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E. von Hoegh

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I've been using a Pentax H1a as a daily carry camera lately, with the 55 f:2.2 Auto Takumar and a Gossen N100 meter.
I like the simplicity and handling of the camera, it seems smaller than it is and the lack of frills is very appealing.
Who else has a favorite basic and competent 35, either rf or slr?
 
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E. von Hoegh

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+1 for XA
Um, sorry but while the XA is certainly competent, it fulfills none of the other criteria implied by "minimal".
Not battery dependent. No incorporated exposure meter. No automation of any sort. Nothing superfluous to basic function.
Sorry, I should have been more specific.
 

R.Gould

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I have a Retina 1b and a 11a that is very minimal, single fixed lens, truly pocketable, no meter, just a rangefinder in the 11a, and not even that in the 1b, also my 2 vito.'s folders and my vito b fall into the same catergory, but my carry around camera is an old Arrette 1a the camera lives in my car together with an old FSU exposure meter, always loaded with film and ready for use,
I also have a Contina,contessa, all simple,no automation,all fixed lens The contessa does have a meter, but it is defunct so fits the bill, and I love using them all,
 

Paul Howell

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"no incorporated exposure meter" rules out cameras that I think as minimal like the Kowa series of fix lens SLR. Last 2 weeks have been shooting with a Kowa SE, the meter may work but I have using a GE meter, has 6 element 50mm 1.8, leaf shutter, no frills. An Argus C3 meets the bill, as does early Miranda. My Kodak Retina CIII big may as the meter is not coupled, but leaves out Spotmatics, Petri, Canon or Nikormate.
 

jim10219

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Um, sorry but while the XA is certainly competent, it fulfills none of the other criteria implied by "minimal".
Not battery dependent. No incorporated exposure meter. No automation of any sort. Nothing superfluous to basic function.
Sorry, I should have been more specific.
So the camera is minimal, not the process involved in shooting it. Because the first thing that came to mind when I read "minimal 35" was auto exposure, auto focus, auto loading, etc. Basically, a compact point and shoot.

But for minimally featured 35mm cameras that are fun to shoot and produce good images, I'm a fan of the old Russian rangefinders, like my Zorki 4. Of course the older Leicas up to the M4 would fit into that category as well.
 

blockend

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Meterless SLRs aren't thick on the ground, the popularity of the SLR grew alongside TTL metering. I'm quite attracted to the breed, but few people bought them so they're comparatively rare secondhand. I didn't realise how much I liked my plain prism F until I sold it. The Canon AT-1 is interesting, an automated camera with the automation removed for emerging markets.
 

ciniframe

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Um, sorry but while the XA is certainly competent, it fulfills none of the other criteria implied by "minimal".
Not battery dependent. No incorporated exposure meter. No automation of any sort. Nothing superfluous to basic function.
Sorry, I should have been more specific.
Although I understand your description of "minimal" personally I believe it is just a bit too narrow. After all, one could also believe that interchangeable lenses was not "minimal".
I wonder if we could broaden slightly the definition to include;
Can have a built in meter but still fully mechanical. (IOW camera is fully operational with no battery installed)
This could include some very basic 35mm SLR's (and often very inexpensive I might add). It would also include all the wonderful classic metal, mechanical, manual cameras of the 60's to mid 70's.
Sticking to just 35mm SLR's we would have many choices;
Nikon Nikkormat series
Canon FT & FTb series
Minolta SR and SRT series
Olympus, the lovely OM-1 and 1n
Pentax Spottie's, many versions, and early K mount models.
Konica, various models
Fujica ST series (the fully mechanical ones)
Topcon! (remember them?)
Praktica, basic M42 mount versions. (no personal experience but by all reports reasonably reliable)
Ricoh, in M42 and K mount, too many versions to list.
If this list seems overwhelming I quite understand your desire to limit models that had no built in meter at all. It just seems that with that limitation so many great and cheap (must not forget cheap)
cameras are left off the list.
 

R.Gould

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If we could include built in non coupled merers then that would open up the list a lot, also interchanable lenses would open things up, such as Barnack leicas, some retinas that have a built in meter that is in no way coupled, I would, in that case, include the werra range,some, such as the werramatic have a built in meter that is not coupled but visable in the viewfinder, or what about a Vitessa, maybe not the T, but the earlier barn doors fixed lens models, the T models again have built in meters but not coupled, and interchanable lens, or the Ambi sillette, again, different lenses, but no autamation of any sort, I could list many more from the ones in my own collection that I use,
 
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E. von Hoegh

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So the camera is minimal, not the process involved in shooting it. Because the first thing that came to mind when I read "minimal 35" was auto exposure, auto focus, auto loading, etc. Basically, a compact point and shoot.

But for minimally featured 35mm cameras that are fun to shoot and produce good images, I'm a fan of the old Russian rangefinders, like my Zorki 4. Of course the older Leicas up to the M4 would fit into that category as well.
So will a Nikon F2 with DE-1 finder, although the self timer is a frill, it (timer) also provides slow speeds to ten seconds.
Auto focus, loading, and exposure is about as far from "minimal" as one can get.
I have a Zorki C that is great fun, the synch works and the I-22 turns out nice sharp negatives. Also a Kodak 35 Rf, minimal and oddball! (Although it has a self timer).
 
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E. von Hoegh

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If we could include built in non coupled merers then that would open up the list a lot, also interchanable lenses would open things up, such as Barnack leicas, some retinas that have a built in meter that is in no way coupled, I would, in that case, include the werra range,some, such as the werramatic have a built in meter that is not coupled but visable in the viewfinder, or what about a Vitessa, maybe not the T, but the earlier barn doors fixed lens models, the T models again have built in meters but not coupled, and interchanable lens, or the Ambi sillette, again, different lenses, but no autamation of any sort, I could list many more from the ones in my own collection that I use,
If it has a meter, it isn't minimal. Q.E.D.. Interchangeable lenses are ok, as indicated in my first post
 
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E. von Hoegh

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Although I understand your description of "minimal" personally I believe it is just a bit too narrow. After all, one could also believe that interchangeable lenses was not "minimal".
I wonder if we could broaden slightly the definition to include;
Can have a built in meter but still fully mechanical. (IOW camera is fully operational with no battery installed)
This could include some very basic 35mm SLR's (and often very inexpensive I might add). It would also include all the wonderful classic metal, mechanical, manual cameras of the 60's to mid 70's.
Sticking to just 35mm SLR's we would have many choices;
Nikon Nikkormat series
Canon FT & FTb series
Minolta SR and SRT series
Olympus, the lovely OM-1 and 1n
Pentax Spottie's, many versions, and early K mount models.
Konica, various models
Fujica ST series (the fully mechanical ones)
Topcon! (remember them?)
Praktica, basic M42 mount versions. (no personal experience but by all reports reasonably reliable)
Ricoh, in M42 and K mount, too many versions to list.
If this list seems overwhelming I quite understand your desire to limit models that had no built in meter at all. It just seems that with that limitation so many great and cheap (must not forget cheap)
cameras are left off the list.
I have most of the cameras on your list, no K mounts though, I love the Spotties, Nikkormats, my Practika LTL3 is a delight but has a pretty good meter.
A built in meter is not allowed, using a handheld meter or estimating exposure is part of the minimal experience. The point is to slow down and think, a more deliberate process.
If there is something on the camera which, if it breaks, will still allow the camera to function, that camera does not qualify.
 

choiliefan

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My car camera is a spring-wound Robot Star 3/4-frame thirty-five.
Lens is a scale focus 40mm 1.9 Xenar.
Camera is heavy for it's diminutive size but is a joy to use and instills confidence.
 

Ko.Fe.

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XA - great camera, lasted two years with me. Minox 35, amazing lens, they crapped out much sooner. Both are good source for 35mm VF, Minox lens is recyclable in M mount.
Rollei 35 was awesome small brick apparatus. Paper soft top plate, plastic gears inside and crude film advance. Sold both MiG and MiS in working order.
AGFA Sensor RF and Olympus Trip 35 are small, good lens, but it is very boring to photograph with them. My creativity was just in mute mode. Sold in working order due to lack of use.

I realised what I'm not trashy person tossing camera into the pockets. I never did, except waterproofed 5$ film P&S on kayak with me. Usually I always have bag with me.
Wallet, mobile phone, charger, business and personal cards, leatherman tool, flashlight, keys - I need bag for this.
And so I like not bulky, but not too tiny and weak due to this cameras.

I have tried some small old fashion SLRs as well and never get attached to them. I'm just using Rebel 300, if I want SLR. It is small camera. And where are small, new primes available for it under 100$ price.

Zorki with collapsible lens, or tiny 35 2.8. M4-2 with small 35 2.5 or even R2M with 28 1.9 is not bulky. I use them most. Even 50 1.5 Jupter-3 is very small lens.
And I have Smena-8M and it is amazing small camera. It allows to use it in S16 mode or to be fully creative, sorry, in M mode. :smile:
 

Paul Howell

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So Nikon and Canon Fs with standard prism or waist level heads? All of the Leica screw mounts and M2, 3, and 4s, but not the Canon 7s?
 

Sirius Glass

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Voightlander Vito II is a folding 35mm camera which is very compact when folded. It does not have a rangefinder no a light meter.
 
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Pioneer

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The Leica III and Kiev 4/Contax II probably meet your criteria. I also use a Pentax SV which is a brother to your H1a and they are both pretty difficult to tell apart.

Interestingly, one of my favorite SLRs (next to my Pentax K1000) is my Contaflex II because it has no batteries to bother with. However, since it does have a meter (quite reliable as well) it seems to miss the mark for this particular post.
 

ciniframe

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I have most of the cameras on your list, no K mounts though, I love the Spotties, Nikkormats, my Practika LTL3 is a delight but has a pretty good meter.
A built in meter is not allowed, using a handheld meter or estimating exposure is part of the minimal experience. The point is to slow down and think, a more deliberate process.
If there is something on the camera which, if it breaks, will still allow the camera to function, that camera does not qualify.
Wow! Your strict! Well....that at least narrows down the selection quite a bit, at least for my favorite 35mm SLR years, 1960-1975.
I know Pentax made a couple of Spotmatics without meters, the SL500 and SL1000 if memory serves. I think Nikon made a Mat without built in meter to. And of course you could always go for a F or F2 with the plain prism. (much money though) A couple of my favorites are the Olympus Pen F and Pen FV, I have both, ok if you allow half frame. Getting into 120 roll film I found a Agfa 4X4 (16 exposures on a 120 roll) for about $12 that is a little gem. It has a 60mm f3.9 triplet with front cell focusing by scale to 3.3 ft. and that stops down to f22, a simple Pronto shutter with speeds from 1/30 to 1/250 + 'B' (no slow speed gear train to gum up) and red window frame positioning. Everything is manual, although it does have double exposure prevention. All in all, very fun to use.
 
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E. von Hoegh

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Half frame is good, so is 120, I put this in 35mm without thinking it through.
Hell, a Deardorff V8 qualifies, as does a Rollei. I guess we can overlook selftimers if they're built into a bought-in shutter.
Extra points if you can't buy film for it. :smile:
The meterless Nikkormat was the FS.
 
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