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Rangefinders


Nick_Hilton 9 556 2 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2013 11:09PM
As i'm young I missed out of the film era and went straight to digital. I'm interested in learning to take pictures on a film rangefinder. There are loads to choose from including Russian copies can anyone recommend one to get me started.

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Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
25 Feb 2013 11:49PM
Have a look here

http://www.cameraquest.com/com35s.htm

My personal favourites are those made by Canon or Olympus, fixed lens rangefinders are good to get started on.

I use an Olympus 35SP Olympus 35RC`s are popular as well.
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2013 11:58PM
That all depends on how much you have to spend.

There are a lot of fixed lens rangefinders, from Canon, Minolta, Olympus and others, some expensive, some less so. Ok for starting out if you don't mind the limits of a single focal length, and can give great results (see some of Paul Morgan's shots).

Most Russian copies are probably not to be trusted due to their not generally being reliable, however something like a Zorki 4 will be a cheap way to start, with a Jupiter 35 or 50mm lens. The lenses are interchangeable, but be aware you don't see through the lens, so you have to frame using framelines in the viewfinder.

Moving up, there are the newer Voigtlander Bessa, various models which shouldn't be too expensive secondhand, or there's the Konica Hexar or the Contax G2, all of which offer differing amounts of automation, but have good optics.

Then of course, there's Leica....screw mount and the later bayonet M-mount cameras. A good starting place would be a good secondhand M3 or M2, (or even a cheaper CL or CLE) with a single lens. 35 or 50mm is again the usual combo. Voigtlander (and others) do relatively cheap lenses for Leica, and most of them are pretty good, just not as good as Leica!

There are others that fit in between the above, but the ones I mentioned are the main players that you are likely to come across easily. It is a completely different way of working to SLRs or EVILs, and it's a bit like Marmite. One thing's for sure, if you get the bug, it can cost a lot of money!!

Edit: Haha, I see Paul got in first!!


Nick
Nick_Hilton 9 556 2 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 12:20AM
Paul, Nick thankyou for the replies.
Paul - after looking at the link you sent I now have information overoad !

I am looking for something not to difficult to use in fact the more automatic the better.
Also can you give me a clue what kind of prices I should be paying for some of the models?

I had already discounted a leica M series before this post !
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
26 Feb 2013 2:09AM

Quote:am looking for something not to difficult to use in fact the more automatic the better


In that case how about a trip, its not a range finder but it is a lot of fun.

Car boots, charity shops, Ebay or here.

http://www.tripman.co.uk/

I`ve learnt through practice I can get pretty accurate exposers using advanced sunny sixteen rules, no exposer meter or in built metering needed.

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
26 Feb 2013 8:04AM

Quote:As i'm young I missed out of the film era and went straight to digital. I'm interested in learning to take pictures on a film rangefinder. There are loads to choose from including Russian copies can anyone recommend one to get me started.

Not a bad advice from Sooty - not much to add hardware-wise. Other things to consider would be:
- film processing (look if you have a good lab around, their prices, etc.);
-what to do with the film (lab prints, budget film scanner - I would recommend scanning the film and further computer processing of image );
-films availability and price;
My personal favourite is B&W film photography, colour film will have no edge over digital image and therefore( as for me) not really worth amateur money spent on it. Professional film photography is different story - but that would be too fiddly and expensive as for a beginner.
andart 12 491 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 12:02PM
how about a fed 4 for 25

built like a tank ( and almost weighing the sameWink).
pablophotographer 3 496 187
26 Feb 2013 2:26PM
My uncle had a Fujica SE35 Rangefinder, fixed lens. I have used it a couple of times, great camera, light as well. I think you are going to love two things form it, The film lever sits st the bottom of the camera (raise your hands, imagininng you hold a camera with your two hands and you are ready to press the shutter with your index. Aren;t your thumbs sitting lower than your index? taht's why the lever is at the bottom, genius!) , The second is the distance setting , which can be done again by the thumb, it's easy!) it is worth considering and it may be about your paying price. GO FOR IT. I have found a review for it here: http://wkoopmans.ca/notebook/?tag=fujica Good luck!
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
26 Feb 2013 2:57PM
Yashica Minister III - also a fixed lens rangefinder. My first decent camera. Had it for 11 years - my parents borrowed it and broke it! Sad

1-yashica-minister-iii.jpg

Pete e2
13 18.7k 96 England
26 Feb 2013 3:52PM
The Olympus 35RC, as Paul suggests, was brilliant. Small in its day, superb lens and wonderful build. A budget alternative with an equally sharp lens was the Ricoh 500RF (the did a multiple exposure version too called the 500ME). I've owned both. The Ricoh didn't feel quite as well built but is often much cheaper and very good all the same.

Also check out Canonettes. They were a bit big for my liking but really robust and full manual control.
canonette.jpg

Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
26 Feb 2013 6:00PM

Quote:A budget alternative with an equally sharp lens was the Ricoh 500RF


I have a 500ST but these aren`t strictly rangefinders, there zone focusing camera`s.

But there small and quite good.


Quote:Also can you give me a clue what kind of prices I should be paying for some of the models?


I wish I could, prices tend to be all over the place, I paid 3.99 for my SP, but I see them going for quite ridiculous prices.
Nick_Hilton 9 556 2 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 6:07PM
So many to choose from ! However can I ask are all of them fully manual.

I am leaning towards the Olympus 35RC which most people think is a decent choice.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
26 Feb 2013 6:10PM
Yes it has both AE and manual.

http://filmadvance.com/2011/11/favourite-cameras-olympus-35rc/

http://www.jameslpearson.co.uk/2012/04/30/olympus-35rc-fuji-neopan-1600-leeds-photographers-get-together/
pablophotographer 3 496 187
26 Feb 2013 6:28PM

Quote:So many to choose from ! However can I ask are all of them fully manual.

we'll excuse you that Nick, yes you will have to laod the film and advance it, and collect it back yourself. I think most of them have a delay shutter button too so the photographer finds time to get in the picture. Enjoy. I still feel you should go for the Fujica SE35, it's beautifully different and well made.
Nick_Hilton 9 556 2 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2013 6:41PM
Just need to find one or win one on ebay!

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