35 mm fixed lens rangefinders

Started 4 weeks ago | Discussions thread
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Smaug01 Senior Member • Posts: 2,604
35 mm fixed lens rangefinders

Does anyone else here like that particular niche of camera?

To me, there's always been something magical about them:

  • Big enough to use a serious film size
  • Many had top quality optics
  • They could be compact (Olympus XA) or full size. (Yashica Electro 35)
  • They could be manual, automatic, in between or both

Right now, I've got the following:

  • Yashica Electro 35 GS; perfect condition except a dent in the filter ring This one had a fully electronic exposure meter and is aperture priority. It uses an electro magnet to control the shutter, which can go longer than 30 seconds. Great handling; really easy to shoot. This was my grandpa's, and once I found the adapter for the mercury battery, it has been a cracking good camera.  I'm thinking of trying to pend that filter ring out with a needlenose pliers and a napkin wrapped around the jaws, so I can put a yellow filter on it. (as I plan to shoot mostly outdoors and B&W)
  • Rollei 35: Not technically a rangefinder, but a zone focus camera. Nice shape, but it only opens to f/4. Feels like there's dust inside that is keeping it from opening to f/3.5. Can't find anything but a yellow filter for this guy.
  • Rollei B 35: The budget model. I bought this as my grandpa had one, back in the day, and he loved it. I'll develop my first film with it soon. The selenium meter is dicey.

The problem with the above 3 cameras is that they have either 40 or 45 mm lenses, and I find that to not be a very good focal length for general outdoor photography, where these cameras are at their best. I want 35 mm, as that is often wide enough,  but not so wide that it's useless for general people pictures. It's SUCH a small pool of cameras in that niche.

  • Olympus XA
  • Yashica Electro 35 CC
  • Minox 35

What have you got?

I was toying with the idea of getting a used Bessa R and a 35 mm lens for that. Would that be a good option.

Let me know if you have anything you might want to pass on.

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