I have several rangefinder cameras for different film formats. All my *roids are rangefinters as well as 4x5 Graflex Crown Graphics. But this page is deducated to 35mm rangefinders.
Shooting 35mm rangefinder is special expirience. It is usially light weight and small size, perfect camera to carry around while walking/hiking and alike. It is also quiet and low profile camera. The advantages over the SLR include:
- Small Lenses (no mirror box)
- Quiet Operation (no mirror flip-flop)
- Slow Shutter Speeds can be used (no vibration from mirror flip-flop)
- Seeing Outside The Frame (so you can plan you shot before the object will be in the frame area)
- Rangefinder Accuracy (True for good rangefinders, they are very precise)
And of course it is a special way to see the picture. With SLR, you can see somithing like you future shot, the picture on ground glass. With rangefinder you see the object as you can see it with your eyes, unaltered. Very different way, more involving.
The camera on the picture is Canonet QL17 GIII. This is really famous camera. Canonets, different models, use to be very popular back in 60th/70th and production went high. Count for GIII is around 1.2 million copies. That is why they are so cheap now ($20-$100 on Ebay, depends on condition). GIII is the top camera of the line. Canon started making Canonets (not expensive high quality partially automated rangefinders, shutter-in the lens design) January l961.Here is all the data:
Camerapedia on Canonet GIII QL-17
I bought my first Canonet Feb 2004. Then, when the shutter has broke in 2005, I bought it again. Sometimes I use auto feature (shutter priority), but mostly shoot on manual.
The camera is highly recommended:
- Viewfinder is bright and big
- Shutter is quiet
- 40mm F1.7 lens is super sharp
- Rangefinder itself is a top-notch
- QL stans for "Quick Load" feature
Of course it is an old camera, it could develop some problems (mostly shutter). But it always can be replaced. It is a shame not to have one in your bag.
Voihtlander Cosina Bessa L with Color Scopar 21mm
(This camera technically is not rangefinder; it has scale focusing)
Nikon S with 50mm 1.4 Nikkor lens rangefinder born free in occupied Japan in 1952.
This is a gift from a friend; his father brought this camera from Japan in 50s.
The camera spent 20+ years in Florida home's garage;
right now its in non-working condition but I am dedicated to restore it back to life and use.
See more on the camera here
This is Revere Eye-Matic EE 127 rangefinder camera. It had been in production in late 50s.
It had targeted the amateur market segment and lost competition to less expensive cameras.
It is easy to use, has one-stroke shutter, bright rangefinder and automatic frame counter.
The lens is not bad at all, but the 2-blade aperture opening has strange form and background bokeh can be rough.
See the more on the camera >here<
"Catch!" Fishing from the Key Biscayne bridge. I used Ilford XP2 Super film in Canonet QL17 GIII camera.
Sunrise Baloon Race, Tamiami airport in Miami. Ilford XP2 Super film in Canonet QL17 GIII camera