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First rangefinder - Canon 7?

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Kilkry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kilkry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: First rangefinder - Canon 7?
    Posted: 23 August 2018 at 06:11
Hello,

I recently received a book from an old acquaintance visiting from Eire, called "Retro Cameras" by a John Wade. It details manual film cameras of various times and formats. Among them one type I've no experience with but would rather have before long: the rangefinder.

The Minolta CLE is a little black beauty with a supposedly rather quiet shutter and a nice setup of four or so Rokkor-M lenses. It is however at least 450GBP from JPN body-only so around 600 with taxes and currency conversions. Nikon made the S2 amongst others but it is said to have a very loud shutter.

Would appear that Canon sold a lot of Canon 7 cameras in the early sixties. Relatively large and heavy but the shutter isn't supposed to be overly loud, it has a "contrasty patch" and a meter that may and may not still work properly. It takes Leica LTM lenses and it might kinda work with Jupiters and Industars but anyway there are lots of options. Also supposed to be rather friendly for glasses (even if one has to cover the vf port in felt or something to protect them).

It's available from around 150GBP body only and seems good value. (I also looked at fixed-lens cameras , they usually start around the Canon 7 price though)

Does anyone have input on any of the cameras mentioned or others in the category?


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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 August 2018 at 07:08
Look up the Minolta hi-matic 7s2. It's my favourite ever camera - no exaggeration! It's fantastic.
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Bob J View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Bob J Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 August 2018 at 11:55
Konica Auto S3 - very similar to the Hi-Matic 7s2...

Olympus SP, lots of interesting Yashica's...

A lot of fixed lens rangefinders are programmed auto only - the ones with faster lenses (typically f/1.8 f f/1.7) tend to have shutter or aperture priority.

If you want interchangeable lenses consider the Bessa's as well as the Canon - some screw-thread Leica's may also be reasonably priced (but make sure they are real Leicas).

One other interesting bunch of cameras are the Fuji medium format rangefinders, some with fixed lenses, some with interchangable, ranging from 6x4.5 to 6x7 to 6x9... sometimes known as 'Texas Leicas'.

Should you ever find yourself in Manchester, 'The Real Camera Company' have a shop with lots of second-hand goodies in it...
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 August 2018 at 13:06
If shutter noise is a criterion: The Konica Hexar AF (early models) had a silent shutter and a silent motor. It has a fixed F/2.0 35mm lens that assumedly is a Leica Summicron design.

There are a number of Voigtlander Bessa bodies. The Bessa R has a Leica LTM-mount and is the least expensive choice (it's almost identical with the Rollei 35 RF). The R2A/R2S/R3A.... bodies feature a Leica M-mount and are usually more expensive than a Minolta/Leica CLE. I have seen prices coming down for the Konica Hexar RF (M-mount) - hell of a camera! The Zeiss Ikon ZM prices have been going up, unfortunately. It's a better body than the Leica M7.

If you want to go medium format there might be alternatives to the Fujicas (I have a G690 with two lenses - Texas Leica means: they are really big and heavy!). I can recommend the Certo Six (some have Zeiss Tessar lenses) and the Braun Gloria - both very able 6x6 cameras which are much more compact and more leightweight. These are already vintage compared to the Fuji 690s, 680s, 670s and 645s.

If you going for vintage models have a look at this (at least to me) fascinating website!
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ricardovaste View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ricardovaste Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 August 2018 at 13:20
Originally posted by Bob J Bob J wrote:

Konica Auto S3 - very similar to the Hi-Matic 7s2...



Yeah have a look around for the various versions, as there are many of identical design here. The "best" ones allow manual exposure, as well as shutter priority. I've used a couple and the meters both worked well too - not an issue if they're looked after, they're reliable cameras overall, nothing particular to look for, just that they havent been abused and are all working smoothly and without corrosion (like if you leave a battery in for 40 years).

The only limitation I found was that it's not a super low light machine, as focusing becomes difficult and the meter less reliable (but if you want to carry an additional meter, you can, but I could never be bothered with that).

But it's a leaf shutter in the lens, so you can shoot at very low speeds with it, down to 1/8th easily. The focusing throw is quite short as well, so it's just a joy to use, you can take pictures very easily and quickly with it all day long.

There is a review of sorts on it here: http://www.rokkorfiles.com/7SII.htm

You may think with it being fixed lens, it's more limited... but honestly, the 40mm angle is just perfect for almost everything. And remember it's a RF, this is never going to be a birding camera, it's for capturing everyday life. And having a lens that gives you a "normal" view is very freeing. Plus, it's affordable and pretty common, so the risk is low. Then there is the danger of looking at a new system or way of shooting - and all the energy just goes into acquiring new lenses and accessories and then when you've got what you want, it's barely used. I think we've all been there.

Here is an old post from 2013, all taken with the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s2: http://www.rharris-images.com/2013/07/08/observations/

Right, that is my hard sell on my favourite camera done!

I photograph the moments in people's lives that mean the most to them: Richard Harris Photography
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Kilkry View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Kilkry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 August 2018 at 20:49
Many thanks for all your pieces of advice!

You may think with it being fixed lens, it's more limited... but honestly, the 40mm angle is just perfect for almost everything. And remember it's a RF, this is never going to be a birding camera, it's for capturing everyday life. And having a lens that gives you a "normal" view is very freeing. Plus, it's affordable and pretty common, so the risk is low. Then there is the danger of looking at a new system or way of shooting - and all the energy just goes into acquiring new lenses and accessories and then when you've got what you want, it's barely used. I think we've all been there.


I mostly agree with all of the points. Sometimes a partial elimination of choice lets other parts of the brain work, for all sorts of things and interchangable lenses tend to multiply as their proprietor finds a new fancy on a rather regular basis..
for photography a fixed-lens camera or cheaper interchangable lens camera with mostly just the one lens seems like a good bet.

The Bessas seem a bit higher priced, the Certo Six and Braun Gloria look cool and must be decently priced for medium format, which I hadn't really considered. Maybe for a later fancy : ) Cool web site.

The Olympus 35 SP has full auto or manual with metering, metering always on in fact. One review says the leaf shutter is comparatively loud. Comes mostly in silver and black.

The Minolta Himatic 7Sii has shutter priority or manual without metering. Can be operated without battery power. Looks very good in black, comes mostly in silver and black.

The Konica Auto S3 has shutter priority and comes only in black : ) All three seem available at similar prices.

Will likely go for one of the three, find a contemporary battery for it (and find out after a roll what that means for metering).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote dxqcanada Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 August 2018 at 00:50
I've had a Canon 7, IIF, and P rangefinder cameras.
I kept the P. It is very similar to the 7 but smaller (though no build in meter).
As mentioned there are a number of "pocket" fixed lens rangefinder cameras that are also pretty good ... I've had those also, but I find the interchangeable lenses handy to have.
Sony A77mII, A57, Nex-6 | Minolta Maxxum 9000, Autocord | Canon P
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