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Cheap 35mm rangfinder
Old 01-24-2006   #1
Zack
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Cheap 35mm rangfinder

So i find myself in a photography class my senior year of high school, and i walk in only to find out the teacher wants eevrything to be taken on either a point and shoot 35mm or a point and shoot digital. I have a complete darkroom setup in my basement from my dad, and have been taking and developing pictures since i was a freshman. After explaining this to the teacher he told me i could use my own camera but all prints had to be made at school on 5x7 RC. I learned on a nikon slr but a year ago a bought a fuji gsw690II and now can never go back to the cumbersome slr. The enlargers at school only cover 35 so the point of my post is to ask what is a good cheap 35mm rangefinder i could buy to use only for this semester(short term) and then when its over go back to the fuji.

Thanks for your time,
Zack
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Old 01-24-2006   #2
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Canonet ql17 GIII,
Yashica Electro GSN come to mind
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Old 01-24-2006   #3
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[quote=Zack]So i find myself in a photography class my senior year of high school, and i walk in only to find out the teacher wants eevrything to be taken on either a point and shoot 35mm or a point and shoot digital. /QUOTE]

You've got to be kidding me!
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Old 01-24-2006   #4
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What Chaser said, and in addition an Olympus RC or Minolta 7s or 7sII.
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Old 01-24-2006   #5
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My vote is for the QL-17, but you could just make a contact print. A 6x9 on 5x7 might look pretty nice.
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Old 01-24-2006   #6
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I agree with all above, especially Sedaku's suggestion of contact printing. I'll add my favourite fixed-lens RF, the Olympus 35 SP.

If you can buy something locally and not rely on eBay, it would be good. No need to be riskier than necessary. If purchased locally, you can get a return privilege after shooting a test roll.

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Old 01-24-2006   #7
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thanks for the suggestions, yeah the school did a very interesting job of budgeting money, instead of buying good enlargers or something they choose to buy 2 mac g4's for photoshop purposes, one cannon dslr for the whole class to use and then like a bunch or 4 megapixel point and shoots and 35 point and shoots. as far as buying locally there is a camera expo coming up in mid febuary but i dont really wanna wait that long and the only 35 rangefinder stuff ive seen at the shops around my house is 2 m6 bodies. Yeah i thought about the contact printbecause my dad has a wista dx 4x5 so i thought about bringing in a sheet and doing a contact print just to see if he would notice the quality. i guess ill be xchecking ebay unless anyone has anything for sale
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Old 01-24-2006   #8
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Now that I'm over my shock of the photo course being shot on P&S's, I'll second all the suggestions for a Canonet QL17 GIII. Never used a Yashica GSN, but I've never heard anything bad about them.

If I were you, I'd post a "Want to Buy" thread in the Classified section here. You'll have a better chance of getting a model in good working condition there than on Ebay.
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Old 01-24-2006   #9
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Here's an offer you can't refuse (well, maybe you can): I happen to have a Konica S2 fixed-lens rangefinder I can simply give you, so long as you cover the cost of getting it to you (probably not much via USPS). Main caveat is that I'm not certain just how well the metering system works, but it might be worth a try for a lark. Just a way-out thought...
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Old 01-24-2006   #10
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Yes, id be interested in that, the metering is not a big deal because i can just test it agaisnt my spotmeter and if it the meter doesnt work use the spot meter like i always do. i would be more concerned on if the shutter speeds are accurate. i live in chicago. im not sure how much shipping would be or how to calculate it without knowing the weight of the package.
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Old 01-24-2006   #11
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A photography class using point-and-shoots only? Good heavens, how are you supposed to learn what photography is all about? Granted, you can learn a lot about composition but without knowing what the camera is doing... <shudder>... OK I'll stop now. From the camera in your signature I'm guessing that I'm preaching to the choir.

Back on topic, the Konica S2 would be a great choice (and a princely offer on it, I might add). Figure shipping weight for that camera would probably be around 2 lbs.; it's probably guessing on the high side and the camera itself is about a pound if it's anything like my Konica C35.
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Old 01-24-2006   #12
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Its actually quite comical hearing him try to explain things. he starts saying something then realizes he might actually get into some kind of detail so he stops and switches subjects for example

"yeah so an important thing about the camera is aperture, thats a fancy name for opening, moving on"

"yeah so your gonna make a print so yeah just use uh f8 yeah just move it all the over then 3 clicks back and uh if its to dark or something use a filter uh there is 1 to 5 so yeah moving on"

but im definatly excited about this s2, after a year of using a rangefinder i picked up my old slr and was like woah this stinks.
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Old 01-24-2006   #13
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Good heavens! The horror! I hope you don't have to pay for that course.

My choice? A real P&S, the Oly Mju. Cheap and wonderful, with great fixed lens. You could do worse than that.

Anyway, good luck on your course. And I do hope you get to shoot the Fuji and print a shoot the way you like it. I'm curious to hear how teach' regarded it, compaired to the other prints.
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Old 01-24-2006   #14
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try the russian FED 2. alot of good deals on ebay.
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Old 01-25-2006   #15
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Go and teach your teacher.

I think he/she is trying not to break the banks of people who are not as lucky as you are. A $25 FSU may be just too $$ for some. However, I doubt what he/she can teach except from composition using P&S.
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Old 01-25-2006   #16
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THe cost thing isnt it either because for a developing tank like 8 rolls of arista film and 100 sheets of 5x7 rc and some neg sleeves it was $60. so its still a little steep, today he dropped the bomb that half of what we shoot MUST be digital and morphed in photoshop. he said might consider letting me scan print or negs instead of used a digital camera but he would prefer if i didnt. oh and when he says morphed he doesnt just mean burning the sky or something he means like take a bald eagle and photoshop it into the desert.
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Old 01-25-2006   #17
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The FSU are the cheapest usually and they r good, i've 2 feds...Zorki or Zenit should be cheaper, i dono what is it like where u r, but i think it's not gonna be so different, just that the zenit is kinda big...
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Old 01-25-2006   #18
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Your instructor sounds like an idiot to me. Bet the work out of that class will be pretty ugly in most cases. Go for the S2, great lens. It will weigh over a pound for shipping, at least 2 lbs. Blow him away with good pictures, then hit him in the head with the s2.
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Old 01-25-2006   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkirchge
A photography class using point-and-shoots only? Good heavens, how are you supposed to learn what photography is all about?
I never took photography in HS. However, some friends of mine who went to another school took a course in photography and the one rule was that all assignments had to be taken with a specific kind of very cheap box camera.

Why? Because the instructor wanted them to concentrate on composition and such, as opposed to how to use the features on a fancy camera, plus, it leveled the playing field, those who were better off did not have the advangage of nicer equipment.

I assume this is for the same reason, the box camera was the P&S of the era.

Oh, and back on topic, I further recomend the QL17 GIII. It's not P&S, but a very good camera and you can find them quite easily.
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Old 01-25-2006   #20
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A GIII QL-17 will not disappoint you later, either. Maye you're not really into 35mm, and that's fine, but I can almost guarantee you, a camera that nice has an appeal that'll get you to shoot it AT LEAST once after.
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Old 01-25-2006   #21
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Wow—point-n-shoot digital in a photo class. What is the world coming to. In my day, you signed up for yearbook and were issued a K1000, a copy of Upton and Upton, and a brick of TriX. You mixed D76 in an unventalated room and printed with Dektol while your lab instructor smoked PalMals in the chemical storage room.

That aside—I'd go with something other than the GSN. I have one and love it, but for a photo class, I'd pick on with fully manual settings. But it sounds like you are already beyond the basics of exposure. If you don't mind the aperture priority approach, go with the GSN. It's fast, accurate, and the lens lends a nice quality to color photos in even the nastiest lighting situations.

Good luck,
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Old 01-25-2006   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmr
I never took photography in HS. However, some friends of mine who went to another school took a course in photography and the one rule was that all assignments had to be taken with a specific kind of very cheap box camera.

Why? Because the instructor wanted them to concentrate on composition and such, as opposed to how to use the features on a fancy camera, plus, it leveled the playing field, those who were better off did not have the advangage of nicer equipment.

I assume this is for the same reason, the box camera was the P&S of the era.

Oh, and back on topic, I further recomend the QL17 GIII. It's not P&S, but a very good camera and you can find them quite easily.
This is a very good idea for a creative photography class. It's why I think that it would be interesting to give a certain group of high school photo buffs a LCA or a Holga and let them go to work with either some cheapo color or black and white film.

It would be a supplemental class to another more technical one, though. Composition is the most important thing in photography, but learning the basics of how aperture affects shutter speed and the reverse is also important.
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Old 01-25-2006   #23
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The only other suggestion I have would be forwarding this thread to your teacher. If you have the means to use a better camera, by all means use it. What does you father have to say?
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Old 01-25-2006   #24
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I dont think that leveling the playing field this is what hes going for because he encourages the use of our own camera or the 2 slrs the school has. i definatly agree that while no one in the class would benifit from lecures explaining the zone system, basic exposure and aperture lessons should be taught.
i guess photo classes just arnt what they used to be, after tell this all to my old man he told me stories of how he took a class from garry winogrand and he never saw him without a cigarette in his mouth.
I also just learned that you can obtain a degree in photojournalism at the university of missouri school of journalism without ever using a film camera or making a wet darkroom print.
What is this world coming too
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Old 01-25-2006   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RML
Good heavens! The horror! I hope you don't have to pay for that course.

My choice? A real P&S, the Oly Mju. Cheap and wonderful, with great fixed lens. You could do worse than that.

In the US, the Olympus Mju is known as the Epic. The basic, non-zoom with a 35mm lens goes for about $80 new. It meets your instructor's directive for a "point & shoot" but its a good camera. I keep mine in the glove compartment of my car & throw it into my carry on for traveling (when I don't want to haul my other stuff with me). Can't go wrong with this one.
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Old 01-25-2006   #26
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There's also the Olympus XA--if you're gonna go small, go small camera too

I'd advise not to waste your time in the class. What I mean is, find something you can learn from the teacher and explore that. Or, move on now and take something else, something you'll get more out of.
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Old 01-25-2006   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack
today he dropped the bomb that half of what we shoot MUST be digital and morphed in photoshop. he said might consider letting me scan print or negs instead of used a digital camera but he would prefer if i didnt. oh and when he says morphed he doesnt just mean burning the sky or something he means like take a bald eagle and photoshop it into the desert.
At this point, I would begin to wonder whether or not this is really a photography class. After all, how many jobs for photographers would look kindly on Photoshop skills? Good luck on the class, I feel for you.

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Old 01-25-2006   #28
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I think my new plan is to recreate a carier-bresson picture infront of the school, with the school sign showing and say that its for the features part of my "portfolio". iwould be really surious to see if he says anything about it.
as far as getting out of the class, thats close to impossible, the schedules are pretty much locked in so im stuck. im sure i can find ways to occupy my time
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Old 01-25-2006   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob
Your instructor sounds like an idiot to me. Bet the work out of that class will be pretty ugly in most cases. Go for the S2, great lens. It will weigh over a pound for shipping, at least 2 lbs. Blow him away with good pictures, then hit him in the head with the s2.
Rob: This dude wouldn't know good photo from his arse.
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Old 01-26-2006   #30
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Just for a quick update, the teacher pretty much informed us that he was done teaching today (the 4th day of class) and now we just have to take pictures at school. the only catch is that hallways are "closed" meaning very little traffic and very little interesting things.

On a side note does anyone know if the konica s2 uses a mercury battery?
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Old 01-26-2006   #31
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IS there a battery alternative or am i S.O.L?
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Old 01-26-2006   #32
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Zack,

I am willing to send you a Canonet 28, this camera has been CLA'd by greyhoundman, and he has tweaked it so it no longer needs mercury batteries.

your job is to pass the class [this may be harder than we think, if you show the instructor you know more than he does....] and send it back to me.

PM me with your address if you are interested
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Old 01-26-2006   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack
I think my new plan is to recreate a carier-bresson picture infront of the school, with the school sign showing and say that its for the features part of my "portfolio". iwould be really surious to see if he says anything about it.
as far as getting out of the class, thats close to impossible, the schedules are pretty much locked in so im stuck. im sure i can find ways to occupy my time
I like this idea. Go for it!!!

But, does the instructor know who HCB is? I would really like to see some of the work produced by your instructor.
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Old 01-26-2006   #34
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Quote:
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Just for a quick update, the teacher pretty much informed us that he was done teaching today (the 4th day of class) and now we just have to take pictures at school. the only catch is that hallways are "closed" meaning very little traffic and very little interesting things.
Major lazy a**ed dork. Has he shown the class any prints of his own - digital or wet - to at least give you the illusion that _HE_ has any grasp of the fundementals? Can you drop that POS class?

If I were in your shoes I'd blatently bring my Speed Graphic (w/ RF coupled 127/4.5), a graphmatic loaded with Tri-X 320, and contact print the negs on Chicago Alubumen Works POP. All shots for class would be taken out of school, I might add. The digitial requirement would definately get me into major rebellion mode. Hell, I'd probably break out the light saber flash and my last handfull of GE #5's just because of that...

I had a chem teacher in HS who had previously been a Chemical Engineer in industry so everyone presumed he had to know what he was talking about. I think he got fired for incompetence as he couldn't teach his way out of a paper bag. I intentionally blew the year end final; I think I accidently put down the correct answer to two questions (this was 24 years ago this spring, so it's a little fuzzy around the edges.) But I also knew that the school district had a chem exam after the final where they compared all the students in the city. I had the highest grade in the city on that exam... An F student aceing the hardest test of the year

That caused a very big stink that the school administration had a very difficult time with once the school board learned of that discrepency. Were I in your place today, I would work very hard to create the same kind of situation. Now, I am _not_ advising you to do so. In this current political climate that punishes dissent severly, it wouldn't be a good idea if you want to have a profitable future. But I'd still do it if I were in that situation today.

To help your current situation be a wee bit better, I will happily loan you my Kiev 4a and my prewar (as in pre-WWII) uncoated collapsible CZJ 50/2 Sonnar. It's a delightful lens to use, especially the way uncoated lenses handle modern color emulsions. If you're interested, PM me your address.

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Old 01-27-2006   #35
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Thanks for all the offers on the cameras, but that konica s2 is already on the way. As far as the teacher he never actually studied photography. he wanted to be a journalist but that never really panned out i guess so teaching was he back up plan. so he doesnt have a protfolio or anything, i guess they just let him teach because they figure he knows slightly more than the kids in the class, which was a good plan untill i walked in. so i would guess that he has no idea who HCB is. i think ive found away out of the digital though, in the far corner of the classroom i noticed a nikon coolpix film scanner, like top of the line stuff and i asked him if we could use it. he said yes but he didnt know how to use it so i had to teach myself. i said thats fine and then left to go "take pictures". ill just buy a bunch of ektachrome and scan it in, then do all the morphing thats necessary in photoshop. at least then i dont have to use a digital.
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Last edited by Zack : 01-27-2006 at 19:41.
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Old 01-27-2006   #36
darkkavenger
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That's really appalling Good luck man!
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Old 01-27-2006   #37
Dracotype
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zack
As far as the teacher he never actually studied photography. he wanted to be a journalist but that never really panned out i guess so teaching was he back up plan. so he doesnt have a protfolio or anything, i guess they just let him teach because they figure he knows slightly more than the kids in the class, which was a good plan untill i walked in. so i would guess that he has no idea who HCB is.
The more you tell about this guy, the more it begins to make sense . I mean, if he had a degree in something that even slightly related to photography, I might respect him. But I guess this is not the case.

I guess his ignorance would even extend to W. Eugene Smith. Too bad.

Oh, and before I forget, when you do your PS'ing, use all your less than perfect photos. It is more fun to use those than to ruin an already good one.

Drew
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Old 01-27-2006   #38
Zack
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Yeah, i believe his degree is in journalism so i guess the school just thought journalism = Photojournalism. Yeah im really unenthusiastic about the whole photoshop thing. Im really pissed because the school has an entire course dedicated to digital photography/ photoshop. I guess ill just make the best of it and try to work around the digital the best i can. I'll be sure to keep everyone updated as far as funny quotes or something.
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