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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.

View Poll Results: Which of these 35mm compact film cameras would you rate the all-around best?
Canonet QL17 GIII 45 26.01%
Konika Auto S3 28 16.18%
Minolta HiMatic 7SII 22 12.72%
Olympus 35 RC 41 23.70%
Yashica Electro 35 GSN 37 21.39%
Voters: 173. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-03-2015   #41
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Interesting how little love there is for the Hi-Matic. Could this be because it seems to be the most expensive of the lot on the US market?

I researched the hell out of these 5 here on RFF and finally got 2 Hi-Matic 7SII's and a Revue 400SE (all auctions ran out on the same day and I got lucky with all of them). I really like the Minolta for its compact size and the automatic and manual options. The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't meter in manual mode, so you have to switch.

The Revue looks almost identical but feels far more flimsy. Every screw seems to be made of cheaper material than on the Minoltas.

Today, I might go out with a digital X100 and the 2 Minoltas loaded with 100 and 400 and it's a very workable setup until I get a more expensive system.
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Old 04-03-2015   #42
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This poll can't possibly be representative because many more people might own a GSN or the Canon over the more rare Konica Auto S3. That will clearly skew the results You get the GSN for its aperture priority mode, which I think is more useful than shutter priority. Of those I've used, I'd say the best one is the Konica (haven't used the Olympus or HiMatic). Lens is extremely sharp. It has a unique flash guide system. And it's extremely compact. The downside is its build quality, which is acceptable but not "build like a tank" like many of the cameras of its era.
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Old 04-03-2015   #43
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Ive had all of these except the Minolta. The Olympus and the Yashica made the biggest impact on me. I took the latter to Disneyland in Florida, and have some very nice slides from the visit. In the end, I got rid of it because it just seemed a little too big.

I liked the Olympus very much due to its' very compact size, yet very good lens. My profile picture was taken with it in Cornwall.

I was a little disappointed with both the Canon and the Konica. I think I read that they were significantly 'better' than the other two, and too me, they simply weren't!

Looking back, I tried and rejected all of the these cameras in favour of a Bessa R, which was replaced by a Zeiss Ikon and subsequently the Leica pair that I now have: an M2 and an M4-P.

I think for the enjoyment per £ (or $), any of these cameras would be excellent value. They can all be had for much, much less than a single Leica lens!
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Old 04-03-2015   #44
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I picked the Canon GIII. With batter adaptor the meter works great in shutter priority. Without battery it's all manual.
As was mentioned it has it's own flash system that is very good.

One thing I found is that with a filter on it is around 1 stop off as compared to reading without filter. The meter cell is right above the lens so I guess the filter blocks some light.

Great little camera.

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Old 04-27-2015   #45
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I have experience only with the Electro 35, maybe 3 different cameras and only one being the GSN the others being GS maybe. My mint GSN took the worst photos and the oldest one with the beat up body and cleaning marks on the lens took the best photos. All on the same type of film.
As the Head bartender said buy them all and see which one works for you.
Some reference is always made to the size of these cameras and as a fellow with large hands I found the Electro to be the perfect size.
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Old 04-27-2015   #46
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This https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...#gid=856244635 might help a little bit for lens resolution comparisons.

Japan has been making some superb glass over these many years.

Overall, condition is the most important factor, and even then, sample variation is all across the board. Especially the internal metering contact points, sticky shutter issues, and RF accuracy.


Currently, I'm playing with an EX+ condition Yashica Electro 35 GX. Last of the Electro's. Not too big and not too small. Shorter wind throw. Slightly tighter shutter release button. Much brighter
diamond RF patch in daylight, comparing this to my current GSN side by side. Nice camera. Get one.

I have to admit though, while Yashica lenses do have wonderful character, every Konica I've played with, S2, III, IIIA, S3, C35, have given a particularly stunning, hard to quantify 3 dimensional quality.

Frankly, I've used several Oly RC's and I just don't care for the package. The IQ and resolution was fine, but not really all that amazing. The aperture ring and focus mechanism seems kinda plasticy and fiddly. The meter is fair to middlin, and I found the manual control to be a relatively pointless exercise for this type of camera.

If I were to go for strictly non metered manual control, I'd recommend the purely mechanical 50's fixed lens cameras. I'm in love with the solid tactile form factor, regardless of brand.

My favorite Minolta is the AL-S. Gorgeous in every way, except I can't get the aperture on mine to work properly. Shame, as it's such a pretty, clean lined little camera.
Generally, I've had rather poor luck finding EX working examples of fixed lens Minolta's.

The Canon GIII has excellent form factor. Feels great in the hand.
A very practical choice that somehow leaves me a bit unimpressed by its image results. I don't know why, but it just doesn't dazzle me. I've used several, and they've all been lacking that special something in the outcome. No magic.

Overall, my 5 top picks for fixed lens RF's would be:

1. Konica = magical
2. Yashica = characterful
3. Olympus = pictorial
4. Minolta = broken
5. Canon = lackluster

One last point. I'm a vintage camera junkie, and this addiction
really hasn't done much beyond rudimentary basics to make me a better photographer. Just like every other junkie, I find myself chasing the devil in the details, and missing the decisive moments. It's more a fetish than a hobby, and more a hobby than a desire to accomplish anything, let alone something great.

For me, every photo is like a single frozen snowflake...and the photography world is in the midst of the greatest blizzard in history.
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Old 04-27-2015   #47
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Check out the Yashica electro GX.
It's between this model and the Konica s3.
I've had them all. The GX delivers the best ergo and IQ.
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Old 04-27-2015   #48
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I've heard great stuff about the Minolta, as reputable as the Canonet. I wouldn't mind getting one if I didn't have a Canonet already.

I've owned a Canonet QL17 II and now a III and will keep it for the rest of my life, no point reselling just to make $100.
Great camera that works either in shutter priority mode with battery or fully manual without. You can squeeze 38 frames on a 36 roll and the camera is fairly small.
My only con is the camera has 5 aperture blades so bokeh can be distracting at smaller aperture.

I've also owned a 35GSN and while a fun camera, being battery dependent and aperture priority only kind of put me off, plus it is slightly bigger than the other compact RFs
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Old 07-19-2015   #49
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I would choose ergonomics and condition over lens with this batch.
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Old 07-20-2015   #50
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If you add Olympus 35 RD, I would choose it.

As is, from the poll, I have to go with Minolta 7sII for overall satisfaction.

Yashica GSN and Konica S3 I don't like because I can't do manual settings for both aperture and shutter speed.
Canon QL to my eyes produces flat pictures, don't know why

Oly 35 RC is a dear camera to me. It's a star of a project that we did here on RFF long time ago resulting in a book that I cherish a lot. But I'd pick 35 RD if I were to use it regularly. I regret selling mine years ago.
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Old 09-11-2015   #51
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There's no magic camera. Too many burn out finding one, ignoring their preferences and habits. Internet is a big help for photographer but also can be a distraction.
I've tried many of this cameras and came to conclusion I have some mental quirks which have forced me into using another cameras. But I'm not saying this list represents bad choice - only that one's preferences may be completely different from others. Some struggle to find best lens which works under broad range of conditions, some prefer ergonomics, some - size and weight, some go for most sought after models. When one realizes intentions and decision drivers it all becomes much much easier.
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Old 09-11-2015   #52
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I would go for a black paint canonet because its the best looking!
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Old 09-11-2015   #53
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The canonet is the nicest to use and has the sweetest finder. The yashica GSN has the best lens but is ergonomically shoddy. The olympys RC is absolutely adorable to use and hold but has one of the worst lenses. Heaps of pincushion distortion on that one.
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Old 09-11-2015   #54
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- Konika Auto S3 = very nicely built, very good lens, my No. 3
- Canonet QL17 GIII = nice lens, but I was never really fond of it, don't even know why
- Yashica Electro 35 GSN = sturdy and excellent lens, despite the lack of manual control, my favourite (No. 1) from this list
- Minolta HiMatic 7SII = very nice lens, but also a camera I didn't fall in love with
- Olympus 35 RC = My personal No.2 from this list, very nice lens and compact cam
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Konica my fav
Old 10-08-2015   #55
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Konica my fav

I have all 5 cameras above , Konica S2 and S3 lens (Hexanon) delivered pleasant IQ (sharp, rendering, contrast)

I sold all, except Konicas;S2 and S3.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...ad.php?t=73147

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Old 10-08-2015   #56
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purely based on image quality (lens sharpness) i'd say the konica s3 is the winner.
All camera's have there pros and cons, and since these camera's were produced in the seventies, you could get an ultra sharp yashica in your hands or a rather soft konica. It all depends on the state of the camera itself.
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Old 10-09-2015   #57
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I'm surprised at how sharp these 70s compacts from Japan are. I have a Petri 7s that is great along with a fully auto Konica C35. My later Olympus Stylus Infinity (auto) is again sharper than most SLR lenses.

Don't forget the lowly Olympus Trip, how did those Japanese designers do it?

But all in all, my Olympus 35RC is my favorite.
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Old 10-09-2015   #58
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About resolution:

I copied and translated this page from Iwao Ogura's "The Technology of Modern Camera and Lens.", a book about Japanese consumer camera optics. Some of the camera models in this poll was not tested, so I picked similar models since they were likely to share the same lens.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg QQ??20151009172734.jpg (19.1 KB, 50 views)
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Old 10-10-2015   #59
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I've owned quite a few of these cameras over the years; my least favorite was the Canon QL17 Giii--my particular example was miserably unsharp. Electro 35GSN was pretty ho-hum also, but felt good in the hand. My favorite was the Konica Auto S2 for a great viewfinder and super sharp lens. The Olympus 35SP had great sharpness but I didn't like the ergonomics. In general I tend the prefer the earlier generation--the slightly larger cameras mostly with 45mm lenses rather than 38/40. Along with the Konica S2, the Canonet QL19 and Minolta 7s were gems (both 45mm's also)

Now I use Canon LTM but my experience with these cheaper, consumer grade cameras is that lens quality control was not really consistent, pretty good, but not up to SLR lens standards of the day, let alone Leica--so if you don't get lucky right away you might have to cherry-pick.

Last edited by bluesun267 : 10-10-2015 at 14:56. Reason: grammar
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Peter Gowland liked the RC
Old 10-10-2015   #60
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Peter Gowland liked the RC

In the 1980's I listened to a lecture given by legendary glamour photographer great Peter Gowland.

He used many cameras, among them the Olympus RC.
He was amazed how good the RC lens was and urged people to get one.
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Old 10-10-2015   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CameraQuest View Post
In the 1980's I listened to a lecture given by legendary glamour photographer great Peter Gowland.

He used many cameras, among them the Olympus RC.
He was amazed how good the RC lens was and urged people to get one.
I do have some ergonomic complaints with the Olympus 35 RC, but mostly it is great. Some of the hidden features are: it can be used without a battery, it is shutter priority which can be also used by turning the shutter knob to make it aperture priority, completely manual if you want, and it has a flashmatic feature so just set the GN, focus and shoot, not to mention, which the other five also have, is flash synch at any shutter speed.
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Old 10-10-2015   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I do have some ergonomic complaints with the Olympus 35 RC, but mostly it is great. Some of the hidden features are: it can be used without a battery, it is shutter priority which can be also used by turning the shutter knob to make it aperture priority, completely manual if you want, and it has a flashmatic feature so just set the GN, focus and shoot, not to mention, which the other five also have, is flash synch at any shutter speed.
Yes, some quirks are there - narrow aperture ring very close to body, a bit stiff shutter release. Probably, that's all of annoyment and rest is only great stuff. In addition what you mentioned, RC has 5 element lens in contrary to other similar sized compacts with 4 element lenses.
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Old 10-11-2015   #63
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Didn't know that, but I wouldn't be able to tell the difference on a print. It still is a great little camera to travel with. I use a Vivitar 2600 flash with it; either for fill or with the flashmatic for dark shots. And that combination is still small but potent.
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Old 10-13-2015   #64
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I know it was a poll, but all these cameras make great images.

I think any camera of this era, quality-built, not cheap, with a prime lens will give impressively sharp images.

That's been the case for all that I've tried (Yashica GSN, Olympus Stylus Infinity, Canonet).
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Old 10-18-2015   #65
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Quote:
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Olympus Stylus Infinity
Crop by John Carter, on Flickr

Sardis by John Carter, on Flickr

Tmax100, HC-110h, Copied with a DSLR.
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Old 10-18-2015   #66
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Yeshiva GSN
That's what I call them too...



Great picture takers all - *if* you can get yours serviced...

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Old 12-15-2015   #67
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For those knowing the S3,
can you select 1/3 or 1/2 shutter speed increments? (1/160, 1/200...)

Or only whole stops? (1/125, 1/250...)
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Old 12-15-2015   #68
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I've owned them all, used them all. Olympus RD for the win. Best of breed.
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Old 12-15-2015   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I'm surprised at how sharp these 70s compacts from Japan are. I have a Petri 7s that is great along with a fully auto Konica C35. My later Olympus Stylus Infinity (auto) is again sharper than most SLR lenses.

Don't forget the lowly Olympus Trip, how did those Japanese designers do it?

But all in all, my Olympus 35RC is my favorite.
Petri Racer is a lovely bit of kit, though it seems put together by Kalashnikov. Great lens.
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Old 12-15-2015   #70
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I haven't really used it on the S3 but there are ways of getting a sorta/kinda manual mode but they are slower than a true manual camera.

If you put a flash cover plate into the hotshoe you disconnect the shutter priority mode. You can then adjust aperture using the flash GN setting ring. Selected aperture varies based on distance so focus first.

When in normal shutter priority mode half pressing the shutter locks the exposure. Point the camera at a light source until it meters the F stop you want and half press the shutter and it will lock it there.

Neither is optimal but can be used for a tricky situation, if you have the time.

As far as the original question I have the GSN and S3. The S3 does have a great little lens on it and it is much smaller than the GSN. It will tell you what F stop it is selecting.

I kinda prefer the feel of the GSN though and its meter can handle more situations. It is aperture priority but doesn't tell you what shutter speed it is selecting, only gives you warnings about slow shutter speed. Viewfinder and rangefinder patch are a bit nicer as well.

When I want small and great quality I tend to use a Rollei 35S more though.

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Old 12-15-2015   #71
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Leave us not forget the mighty Yashica Lynx 14 and relatives. All lens, and what a lens.
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Old 12-15-2015   #72
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Been many months since the OP first started this thread -- I wonder what he/she decided on? Lots of us have chimed in with our personal experiences ... that's what makes reading these forums such fun.

FWIW I voted for the Olympus 35RC. Not the greatest ergonomics but the small form factor makes it easily pocketable. Plus, the lens on the 35RC is a show-stopper. In my experience the 35RC's lens easily can perform with the best of them (Zeiss, Leica, etc.) -- heretical, I know. But I've always been really impressed with the 35RC's image quality -- it remains one of my favourite 1970's Japanese rangefinders.

Here's two Olympus siblings, the 35DC and 35RC.

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Old 12-15-2015   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solinar View Post
The Yashica Electro 35 series - is also very easy to get service for.
http://www.camerarefurb.com/Services.htm
Yes, Russ has done a fine job for me on several full-size Yashicas. For the smaller bodies and when parts are needed, Mark Hama can fix most.

Put back into good condition, these cameras are great. On the other hand, when they are not and are malfunctioning, can be really frustrating.
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Old 12-15-2015   #74
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That's what I call them too...
Damn auto-correct!
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Old 12-15-2015   #75
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Always considered the Olympus 35SP superior to the 35RC.

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Old 12-15-2015   #76
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Always considered the Olympus 35SP superior to the 35RC.

Texsport
Same for me.

And didn't the letter in front of Zuiko indicate the number of lens elements?
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Old 12-16-2015   #77
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35SP can't how ever be said in the same sentence as others, since even though it's fixed lens RF, it's quite bit heavier and larger. I personally have always preferred 35RC due to the size and the fact that to my eyes the quality of the lens is pretty much identical and I don't feel I miss those about 1.5 stops of light. How ever the 35SP has superior light meter.

Then again 35RC was my first ever camera and has seen hundreds and hundreds rolls of film.. So my views can be "bit" skewed
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Old 12-16-2015   #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santtu Määttänen View Post
35SP can't how ever be said in the same sentence as others, since even though it's fixed lens RF, it's quite bit heavier and larger. I personally have always preferred 35RC due to the size and the fact that to my eyes the quality of the lens is pretty much identical and I don't feel I miss those about 1.5 stops of light. How ever the 35SP has superior light meter. Then again 35RC was my first ever camera and has seen hundreds and hundreds rolls of film.. So my views can be "bit" skewed
As others have mentioned (and is the case for me,) the ergonomics of the RC place it a step down from the 35SP.

The lens on the RC is remarkable for a compact camera, but draws differently from the G.Zuiko on the 35SP. A trained eye could tell the difference on many shots.
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Old 12-16-2015   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trius View Post
As others have mentioned (and is the case for me,) the ergonomics of the RC place it a step down from the 35SP.

The lens on the RC is remarkable for a compact camera, but draws differently from the G.Zuiko on the 35SP. A trained eye could tell the difference on many shots.
Certainly the lens ain't the same, but both are very sharp, have nice contrast and build quality is top notch. So I feel that in the end there's no "better" only different and it comes to personal choice.

For the actual subject There's also few other cameras that fit the bill, like Ricoh 500G. But as lovely as Ricoh is, it's more vulnerable, delicate and even more difficult to fix / get fixed. Same pretty much applies to most other options then the ones mentioned. Since these on the list are relatively common and there's donor cameras to be had around if you need spare parts. (easily that is)
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Old 12-16-2015   #80
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No argument, I agree it is personal preference. The Minolta 7Si II is not on the list, but I like it as much as the others. The rangefinder on mine was off but I was able to adjust it easily.
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