Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1992/10/07

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To: leica-users
Subject: small rangefinders
From: jack <>
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 92 16:58:33 BST

Some more that nobody's mentioned yet:

- the Olympus RC, RD and SP.  These are leaf-shutter, non-interchangeable-
  lens rangefinders from the 70s.  The RC has an f2.8 lens (42mm, I think),
  the others have an f1.7.  I have an RC.  It gives you shutter priority or
  manual exposure.  It's very quiet and unobtrusive; looks almost the same
  as a Trip 35.  Very sharp lens, though somewhat cold-toned glass.  The SP
  is much bigger, larger than a Leica M6, and has spot metering.  I haven't
  seen an RD.  Olympus also made reduced-functionality versions, the DC and
  EC - these either lose manual exposure control or else the rangefinder
  (I forget which but can look it up if anyone really needs to know) and
  have cheaper lenses.

- Zeiss Super Ikontas.  There were several models of these made over a period
  from the Thirties to the Fifties.  I have two, a 6x4.5 (uncoated f3.5 75mm
  Tessar) and a 6x9 (uncoated f4.5 105mm Tessar).  I use the 6x4.5 heavily
  for shoot-from-the-hip pictures; it is very easy to look as though you're
  just fiddling with an antique when you're really taking someone's picture
  at only an arm's-length distance.  The movement required to fire the shutter
  is so unlike anything most people are familiar with, and the sound so quiet,
  that I can routinely take four shots of someone sitting opposite me on the
  underground without them ever realizing what I'm up to.  (This is using
  eyeball focusing).  I generally use HP5+ at 3200 ASA for this sort of thing.
  When folded, it's about 50% bigger than an Olympus XA and smaller than any
  modern zoom compact.  Its one major problem is that there is no good way to
  attach a lens hood; I use a push-on hood which covers up the distance scale,
  so I've marked a scale on the hood, but this doesn't get round the other
  problem, which is that I frequently end up fishing the hood out of the
  gutter after bumping into someone.

  The 6x9 is nothing like as useful; much more bulky and more prone to flare,
  and I'm going to get rid of it shortly.  I've tried it for mountain
  photography but prefer a TLR for this.

  Both models of Super Ikonta have direct-vision viewfinders and separate
  rangefinders that are truly horrible to use (later models fixed this).
  Both use 120 film, with a little red window and no coupling between the
  winder and the shutter.  When you get used to this it's no problem at all,
  though you get a few multiple exposures before the protocol (wind
  immediately after every shot, cock just before shooting) becomes habitual.

I haven't used a Plaubel Makina, but I believe they are rather similar to the
Super Ikonta.  Zeiss made other much-imitated cameras without the rangefinder,
like the Nettar, with variable-quality lenses.

--  Jack Campin    room G092, Computing Science Department, Glasgow University,
17 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ, Scotland   TEL: 041 339 8855 x6854 (work)
INTERNET: or via    FAX: 041 330 4913
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