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View Poll Results: What is the Best Under $50 Ebay Make of Rangefinder for Newbies?
Argus 25 2.57%
Canon 130 13.35%
FSU Former Soviet Union 175 17.97%
Kodak 16 1.64%
Konica 74 7.60%
Minolta 60 6.16%
Olympus 175 17.97%
Yashica 259 26.59%
Other Make European 29 2.98%
Other Make Japanese 31 3.18%
Voters: 974. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-20-2009   #81
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Put a vote in for FSU , tried to vote for them all just to skew the poll, really hard to define the `Best'- optics? - reliabiity? - ease? For a first time user any of the above that create an ongoing interest is gonna be value at under 50 bucks ,and hey the ****e ones you end up buying just teach you how to fiz em- or not sometimes.
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Old 09-22-2009   #82
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I had lots of Yashi's and they were all good cameras, but no battery = no camera and the Electros make it impossible to know what shutter speed you are shooting at. Final fatal flaw for me: Metering for the G series (GSN, GTN, GT, G) indicates the perfect exposure is achieved when both the lights in the viewfinder go out! What genius thought this one up?
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Old 09-23-2009   #83
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FSU - You can still get a good Kiev 4a or 4am with a Jupiter 8 for $50 if you're patient.

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Old 09-23-2009   #84
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I have everything listed in the survey, but for a beginner, I would go with a Olympus XA and a Yashica GS series 2nd, mostly due to battery issues and I like the wider lens on the Oly.
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Old 09-24-2009   #85
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For a newbie, I like the GSN for it's simplicity and great lens. There are other lesser known Japanese cameras from the same era that will do the job nearly as well. The Petri 7S is cheap, fully manual, and does't need a battery. Minolta Hi-matic is another good one. The Argus, while cheap and easy to find, requires a lot of attention to use or you end up with a lot of blank or double exposures.
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Old 10-03-2009   #86
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Interesting thread. I think any of those listed that sell for under $50 and are in good working condition would be wise choices.

Strangely I have never gotten a yashica. And I like the Yashica brand. My first was an 8mm movie camera back about 1963. I loved it. Then about 1971, my beloved Yashica TL Super, the poor man's Nikon. I purchased a Yashica made Contax and loved it, and when it went bad, got Yashica FX 103. I just can't fall in love with the G series. I don't know why. For sure Yashica has good glass. Better than it ever got credit for.

I agree with above posts about the Konica glass as well. I have two Canonet G17 IIIs and like them, but seldom carry them. I have a Petri Computer 35 which is a nice choice due to its lens, reliability, compactness and lightness.

I enjoy my XA that I got with two other nowhere cameras for about $20 total, from a ebay seller that didn't know what they had, and didn't properly describe it. Just an Olympus camera (with case and flash). Neat little camera. I keep it in my car.

The best? As others have said, the one that works well when first obtained, and the user likes enough to keep using. That could be most anything.
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Old 10-04-2009   #87
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konica s2 and c35 are both very great cameras. lenses are amazing - for color and black and white
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Old 10-06-2009   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by januaryman View Post
Final fatal flaw for me: Metering for the G series (GSN, GTN, GT, G) indicates the perfect exposure is achieved when both the lights in the viewfinder go out! What genius thought this one up?
It's like with RHD and LHD cars. Personally I get O/U lamp concept. Some don't. There's load of FL RF's to choose, aren't we lucky?
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Old 10-08-2009   #89
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Electro 35 or Olympus XA
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Old 10-11-2009   #90
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VIVITAR 35ES - 30 GBP on the bay !!
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Not G-III QL 1.7
Old 10-20-2009   #91
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Cool Not G-III QL 1.7

Somebody gave me a G-III 1.7. I never did get along with that camera. I didn't see what all the fuss was about. I guess all of my good Canon lenses had spoiled me.

The Konica I I got from dad is another story. Silent leaf shutter. Super nice range-view finder. Solid as a rock. Fabulous lens. If you find a working copy for $50-$100 jump all over it.
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Old 10-20-2009   #92
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I'm slowly drifting to idea that Konica III (plain III, not even IIIA or IIIM) is FL RF I like.

Electro 35 and it's relatives - Av only. Good when it's all you need, and sometimes it isn't enough. Controls are somehow lacking final touch - tactile wise.

Lynxes - this are the cameras! Pity their RF optics aren't preserved up to level where users don't complain about faded RF patches.

KAS/KAS2 - VF is large and bright, RF patch keeps very well - contrasty enough. Nice lens, and loud mechanics. Brutal feeling of alligator with lens Tiny DOF scale located on body - not very practical implementation.

35RC - very nice VF - large and brigh enough. Because mine works in manual mode only, I feel that narrow aperture ring is made to be left on A setting most of times. With slow films one can lack slow speeds - not a limitation really, if you are aware and use it accordingly. Solidly built, although some complain about failure of wind mechanism (I don't, at least so far). Size and features is it's strong side.

Konica III - smaller VF, KAS/KAS2 has better. No moving framelines. Otherwise it's gem - Seikosha shutter is quieter than Copals on Lynxes and KAS series (except electrical Copal on Electro, for sure), blades don't make metallic sound, even slow speeds run more silently. This doesn't affect performance, I simply enjoy smoothness.

Advancing also is quieter, just takes a bit longer (there are motorized SLRs for frame-gunning style shooting, right?).

Shutter release because of lack of AE mechanism travels short and smoothly. KAS series obviously lack this property, though their weight compensate this flaw so take this as aesthetical/tactile issue.

Body is great - sized like Lynx 5000 which has ideal size/weight ratio, lens barrel is cone shaped and extends from body very naturally. Cylinder shaped barrels...not that they are wrong (probably too SLRish? this is not true, of corse, there are cylinder shaped RF lenses), I just happen to like cone more on vintage cameras.

Here is another flaw - speed ring on III is little too narrow for me. I like how it's done on KAS - slightly erects over barrel and is a bit wider than on III (on KAS2 it's not so good - ergonomically). Erecting it a bit (a bit, not to make front of lens ugly) would enhance model III.

Can't not mention RF department - built like a tank, not cheapo as on Lynxes, Electro and KAS/KAS2. Even mirror can't fall off post after impact - because it's mounted in frame not glued.

While it usually is over us$50, I'd go for it as only FL RF (anyway most of us spend more cash to simmer through loads of FL RF's )...well, probably have also 35RC as compact notebook.

Truth is we are so different and good news are there are enough cameras to choose from. Good luck.
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Best udner $50 rangefinder is Zorki 2S IMHO. johne
Old 10-21-2009   #93
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Best udner $50 rangefinder is Zorki 2S IMHO. johne

Buy CCCP! Best deal under $50 is Zorki 2S.
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Old 10-21-2009   #94
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I Almost clicked russian, as the Zorki 4k and the Fed 3/4/5/6 are great cameras, however I started with an Agfa Super Silette, and I Loved it so much I ended up with 3 of them before buying my FED and my Voightlšnder Bessa R, so yes i would say the good ol' West german Agfa fixed lens rangefinder. quiet, compact and fits in the deep pockets of my winter coat when walking round the streets of Krakow in February!
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Old 10-31-2009   #95
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IMHO gotta be the Zorki 4 or 4k with the Jupiter 8 lens. Had 4 of them over the last 7 years from ebay - price range 15GBP - 28GBP, and never had a bad one.
Mind you...... I've nothing to compare it to either so this needs to be taken with a 'pinch of salt'
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Old 10-31-2009   #96
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Retina IIa natch.
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14-45mm, 20mm pancake

and some others.....
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Tricky one this!
Old 10-31-2009   #97
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Tricky one this!

It's a tricky one this
I suspect that anyone wanting to get a rangefinder must have some photographic experience (even if just a little) or they would be buying digital in this day & age.
Because of this, I'm guessing they want to be in control of things & try something a bit different from the norm.
I have lots of rangefinders, but for this price I'd have to go for a Zorki 4K with Jupiter8 (I bought mine for £20 last year) as you have complete control of everything & don't have to worry about batteries or electrical failure in the future.
It feels a lot more substantial than any of my konicas (S3, C35), or most other japanese cameras of the 60's/70's & the lens is great (that & you have the endless possibilities of other glass) & I feel it a pleasure to use.
No, it's not a Leica but that isn't a fair comparison (because of the price difference alone), but I enjoy using it just as much as my Leicas!
I feel a bit cheated when I use the Konicas, just because all you really need do is focus & shoot, because of the built in light meter & automation.
But that said, they are much lighter / smaller & quicker to use than a Zorki, so have their place (& obviously great optics).
If I was street shooting & wanted to be discreet though, I'd opt for an Oly XA great lens, easy to use.
My vote goes FSU
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Old 11-24-2009   #98
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No Fujica yet?!?! The Compact Deluxe is a great camera, but maybe a bit hard to find. You wont find a lot of comments about them online, but nearly every one comment you find will be very positive.
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Old 11-24-2009   #99
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My first rangefinder was the Canon QL17 purchased on Ebay for around $40. The viewfinder is not quite what the Leica M viewfinders are, but the camera surprised me when I got my first roll of slides back. The lens is a fixed 40mm 1.8 and very sharp.

My problem was I could only figure out how to use it in the auto mode. The meter doesn't seem to work when I use it in manual mode. Don't know if it is faulty, or if I just don't know what I am doing with it. I only shot a few rolls of film with it. I also purchased the QL19 which has a 45mm lens for around the same price. I've never used that one.

My grandfather gave me an Argus C3 this summer. I have not used it yet, but some day I will give it a try. I saw plenty of them in an antique store for $25.
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Old 11-24-2009   #100
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My first RF was a Minolta Hi -Matic 7SII bought from an eldery gentleman in 1989 for £20, that camera was brilliant and really got me hooked on RFs so it gets my vote. The Yashica's have a great lens but often don't work when bought from ebay and I personally don't like the brick like handling. My Minolta is now kaput so my RF of choice just now is a Ricoh 500g, not the best on the list but you can buy it in the UK on fleabay for under a tenner!
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pocket rangefinder Olympus XA
Old 11-24-2009   #101
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pocket rangefinder Olympus XA

The olympus Xa is a very stealthy small rangefinder. I love the size and sliding cover and the controls are nice. 35mm f2.8 zuiko pancake lens. fun little range finder I got one on ebay for 25 dollars a while back
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Old 11-24-2009   #102
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Quote:
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The olympus Xa is a very stealthy small rangefinder. ...35mm f2.8 zuiko pancake lens.
pancake lens? I'd say whole camera is a biscuit!
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Old 12-10-2009   #103
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It is clearly the Yashica GSN. I'm tired of everyone saying it's this one or that one - next thing you know they're mentioning cameras that are almost impossible to find or seem to forget that we're talking about $50. Or it isn't really a true rangefinder... They'll start saying the Canon QLIII or the Konica S2 - Never seen either one of them go for less than $50 unless it was a fluke. Then someone will mention some camera that seems to exist in only an alternate universe or they'll say, "...well, it's scale focus" blah, blah, blah. No.

The GSN is plentiful. It has arguably the best lens slapped on fixed lens rangefinder. It meters to 1000, it has THE most accurate and powerful meter. I has a "smart" diamond-shaped contrasty patch. It uses batteries that are currently available. And it always costs less than $50.

There's no need for a poll. It's the GSN. It just is. Period. Anyone who suggests any other camera is simply wrong. I have spoken.
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Old 12-10-2009   #104
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ADD... you can slap the thing on a tripod, throw 1600 speed film in it (or whatever speed), and it will accurately calculate exposure and the shutter will stay open 1/2 a minute or whatever... No other RF can do that, and it's 1960's technology.

It's the GSN. Now run along...
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Old 12-21-2009   #105
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My problem with the GSN and the Yashica Electro Series is failure rate due to 40+ year old electronics. I have three of them in the basement, none working. Repair will run $70+. It has a great lens, and accurate meter when it works. I pined away for one when they were new because they used "Lights" for the exposure. HOW COOL IS THAT! (11 year old in 1969 perspective) I bought a Minolta Hi-Matic 9 instead. The 45/1.7 Rokkor lens is just as good as the Yashica. It is a mechanical, trap-needle camera with full manual operation. And it still works. Mine cost $80 in 1969, but you can probably find them for under $50 these days.

So Nick, you stand corrected.

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Old 12-21-2009   #106
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Nick, your Fujica Compact Deluxe is a strong contender, though not often seen.

I tried, but the lights used in the Yashica meters are just a dealbreaker for me.

My current choice would probably be the Konica Auto S2.

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Old 12-21-2009   #107
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My vote for most camera (functionality) for the buck are the Yashica Electro-35. My vote for highest quality for the buck (build quality and sharpness of the lens) is the Canonet.

The canonet is the most compact, easiest to load, and the 40mm lens on mine is sharper than my 40mm Voigtlander Nokton f1.4 with better OOF characteristics.

The Russian cameras are fun for us sado masochists, but why would you do that to anyone new to photography or rangefinders?
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Old 12-21-2009   #108
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I agree with NickTrop definitely. I'm going to take my Yashica G and a tripod and take low light photos on the christmas eve. It is just a perfect camera for that.
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Old 12-21-2009   #109
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The best under $50 camera I bought on eBay was a Minolta 7s. My sample has an outstanding lens and I got it for under $25, shipped, a few years back.
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Old 12-21-2009   #110
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My best $20 fixed-lens RF is the Lynx 14e. And it uses very cool LIGHTS for the exposure meter. That I got working after cleaning out the battery compartment, splicing the wires, and a little soldering. The GSN and GTN are not as easy to work on. And they do not go to F1.4.

The Canonet Ql17l is the best $10 camera that I have.
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Old 12-27-2009   #111
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Lynx series cameras have so much better controls and feel/appearance than full-sized Electro 35's. Too bad - RF patches on Lynxes seem to be weaker (at least, this days) than on Electro's.
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Old 12-27-2009   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
Nick, your Fujica Compact Deluxe is a strong contender, though not often seen.

I tried, but the lights used in the Yashica meters are just a dealbreaker for me.

My current choice would probably be the Konica Auto S2.

Chris
Hi Chris. The Fujica Compact Deluxe is the best camera. Period. I didn't include that one. 'sides, as you allude, you need a friend in the business to get that one. My thinking is, ya got $50 bucks to blow on an old film rangefinder, what gives you the best bang for your buck? GSN, hands down, bar none... and remember it does say "for newbies"... Aperture priority makes it all very easy for noobs.
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Old 12-27-2009   #113
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferider View Post
For 50 bucks I would just avoid RFs and get a classic SLR with a fast 50mm lens.

That being said my Oly XA (20 bucks in a garage sale) is still going strong. Very good lens.
This is probably the best advice here. A Minolta SRT-101, a Canon FTb, or a Konica Autoreflex with a basic 50mm lens can be had for this money. The price point for really flexible rangefinders that can compete with these SLR's is higher than $50.
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Old 12-28-2009   #114
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Hi! I'm new at the forum, and I joined because I recently found the incredible world of the rangefinder cameras...

I've been reading all this thread, and still can't decide which camera to choose. I can spend until 60-70 USD on the camera, and 30 on shipping. No more.

My options are the following:

- Yashica Electro 35: because is cheaper than others, but is not manual, and most of them don't seems to be working properly.
- Olympus 35 RC: because is little and i have seen great results with this camera
- Canonet QL17: Because everyone says is good, but is expensive.
- Konica Auto S2: seems great, but is a little more hard to find
- Zorki 4k: looks great, is cheap, but seems heavy, and i doubt about the lens quality.

I have experience with slr, dslr and compact cameras, but i'm just an amateur photographer (if i can say that), and i have no experience with rangefinder cameras. What I want from the camera is a good lens, a good light meter, if is not heavy is better, and manual controls.

What camera do you think that fits better for me? I've been searching on ebay, but prices seems a little overestimated. One last thing, I'm from Chile, so my only chance to get one of those beautiful cameras is from that site.

thank you

Victor

ps: sorry for my bad english
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Old 12-28-2009   #115
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It is either a Yashica GSN, or a Canon QL 17 G III. Both are excellent choices. I'd choose whichever one was less than $50 when looking.
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Old 12-28-2009   #116
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Victor, I suggest to go for price as all of cameras you listed are good. I'd choose from 35RC (if small size is main requirement, and note limited speeds) or KAS2. Electro is very nice though needs battery(-ies) and you can't deal with speed directly.

Can't say anything about Canonet, except I skipped it because of hype and according prices. If you watch ebay carefully, you should be able to get one below extraorbital price tag they tend to fetch, at least some year ago, haven't watched them since then as any other sub-f2 FL RF does same as Canonet, in fact. If your heart cries for Canonet, take a look at non-GIII Canonet model. Most of bidders madly go for GIII lettering while they are nearly identical cameras.

Zorki 4K, as any of FSU cameras....I'd go for them only in case I'd use it with 28mm lens. In case of 40-50mm I'd stay away from FSU cameras.

Just don't pay too much for any of them. Most likely you will have to do some work to get them fully working - I have, so I look for listings not attracting power bidders.

KAS2 with frozen shutter could be got for initial about-$10 + shipping, just make sure it's not dropped or otherwise damaged.

Probably take a look at Yashica Lynx 5000/5000e - same story as with KAS2, just different looks from Yashinon vs Hexanon and much better shutter release.
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Old 12-29-2009   #117
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NickTrop, the Fujica Compact De Luxe is maybe not the best camera. But it has maybe the best lens. Slightly better than Hexanon 45/1.8 wide open. And yes, De Luxe has the same lens as Fujica V2. It has a very, very good lens.
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Old 12-29-2009   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakateristico View Post
Hi! I'm new at the forum, and I joined because I recently found the incredible world of the rangefinder cameras...

My options are the following:

- Yashica Electro 35: because is cheaper than others, but is not manual, and most of them don't seems to be working properly.
- Olympus 35 RC: because is little and i have seen great results with this camera
- Canonet QL17: Because everyone says is good, but is expensive.
- Konica Auto S2: seems great, but is a little more hard to find
- Zorki 4k: looks great, is cheap, but seems heavy, and i doubt about the lens quality.

I have experience with slr, dslr and compact cameras, but i'm just an amateur photographer (if i can say that), and i have no experience with rangefinder cameras. What I want from the camera is a good lens, a good light meter, if is not heavy is better, and manual controls.

What camera do you think that fits better for me? I've been searching on ebay, but prices seems a little overestimated. One last thing, I'm from Chile, so my only chance to get one of those beautiful cameras is from that site.

thank you

Victor

ps: sorry for my bad english
The Yashica: without batteries, it's useless.
The Zorki: FSU cameras are sometimes troublesome. I have 2 Fed 2's, and one needed repairs.
The Oly and Konica: I don't know, but they have good reputations. Not sure if they work without batteries or not.
The Canonet: my choice every time. Great lens, great quality, works without batteries (I seem to always lose power just when I need it, and am too far away from a store!) and very compact and easy to use. You can get a good one with patience. Foam seals are nearly always in need of replacement, as is probably true for all the old cameras.

Good luck.
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Old 12-29-2009   #119
Kakateristico
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Thank you btgc and januaryman!

I think my choise is going to be the Oly, the konica, or the Canonet. What about other model of canonet, full manual too, but less popular then the QL17? I was watching some QL19 model, is there any other?

Victor.
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Old 12-29-2009   #120
btgc
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On Canonet I can offer link to Canon's own resource - Camera museum.
It could help to sort out which models you may want to avoid because of certain features (fully auto, 40mm vs 45mm lens, etc.)
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