wanted to get back into film photography and need a cheap recommendation.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by colbycheese, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    So I has been a while since i shot film and i wanted to get back into it with a new camera. I was thinking of something as light as possible, so my first thought was a rangefinder. They are fun to use and are somewhat different than the regular old slr that i have used in the past. Anyways, i was wondering if anyone had a good cheap recommendation for a film rangefinder. Thank you
  2. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    Get a poor man's Leics - Zeiss Ikon.
  3. listers_nz

    listers_nz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2013
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Real Name:
    Here's some options for you :)

    The Olympus Trip 35 is hard to beat for an easy to use camera that takes great photos, but there is no through the viewfinger rangefinder focus
    The Yashica Electro 35 CCN is the best of the three in my opinion - the plain Electro 35 model is more plentiful, but somewhat large, and the CC & CCN models have the 35mm 1.8 lens.
    The Hanimex (clone of the Ricoh 500G) is supposed to be a good little camera also, but I haven't tried it out yet as it is in need of a bit of TLC first.
  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:

    almost same size as any rangefinder, you can use some of the lenses on your m43 (if you want) and they are well priced and reliable. $100 will get you a good body, $25 more for a 50mm lens. 28mm are cheap (and good) too and 100mm tele will not set you back much either. All good lenses to use on m43 too.

    I love mine

    PS: something taken with OM1 + 28mm on neg and on my m43 camera

    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
  5. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    Biggest problem with a 70's rangefinder is age. Those leaf shutters and aperture blades start to stick. I know some of mine have been sitting there for 10 years.

    Canon, Minolta, Konica, Yashica, Olympus...I have about 20 in total and almost all of them have issues.
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Real Name:
    Andrew Lossing
    Konica C35. Fantastic little lens. They're automatic but if you get the right version you can pick aperture settings manually. Tiny, fun and classic little camera.
  7. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
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  8. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    Real Name:
    Lots of cheap good film cameras around.

    A lot of the 70s/80s Canon and Nikon SLRs are pretty cheap and very capable and there is a ton of available lenses for them.

    Also, the venerable Pentax K1000 and the Minolta X700/X570/X500 series are very nice as are the Olympus OM1/OM2/OM2n. If you want to get into Contax/Zeiss lenses, instead of buying a Contax body which are pricier, you can opt for a Yashica FD series body which accept the same C/Y lens mount.

    I just bought myself a mint Olympus Trip 35 last weekend and it's a wonderful little compact with a very sharp lens which requires zone focusing. For the price, it's hard to go wrong.

    Then there is the Canon QL17 which has seen a resurgence and is quite a capable compact rangefinder.
  9. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    Real Name:
    I'll make you a deal on an XA2.

    Last edited: Jun 8, 2015
  10. EricRose

    EricRose Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 2, 2014
    The upper 12
    Real Name:
    Eric Rose
    The Bessa R series is a great bargain RF system. If you can find a Minolta RF that is working they are great as well.
  11. quatchi

    quatchi Mu-43 Veteran

    May 17, 2012
    Munich, Germany
    How about a Rollei 35? They are not expensive and usually work without any flaws. There is only one knwon issue. The light meter takes a mercury battery wich is out of production. The light meter, however, can be adapted to a different battery type. It set me back around 50€ including internal cleaning of the camera. In case you do not want to use any light meter, you are fine to go without it.

  12. ThereAndBackAgain

    ThereAndBackAgain Fighting GAS

    May 26, 2014
    North Devon, England
    Real Name:
    X2 for the Olympus XA/XA2. True shirt-pocket cameras with lovely lenses. I get tempted back every time I see one.
  13. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    The OM-1 is a good body for the most part, the only real downside is almost all of them used mercury batteries thus you need a little adapter to use silver oxide (or change the ISO, it will read around one stop high without adapter). Shutter is fully mechanical and works without battery.

    I have a few of the OM series however I only really use the 2sp now as it has all the automatic functions as needed and spot metered manual, the downside to it is the batteries only last around a year (well known battery drain 'problem', the fix is to spend $2 a year on new batteries). Upside is they're very cheap - people dismiss them because of the well known battery 'problem' and go for the more expensive 4ti which means you can get a brand new 2sp for 1/3th the price of a beater 4.

    The 35RC is another decent camera although I think they're too popular currently on the used market so there's a bit of a price premium, if I wanted a small rangefinder along those lines I would probably go for a Minolta 7sii (if they haven't been used in a long time they do need a service as the light meter gums up with oil... it's mechanical). The Rollei 35 are nice and compact as mentioned above however it's scale focus only and the battery is inside so if it goes flat you can't replace it mid roll (you have to have some tradeoff for being so small). I personally think the XA is a better more user friendly camera for the most part (although the rangefinder patch is a bit small compared to large bodies, again... tradeoffs for being so small).

    I have to admit that I don't use 35mm as much as I should as medium format is pretty addictive once you start (the Fujifilm GS645 series are all absolutely amazing, likewise for 670/690 etc) and have recently been toying with a 4x5 rangefinder press camera for laughs. Basically most things are cheap compared to their original retail prices and if they're working there's no such thing as a bad camera, even the most basic glass can take a fantastic picture.
  14. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    The Mamiya 7 is a great rangefinder plus it uses 120 film.
  15. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:

    those press cameras are pretty good stuff. Basically once you see scanned 4x5 taken with care (tripod, shutter release, no wind) you'll be stunned. Even an older epson flatbed scanner (like a 4870 or 4900) will do a good 2000 dpi, which with 4x5 inches is 10,000 x 8,000 pixels (80 good megapixels).

    I just had two 40 inch prints done and they were fantastic. Even the people at the printers commented how sharp they were.

    4x5 negative has the advantage that you can take one or two shots (don't need to use a whole roll), and then develop in tubes (BTZS) and thus only need a darkened room for loading the tubes. Compared to drum its really cheap to get into and you don't have the steaking issues some drums do.

    here is an older scan of one of them:

    I think clicking it will give a better size

    your press camera will give results much better than 645 can ever do because you have so much more area to work with that lens issues vanish from the equation as indeed does scanner accuracy. As you get smaller negs you need a more accurate scanner.

    D76 developer is cheap.

    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
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  16. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Real Name:
    I like Minolta Hi-Matic rangefinders. I'm partial to the Hi-Matic E, but it's just focus and shoot. (You have a little control over exposure by setting the film speed.) The older Hi-Matic 7S and 9 were great cameras with both automatic and manual exposure, but they're big. The Hi-Matic 7S II followed the E and was a modern, small rangefinder with both manual and automatic exposure. Then there came a line of autofocus Hi-Matics that I don't know anything about.

    For a more modern camera, very compact, with autofocus and autoexposure, try the Olympus Stylus Epic a/k/a Mju-II.

    In my opinion, the great lure of film is not film, but the fantastic film cameras you can get today for a small fraction of their original price.
  17. DougVaughn

    DougVaughn Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2013
    Franklin, TN
    Real Name:
    Doug Vaughn
    Gryphon, that Yashica Lynx is a beauty. I bought a Yashica Model D TLR a few months ago and have run a few rolls of film through it. Quite a few images turned out well, but some appeared to show small light leaks. I sent it to Mark Hama for an overhaul, and he called me today to say it would be coming back my way tomorrow. Can't wait to play some more, knowing it will work like new.

    I'm wanting to get my hands on one of the old press cameras. Most I see look well worn since they were heavily used and abused in their heyday. I'll just have to break down and shell out the bucks for an excellent copy one of these days.
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  18. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Don't worry too much about the look of them, all that matters is the lens on the lens board really. The latest lens I've fed the addiction with is a 135mm Rodenstock Sironar-S that I got in almost new condition for $200 (it's not the original shutter so it's missing the aperture scale, it's otherwise flawless), you can get some of the finest glass ever made for peanuts these days.
  19. Aushiker

    Aushiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 12, 2014
    Fremantle, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    I don't if the cameras listed in these two posts [1] and [2] over at Japan Camera Hunter count as cheap or not but the blog was suggested at Forever Film so it might worth a read.

  20. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Real Name:
    I have a mint Minolta x-700 with a couple of nice lenses. PM me if you're interested. We have two and photographed many of the highlights of our lives with them. Would love to see one go to someone wanting to give it new life.

    Here's a sample taken with it 25 years ago. Poorly scanned to digital, but you can see the richness it provides.
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