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Your Experience with the Canon IVSB?
Old 12-20-2017   #1
Kumachrome
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Your Experience with the Canon IVSB?

Hi, so I've been looking for a second rangefinder that is both cheap and rugged enough for hiking, and light rain. I have my M2, which I use mainly for street and portraits, but I'm not sure if I can trust myself to be careful enough with it for hiking through Montana, or if it can survive rain (I don't think I want to test that either.)
My sights are currently set on the Canon IVSB, as it's cheap, very nice looking, and if it broke, I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
What are your experiences with the IVSB? Is it durable? Easy to use? Or would you use a different camera completely? I'm dead set on a cheap rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses.

I'd probably use it for more muggy days for rainy day photography, and landscapes. A camera I can keep in my bag all the time for when the weather suddenly shifts.
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Old 12-20-2017   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kumachrome View Post
Hi, so I've been looking for a second rangefinder that is both cheap and rugged enough for hiking, and light rain. I have my M2, which I use mainly for street and portraits, but I'm not sure if I can trust myself to be careful enough with it for hiking through Montana, or if it can survive rain (I don't think I want to test that either.)
My sights are currently set on the Canon IVSB, as it's cheap, very nice looking, and if it broke, I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
What are your experiences with the IVSB? Is it durable? Easy to use? Or would you use a different camera completely? I'm dead set on a cheap rangefinder camera with interchangeable lenses.

I'd probably use it for more muggy days for rainy day photography, and landscapes. A camera I can keep in my bag all the time for when the weather suddenly shifts.
It is durable and easy to use. The viewfinder is quite dim and old fashioned compared to the M2 and you don't have a lever advance (though some have a leicavit-like baseplate trigger advance that works very nicely), but I don't think the M2 has anything really on it as far as build quality. And you don't have separate viewfinder and rangefinder windows as on the screw mount Leicas. I used one for years and always enjoyed it.
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Old 12-20-2017   #3
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The Canon IVSB2 is nicer. It's the best of the Canon bottom loaders. It has a finder that is the best of that range of cameras and an improved shutter. These are easily identified by the shutter speed dial having an arrow in the center of the dial to indicate speed. I love my Leica IIIc, I have two of them. I don't like Canon products, I am a Leica and Nikon fellow. Having said that I have a very nice Canon IVSB2 and it's one of the best cameras I own. It's loaded with Portra 400 and one IIIc has Tri X. Get you one. Joe
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Old 12-20-2017   #4
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Why not a canon P? It would closer to the M2 and has lever wind. It’ll likely be cheaper to get than a IVSB I would imagine. And since the shutter curtains are stainless steel, they wouldn’t need to be replaced like on some IVSB cameras.

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Old 12-20-2017   #5
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I don't think any camera from this period would do well in rain, even light rain. Also remember you will need a different set of lenses. Perhaps trade the bayonet mount lenses and use the screw mount lenses on both cameras.
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Old 12-20-2017   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by View Range View Post
I don't think any camera from this period would do well in rain, even light rain. Also remember you will need a different set of lenses. Perhaps trade the bayonet mount lenses and use the screw mount lenses on both cameras.
I would say, rather, that most cameras of this period would be fine in light rain. A little bit of fresh water is not the greatest disaster that will ever be presented to an all mechanical camera. And the IVSB is constructed mostly of brass and so not easily corroded by water. It's not an underwater camera and if it's not something you can afford to replace then be very careful in heavy rain but in light rain it should be fine with even moderate precautions.
Keep it under your jacket when not actually shooting a photo, wipe off all surface water when you get home and let it dry in an open airy place. Do not leave it, wet, in a camera bag (I'm not a fan of camera bags in the rain generally -- they get wet, prevent air circulation and hold dampness close to gear that should be far from dampness -- I much prefer just keeping my camera under a jacket that allows air to move).
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Old 12-21-2017   #7
Peter Jennings
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If using screw mount lenses of different focal lengths, I'd go with a Canon 7. They can be found as cheap as a IVSB, and will likely be more reliable.
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Old 12-21-2017   #8
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If you are going to shoot with 35mm lens, get the Canon 7. It's bigger and bulkier, but the 35mm finder is usable, even with eye-glass. And they usually come to you in working condition. To me, Barnack bodies with add-on finders are not fun to hike with.

If you shoot 50 only, get a serviced Nicca 3f or Zorki-1 (if they are cheaper than the Canon IVsb you can find). They don't have combined finders, but the 50 finders on them are brighter. They have small finders, but you get the compactness which is good for hiking.
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Old 12-21-2017   #9
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I've used my Canon in the rain with no ill effects, and I am sure its fine, but I wouldn't make a habit of it. The bottom cover is looser than any camera I've handled. Mine's an IIf if that matters, and perhaps its just that my cover is bent or worn. But it remains light-tight and is an excellent shooter. I don't care for the cheap-looking leatherette covering but overall the camera works great and only cost a quarter as much as the similar screw-mount Leicas I was considering when I got it.
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Old 12-21-2017   #10
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Depending on when you go, rain might not be your biggest concern in Montana--it can get a bit dusty as well.
As well, there is, of course, wide variability in how much water comes down in the rain and at its worst, I wouldn't want any camera exposed to that. Except, maybe something like a Nikonos. For me, if it's raining that hard, I don't much like being out in it much less my cameras.
A couple things to consider: the viewfinder in a IVsb is very different than an M2 viewfinder and I think not nearly as easy to use. The IVsb2 is better.
Secondly, if you're going to use any screw mount body, you will need screw mount lenses. That may mean you'll need to replace or add to your current lens kit.

If you're wanting a less expensive alternate for your M2, maybe an M-mount Bessa is something to consider. You'd be able to use your current M-mount lenses and the R viewfinders are really nice.

Rob
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Old 12-21-2017   #11
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a few thoughts:
1. An M2 can take light rain. well, mine did. just don't drop it down the stairs and it'll be fine.
2. I don't have a IVsb but I have a Leica III - and I don't really like it. loading and changing shutter speeds are really fiddly.
3. I'd suggest (like others have) a Bessa R / R2 or Canon 7 / P for a cheap beater camera.
The Bessas are nice because they have TTL meters, and they're light (395g R / 425g R2 / 580g M2 / IVsb 535g (?)), and the finder is incredible. R2A/Ms are more expensive.
The Canon 7 is the best value in rangefinders right now, in my opinion - very good finder, well built, and you can get one for like $100 (less than a IVsb); but no accessory shoe for aux finders.
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Old 12-21-2017   #12
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I have an IVSB2 and use it regularly, including shooting fires for our local volunteer fire company. It does get splashed and there's been no adverse effects. I chose it over the Canon 7 because the repair person I use said the older bottom loading Canons are easier to repair. It's finder is much less squinty than my IIIc or IIIa and the combined rangefinder/viewfinder is a step up from the LTM Leicas. That said, if you already have M-mount Leica lenses, a Bessa R2 might be what you need. If you're going to buy something just for hiking, etc., a Nikonos III is very durable, waterproof if the seals are in good shape, and has a stellar 35 mm lens.

Last edited by presspass : 12-21-2017 at 07:28. Reason: spelling error
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Old 12-21-2017   #13
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I had one for a while and liked it. Canon rangefinders, especially the older ones are wonderful cameras with beautiful build. And a nice finder which helped focus because of its variable magnification. A nice thing too is that the standard glass for this range of cameras is relatively cheap and yet performs superbly. I do recall that while mine was serviced before I bought it, over time it did develop some problems with its shutter not firing properly intermittently. Fortunately this was an easy and cheap fix for a repair tech. In fact he may not have even charged me for it. This was familiar to him (he was an older guy) and had something to do with the design of the escapement (or something - too long back to recall details) that was inclined to get out of whack - perhaps from being used too little. Maybe this was endemic to other Canon RF cameras.

I will also say that I also owned for a while a IVSB2 and it is preferable in one respect - the bigger viewfinder which does make a difference but you pay a premium for this as I think they command higher prices.

There is a good overview of the IV series here: http://www.photoethnography.com/Clas...s/CanonIV.html

Just for fun I occasionally tried a Canon FL mount 35mm lens using an adapter (zone focusing on an LTM camera) and a nice little Braun finder from a Braun Paxette. Shown below.

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Old 12-21-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Livesteamer View Post
The Canon IVSB2 is nicer. It's the best of the Canon bottom loaders. It has a finder that is the best of that range of cameras and an improved shutter. These are easily identified by the shutter speed dial having an arrow in the center of the dial to indicate speed. I love my Leica IIIc, I have two of them. I don't like Canon products, I am a Leica and Nikon fellow. Having said that I have a very nice Canon IVSB2 and it's one of the best cameras I own. It's loaded with Portra 400 and one IIIc has Tri X. Get you one. Joe

I agree with this advice. I've got a IVSB2, as well as a Leica IIIc, M2, and M3, and I had and sold a Canon P and a Canon 7. The IVSB2 would be great as a hiking camera. The variable magnification viewfinder assists in fine focusing, if you're going to be shooting landscapes and such. The camera is very rugged, but is smaller in size than the M2, Canon P, or Canon 7. I prefer to use either my Leica IIIc or Canon IVSB2 for hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains in CA, because of their rugged build and comparatively small size. A IVSB2 will easily slide into a small padded pouch that you can attach to your belt or a knapsack. As for vfs, I always use an auxiliary VF on any Barnack-style camera; the Voigtlander brightline finders are excellent. I wouldn't worry about rain; you can keep the camera tucked under a jacket and it will do fine. I got drenched in a thunderstorm in Yosemite this past summer; my Leica IIIc got a little damp but overall no ill effects, though I did keep it under my rainjacket when not actually taking a photo.
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Old 12-21-2017   #15
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I always recommend the Bessa R cameras. No, it doesn't have that hipster cool cachet, but it is dead reliable, has a bright viewfinder, and an accurate meter..... along w/ a top shutter speed of 1/2000, which can come in very handy.
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Old 12-21-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
I always recommend the Bessa R cameras. No, it doesn't have that hipster cool cachet, but it is dead reliable, has a bright viewfinder, and an accurate meter..... along w/ a top shutter speed of 1/2000, which can come in very handy.
I traveled in various cities and rural areas in China and Sweden with my Bessa-R, it went through dusty, humid or cold regions just fine. It's not as fragile as some internet lore says, the finder and meter are simply the best bang for the buck among interchangeable-lens rangefinder kingdom. The shutter is also less prone to cold which would make Leica-style shutter produce uneven exposure if it's not perfectly lubricated.

I didn't recommend it since it's more expensive than most of the models listed above.
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Old 12-23-2017   #17
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The Canon had two disadvantages. Bottom loading, which it shares with many of the Leica barnak style cameras. The film spool is much better than the Leica though.

The other is the viewfinder, which is a tiny pinhole. The Leica ii/iii finders are small. The Canon is tiny. The ivsb2 is not much better.

If you can deal with those two issues, the Canon is a fine and reliable instrument. I often use mine withk the viewfinder set to high magnification, and an external viewfinder.
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Old 12-23-2017   #18
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Montana will present you with dust, mud, rain, and snow at any time of year. Trust me.

I have lots of cameras, including Canon RFs. I thought back about what I used for hiking in MT....and it was mostly FSU.

I used mostly a Zorki-C, but other FSU like Fed-3 (but heavy) and Zorki-6.

Why? Because they are indeed inexpensive, but also capable and much, much more reliable than the internet would have you believe -- at least the models listed above.

I also carried Nikon system, and LF around MT "wilderness". Leica M very rarely, Leica Barnack also rarely, just because FSU met the need.

Also: It is well known that Grizzlies are attracted to Leica. We have more than a few Grizzlies in MT. Wolves are less a concern. They're too self-absorbed to concern themselves with gear envy.

I don't have a digital version to share, but just looked at an image from a MT blizzard hanging on my wall. Between 20 and 30 below zero, wind gusts to 80, snow, snow, snow with that beautiful ultra-dry crystal appearance. The Zorki-C worked fine. I believe it had a Canon lens on it though
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Old 12-23-2017   #19
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If rain, dust and humidity are large concerns; there is always Nikon's Nikonos system of underwater cameras. They are scale focus and have a limited range of lenses (mostly wide) but are nearly indestructible above sea level.

I used one for rainy day street photography for a while - worked perfectly; the camera didn't mind the rain at all however I did!
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