. Fantastic 45mm f1.8 lens / metered manual (smaller than the venerable Lynx 14, and more control than the GSN)
2. High build quality (and easy to repair)
3. Cheap. I can carry it on the worst days and not worry about it.

(2a - it looks good)
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Old 03-25-2007   #32
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Yashica Lynx 14 IC

1. Sharp lens Yashinon DX 45mm, f1.4
2. Virtually jitter-free leaf shutter
3. Completely manual operation, the meter in my camera doesn't work
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Old 03-25-2007   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue_designer
favorite Fixed lens would have to be the Yashica Lynx 5000.

1. Fantastic 45mm f1.8 lens / metered manual (smaller than the venerable Lynx 14, and more control than the GSN)
2. High build quality (and easy to repair)
3. Cheap. I can carry it on the worst days and not worry about it.

(2a - it looks good)
Oh yes, this one does rank right up there. Has everything one needs in a fully manual fixed lens RF.
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Old 03-25-2007   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius
The "problem" with both the Konica and the Vivitar is the lower limit of the EV range ... only EV 4.5. EV 3, or better yet EV 2, are preferable for me.
Yes... on camera meter does becomes quit useless when the lights get dim.
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Old 03-30-2007   #35
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Yashica Electro 35 GSN
1. great lens
2. quiet shutter
3. my very first camera
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Old 03-30-2007   #36
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I'm a little late to the party, but...

Yashica Electro 35 GL. It sort of wins by default because it's the only fixed-lens rangefinder I've ever known. But show me another one that has an ISO 1600 setting. Coupled with the f/1.7 lens, this makes for a great available-light camera.

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Old 03-30-2007   #37
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Yashicas seem to get the nod overall. I love mine too, but it is a behemoth. The shutter release button has a long stroke, but there is no stacking.

Jeremy, you're not late. This part will probably go on for quite a while!
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Old 03-30-2007   #38
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Yashica Electro 35 GSN. Unfortunately a monster alongside my Leica IIIf, but what a marvelous lens!
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Old 03-31-2007   #39
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The reality is that all the Japanese RFs from that era were terrific. I love'em. I don't own all of them, but I trust the judgement of those who rave about the Konica S2 or the Minolta Himatics, or the Olys, or the Canons though I don't own any of them.

I picked the Konica Auto S3 out of my little collection since it's a terrific street shooter with an outstanding lens - small, black, perfect street shooter. I also have the Lynx 14e IC, and it's a all manual joy, the f1.4 is really something special but it is "a bit" unweildy because of the size of the lens barrel. Not the discreet little street shooter. The Yash Electro CC, well-build compact RF with a 35/1.8 lens that is a great performer - nother nice one.

But if I were to give someone advise it would be to get a GSN, have it fixed if need be, CLA'd... that is, resign yourself to spending - say, $100, to get a fully functional terrific RF... and just use that one, and fuhget about it. A serviced GSN may very well outlive you and be your RF for life. Don't get "gas" like me, and start wondering about this one, or lusting for that one. They're all excellent. The Electro gives you the best chance of getting a good one right out the gate - seem to hold up a little better. No worries about batteries, really, since it tolerates variances in voltage to a degree w/o effecting metering. It has a parralax corrected RF with a very good RF patch if the RF is cleaned. They are very plentiful, cheap, and you won't be disappointed by its terrific lens. No, they're not manual but the meter on this thing is spooky accurate, and they are VERY fast on the draw. Learn to premeter using the under/over lights on the top panel. The shutter is whisper silent (though the film advance is a bit ratchety)...

Yeah, a GSN. Then shoot the crap out of it, and don't worry about the others. (That said, there are worse guilty pleasures/vices than playing around with old cameras : )

Last edited by NickTrop : 03-31-2007 at 07:55.
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Old 03-31-2007   #40
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My little lamb, Rollei 35S

1. Size
2. Sharp, fast(er than other Rollei 35s), all manual (meter doesn't work on mine, so it's battery-free sunny 16), durable and above all... small.
3. Did I mention it's really handy and easy to carry around?
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