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High Risk Environment? What camera to sneak along....?
Old 07-04-2018   #1
Ong
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High Risk Environment? What camera to sneak along....?

Having started a new career path with the rail, I've always been having this urge to bring a Leica along with me everyday for work.
Needless to say, working with a 47 tonne ungainly hunk of steel is probably going to end up badly when things do go wrong, or worse, people breaking into secure areas and stealing your stuff. To which the GRD3 somehow satisfies part of urge, but nothing that a film rangefinder would.

But it's led me to the question, What kit would you bring, be it realistically with your work, or hypothetically to such an environment where a 2m drop onto hard ballast, an unfortunate accident with steel or just people breaking in and stealing your stuff is just a dice roll away and yet satisfying this need to take photos (Or even worse, working on oilrigs or hazardous,in the middle of the ocean and wanting to buy gear for your nephew... I kid on that last part)

What's everyone's thoughts on this?
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Old 07-04-2018   #2
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A Nikonos V with the 35/2.5 lens.
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Old 07-04-2018   #3
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There are practically no cameras out there that are guaranteed to survive the conditions you're describing, so you may as well bring something you won't mind losing. A cheap film P&S will be pocketable and easily replaceable, especially if you go for a model that hasn't achieved cult status yet. If you're set on a rangefinder, something like a Canonet 28 can still be found for under $100, and there are still plenty of them out there if you lose it.
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Old 07-04-2018   #4
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How bout your phone with good protective case on it?
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Old 07-04-2018   #5
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I say Olympus XA because it's light and has a rangefinder that you want. Keep it in your top pocket and tether it with one of those zip-reel key keepers. Agree with lonemantis, no camera is going to survive being run over by 47t stock.
Second choice: Leica CL (the film one) with an MS Optics lens, for proper rangefinding. Heavier but perfectly good in jacket pockets.

Otherwise, for digital, the Ricoh GR. That camera is sheer genius.
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Old 07-04-2018   #6
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If it needs to fit in a pocket, then one of the Olympus XA(x) models would be a good choice. Note that only the XA is a rangefinder - the XA2 and XA3 are zone focus, while the XA1, and XA4 are fixed focus.

Otherwise, how about an Olympus Trip (zone focus), or a Konica c35 (rangefinder)?
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Old 07-04-2018   #7
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Old 07-04-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grouchos_tash View Post
Ilford disposables
Brilliant idea!
Otherwise an XA as Pete mentioned.
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Old 07-04-2018   #9
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A Kiev and a Jupiter 8 and Jupiter 12 from a reliable dealer is a lot of camera for very little money. You could lose it and replace it several times before you come anywhere close to the cost of that Leica.

Contrary to many's beliefs, a well-maintained Kiev - especially an early one - is a very reliable camera and Jupiter lenses may not be Leitz glass but they're pretty damn good.
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Old 07-04-2018   #10
Bill Clark
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I very rarely bring a kit.

With my business, I’m retired now, I would bring a Pelican case and park it somewhere, usually in a closet or under a table.

One camera, one lens; at most two.

Traveled Europe last fall with my wife. Brought two cameras one film, one digital. Each had a 50mm lens. That was it for cameras and lenses. Had a small camera bag.

I don’t use camera straps.

Decades ago, while serving in military I dropped a 135 Nikkor 2.8 lens, only plastic is lens shade, on the gangway while returing to the ship. Did no harm, no dents or bruises. I still have it and use it. Since then I have been a minimalist relative to equipment.

Works for me.

Thought it might help you.
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Old 07-04-2018   #11
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XA was an alternative years ago. Now it's tiny electronics from seventies won't last long.
It just in the Minox 35 territory now.

If you can't have camera with you what is the point to keep it in the locker? To take pictures after work?
Why it has to be dropped? Are you not using stripes or not having pockets?

Victor Kolar worked and lived in place where he was afraid to be killed.
But nobody stole his father's Leica. You could order its copy from Oleg with collapsible Indistar.
Similar to those cameras went in Arctica and were in use at WWII.
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Old 07-04-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbhv55 View Post
If it needs to fit in a pocket, then one of the Olympus XA(x) models would be a good choice. Note that only the XA is a rangefinder - the XA2 and XA3 are zone focus, while the XA1, and XA4 are fixed focus.
I was thinking something from the XA series too. XA4 is zone focus, not fixed focus. It has 5 (if I am remembering correctly) different focus positions compared to 3 on the Xa2/3. The extra two are close up and the strap is used to measure focus distance.

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Old 07-04-2018   #13
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Pick what you like best among the thousands of options that are cheap enough. For me it wouldn't be a rangefinder because the cheaper fixed lens ones tend to be too fiddly and/or fragile for such use. If something with nice haptics and a big viewfinder, many cheap SLRs to chose from. If you have little time for fiddling or don't want to be seen fiddling by co-workers, a point and shoot. If dirt and dust, use with gloves is a concern, one of the Konica off-roads or equivalent Fujis.
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Old 07-04-2018   #14
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Olympus 35SP or 35SPn. Konica S2 or S3. Have them overhauled and you're good to go for years to come.
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Old 07-04-2018   #15
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These are the 35mm film cameras I may use when I know I will be shooting in a hostile environment where my equipment may be lost, stolen, or damaged:

1. Aqua Pix 35mm plastic underwater camera (very low cost and expendable)
2. Nikonos III with 35 and 80mm lenses (lenses can be used on land or under water)
3. Nikon N70 with Tamron 28-200mm lens (expendable auto focus lens and body)
4. Pentax ME with 28-70mm f/3.5 – f/4.5 Kiron and 80-205mm f/4.5 Marexar—CX
5. Pentax Spotmatic with 28, 50, and 135mm M42 lenses
6. Fuji ST705 with 28, 50, and 135mm M42 lenses
7. Canon Canonet QL17 G-III rangefinder
8. Canon Sure Shot compact camera
9. Minolta Hi-Matic 9 rangefinder
10. Nikon EM with Series E lens
11. Nikon L35 AF compact camera
12. Vivitar 35mm P&S plastic toy camera with 27mm lens


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Old 07-04-2018   #16
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Hi Ong, not clear what you are looking for...a 35mm camera or anything else? If the latter, I'd bring a phone with a sturdy jacket.
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Old 07-04-2018   #17
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Judging from what I own, D40 Nikon & either kit 18/135 or 35 1.8 for 28 2.8. Six MP does pretty well for 11x14.

35 mm Rollie super small with 40 mm 3.5 Tessar. Forget the exact model but from 1960`s. It is a zone focus job.
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Old 07-04-2018   #18
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Canon Sure Shot Owl for under $20
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Old 07-04-2018   #19
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What about a sub $50 35mm film compact camera? slips into a pocket, lose it? buy another.
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Old 07-04-2018   #20
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I would say Olympus XA or an LTM leica with a collapsible lens. When collapsed any LTM body gets pocketable.
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Old 07-04-2018   #21
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Is this a piece of equipment you're going to have to hide from your employer? Some (many?) railroads frown upon employees carrying cameras, if they're not officially prohibited outright. So, perhaps the smaller, the better.

If it has to be film, I'd go along with the others recommending a small P&S.
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Old 07-04-2018   #22
David Hughes
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Hmmm,

Olympus XA - too nice to be wasted,

Olympus XA1 - nice enough but needs 400 ASA film,

Olympus XA2 - dirt cheap and decent lens,

Olympus XA3 - rare and dear,

Olympus XA4 - rare and dear.

In your shoes I'd take a Konica C35 which is a RF but "P" mode only but (2) need s a PX 675 battery substitute but (3) has an f/2.8 lens. OTOH, it is a cheap camera and punches well above its weight. There's also the rough, tough Konica Genbakantoku 28 WB (AKA Konica Off Road).

And there's dozens of zone focusing cameras that are not as easy to use as the XA2, 3 and 4 but you could always learn to judge the distances; f'instance the Mamiya 135, Yashica 35-ME and so on are like the Trip 35 but not yet cult-ish and so dirt cheap.

Regards, David

Last edited by David Hughes : 07-04-2018 at 08:58. Reason: Those ***** CRLF's...
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Old 07-04-2018   #23
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Another vote for the Nikonos. iV or V.

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Old 07-04-2018   #24
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A beater Nikon F3 titanium and 50mm. And a hard locking case and cable with additional lock to discourage theft. Nikonos used to be the camera of choice for rough and tumble work, but so many photos are missed because of guestimate focusing.
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Old 07-04-2018   #25
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One of the non AE Nikkormats you can use them as hammer and they will keep on working. Personally I would choose a Nikkormat FT2 or FT3. The Zenit EM is another candidate built like a brick Sh**thouse very simple and very inexpensive.
I used both in high risk environments climbing, fishing boats etc...
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Old 07-04-2018   #26
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In answer to the OP's original question, I'd carry any camera that I wanted to shoot with, with the understanding that it might be lost or destroyed. Why buy a Leica and keep it locked in a vault at home to protect it? It's a camera, not an appreciating jewel or rarity. I bought my Leica cameras to use them, and to make photographs with.

So they're at risk. That's what insurance is for. If you worry about the value of your equipment being lost due to theft, loss, or damage, buy insurance coverage to protect yourself from that loss..

The camera itself ... well, it's just a camera and can easily be replaced (presuming you have the money to do so). The fact that it's expensive is of little consequence: If it is a camera that is more expensive than you can afford to take photographs with, for fear of loss or whatever, buy something less expensive so that you don't have to worry about it.
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Old 07-04-2018   #27
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Film or digital?
I would not see "High Risk environment" a reason to not take a good camera. I do it all the time. That said, In environments where knocks are likely...I would shy away from a RF.

Film choice for hard-use environments: Contax T-series, Contax G-series.
Digital: Used Leica X-something or Leica T.
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Old 07-04-2018   #28
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Quote:
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A Nikonos V with the 35/2.5 lens.
The only camera that will survive that 2m drop again and again and again.
Plus that lens is a cracker.
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Old 07-04-2018   #29
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Some (many?) railroads frown upon employees carrying cameras, if they're not officially prohibited outright.
More info?
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Old 07-04-2018   #30
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Another vote for the Nikonos. The XA is small and the quality is decent, but I wouldn't say it's sturdy.
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Old 07-04-2018   #31
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Ong, Having worked in many 'high risk' situation, I sometimes use my Leica, but often use a pockectable camera. I've used Rollei 35, Olympus stylus & XA....all are cheaply replaceable. I've place a premium on a camera i can have at hand,& more sturdy or larger cameras like Nikonos or Nikkormats or other currently inexpensive SLRs just don't do it for me. Afterall, I'm not hammering nails with them, I'm taking photos. If i drop or lose it a small pocketable camera is not irreplaceable. Lots of choice out there.
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Old 07-04-2018   #32
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I would bring an inexpensive camera with a decent lens. None will survive a 2 meter drop onto a hard surface except maybe one of the Olympus or Panasonic “tough” digital cameras. For film I would echo others and suggest an XA or a Canonnette. If destroyed buy another one.
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Old 07-04-2018   #33
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For dgital the tough cameras can be nice. I have a Pentax WGIII and it has taken a beating. Decent quality at base iso (better than the latest Olympus tg5), nice macro mode, 25mm fov on the wide end and it is freezeproof, waterproof to 14m, shockproof to drops from 2m, and crushproof to something like 200 pounds if you sit on it. Fits in a shirt pocket but is odd looking. Comes with a carabiner to attach it to anything.

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Old 07-04-2018   #34
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buy backups! don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

seconding the recommendations for cheap and easily replaceable cameras. there are many options under $50. you should get two or three cameras to have on hand in case something breaks.

some suggestions:

canonet ql19
yashica electro 35
konica auto s or s2
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Old 07-04-2018   #35
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"Needless to say, working with a 47 tonne ungainly hunk of steel is probably going to end up badly when things do go wrong,..."

Yes, like focusing too much on a hobby while at work that you end up causing that 47 ton ungainly hunk of steel to end up badly.

Hate to say it but...

You're on a NEW career path, yet you are thinking about bringing your hobby to your work. You probably should focus (pun intended) on your new job.

You're working on a job (rail work) that impacts thousands of people's lives each day, to the point where a careless mistake could cost people's lives, yet you are worried about what camera to bring to work.

Screw the hobby. While at work, focus on the job you were hired and are being paid to do.
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Old 07-04-2018   #36
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Quote:
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I was thinking something from the XA series too. XA4 is zone focus, not fixed focus. It has 5 (if I am remembering correctly) different focus positions compared to 3 on the Xa2/3. The extra two are close up and the strap is used to measure focus distance.

Thanks for the correction. I've never actually used - or even seen - an XA4, so I was simply quoting what I had read (or perhaps, what I thought I'd read! ). I'm glad that you've managed to put the record straight.
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Old 07-04-2018   #37
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Old 07-04-2018   #38
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In your shoes I'd take a Konica C35 which is a RF but "P" mode only but (2) need s a PX 675 battery substitute but (3) has an f/2.8 lens. OTOH, it is a cheap camera and punches well above its weight.

I agree, David - that's why I suggested the c35 in my earlier post.

I have one, and it great to use. Excellent lens, small, light, and just very enjoyable!
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Old 07-04-2018   #39
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I would (and do) take an inexpensive mechanical SLR (usually Canon F-1 or FTb) and/or an XA.

The SLR has the advantage of being able to focus closer, and while working I often find little details to photograph so this is a boone. If it gets knocked around, to some extent it will be possible to see the effects through the viewfinder - unlike a rangefinder where if the focus is off you may not find out until you photos back. The older SLRs can be had for very little money given the capability and therefore are easily replaced. Disadvantage is of course weight/size.

I also carry an XA in my pants pocket everywhere I go. It is light/small enough to generally go unnoticed in my pocket and compact enough not to be taken seriously.

I think one of the cheaper rangefinders would also be a good move - depends a lot on your shooting style and intended subject matter.
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Old 07-04-2018   #40
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Quote:
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"Needless to say, working with a 47 tonne ungainly hunk of steel is probably going to end up badly when things do go wrong,..."

Yes, like focusing too much on a hobby while at work that you end up causing that 47 ton ungainly hunk of steel to end up badly.

Hate to say it but...

You're on a NEW career path, yet you are thinking about bringing your hobby to your work. You probably should focus (pun intended) on your new job.

You're working on a job (rail work) that impacts thousands of people's lives each day, to the point where a careless mistake could cost people's lives, yet you are worried about what camera to bring to work.

Screw the hobby. While at work, focus on the job you were hired and are being paid to do.
That was pretty much what I was thinking when I read the OP’s post. Why take the risk of something going horribly wrong while you might be distracted taking photos? Plus, your employer might not take too kindly to having potentially sensitive machinery and facilities being photographed surreptitiously (that could potentially get you fired, or at the very least would arouse their suspicions as to why you’re taking photos in the first place). You read all these stories about accidents happening by people being distracted by their phones, so why take a similar chance? Unless photography is part of your new job???

My advice - unless it’s part of your actual job, leave the camera at home and focus on your new career path. Then once you’ve established yourself there, maybe broach the subject of photography with your superiors. At least that way you’d have built a track record (excuse the pun!) of employment with them, and if they went along with the photography then you’d have an ‘official’ endorsement without having to ‘sneak’ anything.
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