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View Poll Results: What is the Best Under $50 Ebay Make of Rangefinder for Newbies?
Argus 27 2.61%
Canon 137 13.26%
FSU Former Soviet Union 184 17.81%
Kodak 20 1.94%
Konica 83 8.03%
Minolta 63 6.10%
Olympus 187 18.10%
Yashica 270 26.14%
Other Make European 31 3.00%
Other Make Japanese 31 3.00%
Voters: 1033. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 12-29-2009   #121
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Five pages and nobody mentioned the Vitomatic IIa (or IIb/IIcs)?

Small, cute, built like a tank, with a Gossen-made meter (selenium on the a/b and with a Cds cell on the later one), with no seals to go bad, and more importantly with a huge 1:1 viewfinder and exceptional lenses (Color Skopar or f2.0 Ultron).

Or, for a smaller fully automated camera, the Rolley XF35. A bit plasticky but with an very precise meter and a marvellous f2.3 Sonnar.
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Old 12-29-2009   #122
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The non-GIII QL17 is slightly larger, just as good, some say better. The QL19 I understand is nearly as good. I wouldn't recommend getting a lens slower than the 1.9 though, unless you plan on doing outdoor shooting only. The 28 is much less, not as popular. But as a starter, it'd be okay. IMHO.
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Old 12-29-2009   #123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
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.
Well, if you get a GSN, you have to factor in the cost of a CLA and a new pad of death, unless you can do it yourself -- something a beginner will find scarey. Now they are very nice cameras and I have most of the G-series, but if you're going to have to work on it, there are simpler cameras that are more beginner-friendly. A Canonet isn't too difficult to CLA, but requires a lens wrench with VERY fine tips, not something a beginner is likely to have. A Konica Auto S (not an S2), is easy to work on, even for a beginner, as is the Olympus 35 I mentioned. Both are plentiful, have great lenses, and you should not have any difficulty finding one for under $50. They are easy to get into for cleaning and don't require special tools. Basically, you just unscrew the lenses and remove the shutter speed cam plate. Then you just work some naptha into the gears with an artist's brush, flush the dirty naptha out, and clean both sides of the shutter blades. Replace the light seals, and that's really all you have to do.
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Old 12-29-2009   #124
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Well, today I finally bought the camera. It is a Canonet QL17, not the G-III, but the other model. I found it on ebay for $52.

What can you tell me about this camera? Is different from the GIII? The guy who sold it to me says that has the battery compartment lightly corroded. I hope that my local camera repair man can fix it, to make the meter work. If I can make the matter works, then I will look for a light meter.

Otherwise, the camera seems to be in excelente condition.
Ah! It comes with a canonet flash too.

Thanks for your advide.
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Old 12-29-2009   #125
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congratulations on your purchase we look forward to hearing all about it and seeing photos if your are able to upload them

I just got a GSN for $25 on an auction site, it's supposed to be close to mint and i hope it is

Maybe i get a Canon too just in case
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Old 12-29-2009   #126
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Thanks! I think that the camera is going to take a loooooong time to arrive, but i'll be patience. When it get's here, i'll show you some photos.
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Old 01-21-2010   #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kakateristico View Post
Well, today I finally bought the camera. It is a Canonet QL17, not the G-III, but the other model. I found it on ebay for $52.

What can you tell me about this camera? Is different from the GIII? The guy who sold it to me says that has the battery compartment lightly corroded. I hope that my local camera repair man can fix it, to make the meter work. If I can make the matter works, then I will look for a light meter.

Otherwise, the camera seems to be in excelente condition.
Ah! It comes with a canonet flash too.

Thanks for your advide.
If it's just lightly corroded, you can try dipping a Q tip in vinegar, making sure it's not dripping, and just get in there and dissolve the corrosion away. If it leaked under, hitting the wires attached to the circuit board, this won't do much good. I'm just saying.
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Old 01-21-2010   #128
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My start on the slippery slope of rangefinders started with a Canon QL-17 GIII from a thrift store for $17.50. I do not buy on E-bay. I buy from thrift stores, garage sales, country auctions, and camera shop "Junk" bins, etc.

The average price I have paid for Yahisca G series cameras is $9.16. with a high of $17 and a low of $2. This is for a 10 camera sample. The average price I paid for Canon QL-17 GIII is $24.34 with a high of $54 for a Black QL-17 GIII and a low of $15. This is for a 6 camera sample.

Did all of them work perfectly? NOPE. But the $2 GSN did and the first Canon at $17.50 did. Several of the others did with minor tweaking and some were circling the drain. I was able to recoup most of my money by selling ones that worked while keeping some for myself.

My vote goes to the Leica IIIC with 50mm Summitar from a country auction, but it is not a fixed lens. So I am going to vote for the Canon QL-17 GIII. I have tried to love the GSN but I just don't care for its bulkiness. I think the best lens I have on a FLRF is on the Konica Auto S2 it is second only to my Rollei 35S Sonnar, but the Rollei is not really a rangefinder and it is not under $50.

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Old 03-11-2010   #129
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Yashica Electro 35 GSN. I bought it for 6 dollar two years ago. Still working now, at least once in a month if I want to hit the road without too much thinking (it's auto run very well).
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Old 04-04-2010   #130
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Yashica GSN and Zorki 6.
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Old 04-25-2010   #131
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How about the old Russian medium format folders - the Moskva V?
It is very inexpensive on eBay.
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Old 05-05-2010   #132
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FED2 and/ or Retina II.

i like my electro35 gs/gt also.

Last edited by shootodog : 05-05-2010 at 20:39.
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Old 05-06-2010   #133
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I went with the Yashica, The electro GS is what got me into rangefinders, but I would go with the gsn because it has a hotshoe.

If this was a best range finder for under $10 I would have gone with argus, but for this, it is too unweildy (I have the Autronic I, and it doesn't use standard labeling for apature (3= f2.8, all the way to 9= f22) or shutter (which is a couple of dashes, with each end of the dash being a setting). I got mine for $7, and it works pretty well (the needle on the light meter broken, and the virticle alignment on the range finder is off, but easy to work around).
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Old 05-07-2010   #134
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I'm going to go with the Olympus XA due to size. If I want a larger rangefinder, I will just pay more than $50.
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Old 05-20-2010   #135
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Yashica electro-35. GSN for the win.
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Old 05-20-2010   #136
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The Yash's are great, and that's what I voted for. BUT the Fujica Compact Deluxe is smaller, METERED manual with shutter priority, WITH a second meter on the top plate (for pre-metering), and (imo) has a better by a hair 45mm/f1.8 lens that always surprises me. It's like an "unknown" Oly RD (larger though) but without the shutter problems I've read the RD has. Never owned the RD but just based on what I've read, I think I like the Fujica better. The Fuji also has a cool "dot" system for under/over exposure that doesn't annoyingly lockup to prevent you from taking an under/over exposed pic (HATE that), a focus wheel on the back of the camera (which works better than the rings on the barrel, imo. More logical, faster to focus, less futzing...), film advance on the bottom to make room for a distance wheel on the top plate (and 2nd meter). This is the only RF I currently own. It is the ultimate fixed lens rangefinder of all that I've owned, the only RF I currently own, and the only RF I need. Some say it's "quirky". I disagree - it's very well thought-out ergonomically but broke the mold a bit and takes a little getting used to. The only reason this goes for $10, $20, $30 bucks is few folks know about it. There's very little info on the web about it... otherwise it would commad a premium price like the RD. Also, it didn't appear to be a huge seller so there's not as many out there. So, Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... it's our little secret, okay?

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Old 05-20-2010   #137
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The generosity of EEbbay brought to me a Konica Auto S2 for $10...the images in the auction listing were terrible, but the camera arrived in perfect shape. And it's a joy to use. The Hexanon 45/1.8 lens is killer -- going through photos, I often can't tell apart which were done with the Konica and which were done with a recent Summicron 50 / 2.
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Old 07-04-2010   #138
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So no love for the Voigtlander Vito CLR ... I have one of these I paid $25.00 for and it works perfectly.

It's a homely little beast though!
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Old 07-04-2010   #139
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The Petri 7s was my first rangefinder camera, borrowed from a friend, and the photos I took with it got me into art school in the '70s. I'm still working with those images. The Canonets are nice too.
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Old 07-05-2010   #140
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For a solid, all around camera in that range on eBay, the Canonet 17 giii is a great camera. I easily use it more than any of my other.

The Olympus 35RC is a close second for the size but the ergonomcs don't work as well for me. Craigslist occationally has better deals - I just snagged a 7sII for $45 which I'm excited to try. I also have a 35RD I picked up for $3 but needs repair. That may become my favorite but finding on in working shape for $50 would be quite difficult.
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Old 07-26-2010   #141
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I voted for the Olympus 35 RC. For the newbie to RF photography it has a lot going for it if you are spending under $50. It has a sharp lens, shutter priority option, full manual control option, can work without a battery, is small, has good ergonomics IMO, and a nice viewfinder. I really enjoy mine and have taken many nice photographs with it.
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Old 08-07-2010   #142
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I've voted for the Yashica because it's very functional and also very sharp if not bulky and a little ugly (well.. the bigger ones anyway), but i also feel that the FSUs offer the best under $50 'poor man's Leica' feel but it does involve kissing frogs and the lenses are not really that great save 1 or 2 models.
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Old 08-07-2010   #143
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Yashica Electro 35 G** is a great rangefinder beginner camera because the one and only thing you actually must pay attention to is the focus. You get great sharp photos all the time.
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Old 08-08-2010   #144
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I am split between kiev and olympus 35sp. I have Yashica Electro as well but it's sitting without use for a long time - it's very good optically but bulky and ugly.
I actually love pictures from kiev more than from oly. It has nothing to do with sharpness - oly is sharp, but j8 is sharp enough and renders differently, it's like Japanese versus German optics.
The problem is to find good kiev or olympus 35sp for $50 maybe olympus 35rc? Didn't use that one personally.
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Old 09-10-2010   #145
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This thread is a must read for every new RFF member.

These days I noticed that newer members went straight to Leica or Bessa or Nikon, I missed conversations like the one in this thread. It's debating really low-cost, but very decent rangefinder cameras (after CLA, that is).

Remember, there are lots of RF fun way before Leica.

That's the endorsement, now my answer:

There is no other company that produces fixed-lens rangefinder cameras as addicting as Olympus.

Every time you get one, your GAS pushes you to the next. After all, there are almost 60 varieties to choose from spanning decades.

First, 35RC, then 35RD/DC, then a detour to older models 35 Ace, LE, IV, S, SII, Trip, then the mighty 35 SP, not to mention the half-frame gems like Pen EES, D2, EF, then the disco-like XA craze ensues, multi-colored XA2 and XA3, ultimately giving way to XA4 (still own and use one).

Until one day (in my case) you stare at 25-some-odd Olympus cameras and thought: What have I become????

It took me a long time and a lot of effort to sell off my Olympus rangefinder "collection" including a rather prestigious *black* Olympus 35 SP. That's how slippery the slope is.

I'm glad that I have moved on since, but at the same time, I would not have it any other way
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Old 09-10-2010   #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by januaryman View Post
The Yashica: without batteries, it's useless.
Not true. Without a battery the shutter on the Electro 35 defaults to 1/500. Just load it with ISO 400 film and use sunny 16. Works great.

Cheers...

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Old 09-10-2010   #147
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Quote:
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This thread is a must read for every new RFF member.
From my experience I can stress - read this carefully.

Quote:
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There is no other company that produces fixed-lens rangefinder cameras as addicting as Olympus.
I thought it's Yashica, but that's only because I were hit by Yashica schrapnel. Devil has many faces.

Quote:
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Until one day (in my case) you stare at 25-some-odd Olympus cameras and thought: What have I become????
So true. That took some time and efforts to realize that camera or two is all I really need. It's like with food - excess of rich in calories (features and specs) food doesn't make us healthier. There's way to keep in shape - excersize a lot, or better do real work - row a boat or cut trees. Journey into world of cheap FL RF's is fun, but it has to be defined, has to be finite. Selecting one camera from tens is good outcome, just think how expensive and time consuming it can be. Selecting too many dishes for a meal comes to mind. This way availability and low prices of great cameras and lenses can serve wrong way. There's nothing wrong collecting cameras and exposing endless test rolls, it's just different than taking real pictures.

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This thread is a must read for every new RFF member.
Once again.
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Old 09-11-2010   #148
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Ha! My Olympus progression went:

Olympus DC -> Olympus RC -> Olympus XA -> Olympus RD -> Olympus XA4 -> Olympus SP (on the way)

The Olympus cameras are definitely addicting. I got really lucky with that line and found myself acquire a bunch cheaply. Ignoring the CLA on the RD, the rest of the Olympus cameras averaged $15. Crazy fun little cameras to use.

I just shot my first roll with the XA4. Not a huge fan of the lens to be honest, but it is a nearly silent camera with a 28mm lens that i can fit in my pocket. That utility is worth it. Really digging the camera.

The RD is still on the way back from a CLA but given how much I love the lens on the DC, I'm seriously optimistic about the camera. The SP was a $10 impulse buy. No idea if it works yet.

Despite recently handling a OM2n for the first time, I haven't hit their SLR line yet. That camera is seriously tempting. I might swap the XA for one some time, particularly if I can find a good, sharp wide angle lens for it. i don't see myself using the XA much now that I have the XA4 which fits my style a bit better.
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Old 09-11-2010   #149
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I too vote for the Yashica line, as you can start with a larger GSN/GTN, and 'graduate' to the compacts such as the CC and GX, without any fall-off in the learning curve. With the Argus cameras you are dealing with an arcane system that changed everytime they introduced another model. And as much as I like the Canon QL17 and the Ricoh 500 (I have both), there is just something about the Yashicas that keeps me shooting them when I could be using the others.

Some of the models mentioned on the thread are really getting quite expensive as their popularity goes up, and their availability goes down. But the Yashica's just keep rolling along, there are millions of them out there.

My best buy though did not come from the bay, but was a flea market find. It is a Voigtlander Vito B that I got for $15 because the seller thought it was broken (needs to have film in it for the shutter mech to work). But I have spent too much money getting the correct filters and other accessories for it, at a factor of many times the cost of the camera, thus taking all the fun out of it.

So to keep it real for a newbie, not only does the camera have to be a deal, but any accessories he will purchase later should not empty his pockets.
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Old 09-11-2010   #150
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It is becoming clear to myself that I am planning to try every single one of them before making any decision. It's like fishing, some that you catch are keepers, some you throw back. And even with the keepers, every now and then you need to cull the herd, no matter how much it hurts.

I really like the Yashica Electros, they make it easy to take excellent pictures. But maybe too easy, I find that I often have some caveman urge to have control over everything, and damn the repercussions; besides, some of my best shots have been mistakes. Oddly, however, one of my favorite rangefinders (so far) is the Konica C35 Automatic, which has even less options for manual control than the Yashicas. I think it's small size is the determining factor here, I might like the Yashies as much if I could fit them in my shirt pocket.

My Minolta Hi-Matic 9, so far, offers the best of both worlds, manual or automatic, depending on what I want it to be on any given day, like the C35, it is one of my keepers ... at least until I get the Konica Auto S2 and Yashica M in working order ... then who knows?

I haven't started my Olympus or Canon cycles yet, and the XA's and the Canonets seem to be inching away from that "sub $50" criteria, so I had better hurry.

I do have a $0.01 bid in on a Beauty Canter ... if I win it, can we start a "sub $1.00" thread?
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Old 09-12-2010   #151
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at least until I get the Konica Auto S2 and Yashica M in working order ... then who knows?

I haven't started my Olympus or Canon cycles yet, and the XA's and the Canonets seem to be inching away from that "sub $50" criteria, so I had better hurry.

easy to predict - after getting KAS2 working you will realize ergonomics just isn't there and will look for Konica III. And then....after all, exhausted by camera repairs and fixes, test rolls and endless hours of labor, you'll say "damn, m4/3 is just what I needed, and digital isn't that bad"
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Old 09-12-2010   #152
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easy to predict - after getting KAS2 working you will realize ergonomics just isn't there and will look for Konica III. And then....after all, exhausted by camera repairs and fixes, test rolls and endless hours of labor, you'll say "damn, m4/3 is just what I needed, and digital isn't that bad"
Well, the Olympus E-P1 does look pretty sweet. How long do you think I'll have to wait until I can get one for less than $50?
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Old 09-15-2010   #153
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Nine years maybe? Five?
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Old 09-23-2010   #154
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Surely the answer is "start with whichever one takes your individual fancy." The camera you love is the camera you carry.
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Old 10-01-2010   #155
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I bought a perfectly good Gsn at a flea market for $11.00. Added a spring and a battery, a little film, Great camera. I also like my Konica Automatic C35. Nice pictures but little control. I guess I just enjoy 60s and 70s point and shoot cameras.
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Old 10-01-2010   #156
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Well, the Olympus E-P1 does look pretty sweet. How long do you think I'll have to wait until I can get one for less than $50?
Well, The Kodak DCS200 DSLR is below $50.

http://cgi.ebay.com/NIKON-SLR-N8008S...item53e254dba5

17 years.
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Old 10-21-2010   #157
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I would say the Agfa Ambi-Silette which can be had for about $50
with normal lens. It has a very good bright-line viewfinder and
one can later add wide or tele lenses. Not many interchangeable
lens RF cameras around at that price.
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Old 11-05-2010   #158
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I've tried a few. It's easy to find bargains, and harder to find one that works well.

For under $50, Yashica Electro, the later the better. These all need light seals, and most need CLA. I like the aperture-preferred automation in the Electro.
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Old 11-05-2010   #159
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I am currently in love with my Minolta Mi-Matic F.
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Old 11-05-2010   #160
eddie1960
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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 142
the answer surely is the one you "won" that actually worked as it should
like all cameras it's just a tool and if it gets you to take more photos and you like it then it's the best
if it ends up on the shelf unused then it was a waste of money
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Fuji - XE1 ir, XE3, XT1, Xpro1, Xpro2, X100t 18 2.0, 23 1.4, 35 1.4, 56 1.2, 60 2.4, a bunch of assorted godox flashes and controllers, several old Takumars, Rokinon 12mm f2. GW690 and Yashica t4 super for film fun
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