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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 12-14-2013   #241
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Canonet ql17 hands down. Had the yashica gsn but the battery/ rangefinder is outdated. The canon has fully manual controls with a brighter finder.

Got mine for $29 and works like a charm
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Old 01-01-2014   #242
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The Konica Auto-S is a great and much cheaper alternative to the S2. I would definitely recommend it.
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Old 01-01-2014   #243
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For me, it's the classic series Olympus SII. For many years when I was using my SII with the 4.8cm/F2.8, people on the street would ask "What Leica is that?". Great results with the classic look and feel. I sold this one and now have a SII with the 4.2cm/F2 which is much rarer. Years ago these models weren't often available for $50 or under, but I think most even the 4.2cm/F1.8 as well as the 4.2cm/F2 could be found for this price in todays market.
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Old 01-01-2014   #244
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I'd like to be able to find an SII for as little as that.
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Old 01-01-2014   #245
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Zorki 6 of course.

It's a small, reliable camera, the long base rangefinder is pretty accurate, horzontal misaligment can be afdjusted from outside, it's easy to load (like a standard camera), the advance lever is made of chromed metal and has a nice feel (unlike the sheetmetal plate of the 4K),it has a dioptre adjustment, the shutter speeds are limited but they are 95% of what a photographer needs plus you don't fear to break down anything like the other SU models, the Soviets provide the camera with a complete system of high quality lenses based on pre-war Zeiss design but with a decent multicoating that help with flame...with little money you can have a Topogon like 28 mm (Orion 15), one of the 35mm ever made for rangefinders (Jupiter 12), a good Zeiss Sonnar (Jupiter 8), a fast 1.5mm 50 mm (Jupiter 3), an excellent portrait lens (Jupiter 9) and a decent long focus 135mm for outdoor shooting (Jupiter 11)...you can can get any of them for less than 250$.

The only real drawback is that you have to use the external turret if you don't shoot 50mm.



IMO it's also an aesthetically pleasing camera unlike some japanese ones.
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Old 01-02-2014   #246
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Have got a few Kievs with lens and freight for less than 50$. Rf and workable.
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Old 01-03-2014   #247
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The bargains are still out there but fewer than before. Recent purchases for around £30-50: Olympus 35RC and Konica Auto S3, both working well. The FSU gear in the UK goes for very little money, usually £20 for a working Zorki with I61 lens.
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Old 02-23-2014   #248
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I've just bought a Ricoh 500G for £10.50 plus postage. I'm curious to see the results.
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Old 02-24-2014   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodchenko View Post
I've just bought a Ricoh 500G for £10.50 plus postage. I'm curious to see the results.
Nice, a good deal too. I used to have one and it'd be my vote for the poll. Not quite as nicely made as the 35RC, but with metering in manual mode and shutter speeds selected on the lens barrel for those that prefer it. Definitely very underrated.
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Old 02-24-2014   #250
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Oh good. I'd heard that, but there are some very dismissive reviews on YouTube. I hope it's a good 'un, as I'm hoping to use it for a UK round of Pass The Rangefinder (my last attempt - a Taron - turned out to be a complete turkey).
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Old 02-24-2014   #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodchenko View Post
Oh good. I'd heard that, but there are some very dismissive reviews on YouTube. I hope it's a good 'un, as I'm hoping to use it for a UK round of Pass The Rangefinder (my last attempt - a Taron - turned out to be a complete turkey).
Only complaint from me is ergonomics, otherwise there's barely something one can put against army of 38-40mm/2.8 4 group lenses, like on 500G/GX.
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Old 02-24-2014   #252
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I'm not expecting it to be as ergonomic as my 35SP. But I live with the odd ergonomics of the 35RC, and I was prepared to go with an early FSU as an alternative, so, as long as most people can get along with it, we'll be fine.
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Old 03-10-2014   #253
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In the last week, I've bought a Werra 3 and an Olympus Auto Eye II, for £21 and £30 respectively. I've not got the Oly yet, but I have the Werra and, though it's a bit stiff, it's the usual quirky yet good to use. The rangefinder takes some getting used to, but it is a bargain.
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Old 03-21-2014   #254
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I'm looking at the bar chart of responses. The Yashica are great cameras, but at this point they all need work. I've bought and fussed with about a dozen. Without exception, they needed work (foams at least, almost all the POD, some other work).

This and the Canonet I see as great $100 cameras after the work is done.

My best low cost, worked right away, RF was a Vivitar 35ES.
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Old 03-22-2014   #255
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Zorki I or Olympus XA.
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Old 03-28-2014   #256
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I was torn between the XA, and my Vivitar 35es. Got the XA for $15 with the case and 11 flash, the ES was missing the self-timer lever (didn't care), and grabbed it for $30. in otherwise amazing shape.
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Old 07-22-2014   #257
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The GSN has a great lens -- but it's a crapshoot. Try to find one that's film-tested with a good POD. Overall, I'd have to say the Oly XA. It is a brilliant camera that I believe would command a premium if they didn't sell boatloads of them. And there's a reason they sold boatloads of them. Also, they're a few years "younger" than many of the classic RF's

The XA = full frame in your pocket. Literally. Plus aperature priority. They're readily available -- no "hunting". If you use auction sites, you're not bidding against 100 other people. They are whisper silent. Only issue is dim rangefinder patch, which is easily rectified with the black marker trick.
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Old 07-22-2014   #258
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My Olympus 35RC sees more use than my XA - even though I've had the XA for nearly 20 years and I'm an aperture preferred kind-of-guy. The XA purchased in the early 1990's - was a pawn shop purchase - $75 with the A16 flash that I never use. So, no $50 love here.


The 35RC has a superior RF and viewfinder, no two ways about it. I got the 35RC in 2001, spent a wopping $45 for a camera that needed the light seals replaced the pivot for the RF mirror lubed. Recently, I purchased a MR-9 adapter for this camera. So, this camera is also over budget.

I will say that I've become accustomed to a shutter preferred AE mode.

In all these years - I've yet to vote in this poll - because of my Oly leanings. I also have a properly CLA'd Oly 35RD in addition to the XA and 35RC. There is definitely no $50 or under love affair regarding 35RD.

With that said and never been an owner of one - I hereby nominate the Canon Canonet G-III QL17 as a best buy for $50 or under.

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Old 07-22-2014   #259
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There are so many great ones. Minolta IIIa, Konica S, S2, Retina IIa, IIc, how does one pick?

The IIc was the first camera to ever take my picture (still have it), IIIa got me started on serious photography (in high school), loved to barrow the S2 in school as it had a built in meter.

So many great ones on EvilBay and on GoodWill under $50.

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Old 07-22-2014   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTrop View Post
The GSN has a great lens -- but it's a crapshoot. Try to find one that's film-tested with a good POD.
Nick, Nick, Nick....you are smart guy so I know for sure you are kidding us. POD is documented GSN issue, no sane buyer is expecting 40 y.o. GSN will work out of box, just like any other vintage camera. They may but aren't guaranteed to work, no to say work properly.

If someone doesn't want to deal with POD (which I can understand) then trick is to buy working - serviced before - camera, from buyer who backs his words. So it's not us$5 but rather 50 or 150 worth camera but hey, no one believes all us$5 lottery tickets are winners.

As for me, Yashica Lynx 5000 is THE RF. This is the heaven compared to GSN which feels like a student version of a camera. Size, controls, ergonomics - everything is better than on GSN. Only VF ages better in GSN than in many other vintage fixed lens RF's.
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Old 07-23-2014   #261
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I like my cameras to work smoothly. Fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder cameras weren't built to last forever. So, many do need some servicing as they pass through their 4th decade and its not just Yashicas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btgc View Post
So it's not us$5 but rather 50 or 150 worth camera but hey, no one believes all us$5 lottery tickets are winners.
I like the lotto analogy.

Just look at the supply side for the typical eBay seller. It's a thrift store, garage or estate sale. Most of these eBay sellers are not very knowledgeable and too lazy to check even check the battery compartment.

Bottom line: If you are too much of a cheapskate to purchase from a knowledgeable seller, who is honest and maintains a reputation for not selling junk - then your purchase will probably turn out to be a project in need of work.

I personally have my cameras serviced, so they work smoothly without any hiccups. That takes them out of the $50 and under category.

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Old 09-02-2014   #262
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Konica Auto S. Great glass
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Old 09-03-2014   #263
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The Agfa Optima 1535 is a true rangefinder and a bit of a left-field suggestion, but it's a fine little camera and can be found cheaply. It has no manual exposure controls though.
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Old 09-18-2014   #264
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Kievs from FSU, they where first real Contaxes and Sovjetifyed by the years, the FSU lens Factorys have made some very nice Glass. I never payed over 35$ for a body, lens and cover.
1947-53 are the best vintages, as there still was German inspectors.
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Old 10-20-2014   #265
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Yashica is a great camera and I have voted for that as if someone can find it that is the prize range.
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Old 01-03-2015   #266
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I would opt for an FSU rangefinder like a FED-2 or Zorki at a very good state. They are relatively robust, easy to maintain and you are being offered with the option of lens interchangeability.
Else, the little Oly 35RC is a nice option, but do not expect it to last forever and repairing is such a pain.
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Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm/2.8
Old 01-03-2015   #267
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Olympus Stylus Epic 35mm/2.8

OK, there's no RF focusing and it's all autoexposure, but with an Olympus Stylus Epic you can learn a lot about the technique of street photography. The AF is almost instantaneous (why can't we have such a fast AF on EFV cameras today?), a lot like shooting hyperfocal. The lens is very good, and you have the option of spot metering and suppressing the flash. The cameras are splash-resistant for those rainy days. Downsides: they do make some sound when advancing and rewinding the film, and they do take a battery, although you will get several rolls out of one.

Oh, and you'll cry less if you drop one than if you drop a Leica.
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Old 01-05-2015   #268
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The Zorki 4/4k cameras are possibly the best rangefinder available for under $100. Interchangeable lenses, 1-1/1000 shutter speeds, large bright viewfinder, relatively easy to find in good condition.
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Old 01-05-2015   #269
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Konica C35 (not the AF version, of course).

Dirt cheap to buy and easy to service if needed. Nice lens too.

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Old 03-01-2015   #270
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solinar View Post
In all these years - I've yet to vote in this poll - because of my Oly leanings. I also have a properly CLA'd Oly 35RD in addition to the XA and 35RC. There is definitely no $50 or under love affair regarding 35RD.
It's possible to find under $50 35RDs on ebay...I got this one last year. It's a beauty, no dings, dents or scratches and the glass is perfect.

However, it's a 35RD. That means it's 35+ years old.

That means it needed seals.

It needed a viewfinder cleaning.

It needed a meter calibration.

As a 35RD it needed a shutter overhaul. (35RCs are better in this regard.)



So, yeah, it's under fifty bucks, half of that, even, including shipping, but it's not going to be very useful at that price.

I did get this one serviced and it's a superb camera.

IMHO every Leica aficionado on this forum needs to spend a small amount on a nice fixed lens RF.

Heck, you can buy a completely restored one for less than a typical Leica body CLA --and you get a lens, folks.

I think most that have not done so would be mighty surprised...
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Old 03-01-2015   #271
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Even though I voted the Yashica assuming most of those votes are for Electro's I have my doubts that you'd get a usable one for $50. You might have more luck finding an MG1 that works within that budget.
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Old 03-02-2015   #272
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview;2458001
IMHO every Leica aficionado on this forum needs to spend a small amount on a nice fixed lens RF.

Heck, you can buy a completely restored one for less than a typical Leica body CLA --and you [I
get a lens[/i], folks.
Even though - I once again have a working 35RD - my fixed-lens 35mm RF purchase that was under the $50 mark, a 35RC, before the purchase of its battery adapter - truly fills the niche for me.

The reasons: less bulk, less weight and in certain urban areas, I'm not as concerned about losing or damaging the camera as let's say my Leica M2 with a Summicron.

For someone else - that niche may be finding a Canonet, a Konica, or a Minolta - that is still in working order. The key is finding one that is still in working order after 40 years.

My latest acquisition - which I really didn't need, but couldn't resist - is a black Rollei 35 S for $60. It needed to have the slow shutter speed escapement to be cleaned and lubed. I figured the lens alone was worth $60.

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Vintage MF Folders a Voigtländer Perkeo II and Bessa II, 2 of them - a ZI Mess Ikonta 524/2 - plus an Agfa Super Isolette & a Record III
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Old 04-02-2015   #273
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Dunno much about eBay these days but I've recently seen two Revue 400SE rangefinders for sale in my vicinity for approx. EUR 20.

The 1.7/40mm lens is very good and the flashmatic system is a no-brainer for well-exposed flash photos.

Oh, recently I picked up a Vivitar 35EE and sold it here for petty cash, but the new owner had it jam on him after just a few strokes... But it was EUR 25 when I got it


The Minolta 7S-II that I sold in the classifieds last week also was an investment item: bought it for EUR 35, sold it for EUR 85 Little money on the side to fund some rare film I need for a project


So long story short, I guess the best RF cameras have dropped so much in price lately that they can be had for less than USD 50, albeit not through eBay...
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Old 07-24-2015   #274
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For an easy transition to rangefinders -- the GSN. Very dependable ones can be had in second-hand shops for very few $. But there are lots of good 70s rangefinders out there, and any are worth trying for newcomers. What do you have to lose, except twenty bucks or so?

For the mid-century retro-retro experience? Nothing beats my Aires 35 iiic (for the price). Buy it for $20, and people will think you have an M3 (from a distance). And -- it would double as a heavy mace in case of trouble.
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Old 07-24-2015   #275
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I saw an Aries IIIc over at the Goodwill auction site recently, and you're right -- at first glance it does look like a Leica M3.

They're not so easy to find for less than $50 anymore, but another great mid-century rangefinder, and probably my favorite, is the Kodak Retina IIc. A beautiful camera with some pretty amazing German workmanship to boot.
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Old 02-03-2016   #276
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I got a Kiev IVa with 35, 50 and 135 for under 25$ at site. All works and do deliver. Bellarus has it´s few pros.
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Old 02-03-2016   #277
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johank View Post
I got a Kiev IVa with 35, 50 and 135 for under 25$ at site. All works and do deliver. Bellarus has it´s few pros.
Wow! No, better still; two wows!

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Old 02-06-2016   #278
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A camera that might be herd to find in the US, but very common in Germany and many other European countries - the Voigtländer Vito CSR.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7567/...0f47bd95_c.jpgVoigtländer Vito CSR by Michael Relguag, auf Flickr

Coupled RF - CDS meter - mirrored in the RF!!! - very good 3-lenser Color-Lanthar 2.8 50mm or when you're lucky the Color Skopar 2.8 50mm which is extremely sharp.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7583/...6ee48fa1_c.jpgBergmesse bei Innsbruck by Michael Relguag, auf Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7546/...9d195eea_c.jpgtrucking by Michael Relguag, auf Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7541/...3e81d9d1_c.jpgIn der Leutsch by Michael Relguag, auf Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7536/...c0e31ef5_c.jpgHohe Munde von der Leutasch aus gesehen by Michael Relguag, auf Flickr
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Old 03-15-2016   #279
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At this point in history a newbie with a rangefinder is a bit of an anachronism, but given your premise, a newbie must have a meter, an easy way to confirm focus and simple film loading. Aside from the battery availability and light seal issues, the Yashica is a solid performer. The best thing about them are the fast lenses. Combine that with the leaf shutter for flash sync at all speeds and you have an unbeatable combination of features at this price.

I really wanted to choose Argus, because I have a soft spot for them. Advantages over the Yashica rangefinders come down to a series of rather slow interchangeable lenses. The C3 lacks X sync, though it's available in later models. Ergonomics on the C3 and C33 are subpar. I think any of the C series Arguses are bargains, fine cameras, and good users, but they're not for newbies.
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Old 03-15-2016   #280
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Posts: 453
I think some Minolta from the Hi-Matic line with those beautiful rokkors.
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