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[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 11:02:59 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Yea that was an awesome camera.. just like an SLR really.. but with a permanent lens and obviously no optical viewfinder. The controls and ergonomics on that camera were really well thought out, and the lens was excellent.. huge zoom range, low f (2.8), good quality images. Unfortunately the way they got that lens flexibility was by marrying a small (somewhat bigger than most compact cameras, but still small) sensor to a comparatively huge fujinon video camera lens. So that sensor size was going to keep the camera from matching the output of an SLR, although it was excellent for a compact camera at that time. I'd still suggest a Fuji S model for someone who wants to have something more flexible and creative than a compact without going to an SLR. Sure you can get a good SLR for $500 these days, and the sensor and image quality will be excellent. But the price you will pay for that is much smaller zoom range and higher minimum f. To get the kind of lens flexibility I got on the Fuji you need to put a large, expensive lens on that SLR...

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 12:16:37 EST from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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If you want a GREAT cheap rangefinder - pick up a Yashica Electro 35 GSN.

It's got a fixed 50mm f1.7 lens attached.

I had taken pictures with this, the Contax G2 and the Leica M7 and had them all together, and could barely tell which was which.

The Yashica is the best $40 I've ever spent on camera equipment.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 13:23:50 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Thanks.. hadn't considered that one. Does it have manual shutter speed, or just aperture priority. From the pictures I'm looking at it seems to be just apterture priority. I really want manual capability too. I was looking at the Konica S2. But I really don't know enough about these cameras yet, I have some research to do. Do you have any suggestions for a rangefinder with full manual.. and aperture priority would be cool too.. but not entirely required?
$40 is a great deal for that Yashica :) The thing with buying old cameras (as I found with my FE's) is that the cost of the camera is only the beginning, because they usually need some service. That's why I'm a little shy on the price.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 13:39:50 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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The Olympus 35RD looks like a pretty good fit for my needs. I'm reading some reviews that say they do tend to need repair to be useable again. But I see a pretty mint condition one went on ebay for $137 not too long ago. I was kind of looking under $100 but for a camera in flawless condition that doesn't need any repair, that's really a bargain.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 14:39:26 EST from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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Yeah, the Yashica has very limited manual settings. It's pretty much AP only...
It works for the type of photography I use it for, which is primarily street shooting. It's not the camera I try to get creative with, in the sense of the exposure being the effect.

The Olmpus 35rd you mentions had one drawback - the meter doesn't work in manual mode.

I haven't touched the Konica, so I can't comment.....

You know what's also a fun little rangefinder is the Olympus XA. Focusing is a bit difficult, but you can through the thing in your pocket.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 15:05:41 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Hmm, kind of a pain to not have the meter all the time. Though I guess I could flip back to auto to get a reading. Perfection is hard to find.. or at least just expensive... The Konica S2 has SP mode and full manual with lens rings.. with a 4 element 47mm f/1.8 that seems pretty well regarded.
I wasn't rushing to buy anything so I think I will shop around a little bit and see if bargains come up. If they're cheap enough it would be fun to try a few. The idea of taking it back to the basics is appealing to me right now. But maybe not so basic as not having a meter...

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 17:05:38 EST from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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The best rangefinder for the money is probably the Voigtlander R3a right now...
But to get in, even at a basic level is around $700. A lot of money for something that is such old technology. Epson came out with a digital rangefinder a few years ago called the R-D1, which was based on the Voigtlander body.
Years ahead of Leica's M8.... And the M8 is noisy (picture wise) compare to the current generation of inexpensive dSLR's.

Right now, my "go to" cameras are:

Canon G10 - the carry everywhere camera.
Contax G2 35mm autofocus rangefinder
Nikon D2xs - the big rig
Mamiya 7II 6x7 - For those really special landscape pictures

BTW, if anyone is interested, I have two small digital cameras for sale:

Canon PowerShot S410
Fuji S5000

email me here if you want more information on either camera.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 18:21:49 EST from Wilfried Goesgens @ Uncensored

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who stole peters enter key? doesn't look as if he owns one.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 18:28:32 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Thanks. Yea $700 is a good price for such a camera.. if you are serious about owning such a camera. I'm not that serious. Unfortunately it seems that most of the rangefinders of the 60's and 70's do not meter in manual mode, so that's something I'll have to live with. Right now actually the only one I can find that has it, in any sort of reasonable (for me) price, is the Olympus 35SP.. the same camera I had when I was 12. It actually has everything I want.. but it actually pretty large for a rangefinder.. I want a compact rangefinder.
So that's my feature list now.. compact, must have manual mode, F/1.8 or lower, fairly well regarded lens, must be adaptable to available batteries, must have meter (ideally in all modes.. but I probably won't get that). The cameras in the running currently are the Konica S2, Minolta 7SII, Olympus 35RD... They all have their strengths and weaknesses.
I think the Olympus has the most highly regarded lens, though the Konica seems to have a lot of admirers. The Minolta has some nice features (like AE lock.. very convenient) but uses a discontinued mercury battery and I don't know if there's a retrofit that allows the meter to work correctly. So these all need to be researched a bit more.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 18:29:18 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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The text client doesn't really encourage paragraphs :)

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 19:20:56 EST from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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I have an adapter I got so I can use a very close battery voltage wise to the mercury we all used to use.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 20:14:52 EST from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Mon Dec 29 2008 18:29:18 EST from Peter Pulse@uncnsrd

The text client doesn't really encourage paragraphs :)

When using the text client, I got into the habit of the following key combinations to create a paragraph:


The space is used to trick the formatter into creating the paragraph for you.

[#] Mon Dec 29 2008 23:09:47 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I think he knows that :)

So ... mercury batteries aren't around any more? Sounds obvious now that you mention it, but I wasn't aware that they'd gone ahead and phased them out.

[#] Sun Jan 04 2009 21:38:00 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Well, hope everyone had a nice new years. I purchased a rangefinder today.. a Canon QL17 G-III.. $51 on ebay but it's in as-is condition so we'll see what kind of repair it needs. Cosmetically it's in good shape. My first choice is still the Olympus 35RD but they are more rare. I decided that since the Canon was a decent deal and very well regarded, that I would give it a try as well just for fun. I can easily resell it for more if it is in working condition. Other cameras on my radar are the Konica S2 and Minolta 7SII...
I've wanted to go back to a rangefinder for a while.. it is too bad I didn't take action on this 10 years ago when nobody cared. Now it's a craze and collectors are hoarding cameras and driving prices up. Depending on how it goes with this Canon I might try to get all 4 of these and see what I like best.. while I can still get them.

As far as the batteries go, it turns out that there are zinc-air batteries of the correct voltage.
They don't last as long but they work corectly in the cameras. The other option is to do what Ragnar is doing and use an alkaline battery (I think), it works but the exposure is a little off. The last option is to install a diode in the camera, which will drop the voltage by the correct amount.
Some people suggest setting a slightly higher ISO on the camera to compensate for the battery voltage. This works but it is non-linear (only works perfectly at certain settings). I think I'll start out with the zinc-air and then if I have a reason to open the camera up, I'll install the diode.

[#] Sun Jan 04 2009 22:24:16 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Oh nice. Here's a pdf explaining how to make a battery adapter with the diode in it...

[#] Mon Jan 05 2009 07:57:09 EST from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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I was lazy and bought an adapter on ebay. It turned out to be $2 dollars more than just buying a battery alone. Plus, the adapter was already the right length, etc. Worked out well.

Good luck with your rangefinder.... But don't feel bad about "collectors".
The prices seems to have steadied about two years ago.....

[#] Sun Jan 11 2009 00:14:32 EST from Peter Pulse @ Uncensored

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Well.. so the next installment of the rangefinder saga. Yesterday I get a package.. open it up.. and there's a Pentax K1000 inside.. not a Canon rangefinder.
Turns out I have some other guys camera and he was shipped mine (but it's still in transit)... Ebay seller is a nice guy, he's really sorry. First he thought mine had not been shipped yet. So I was going to ship the K1000 to the other guy, at sellers expense. But now, he contacted me and said unfortunately my camera was shipped to the other guy, he's really sorry, and he's refunded both our payments for the trouble. So I have the other guys info and he has mine, and it is up to us to swap the cameras. So hopefully Monday we'll both ship the cameras and maybe by the end of next week I'll have the Canon.

Meanwhile, I purchased another camera.. a Konica Auto S2.. this one was a real deal. $61 and it is in clean, recently used, fully working condition with the light seals recently replaced. And it has a pretty nice condition original case, manual, box, lens cap, strap...
So I'm excited about that. I can just start shooting, no repairs :)

But anyway so yea there were 4 of this vintage and type rangefinder that have caught my interest, I will now have two of them. I hadn't intended to collect these but since I haven't yet nabbed the one I think I really want, I might as well look for deals on the others... When it's all over I will probably keep just one or two of them and pass the rest on to someone else.

[#] Mon Jan 26 2009 13:09:01 EST from BOFHMike @ My Castle Wall

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Sat Dec 27 2008 07:31:44 EST from fleebin Shutterbugs> @uncnsrd (Uncensored)

I have been tempted, on many occasions, to buy another Pentax ME Super, like the one I used for all those photojournalism assignments many, many years ago.

Madam Anthrax had stolen my camera (I made the mistake of lending it to her, and she refused to return it, saying I had to buy it back).  It was a damn good camera, and I knew how to make it take great pictures. 

I may have one, new in the box if you're interested. $70 USD should about cover it.  It was suposed to replace my Pentax K1000 that was actually stolen about 6 years ago, but the plastic body of this one never felt right. 

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