View Full Version : What camera now? (small, fully manual RF w/ meter)

05-04-2004, 06:59
Hi all,

Having fun with my Yashica GTN, but would like a camera with more control.

Ideally it would:

have a nice sharp lens
be smaller than the Yashica
have a fully manual option
meter (which pref. works in manual mode too)

I'm thinking of an Olympus RC, any other suggestions? Canon GIII 17?

Fast lens is not a priority, so a 2.8 is fine.



[edit - just seen an Olympus 35 SP on ebay, but it looks like it'll be too expensive :( ]

Wayne R. Scott
05-04-2004, 08:03
The Canon QL-17 GIII is a great little camera, but it does not meter on the manual setting.

I carry a hand held meter in pouch on my belt to use with cameras that do not have built in meters.


05-04-2004, 09:55
I don't have an answer, but I have a similar need. I'd like a fully manual 35mm camera that is smaller than my Yashica GSN. I want the control of my manual SLR and the "packability" of my Olympus U750.

I'm sure I'm asking for too much, but what cameras come close?

By the way, the U750 dimensions are: 4.2" long x 2.6" high x 2.8" wide.


05-04-2004, 10:21
The Yashica Lynx meets all your requirements except for being smaller.


05-04-2004, 11:49
Why not a Rollei 35?

A superb lens (Tessar and Sonnar), and extremely small. The slower lens means that the lack of a RF is not as bad as you might think. Non-mint ones can be cheaper than you think.


05-04-2004, 12:19

There may well be others, but I can only think of one fixed-lens rangefinder camera of the classic era that meets all of your requirements, including metering in manual mode - the Olympus SP and SPn. Includes spot-metering as well, how's that for a bonus? As you mentioned, it is pricey these days. That's pretty much it.

Now, having said that, let me issue another caveat - if you delete your need for the meter-in-manual-mode, there are many cameras that will meet your needs. And there's a reason to go without the manual meter - many of them either don't work or are untrustworthy by this time. A cheap external meter can be a good investment - there many choices, and all most likely more accurate than the original meters, even when they were new.

The Olympus RC you mention is fine - I have two of them myself, but the shutter speed range is a bit limiting. Great on size, though.

There is also the Minolta Hi-Matic series - the 7s and the 9, I believe, offer metered manual operation - but they are the roughly the same size as the Yashica Electro GSN.

I'd consider deleting the metered manual requirement - the whole world opens up then...

Best Regards,

Bill Mattocks

05-05-2004, 09:53
Interesting feedback guys - I'm warming to the idea of an Olympus 35 RC as I like the size...



05-26-2004, 06:43
Well, I went looking for an Olympus 35 RC, as it seems to be nice and compact... No luck yet but I did manage to find a reasonably priced 35 SP on ebay :D :D.
Should arrive in a few days. Only worry is it's gonna be huge!!

Ebay is dangerously addictive! I also accidentally won a Canonet 28, thinking it had a manual mode, but no. At least that was really cheap.

I have my eye on a Yashica Electro 35 CC, does anyone have any experience of this? Is it any smaller than the GTN/GSN series?


05-26-2004, 08:23
How about a Zeiss Contessa (Rigid Body) made in several models from 1960-67?
Has: - sharp Zeiss Tesar f2.8 50mm lens

- match-needle exposure metering
-leaf shutter with speeds up to 1/500s

05-26-2004, 08:30
OOps.. message got sent inadvertently.

The rigid body Contessa, additionally, has a fairly large combined viewfinder/rangefinder. Build quality is excellent. The size of the camera is 4.5 x 3.5 x 2.75 inches.

05-26-2004, 19:27
Nick I bet you'll be delighted with the Olympus 35SP, as it's quite small... Only fractions of an inch wider than the RC. :-)

Rich Silfver
05-26-2004, 20:51
I love my Oly35SP's. You may also want to look at the 35RD as it's a little bit more compact than the SP - but still sport an excellent 1.7/40, F.Zuiko lens. You won't get the spot meter though.

05-26-2004, 22:31
Hmm, several options.

-- have a nice sharp lens
-- be smaller than the Yashica
-- have a fully manual option
-- meter (which pref. works in manual mode too)

A folding Retina IIIc/C would be nice, or even the rigid Retina IIIS.

The folding Contessas are always a good choice -- though the state of the meter is always a question mark.

A Contax IIIA would be smaller (but probably not lighter). Same issue with the meter.

A Rollei 35 (as mentioned above). Zone focus, but it's not as difficult as you might think.

One of the countless rangefinders from Minolta, Konica, Olympus or Canon (though I'm not sure of their ability without battery power).

06-01-2004, 04:57
Well my Oly 35 Sp arrived yesterday!! Can't wait to take some photos.

All appears well. it's a fairly solid brick in very good clean condition
Shutter is noisier than my Yashica Electro, but everything moves nicely and meter appears to work as expected (spot mode included)

Came with a new 1.35v mercury battery, too! (I'm in Europe!)


06-01-2004, 23:13
You'll enjoy the SP. It's not as compact as some fixed lens rangefinders, but I think you'll find that they nailed the size of the camera - it is nearly perfect in hand. (Smaller than the GTN, bigger than the RD - the size just "works". I have and use an RD, but I have to admit that there is a tradeoff - the RD is more compact, but it doesn't handle as well as the SP.)

The shutter noise is what it is - they all make it. It's their signature noise - a little like the 'clunk' a Yashica makes when you advance the film.

Rich Silfver
06-01-2004, 23:24

welcome to the Olympus-35SP-world - you'll love it :-)

Be sure to post some photos here once you've put a roll or two through it :-)