Rollei 35, canonet ql17 gIII or olympus 35rc

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Jaschabordon, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. Jaschabordon

    Jaschabordon Member

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    hey everybody

    i'm looking for neat little film camera to be able to bring along as much as possible im travalling a lot but always with the cello and a bag for my suit so i was looking for something very small

    i was looking into these tiny camera's as the overall opinions seem quite good

    the rollei (130$) had the lightmeter replaced recently and de olympus (50$) has a the battery lip off but that schould be solved with a little bit of soldering

    I read alot about the canonet ql17 gIII that its very good camera, very sharp and fast lens but finding a CLA would be at least 180$ if not more

    wich one would you recommend ?

    I'm especially curious how the ql17 stacks up to the rollei

    I already have a canonet 28, i like it, but its to limitating having it all automatic

    would appreciate some feedback
     
  2. klownshed

    klownshed Member

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    I think the QL17 is a bit bigger than the 35RC, it's more of a match for a 35SP.

    I like the 35RC. it's very small and obviously can be used either in shutter priority or fully manual mode (which works without a battery). It's a fun little camera and my most used rangefinder due to it's size and quality of the images.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Welcome to Apug!

    As you are always with a cello, size and even weight should not be that important.
    At least size would not be that important. Thus you may also look at compact cameras with non retractable lenses (as for instance the Agfa Optima Sensor family). Concerning cameras with retractrable lenses look also one generation further to the Minox 35 and their clones.

    On the net you typicallly will always find the same few cameras being advised. To a certain extend that is due to persons copying their advises.
    Rather think of what is:
    -) most important to you as: number of manual settings, size, weight, retractable lens, scale or rangefinder focusing, metal or plastic body, degree of protective covering etc.
    -) what is easily available local
    -) what feels good to you



    EDIT:
    I realized you made already a choice by filing your thread under Rangefinders. But still there is a choice amongst my samples above.
    Keep in mind that your chosen Rollei 35 has got no rangefinder.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  4. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    I have gotten along very well with my rollei 35 for fifty years without a rangefinder. Fantastic lens and being made of metal with a solid feel very easy to hand hold at 1/4 sec and get sharp pics. Rugged...my camera has experience body and fender work knocking out dents but the camera has never failed. Finally, 2 years ago gave it a cla.
    Having said that, also look at Olympus xa.
     
  5. guangong

    guangong Subscriber

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    Ps. I like Minox very much but not for your needs because they are not very reliable. Great design, shoddy materials and construction. However, I always carry a Minox 8x11 with me.
     
  6. zanxion72

    zanxion72 Member

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    From the quoted three the QL17 is the best and most reliable. Else, if you can stretch your budget a bit further get an Olympus 35SP and you will never regret it.
    The Olympus 35RC is a nice little one, but many hate the strange distortion of its lens once they realize it.
     
  7. frank

    frank Member

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    Having owed all 3 cameras, I can recommend the Rollei as the best lens/performer by far. You just have to be okay with estimating distance and use of zone focusing.
     
  8. 02Pilot

    02Pilot Member

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    There are quite a few factors to consider, and only you can prioritize them for your intended usage. Lens speed is a major one. The Canon is a 1.7, the Olympus a 2.8, and the Rollei either a 2.8 or 3.5. If you want to shoot in low light a lot, especially without pushing your film, the Canon is the obvious choice; if most of your shooting is in daylight, lens speed is a non-issue. RF focusing is related to this as well. If you shoot at moderate apertures most of the time, having an RF is far less important. Similarly, if you prefer faster films, the RF question is less critical than if you prefer slow ones. Then there is the question of manual control, which has already been discussed above, as well as the condition of the individual examples you're dealing with.

    All that said, like Frank, I've used all three, and there's no question that the Rollei is my preference. In fact, it's the only one I still have.
     
  9. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    Along the lines of the Rollei is the Petir Color 35, scale focus, a very good lens, I just picked up one at a garage sale, the first roll of Kodacolor 200 looks good, but not have enlarged beyond 4X6. I also have a Canon GIII which I owned for many years, between the 2 when wanting to travel light the Petir, but for critical work when I need precise focusing and a fast lens the Canon or Konica S3.
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I agree, for a camera that you can always have with you, the Rollei 35 sounds like the best of the bunch mentioned.

    I was surprised to find that Kodak's like of Retina cameras are nearly as small and just as pocketable, maybe more since closing a Retina protects the lens... the Rollei 35 lens gets a little dusty in your pocket. (A case would defeat the purpose, I put it in a case when not shooting but just drop in pocket when walking about).

    I loved the Canonet QL17 GIII which has a magical ability to take good pictures, but the lens is a bit soft. So what? If photography is about good pictures, then the Canonet is a great choice and my criticism of it is moot. You should be able to find a working one for under a hundred and it should only need light seals replaced.
     
  11. flavio81

    flavio81 Member

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    The Oly 35RC is a great camera, a very good option, really. Similar in size to the Rollei, does not need any lens collapse, and it has a rangefinder.

    The Canon is a very good camera as well, with a faster lens, but is bigger.

    The Rollei is one of the most overrated cameras of all time, and I've owned one so I speak from experience. Very slow to use, too heavy for its size, and noisy. Yeah, the lens is very good (i had the original german version with the Zeiss lens), but so are the lenses in most of the cameras mentioned here. And i would never rate that lens above the Skopars on the Voigtlanders, or the tiny 28/3.5 Zuiko on the Olympus pen S, or the Schneider Retina-Xenon on the Retina, or my Canon FD standard lenses. Yes, the Tessar on the Rollei 35 is very good, but it is not "THE best lens out there" or has any kind of magical ability or rendering that would place it above the others. Also, it is a 40mm lens and some people will not like that focal length (i prefer 45 to 55). AND, very difficult to hold steady on long exposures due to the ergonomics. AND if you want to use a flash, prepare for an advanced course in body contortions, for you need to hold the camera upside-down. AND the compactness is only achieved when you collapse the lens. But to collapse the lens you need to cock the shutter (it is not good for a camera to remain too long with the shutter cocked). The uncollapse or collapse is not a quick operation, compared to the Minox cameras. Also, the focus setting will get disturbed once you place the camera in your pocket. Also, the focus scale is one of the least usable scales on a scale focus camera... the 1/3/5/inf distance being too close together.

    I can go on and on regarding the Rollei 35.

    Leave the Rollei 35's to the collectors and to the hipsters.

    Or if you desperately want to try a rollei 35, get the cheap version with the Triotar lens. They are much cheaper and surprisingly they have the shutter speed on a ring around the lens which makes them easier to use than the more luxurious models. The Triotar is a capable lens when stopped down f8 or smaller.

    Now, here are some alternatives:

    - Minox 35 series, a better camera than the Rollei, sadly they have a reputation for unreliability. Otherwise an excellent camera. So bring two to your trip :wink:

    - Olympus Pen S, this is a half frame camera the size of the Rollei 35, which I find excellent, quiet, and quick to operate. With an excellent lens as well. But it has no meter.

    - Kodak Retina IIc or IIIc is an alternative to the Canonet or the Olympus 35RC. It is very very compact, has a fantastic lens, operates smoothly, it is a mechanical jewel.

    - Voigtlander Vitomatic Ia or IIa, better built than all the cameras mentioned and with a fantastic lens. But it is a heavy camera.

    If you don't mind having an AE camera then the following:

    - Voigtlander VF101 (or Zeiss Ikon S312) is a good alternative to the Olympus 35RC.

    - Olympus Trip 35 is a camera much better than what it would appear at first glance.

    - Some of the Olympus XA series cameras, too.

    The other option is to go for a compact SLR!! For example a Pentax ME with the pancake lens, or the Nikon FG (or EM) with the compact 50/1.8 "series E" lens. It is surprisingly light.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  12. ciniframe

    ciniframe Member

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    If you do get a 35RC then to make it more useful you can order a 43.5mm to 43mm step-down filter adapter from one of those e-bay shops in Hong Kong. The original filter size of 43.5mm is almost impossible to find and it makes it easier to source lens caps too. It won't block the meter eye. Come to think of it the filter sizes on the other two cameras you mention are oddball sizes also, 24mm for the Rollei and 48mm for the Canon if my memory holds correct. This may not be an issue at all if you don't ever use filters or lens hoods.
     
  13. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    I don't know if I would call the Canon GIII lens soft, not quite as sharp the Konica S3, yet over the years I have made a number of 11X14s and even a 16X20 negatives from the Canon.

    I agree that a Retina is a viable alternative, my first 35mm was a IIIC big, given to me by my aunts in 1965, I still have it, just takes time to learn how to load it, use the EV set up for shutter speed and aperture. The Retina 50mm F2 lens is one of the best, the axuillery lens are not worth the trouble.
     
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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    True, but can be overcome by mounting a short flash-rail under the camera.
     
  16. frank

    frank Member

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    I agree that the Rollei 35 ergonomics isn't everyone's cup of tea. But the lenses: Tessar and Sonnar!
     
  17. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Member

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    I have handled the Rollei, have around 7 of the Canonets right now and have not shot with the Oly.

    If those are what are available, I would pick the Canonet. The Rollei seemed like a niche product and while it may be faster to use once you've practiced with it, the Canonet falls easily to my hands. Lens quality is good to very good, if you need better you should likely go to something with interchangeable lenses.
     
  18. frank

    frank Member

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    I was not happy with the lens quality of the 2 Canon Canonets that I've had. Could simply be sample variation.
     
  19. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Member

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    It's not the best lens in the world but for it's main purpose in life at this point: quick action or candid shots mainly of people, I think it is a fine performer.

    Are you going to use it with slow film and tripod and worry about corner sharpness or are you going to be shooting it freely, handheld with 400-1600 grainy film getting the right moment? If the former, maybe the better lens on the Rollei would make more of a difference. For me, I'd not want to use the Rollei in any of the latter situations so the Canonet would win every time by virtue of f/1.7 (over the Oly) and rangefinder (over the Rollei).
     
  20. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    But oh, what pictures the Canonet takes. Because it operates smoothly, it's low price gives you the confidence to throw it over your shoulder and forget about it until you see something and need to swing it up, throw the short focus lever and shoot.

    The Rollei 35 won't do that.

    I will not be a snob about the slight softness, that's just an observation not a criticism. A trade-off that is worth it because of what you can take.
     
  21. flavio81

    flavio81 Member

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    The lenses are very good, but they don't bring anything extra to the table over the also very good lenses on many of the cameras mentioned above.

    The f2.8 Sonnar is something of a joke, since the camera has no rangefinder, thus the f2.8 setting will seldom be exploited to the full.

    Tessar, is one of the most common lens formulas out there. The Olympus Pen S also has a tessar-formula lens. And it is a unit focusing lens, instead of the (theoretically inferior) front-element focusing lens on the Rollei 35. The Retinas have excellent lenses (Schneider was the main competitor to Zeiss in those times). The 35/2.8 Color-Minotar on the Minox 35 cameras is also an excellent lens. Minox was owned by Leitz...

    From the cameras listed, only the Canonet has a so-so reputation for the optics. But I bet that at f5.6 or f8, which are the apertures which the Rollei 35 would be shot for practical purposes, they are just fine.
     
  22. frank

    frank Member

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    Jus as an aside, the case supplied with Sekonic L-398 light meters is a perfect fit for a Rollei 35.
     
  23. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Hello Jascha and welcome to APUG.

    What is most important is which camera you personally would feel most comfortable with and how you like its handling.

    Since you have the Canonet 28, that will give you an idea of what it would be like to carry and operate the QL17 GIII, which is slightly larger.

    I also have those two Canons in addition to a Rollei 35. Of the three, I am most comfortable in handling the QL17 GIII - the handling for me is more natural and of course offers more control than the 28. The Rollei is a bit fiddly, although it's a masterpiece of design. I'd choose the Rollei only for fun occasions when I wanted to use something different. Again, your comfort with these cameras may differ from mine.

    Also, I would consider the Olympus XA: rangefinder focusing, manual aperture control, and a small protective shell. Olympus optics are known for being excellent.
     
  24. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Using the three, I'v liked the Glll over the others because of the slightly larger size & faster lens.. With that, I'm not sure I've used it wide open.
    Never cared for the Rpllei for the ergonomics. Inverted use with a flash can be an advantage using your forehead to brace the flash.

    With a contact being broken. I'd be very leery of that Olympus unless it's the wire contact. the flexible contacts are difficult to solder.
     
  25. frank

    frank Member

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    I've had bad luck with several XA's and Minoxes breaking/not working.
     
  26. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    My Rollei 35S has been dragged up and down mountains and around towns for years. The meter is on top, so when looking at the top of the camera everything is visible -- meter, shutter-speed dial, aperture, distance. Very quick and simple to use. Estimating distance is easy enough, and you can always carry a piece of string for 3ft /1m if you really want to. Also, the shutter is designed to be cocked 'all the time', when carried with the lens collapsed, so that isn't a problem and that also blocks the shutter release to eliminate pocket shots. The original wrist-strap is a strong and excellent design, so find one of those too.

    The meter has no off switch and relies on the high resistance of the cell in darkness to actually be 'off', which is another reason why a small belt-case is a good idea. The battery is most conveniently a silver cell in an adapter, no camera adjustment required and which then lasts for ages. Very, very practical cameras.
     
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