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Old 01-19-2017   #41
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Oly 35 RC has better balance and ergonomics than all of its peers that I have tried, so it is rather quick, especially if you add a cable tie around the aperture ring to grab it by.
The Werra cameras might be another options, Zeiss Jena Tessars, compact and nice looks. With or w/o rf. Don't know anything about their reliability though.
If you can actually be talked into a Retina, as some have tried, I would take one of the c/C models for the much improved finders (especially C). The lenses are very good, as is the feeling of precision they have to them.
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Old 01-20-2017   #42
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An early (ie 1950's) Kiev rangefinder would fit your budget and offer a truly unique shooting experience. You'll have to learn the 'Contax claw,' but these cameras have a large rangefinder base, and high contrast viewfinders, which make focusing easy and precise. The coated Jupiters 8s (Sonnar copy) are nice too. I shot them for a year or so w/o problems before getting into even older Zeiss Ikon Contax rangefinders.
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Old 01-20-2017   #43
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Another vote for the Retina IIa : Awesome, fast glass, pocketable, a good rf/vf combination, and fully mechanical. A bit fiddly though, but I really dig it...
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Old 01-20-2017   #44
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I always liked the Retina IA cameras. They're much smaller than the II models. Even the bottom of the line Xenar lens is fantastic, and the camera is tiny. Having strap lugs is a big plus. If you get lucky you can find one at your price point w/ an Ektar lens (the crome nose ones, not the fake black nose Ektars which are actually Schneiders). That Ektar is amazingly sharp. This is a zone focus folder by the way, all mechanical, no meter.
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Old 01-20-2017   #45
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Originally Posted by struene View Post
You say zone-focus is OK? You want a findercam? small, light and durable?
For me that is the exact application for a little Rollei 35!

+1. I often use a Rollei 35 as a back-up camera. The small size and robust construction would seem to meet your requirements.

I have a Rollei 35SE in good working condition but for the meter, which needs to be adjusted (but it works). I may be willing to part with it for under $100. PM me if your interested.

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Old 01-20-2017   #46
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Out the fine folders of the early 50's it's the Retina IIc, Vito III and Agfa Karat IV that I enjoy most.

I didn't like the Retina IIa as much as the IIc because the former's horizontally opening front leaves so little space for my hand, making it very hard to hold well.

The Retina IIc is much better ergonomically, even with its advance lever on the bottom. It's also better made, the finder is larger too with frame lines.

The Vito III was surprisingly straight forward for a Voigtlander. Large, but very balanced, the finder is reasonably spacious (I wear glasses), and the lens is a killer. I just wish it had strap lugs.
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Old 01-29-2017   #47
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I think a lot of people are underestimating how hard life in a backpack can be on a camera. You're going to need something pretty robust, or else always keep it cased. I wouldn't carry any 35mm folder in a backpack for an extended period of time.
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Old 02-04-2017   #48
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I'm a little surprised that nobody's mentioned the Argus.
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find a cheaop nikonos ii/iii
Old 02-05-2017   #49
joe bosak
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find a cheaop nikonos ii/iii

the nikonos ii or iii can sometimes be found in your price range, the 35mm lens is fine on land [the others are underwater only], there are no batteries on these. they are heavy but compact and of course waterproof and there are plenty of tales of their ruggedness - still working after falling off mountains and whatnot.
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Old 02-05-2017   #50
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How about an Olympus 35 LC? Awesome lens, same as sp but fully manual except for the light meter. Mine worked for over ten years with some not so gentle treatment, though a day left in the rain may have done it in.

It is not very small though.
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No place is boring, if you've had a good night's sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film. ~Robert Adams, Darkroom & Creative Camera Techniques, May 1995 (I suppose that should now read: "and have a full battery and an empty memory card." Though that sounds so dull.
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Old 02-05-2017   #51
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I used to leave a Fed-2 and basic Soviet 50mm lens (non-collapsing Industar 50 I think) knocking around the dash of my Land Rover Series III. Must confess the thought of heat from sitting in the dash affecting the film worried me more than the thoughts of bouncing. Apart from my lack of concern with bumping, I firmly believe you could submerge a Fed 2 in water, drip dry it and use it (a useful attribute in a soft-top 4wd). Not quite so confident about the focus after drop-kicking it into a bus as suggested above, but everything else should work.

My pocket rocket camera is a Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515. Pre-WWII, zone focus, 120 film. The images are amazingly detailed and fine, including colour. It was a basic "user" camera from a top-quality source, and still fits the description. Smaller when folded than a 35mm.
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Old 02-05-2017   #52
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Originally Posted by struene View Post
Well on Ebay Germany there are plenty of Tessar Models in good condition sub 100. And in Europe prices are including all taxes... so its about the same as USD without Taxes...
I bought my 35S for just a little over $100 on ebay awhile back. Just wait for one that the prior owner engraved their name on it. They sell cheap and if it is a user I enjoy the history aspect of the prior owner.

For a take everywhere sort of camera I'd certainly agree with the Rollei 35 or XA2/3/4. Rollei if you enjoy taking your time setting up for the shot, Olympus if you are looking for a faster shooting snapshot type camera.

For kicking around in a backpack I'd think a zone focused camera might be better than a rangefinder that can be knocked out of alignment. The rangefinder on the Retina IIa seems to be fairly easy to get knocked out, I kind of prefer the zone focused Retinas because of that and because of the more robust film winding.

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Old 02-05-2017   #53
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Originally Posted by shawn View Post
For kicking around in a backpack I'd think a zone focused camera might be better than a rangefinder that can be knocked out of alignment.
There's a lot of wisdom there. Although, for years I went backpacking with an Olympus XA, and it held up to the abuse very well. I stopped tempting fate, and I carry around a Minox 35 GL now on my travels. As Shawn wrote, there are many fewer delicate parts to get out of whack in a view camera than in a rangefinder.

1917 No. 1A Autographic Kodak Junior
1940 Kodak 35 Rangefinder
1955 Leica M3
1969 Canon New Canonet QL17-L
1976 Konica Autoreflex T3n
1977 Canon 110ED 20
1979 Minox 35 GL
1979 Olympus XA
1980 Pentax Auto 110
1987 Polaroid Spectra
1996 Canon EOS Elan IIe

Last edited by skucera : 02-05-2017 at 21:10. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-05-2017   #54
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I like the Rollei 35. You should be able to find a Tessar model with an inoperative meter for around $100. They do have ideosyncracies, so not everyone likes them, and they are zone focus. I like the Tessar lens better than the faster Sonnar, which may be slightly more expensive. The focal length is 40mm, a good compromise between 35mm and 50mm.
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Old 02-06-2017   #55
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Since you didn't specify whether interchangeable lenses were a requirement, how about an Ansco Memo?
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