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Rangefinder users dying breed


Well-Known Member
There must be some people out there interested in rangefinders. If you're there, this is for you. I would be happy to get your feedback on this.

For years I have been a devoted SLR photographer. I knew rangefinders existed, but didn't really know anything about them. Frankly, I hadn't had any hands on experience with them, and I honestly didn't understand how they worked. Recently in the course of collecting OM system gear I have also happened upon rangefinders. I will tell you, it has been an extremely interesting and enlightening experience. Rangefinders offer some amazing advantages over other cameras.

1. Ease of focusing. I'm in my 40's and I suppose my eyesight isn't quite what it once was. The rangefinder focusing system makes for extremely easy accurate focusing.

2. Inexpensive. Most Olympus models from the 60's and 70's can be had on ebay for well under $100 in excellent condition.

3. Fast, amazingly sharp lenses. I bought a Yashica GS for about $12 on ebay. It looks and feels cheap, but has a huge f1.7 lens which takes razor sharp pictures. I also tried out a Canon GIII QL17. Same speed lens (but not quite as sharp). My "keeper" though has been an Olympus 35LC. It also has an f1.7 lens which seems to be just as good if not better than the Yashica. The build quality is better, too. This camera is like an OM-1-- manual only, with match needle metering.

4. No mirror/prism mechanism. Less potential for vibration. The leaf shutter system makes it easier to get good handheld shots.

The amazing thing I have noticed now is that after taking a couple of trips over the past few months, it has become my camera of choice to travel with. Although it is not exactly small-- I think it's actually bigger than an OM body-- it still is a convenient size (smaller and light than many of today's behemoth DSLR's). It's durable and reliable, even though it's probably over 35 years old.

I think the most amazing thing about these cameras, though, is what you get for the price-- a way to take extremely high quality photos with FAST sharp lenses-- lenses that are not even available at ANY price in today's market.


Well-Known Member
I don't know if rangefinder shooters are a dying breed, but I don't think so. is a wonderful forum whose members form a community of dedicated and very capable rangefinder users.

As for myself, I have a variety of fixed-lens RFs, mostly Olympus. (In the past I did have a Leica M3 with 21mm, 50mm and 90mm lenses. It was a wonderful machine, but when it came time to sell off some equipment for cash, it went, along with some Rollei SL66 gear.)

My RF "collection" consists of two Olympus 35SPs, two XAs, an RC and an Auto Eye. In addition, I have a Minolta 7s, a Konica C35 and a Tower 51, made in 1954 by Iloca in Germany.

I have a series of photos comparing the SP, C35 and 7s at
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Also, there are some recent photos made with an SP at
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I'll be adding to the latter in a week or so, shot with an SP on Kodachrome 64.

If I were to acquire more Olympus RFs, I would be on the lookout for Ace system, which featured interchangeable lenses in shutter but no meter. However, I'm thinking more along the lens of the new Zeiss Ikon, which would require me to sell of some gear.

But I wouldn't be selling the SPs. I love them.