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Advice needed for rangefinder film cameras

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by pharaviel, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Daniele Frizzi
    Hello mu43 guys (and gals). I'm trying to launch a little project in the photoclub I'm into.
    We have 2 35mm enlargers, lots of expired ilford paper and I would like to buy rangefinder cameras for experimenting with some young members and print our images. Enlarger and paper works fine, I printed something of my own but I wanted to use and to teach a more "basic", old feel camera than my F4 and F90 Nikons.

    So...I'm open to suggestion about this kind of cameras. 35mm only because our enlargers can't be used for 120 rolls.

    I would like to buy 2-3 cameras. I would like fixed lenses rf or interchangable lenses rf (in this case I would grab three different lenses so we can exchange them). CHEAP is the key, I don't think they would pay more than 50€ each camera (I could spend 150-200 for mine).

    Any experience or advice you can give to me?

    Thanks :thumbup:

    Daniele Frizzi
  2. gsk3

    gsk3 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 29, 2012
  3. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Perhaps you folks can find a cheap Canonet or Yashica..
  4. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Since rangefinders have recently made a come back for cllections and users, I highly recommend against them for a 50 buck budget. If you can pull it off, the closest choice will be the Canonet ql17 (i have a dozen inmmy collection with about 70% in working condition). Two things to note. Batteries will drive cost up as they are mercury batteries that are no longer made. There are other work arounds but they all involve batteries that are not relatively available for cheap (675 hearing aid batteries with rubber O rings). The seals arouend the film door will also be sticky and need to be replaced. Easy to do yourself BUT finding material for the seal can be difficult. I also specifically mentioned the ql17 ,odel because it cam be used without a battery. The Canonet 28 for example is limited without its battery.

    I still think the best choice would bemthe old Asahi or Pentax spotmatics or K1000. There were so many made for decades. Copies (Ricoh) are still made today. The market is saturated so they can be found cheap. They are all mechanical so its just trying to figure out exposure on your own.

    So pretty much look for dead mounts with mechanical bodies.
  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    One thing to keep in mind. The meters in many of these old cameras were designed for mercury batteries, which can't be sold anymore. Why does this matter?

    Mercury cells had the unique property of maintaining a steady voltage until the end of their useful life, at which point voltage dropped off a cliff. So cameras designed around these batteries generally didn't use any kind of voltage regulation. While you may be able to find modern batteries that will fit, the metering will get less and less accurate as the battery wears down and voltage gradually declines.

    For that reason, I'd suggest a more modern camera that uses silver cells, which are still available. Canon FD mount film cameras (like the AE-1) and lenses are dirt cheap, largely because FD mount lenses can't be used on current Canon DSLRs.


    There are Pentax, Minolta, Nikon and other SLRs from the same era, but I don't know much about specific models.
  6. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Daniele Frizzi
    Thanks for the link, an interesting reading!

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    Thanks for the battery tip!

    Thanks for the tip!

    Well... I decided after some reading to pull the trigger and risk some money on this: eBay Italia - Aste online e shopping a prezzo fisso
    The one I like the most is the Hi Matic 7s and I stumbled on this lot while searching for one to buy here in Italy. The cheapest one was 60 for the camera +10 for s&h, and I spent 69 on the lot (add 14 euros for taxes I'm going to pay to italian post). I just hope a couple of that cameras are in nice working order
    and I'll be happy. Maybe sell some of the unused one :) 
  7. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
  8. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Daniele Frizzi
    Just pulled the trigger on some Minolta fixed lens rangefinders, but if the lot is working some of the cameras are going back to ebay... and I could get a fed or a kiev :) 
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