I'd like to add a couple, if I may:
Agfa Karat IV
- The Agfa Karat's mostly used proprietary and strange film cassettes, but the models IV and 36 (NOT 6.3, that's different) used standard 35mm film. I am most familiar with the Agfa Karat IV. I have managed to find some information that I have not found elsewhere on the net, so for what it is worth, there were four lenses available for the Karat IV. Xenar 50mm 2.8, Xenar 50mm 2.0, Solinar 50mm 2.8 and Solagon 50mm 2.0. Stephen Gandy at CameraQuest says that there was an Apotar 50mm 3.5, but I have never seen one of these, and he leaves off the Xenar 50mm 2.8, which I *do* have one of.
The Karat IV is, to my mind, one of the most lovely, well-made cameras I've ever had the experience to hold in my hands. It exudes quality manufacture. The shutter is nearly silent. The rangefinders I've seen are bright and easy to focus. I would prefer the Solagon 50mm 2.0, but currently, I have only the Xenon 2.8, which is quite sharp, but dang...
One quirk about the Karat IV which not everyone likes - the winder is a small knob on the left side of the camera that one pulls toward themselves to wind. In practice, this is easy to use, and I got used to it very quickly, but it is strange at first.
I also have an Agfa Karat 36, which comes with the same range of lenses (again, minus the reported Apotar 3.5, which I have never seen on this model, either). I find it unusual in the extreme! While physically pretty much like the Karat IV, it uses the entire viewfinder as the rangefinder - the whole thing is a split-image. You literally line up the entire scene, not a rangefinder patch. I've not gotten used to this yet, and have yet to shoot a roll of film with this camera. However, my example has the Xenar 2.0, which certainly looks like nice glass. Hmmm.
Here's a nice link to Stephen's excellent website:
CameraQuest - Agfa Karat IV
Ricoh Five One Nine
- This is a simply outstanding camera that is being overlooked, probably because of the reported lack-luster performance of it's little brother, the Ricoh 500 (no, not the 500G tiny rangefinder of the '70s, which is another under-appreciated classic that I don't have one of yet).
The entire 500 series are odd little beasts - the winder is on the bottom of the camera, arranged in such a fashion that you have a trigger-shaped device under your left index finger that you pull like the trigger of a pistol, and this advances the film and cocks the shutter. The lens has an 'ear' on both sides of the lens, focussing is simple, and I've found the rangefinder patch to be both bright and clear. Again, the shutter is very quiet, very reliable. The lens is a "Riken Optical Rikenon 45mm 1.9, and my experience thus far has shown it to be a very sharp performer.
One quirk that this camera has (I have three of them) is that the shutter release buttons do not have any provision for a cable release, there is no self-timer, and on mine, the shutter button kind of mushes down and does not pop up immediately when you let go of it. It does come up, just a bit slowly. All of mine probably need a nice CLA.
If you're interested in this one, search eBoy for "Ricoh 519" as well as "Ricoh Five One Nine." The 500 was spelled "500" on the top of the camera, but the Five One Nine was spelled "Five One Nine" on top. I also have a 519M (same as Five One Nine, but with BEWI light meter - alas, DOA), and they went back to "519M" for the nomenclature. Funny folks.
Here's a link to some information on the 500 - there is NO information I can find on the Five One Nine online:
Karen Nakamura's PhotoEthnography - Ricoh 500
See the trigger on the bottom of this one? It folds down with the flick of a finger, then you pull it to wind and cock, again to repeat. You fold it back up to set the camera down or to put it away - it stays down on its own until you fold it up again.
This is a sleeper, kiddies!
There are a few from time to time on eBoy, and nobody knows what they are, so they go for very little. Like I said, I've got three now (don't need any more), and I got 'em cheap. Again, don't get the 500, get the Five One Nine.
Well, I've got a flight to NYC tomorrow morning early, so I've gotta go. If anyone is interested, I've been buying, trying, and culling lots of pre-1970's rangefinders over the last six months or so, and I have definitely come up with some favorites. Happy to pass the info along, if anyone cares at all.
These two are definitely two of my favorites so far, though. Great cameras, both of 'em.