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View Full Version : Which Olympus RF to look for?


XicoS
12-03-2008, 08:33
Hi all,

My first post here, after many searchs. Great forum!

I am looking for a compact Olympus RF. I currently use a Canon Canonet (the original one) and an Olympus Trip 35 viewfinder. I would like to have the quality of RF photography in the Olympus trip body size.
I know the Olympus 35 RC is almost the size of Olympus Trip, and a good RF camera. But the 35 RD seems to be just slightly larger and heavier - but is higher quality. And, then, there is the 35 SP - even larger, perhaps even better lens.

As my point is having something smaller than my Canonet, but with at least the same quality and perhpas better ergonomics, I can't decide between these 3 options - SP, RC and RD.

What do you think? Can you help me?

Thank you,

Xico

stuken
12-03-2008, 08:50
I have the SP and its fantastic, infact, if/when somebody buys my bessa from the classifieds it will be my only rangefinder. The biggest difference between the SP and the RC is the speed of the lens. Do you need the 1.7 lens on the SP or can you live wit the 2.8 on the RC? The RC is also not as adjustable as the sp, less shutter speeds ect.

Both are great cameras, and will give you very sharp results. I've never used an RD, but I would be surprised if it wasn't just as good as the other two. Just write out a list of pros and cons, size, speed ect.

chris91387
12-03-2008, 08:56
i just happened to have my oly 35sp and ql17 sitting with me. here's some pictures.

the ql17 is slightly smaller as you can tell from the pictures.

i love the sp and use the spot meter often. both cameras give great results and i keep both with me almost all of the time. one for b&w and one for color. i leave the leica at home unless im shooting something special. i figure if these get stolen then i'm not out too much money.

capitalK
12-03-2008, 09:01
The RC doesn't have the spot meter, does it?

I had an SP and loved it. I have an RD in my hands (not mine but it's handy) and it's nice. What I like about the SP (not sure the RC has it) is that it meters by exposure value and you turn the aperture and shutter to make the value shown in the viewfinder. It's hard to explain but I found it very intuitive. The RD doesn't do that.

Monz
12-03-2008, 09:15
I have the Oly RD (x2), the Oly SP and Canonet QL17 III.
The RD is prone to the sticky shutter problem but if you get this fixed, it is a fantastic little camera in use. The SP has a spot meter, a slightly better lens (7 elements instead of 6) but is quite a bit bulkier... and the shutter is louder. The spot meter also has a tendency to fail.
--
Monz

shadowfox
12-03-2008, 09:18
Btw, the 35 SP has almost the exact dimension as a Leica M. If you can find one in good working condition, go for it, it's the best Olympus RF. Period.

If you like something smaller, the 35 RD is the one to go for. Although it has 6-element lens like the Canonet, I like the pictures better on the RD. Here's a sample:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2217/1518271038_24beaef258_o.jpg

agi
12-03-2008, 09:26
If Shadowfox (Will) speaks about Oly's you listen. I've only used the 35UC which is the same as the SP and it's fantastic. Man that lens.

XicoS
12-03-2008, 09:28
Wow, so many replies! Thank you all! Chris91387, thank you very much for the pictures, that was nice!
In fact, my Canonet is the original one, not the QL17. The original one is larger than the QL17.

John Lawrence
12-03-2008, 09:44
What about an XA? I don't have mine anymore, but it's one of the few cameras I regret selling.

chris91387
12-03-2008, 09:57
i have an xa2 and don't like it. it just doesn't feel like a camera. it feels like a toy. takes fine pictures but i have no "connection" with it. real convenient size.

John Lawrence
12-03-2008, 10:06
I've never used an XA2 - but I thought the XA I had was a great camera. It used to be known as "the camera professionals took on holiday with them".

Former Sunday Times (UK) travel photographer Philip Dunn has a blog and I seem to remember him extolling the little XA's virtues.

Of course what works for one may not work for another etc., but I found it ideal in terms of size, image quality and speed of use.

agi
12-03-2008, 10:22
The XA is an excellent RF and a take everywhere pocket camera. The XA2 isn't an RF so it wouldn't fall into what the OP is looking for.

bmattock
12-03-2008, 10:48
"I would like to have the quality of RF photography in the Olympus trip body size."

Despite the better lens of the RD and the SP, I would tend to give the nod to the RC. However, if you want the actual size of the Trip and are willing to give up manual shutter speed and aperture control, then the ECR might be what you're looking for. They come with their own problems, including (often) corroded battery wells, but they are available quite inexpensively, they are well-made, and they use the same lens as the RC. One of my favorite, however, is the EC (same battery issues). Better viewfinder, same lens, no rangefinder. Not truly needed for some types of photography with that lens.

ruben
12-03-2008, 10:57
It depends on where you put the accent (I am thinking in Spanish = what is more important for you).

If image quality is the priority, the differences are really minor on the basis of three excellent lenses. Nevertheless the supersticious spirits from the Neerthentalyan times say this is the priortiy:
a) SP
b) RD
c) RC

If camera size is your priority, then you will have to reverse above.

If aperture priority is what you like - then the SP is the only one which answers this need, and only with its auto-program, designed to give heavy emphasys on aperture over speed.

The RC and RD are shutter priority in auto mode. Both have a fairly small yellow patch - in contrast to the SP, meaning that in case you choose the RC or RD you will have to make sure the yellow patch is at least very visible, or the overall viewing system has been treated by a technician, or you will take them to a technician, or you will make some sort of solution.

Additionally the SP and RD are f/1.7, while the RC is f/2.8. This will be of importance only in case you are specially looking for night shooting without flash and with very high speed film.
Otherwise the RC is a small lyon.

Both the RC and RD have an important manipulation design mistake, by which the aperture ring is the most close to the body, making the aperture change very difficult unless for some specific reason (technician, luck, etc) in your camera this ring is specially soft. Since these two cameras are rather very small, the ring is thin as well. Its placement is a torture, unless you shoot with patience, or for some reason you don't need to fiddle with the apertures.

All in all you have got it, the SP is the luxury boat of the fleet, and with a handy lever on the distance ring. This is the camera I will buy first, unless I had a specific reason for choosing one of the other two.

Now this is not an overall description, and some very important data may be beyond my post, of course, like the highly nice fact that in the viewfinder of the RC you have both the selected aperture and shutter speed, while the info on the SP viewfinder has been the subject of bitter or comic controversy.

Cheers,
Ruben

Trius
12-03-2008, 18:56
My knock against the RC is that the slowest shutter speed is 1/15, in addition to the ergonomics.

SP is king of the hill, but I would love to have an RD as it is more pocketable than the SP, especially with a hood attached.

The spot meter of the SP is worth its weight in gold. I have two SPs and the spot meter works flawlessly in both.

The SP lens is prone to flare with a light source in the frame ... not sure how the RD compares on that score. Other than that, the SP lens is very, very good.

bmattock
12-03-2008, 19:07
My knock against the RC is that the slowest shutter speed is 1/15, in addition to the ergonomics.

I agree that it is odd that the slowest speed for the RC is 1/15, but really, on a pocket rangefinder, do you need anything slower? I haven't yet put mine on a tripod or had need of a slower speed. In fact, 1/30 is about as slow as I'd want to do when using it street-shooting, which is what it is really good at.

mh2000
12-03-2008, 19:08
I've owned both the RC and ECR and ended up prefering the cleaner design of the ECR.

For serious shooting I much prefer my Retina IIa.

I have never been that happy with the results from my XA... ok for 8x10's, but not superb... I love the camera design though, so I've kept it since new and occasionally use it... till I again look at photos from it... sigh... my Minox GL is much better optically.

John Hermanson
12-04-2008, 04:16
My first post. I vote for the 35RD, as long as it does not have oily shutter blades, you should be veryt happy with it. John, www.zuiko.com

Marlon dela Cruz
01-14-2009, 16:17
My first post too, all I can say is that I've recently acquired an RC and I'm happy with it. I've just ran my first roll (Ektar 100) through it and I'm satisfied. It has calmed my GAS symptoms down for now.

ColinW
01-16-2009, 13:07
Of the one's mentioned, I have an RC and an ECR. The ECR is good but I'm not keen on the full automation. I love my RC and can't complain about it all. If you want more details try Andrew Yue's site:

http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~yue/misc/rangfndr.html

This page gives a quick comparison and the links near the top of the page give you more details on the individual RFs.

John Hermanson
01-17-2009, 06:17
35SP has a (large square) cds cell which is unique only to that model. New cells not available. Good news : it is rare to see an SP with a shutter jammed due to oily blades. 35RD uses a cell that can be substituted from other cameras. Bad news lots of RDs suffer from jammed shutters due to oily blades. 35RC, common cds cell, no oily blades. John, www.zuiko.com

Trius
01-17-2009, 07:11
I agree that it is odd that the slowest speed for the RC is 1/15, but really, on a pocket rangefinder, do you need anything slower?

Yes, I do. Shooting in dark places like bars (I GO FOR THE LIVE MUSIC!), I need 1/8 or even 1/4. Ultimate sharpness is not the ultimate requirement for such photos.

Oh, and when John speaks about Oly, you also listen, in addition to Will. :D

Pompiere
01-18-2009, 18:25
I also have an ECR. While the full automation doesn't allow as much creativity, I have never had a picture that wasn't properly exposed and sharp. It is a great little pocket camera. Some will be turned off by the thumbwheel winding. The comments about the battery corrosion are true, mine is currently out of service for that reason. I have other cameras, so I just haven't taken time to clean it.

bmattock
01-18-2009, 18:49
Yes, I do. Shooting in dark places like bars (I GO FOR THE LIVE MUSIC!), I need 1/8 or even 1/4. Ultimate sharpness is not the ultimate requirement for such photos.

Oh, and when John speaks about Oly, you also listen, in addition to Will. :D

When I shoot in such places, I depend on speed (film/sensor) to save me. The combination of a wide-open aperture and a slow shutter speed usually nets me ugliness - I realize that others' results may be better than mine, but I try to keep a faster shutter speed, knowing my own limitations.

bmattock
01-18-2009, 18:50
I also have an ECR. While the full automation doesn't allow as much creativity, I have never had a picture that wasn't properly exposed and sharp. It is a great little pocket camera. Some will be turned off by the thumbwheel winding. The comments about the battery corrosion are true, mine is currently out of service for that reason. I have other cameras, so I just haven't taken time to clean it.

For what it may be worth, the EC has a dandy viewfinder compared to the ECR, the same lens, and a slightly slimmer profile. Same problem with corrosion in the battery chamber, etc.

nitrogen28
01-27-2009, 15:48
Hi,

I want to get into the Rangefinder thing and I m looking for a reasonable cheap entry. I already looked up the XD and it looks like i could get it for reasonable money. But it look very much like a toy and the SD is very tempting. I would love to shoot with 40 mm. How much should I spend to get a good one? (I don t find any on eBay in Europe, Austria )
Maybe you can recommend me some other RF that gives good value for the money?

jmc56
01-27-2009, 20:56
Buy the 35SP. It isn't just the quality of lens or picture, it's also an ethereal feeling of connecting, not unlike what you get in the Barnacks, of which I own 10, not counting the myriad Soviet copies.

The XA is a very sweet camera in a small package. But it's more appropriate to the "if you don't carry a camera you won't have one to shoot with today. It's done wel at everything I asked. BUT, if I had to choose, the 35SP would be on top including the myriad Canonets (I own aa bunch of these).

nitrogen28
02-03-2009, 23:40
Since my budget was cut recently I had to go for the XA. I waiting for it to arrive.
I ll post my first roll pic here.

XicoS
03-10-2009, 10:32
After this thread, I eventually bought an Olympus 35 RC on e-bay; it never arrived, so I had to buy another one, that arrived safely.

Unfortunately, the photometer is not working. I'll try to have it repaired in a few days. Anyway, last saturday I tried my first roll, using the sunny 16 rule. These were my first shots with the camera and also my first fully manual shots, using the sunny 16.

I was at Brasilia (Brazil's modernist capital), and the sun was very hot. I had never been there before, and took very 'tourist-like' pictures.

I am not satisfied because they look like the sky was cloudy - and it wasn't. Perhaps I should look for some filters, or my exposures were just bad.


http://lh4.ggpht.com/_-C0tJITLuBA/SbaptqvnqSI/AAAAAAAABeY/P_Hh5vgs4_U/s576/50820003.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_-C0tJITLuBA/SbapumqWqNI/AAAAAAAABew/sfhLcyI7NK4/s800/50820019.JPG

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_-C0tJITLuBA/Sbar8d5hqQI/AAAAAAAABfk/k8gE7iUXHu0/s800/50820033.JPG

Here are some indoor shots, but with lots of light:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_-C0tJITLuBA/Sbapt72qZsI/AAAAAAAABeg/GeRTBadHYhg/s576/50820015.JPG

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_-C0tJITLuBA/SbapuTUcDPI/AAAAAAAABeo/5jU5ryL_laE/s576/50820017.JPG

Here is the link if anyone want to see another shots:

http://picasaweb.google.com/xsimoes/Brasilia7DeMarcoDe2009?authkey=Gv1sRgCIDjwfjqxcmP0 gE&feat=directlink

Krosya
03-10-2009, 18:40
Yes, I do. Shooting in dark places like bars (I GO FOR THE LIVE MUSIC!), I need 1/8 or even 1/4. Ultimate sharpness is not the ultimate requirement for such photos.

Oh, and when John speaks about Oly, you also listen, in addition to Will. :D

My Rd is currently being fixed by John. Hope to see it back soon. And I wonder, after the fix of the "oily blades" - how likely for this to happen again? I understand that old type grease would leak onto shutter blades to cause a problem. With current ones will problem be fixed for good, or do i have to keep sending it in every 6 months or so? ;)

XicoS
03-11-2009, 10:46
My Rd is currently being fixed by John. Hope to see it back soon. And I wonder, after the fix of the "oily blades" - how likely for this to happen again? I understand that old type grease would leak onto shutter blades to cause a problem. With current ones will problem be fixed for good, or do i have to keep sending it in every 6 months or so? ;)


According to Andrew Yue (http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~yue/misc/rangfndr.html):

Bottom line: there is a 99% chance your Oly 35RD's will eventually need the shutter/aperture assembly to be serviced and be sure to have the helical grease replaced with a modern silicone grease that doesn't migrate.

(Underlines were mine)

Mablo
03-11-2009, 11:07
I think your pics are fine. RC is a small lion for a camera as someone wrote here recently.

Krosya
03-11-2009, 12:17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Krosya
My Rd is currently being fixed by John. Hope to see it back soon. And I wonder, after the fix of the "oily blades" - how likely for this to happen again? I understand that old type grease would leak onto shutter blades to cause a problem. With current ones will problem be fixed for good, or do i have to keep sending it in every 6 months or so?


According to Andrew Yue (http://www.ph.utexas.edu/~yue/misc/rangfndr.html):


Quote:
Bottom line: there is a 99% chance your Oly 35RD's will eventually need the shutter/aperture assembly to be serviced and be sure to have the helical grease replaced with a modern silicone grease that doesn't migrate.

(Underlines were mine)


So, does anyone know what kind of grease John uses for the RD repair? Anyone had their RD serviced and than it still caused problems?
Maybe I should ask John himself?

Pompiere
03-11-2009, 12:43
I am sure there are better things to use, but I have a small tube of grease for fishing reels that I use on lens helical threads. The tube has a small tip that makes it easy to apply without making a mess. Also, the small tube fits easily in my camera tool kit.

hipTrip
03-11-2009, 14:19
My RD is with John as well. I read an endorsement somewhere else that a CLA from him promises many years of trouble-free service.

Trius
03-11-2009, 15:52
IIRC John uses a newer/better lubricant that will not migrate and you will not have the problem again. The oily blades issue was a result of the lube used at the time for the RD.

John Hermanson
03-12-2009, 06:06
Consider the age of the RD , Olympus ended production in 1979. That's 29 years for a shutter problem to develop. Oily blades is not a thing that you will have to have constantly repaired if it is done properly the first time. John, www.zuiko.com

Krosya
03-12-2009, 18:45
Thanks for clarifying, John. I was not sure if it was a Oly design flaw, or just poor/old quality grease that caused the problem. Now I really cant wait for my RD to come back home from you! Thanks again.