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midsize classic camera request
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Lobo
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midsize classic camera request

Hi,
i shot and collected analogue cameras for around 10 years now. i had around 50 cameras, and reduced my collection for private reasons, but i got the feeling i gave away too much of them. Since i started again with analogue photography i try to build a minimalistic arsenal for various usage:

I'm looking for a midsize camera between my Pentax MX (for Photowalks) and my Minox ML (as Everyday carry camera). Like a Olympus Trip size and weight wise. A camera for strolling around without the need to photography, when there is nothing worth to burn the rolls through. Just there, when needed..

Technical:
a camera for quick, uncomplicated use, still a little bit of creative options if needed, halfautomatic exposer (AP or SP), Rangefinder or Scalefocusing.

Apperance:
as a collector and a museumworker, i am more interested in the times they resemble. So a 1950s and 1960s camera with their distinctive, curvy chrome look is good. e.g Kodak Retinette. Whats not on my list are 1970s compact rangefinders, as their boxy appearance is not the timeperiod im interessted.

I cant imagin a camera that can match my request (or i forgot it). Did you know more than me?
cheers
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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In terms of appearance I suspect you would like the Voigtlander Vito and Vitomatic series. Their Color Skopar and Ultron lenses are great. If you go in that direction make sure their Prontor shutters are working well.


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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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Something like these, perhaps?


Wirgin Edixa II by Mike Novak, on Flickr


Wirgin Edinex III with 50/2 Xenon lens. by Mike Novak, on Flickr


Olympus 35 by Mike Novak, on Flickr


Minolta Auto Wide by Mike Novak, on Flickr


Ansco Super Memar with f2 Solagon lens. by Mike Novak, on Flickr
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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Oh dear, as I read your post the first camera that popped into my head was an Olympus RC.
But I see you have restricted your choices from 50’s to 60’s and the RC is from the 70’s. Too bad, it matches your handling and exposure preference.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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Kodak Retina series. I'm partial to the II's. IIa?



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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
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Automatic exposure severely limits your choices of cameras from the 50’s, except for a small handful, even those with meters were of the uncoupled variety. If you can live with an uncoupled meter in a viewfinder camera, the Kodak Signet 50 would be a charming choice, while the Beauty Beaumat rangefinder has a singular quirky early space-age charm.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
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My first choices might a Retina II (knob wind) or a Voigtlander Vitessa.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Zeiss Ikon Contessa

https://cameraquest.com/contessa.htm
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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No automatic mode - but another vote for an early 1950's Retina IIa.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Just get LTM Leica and learn how to use it. You will not find anything working in AV, TV mode from 50-ies and 60-ies.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Well, it is from 70-ies... Ricoh 500g
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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What you're looking for isn't mid-sized, it's tiny for a 35. I don't think there was a Trip-sized 35mm full frame camera before the Trip, which was touted being as small as a half frame, except perhaps the very early Retinas. And earlier AE cameras were somewhat primitive and all larger. Actually the Trip IS a 60s design, as is the EC family and SP. I wouldn't call these boxy, but they aren't curvy either.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Assuming your budget extends to it, I am very partial to the earlier Canon rangefinders (of course you need a lens for it too as they are not a fixed lens camera). They are just so nice to use, reliable and solid (build quality as good or better than a Leica) and not too expensive for what they are. Examples include:



And a video about these kind of cameras.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvA4o_fkyWA

And this video of some guy's collection of old rangefinder cameras may provide some other options.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKlYcyV8RTM

and this one - mainly 1960s era fixed lens rf cameras.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8hZ7aD2JjE
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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And then this mid-60s beauty. Half-frame. Auto-exposure, scale focus.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Why not just get a Trip 35?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
What you're looking for isn't mid-sized, it's tiny for a 35. I don't think there was a Trip-sized 35mm full frame camera before the Trip, which was touted being as small as a half frame, except perhaps the very early Retinas. And earlier AE cameras were somewhat primitive and all larger. Actually the Trip IS a 60s design, as is the EC family and SP. I wouldn't call these boxy, but they aren't curvy either.
The Olympus 35 that I posted earlier is smaller than the Trip, and it is from the 1950's. Certo also made a nice diminutive 35mm rangefinder folder.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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Voigtlander Vitessa-L with Ultron 50mm/2

Oh wait, that is the camera that I want.



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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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I'm surprised that no one has suggested the Olympus 35RC (maybe someone has I didn't read the replies to closely). You have both automatic exposure (shutter priority), and complete manual. It is small as the Trip with a little more versatility with a coupled RF (and no bellows). Be sure you get a good one like all consumer models they could need work.

flash unit by John Carter, on Flickr

Sorry it is early 70s and dead square.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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Do any of these float your boat?

Yashica Minister II


Minolta Minoltina-P (or one of the other Minoltas on this page)


Kodak Retina Automatic III


Agfa Optima 200 (or other Optima)


Voigtlander Vito Automatic
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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Could you think of 1/2 frame cameras?
What about the Olympus EE series cameras which, though they are not full 35mm frame, seem to fit all your requirements. The quality of their lenses is excellent and prices are affordable.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #21
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This Forum is great, lots of winnercameras here for me. I owned some of them, some are on my list to fumble with.

The Olympus Pen is exactly my taste, designwise. Reminds me on the 1960s as a prosperationtime, like vespas, bikinis and holidays in italy. I bought the trip for its similar meaning and fullframe. Wish just the framecounter had the same round speedometerstyled ones, found on the Pen.

The Olympus RC is technically good, had two, but never got warm with it. Perhaps they are too "technicalstyled". Also some rolls came underexposed, so they where gone. Same to the Konica C35 and other compact RFs.

The Kodak Retinas and Voigtländers have great lens Still quit heavy piece of metal. Worth to look out for one.

Agfa Optimas and Silettes have not that great lenses. The Optima 200 Sensor looks like a shift from the traditional round chrome to more modern shapes, to catch up the Japanese companys.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #22
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The Welta Welti or Weltini should be worth looking at, but you are looking for interchangeable lenses like the Retinetes, the Weltas don't have that. They are nice cameras though.

The Olympus XA or XA 3 might be worth looking at. I don't think either would too far from what you are looking for. The problem would be their probable cost since the XA series are sort of cult cameras and so costly. The other problem is ensuring you can get a working models. If you can they are small and light and deliver good photos.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #23
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I second the Kodak IIA, but the Signet 35 is also a small camera with a fantastic lens and a funky exposure calculator on the back. Then there is the Ricoh 35G
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #24
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Nescon 35, Samoca 35II, Bolsey B2/Jubilee.


Honestly, screw built in exposure meters, they weren't that great new, and are just about the dumbest thing ever by this age. Do it by eye, or carry a meter.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #25
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Forget those cameras with puny selenium light meters and leaky bellows. The Rollei 35 is small, stylish and delivers great pictures:


Yes, not only Sony can make "Full Frame" cameras! In a compact yet sturdy package, the Rollei 35 features all the best components that were available in 1966 at the time of its official launch: Rollei frame, Gossen lightmeter, Compur shutter and Zeiss lens.


The lens is really good (either the Tessar or the later Sonnar) and scale focusing is not a problem with a 40mm focal length. The camera is quite pocketable and I find it rather stylish too:


It's not me on the photo, but I have the same 35S, which I consider the best model: I love Sonnar lenses, and I find very convenient to have the exposure meter needle on the top cover (the newer 35SE and 35TE models have a couple of LEDs in the viewfinder instead). This way, I can preset my camera by looking at it from above (camera on my lap, on a table or on my wrist) and, only when I am ready to shoot, I can bring it to my eye, frame the picture and press the release in a fraction of a second.

And did I mention the lovely 40mm lens, my favorite focal length?

Cheers!

Abbazz
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tunalegs View Post
Nescon 35, Samoca 35II, Bolsey B2/Jubilee.


Honestly, screw built in exposure meters, they weren't that great new, and are just about the dumbest thing ever by this age. Do it by eye, or carry a meter.
Yeah, absolutely. The Trip 35 I had was forever under exposing - either because the simple metering wasn't that good in the first place and/or the selenium cell was fading.
I now use a Voigtlander Vito II instead with a phone app for metering, gives far better exposures.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #27
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How about a Werramatic? You should be close to the motherlode of Werra cameras.

Here's a video courtesy of... oooh, RFF's very own elmarman.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sOvWRH7PH4

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
I'm surprised that no one has suggested the Olympus 35RC (maybe someone has I didn't read the replies to closely). You have both automatic exposure (shutter priority), and complete manual. It is small as the Trip with a little more versatility with a coupled RF (and no bellows). Be sure you get a good one like all consumer models they could need work.

flash unit by John Carter, on Flickr

Sorry it is early 70s and dead square.
Brings back pleasant memories. But who works on these?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abbazz View Post
Forget those cameras with puny selenium light meters and leaky bellows. The Rollei 35 is small, stylish and delivers great pictures:


Yes, not only Sony can make "Full Frame" cameras! In a compact yet sturdy package, the Rollei 35 features all the best components that were available in 1966 at the time of its official launch: Rollei frame, Gossen lightmeter, Compur shutter and Zeiss lens.


The lens is really good (either the Tessar or the later Sonnar) and scale focusing is not a problem with a 40mm focal length. The camera is quite pocketable and I find it rather stylish too:


It's not me on the photo, but I have the same 35S, which I consider the best model: I love Sonnar lenses, and I find very convenient to have the exposure meter needle on the top cover (the newer 35SE and 35TE models have a couple of LEDs in the viewfinder instead). This way, I can preset my camera by looking at it from above (camera on my lap, on a table or on my wrist) and, only when I am ready to shoot, I can bring it to my eye, frame the picture and press the release in a fraction of a second.

And did I mention the lovely 40mm lens, my favorite focal length?

Cheers!

Abbazz
YES,YES!! The way to go.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lobo View Post

...Agfa Optimas and Silettes have not that great lenses. The Optima 200 Sensor looks like a shift from the traditional round chrome to more modern shapes, to catch up the Japanese companys.
The Agfa Solagon lens available on the Agfa Silette is a great lens, every bit the equal of the Ultron, Xenon, or Heliogon.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #31
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Since your profile says "Location: Southwest Germany" - how about a Contaflex Super (made in Stuttgart around 1959) - very stylish early SLR with light meter and most other things you would want as a user camera, and like all Zeiss Ikon cameras, built like a tank.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ste_S View Post
Yeah, absolutely. The Trip 35 I had was forever under exposing - either because the simple metering wasn't that good in the first place and/or the selenium cell was fading.
I now use a Voigtlander Vito II instead with a phone app for metering, gives far better exposures.
The Vito II is nice carry anywhere 35mm camera. To me it is an early 1950'ies version of Rollei 35 - but with a built in lens cap and luscious curves, as opposed to being a box.

A thumbs up for the myLightmeter phone app, as well.
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Just for fun 35mm Gear a Kodak Retina II, Retina IIa, a Rollei 35 S, plus an Oly 35RD and XA
Modern Medium Format Fuji GW 690III
Vintage MF Folders a Voigtländer Perkeo II and Bessa II, 2 of them - a ZI Mess Ikonta 524/2 - plus an Agfa Super Isolette & a Record III
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #33
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The Rollei is a good suggestion as long as you don't mind scale focus.

I'd prefer going with a later camera with a rangefinder, like an Auto S3 for example. Small, light, great flash setup, great lens.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #34
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I have a bunch of Olympus Pen cameras, a lovely Minox 35GT-E, and my last faithful always reliable Rollei 35S that fit the description.

But mostly what I am carrying now when I want a compact, sma ll, lightweight film camera is my Voigtländer Perkeo II folder—a superbly well made, 6x6 folder that when folded is barely the size of a Leica CL film camera. An excellent Color-Skopar 80mm f/3.5 coated lens in a Syncro-Compur shutter, scale focus, and (of course) manual exposure settings. I have a clip-on rangefinder and a clip-on viewfinder that make it super easy to work with, and of course the clip-on Voigtländer VC Meter III works nicely on it too ... but of course, Pocket Light Meter on my iPhone does just as good a job, and I can easily use the DoF scale markings to focus it without needing the rangefinder at all at most normal lens openings and focus distances.



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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #35
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Would say Solinette III. Great lens (either tha Apotar or Solinar are great). Bellow are not really a problem, never got any problem with those.




Definitely have the looks of the period.

On the other hand, probably a Voighlander Vitessa (probably T if you like different lenses) is pretty damn sexy

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #36
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Here is a picture of a Contaflex Super...

Contaflex by Mike, on Flickr
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #37
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These are the cameras i keept:


A Kodak Retinette 1a from 1961. Full manual, no lightmeter,maximum shutterspeed 1/250. I had the 1b variation, but gave it away. The meter always looked a little unfitting, added on the front, while this one has a script font type on the front side, which gives a nice touch. All mechanical parts have that satisfying click-sounds. Also nice is the sepia-magenta coloured viewfinder and the round-cornered framelines, that makes photographing even more like a timetraveling experience.


The recent acquired Zeiss Ikon Contina from 1963. It was part of a lot. The more square and modern, but still chromeplated, highpolishlook and rounded edges reminds me on cars of that era. Even the frontplate looks like a grille from a car. It has a lightmeter on the front, that is displayed in the viewfinder. One special thing about it is that the shutterspeed and aperture is displayed also in the viewfinder, which makes adjusting, while looking through, even more convenient. Just focus at first from top view(Scalefocus), the rest can be done while aiming. Not a real highlight of my collection, but still nice.


The famous Olympus Trip from 1967. The essential snapshot camera in midcentury-modern, roundish but minimal appearance. Photography is here a part of the happy and unstressed holiday and the camera makes its best to help you here. Automatic exposer with selenmeter and zonefocusing for quick hasslefree shooting. Easy to use and reliable like a Parker Jotter Pen, that follows the same ethics.

Cameras i regret selling:

Rollei 35
Olympus Pen EE-2
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #38
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To show the difference between camera design:




While the Contina (1963) is a camera for slow down usage, slightly speeded up with a lightmeter, its in the same tradition of former generations of cameras. The Photographer has to use it like a tool, has some kind of control and must be learn how to make a descent picture. While the Agfa Optima Sensor 200 (1967) is clearly more bauhausian inspired with its rectangular shape and minimized controls. Its full automated and has zonefocusing, to make the usage as simple as it can be. The point is, its so easy, that it makes not much fun today AND also shows no elegance or unique period atmosphere. On the other side, despite its technocrat style, it offers ergonomic details, like the big sensor shutter and the gigantic viewfinder. Still nothing i really can love much.

The Comparison with the Olympus Trip shows, how it is done right:
Limited in features (Full auto exposer, shutter max. 1/200, Zonefocusing) easy in usage, still a graceful object:


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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #39
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The long lived compact predecessor of the Olympus XA 2 & 1 - is none other than the Trip 35. As you mentioned, for what it is supposed to be, the design is brilliant.
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Just for fun 35mm Gear a Kodak Retina II, Retina IIa, a Rollei 35 S, plus an Oly 35RD and XA
Modern Medium Format Fuji GW 690III
Vintage MF Folders a Voigtländer Perkeo II and Bessa II, 2 of them - a ZI Mess Ikonta 524/2 - plus an Agfa Super Isolette & a Record III
Digital a D300 and a D700 with some primes - still going over a decade later

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solinar View Post
The long lived compact predecessor of the Olympus XA 2 & 1 - is none other than the Trip 35. As you mentioned, for what it is supposed to be, the design is brilliant.

Hi,


And for those who like the Trip 35 and the XA's style the XA1 is very nice successor and no batteries required, either...


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