Smallest 35mm interchangeable lens options please!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Thomas Keidan, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Thomas Keidan

    Thomas Keidan Member
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    Hi All,

    I'm currently searching for an interchangeable lens 35mm rangefinder/SLR. I'm from the world of point and shoots and fixed lens rangefinders and now want to play around with something which I can have more manual control over. BUT, my other requirement is that it is as small as possible!! This is a big requirement. I hate lugging around big cameras as I am obviously used to cameras that I can either throw in my backpack or even in my coat/jacket pocket.

    So far I have been looking at the Contax 139 Quartz which is a 35mm SLR. From what I have read this is a re-badged Yashica but it is even smaller than the olympus OM-1 and obviously has a great lens selection and full manual controls. The dimensions are 135 x 85.5 x 50. The body seems to be selling on ebay for around £100 which i don't think is bad at all.

    However, I would like to get some other options before I make my decision. I'm not looking to spend a fortune on the body as I would rather invest in lenses. But any value prop selections would be great.

    Thanks
     
  2. macfred

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    Pentax ME or MX is worth a look - I guess the SMX Pentax M 40mm f/2.8 is a very small -pancake- lens.
     
  3. AgX

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    The Werra models are small and leightweight.
     
  4. macfred

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    The Minolta CLE is a nice and small rangefinder with interchangeable lenses - Leica CL is another option. It also depends on what you want to spend ...
     
  5. RalphLambrecht

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    this is worth checking out but ,I'm not sure if there is much in interchangeable lenses
    https://kenrockwell.com/leica/cle.htm
     
  6. macfred

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    Rockwell recommends 3 lenses : Summicron-C 40mm f/2; Leica 28mm f/2.8 ASPH; Leica 90mm f/2.8
    With an extra finder one can use a Voigtländer 21mm f/4.
     
  7. guangong

    guangong Subscriber
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    Assuming that you would prefer shooting something different from your fixed lens, I would recommend a Leica screw mount with 35 and 90 mm lenses. They make a small package. Throw in a 50 if a few more ounces. Voightlander makes a nice selection of ltm lenses if you prefer a different selection.
    A Gossen Digisix makes a nice companion, or, even smaller, a very small exposure calculator downloaded from internet.
    I also prefer to travel light, but if going by car I have no restrictions.
     
  8. Pentode

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    As rangefinders go I think the Braun Super Paxette might be as small as it gets.
     
  9. Marco Gilardetti

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    It's actually the other way around. In those years Kyocera had an agreement with Carl Zeiss and produced in Japan cameras under the Contax name. Contax cameras were definitely the flagships, while part of the Contax technology also trickled down to their much cheaper and more consumer-oriented Yashica cameras (Yashica was another brand owned by Kyocera).

    The Contax 139 Quartz is one of the finest cameras ever made and has an electronic shutter and coupled lightmeter with aperture priority control which was by far the best of its era and still ridicules many today cameras if you ask me. Moreover, Contax cameras use the superb Carl Zeiss' line of lenses, possibly the finest name ever in photographical optics.

    If the 139 fits your needs, you have seen and tested the camera and you like it, and last but not least you can afford the Contax/Zeiss system, you should definitely buy this camera. I can very hardly figure you ever regretting it.
     
  10. macfred

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    What about a nice Contax G1 outfit with excellent Carl Zeiss lenses - not the most classical solution but I saw some great results.
     
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    Thomas Keidan

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    Bit out of my price range (Leica and Minolta) but look like great shooters!
     
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    Thomas Keidan

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    Also wayyyy out of my price range but something I have been lusting over!
     
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    Thomas Keidan

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    My only worry is the size of the contax 139, how does it feel in the hands? I’m also looking at the 45mm 2.8 tessar pancake! What other small profile lenses are good and not ridiculously priced?
     
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  15. narsuitus

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    Nikon N70 + 80-200mm f/2.8 (left)
    Pentax ME + 80-205mm f/4.5 (right)

    When I need to carry something smaller and lighter than my Nikon 35mm, I carry a Pentax ME.

    [​IMG]
    Nikon & Pentax
    by Narsuitus, on Flickr
     
  16. Les Sarile

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    I didn't realize a Contax 139 quartz was that small so the biggest difference between it and the Pentax MX maybe in weight as the MX is 610 grams and the 139 is 500 grams. Here is a lineup I setup comparing the MX - fitted with the 40mm f2.8 pancake lens, with others.
    [​IMG]
    The MX is a completely manual camera and the battery is only used for the meter. So when the battery dies, you can still use it once you get used to film's huge latitude.

    If you prefer autoexposure with full manual control like the 139, you might consider the ME Super which is very similar in size to the MX.
    [​IMG]

    I show it using an M42 to Pentax K adapter in order to use M42 mount 17mm f4 fisheye lens which probably makes it the smallest combination.
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    What is your price range?

    The Argus C3 may be within your price range.
     
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    Thomas Keidan

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    Any rangefinder options anyone?
     
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    Thomas Keidan

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    Price range is max £300!
     
  20. narsuitus

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    Finding a 35mm rangefinder body with one or two lenses for 300 pound sterling or less may be very difficult.

    If you want just the body for 300 pounds or less, the Contax G1 meets your specifications.

    [​IMG]
    Contax G1
    by Narsuitus, on Flickr
     
  21. Paul Howell

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    In terms of price, Canon 7 or 7s, or P, will take Canon, Leica, Minolta newer Voltlander screw mount lens. The 7s while does not BTH metering it does have a coupled battery operated meter. At one time I had a Leica IIIG and Canon 7s, while the Leica has a better build quality he 7S was much more functional, film loading, built in frames for 28 to 100, don't recall it had a frame for 135 or not. Last an out of the box is the Kodak Retina IIIS, lens from 28 to 135 and would a 200 that did not couple with the rangefinder. Quirky camera but has good lens, and lens will work on a variety of Kodak SLRS. .
     
  22. jim10219

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    Take a look at some of the Russian rangefinders. I have a Zorki 4 with a Jupiter 8 lens. It's basically a Leica copy body with a Zeiss copied lens. In fact, Russia overtook one of the Zeiss factories at the end of WWII and shipped them back to Russia. So some of the early models were even assembled using German made Zeiss glass.

    They're known to not have the quality control as the German variants, but that doesn't mean that you still can't find great examples. And they're priced cheap enough that if you do get a bad copy, you can probably buy a few more and still stay under budget. I've never had an issue with mine and it's been a great little shooter, if you can get along with it's quirks (no metering, hard to rewind film, and loading film is also more difficult than on most cameras). My advice is to get it CLA'd. Unlike a Leica of comparable age, these are cheap and generally haven't seen as much love over the years, so it's all together possible that if you take it in for a CLA, it will be the first CLA that camera has seen in 60+ years.
     
  23. Sewin

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    The old cheapo Nikon FG is small, particularly when fitted with E series lenses.
    Mixed reviews on this camera though, some say it is great, others not so.
    Not sure if it is from the same electronics stable as the EM, which is not fully manual,I had one but wouldn't recommend the EM.
     
  24. Eric Rose

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    I have this exact combination and it rocks! Very small, pocketable and the lens is super sharp. I have made colour 11x14's from negs generated with this rig that are outstanding.

    Eric
     
  25. abruzzi

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    Its a bit clunky with the 35 and 80mm lenses, but the Kodak Retina IIIC with the standard 50 is a lovely camera, well built, and folds up small enough to fit in my back pocket. If you want to use the other lenses, focusing becomes like an uncoupled rangefinder (focus in the viewfinder, read the distance on the top scale, adjust to that distance on the bottom scale.)
     
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    Thomas Keidan

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    I didn’t realise that the body was fairly inexpensive! I’m very intrigued. The lens selection looks small but it looks compact and manual enough!
     
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