Home > Analog Workflow Forums (100% Analog/Traditional) > Analog Equipment > Rangefinder Forum > So these are my rangefinders now. :P

So these are my rangefinders now. :P

  1. Well three of them have 'rangefinders' on them, though I still count them all as sort of rangefinders.

    Used to have more... way more... then they got sold, or lost in storage, or somehow disappeared while trying to find a place after eviction/etc etc. (Used to have RF cameras like the Canon P, Olympus 35RC, Rollei 35S, Canon Demi, etc)

    Currently I have four working ones (Argus still being worked on and tested). Two of them I had since 2007 (since around the time my oldest son was born, the Mercury and the Fed). The other two are more recent acquisitions.


    Univex Mercury II - 1945
    This is one of the four that doesn't have rangefinder focusing. Though I could always slide my Heyde photo telemeter onto the accessory shoe and make it a rangefinder.

    This one is from 1945, takes standard 35mm (135) rolls and is a half-frame camera. The big hump on top with the DOF Scale is for the shutter assembly since it houses a very large and very accurate rotary shutter which can be set from 1/20th to 1/1,000th along with bulb and "T" (closes shutter on second shutter press). Sports a coated Universal Tricor 35mm f/2.7 lens (though wish I had the f/2.0 Hexar that they also made for it). The lens are interchangeable as they had a few different focal lengths to pick from including a 125mm f/4.5 Wollensak.

    The viewfinder is basically a little portrait oriented window with two little 'tick' marks. The ticks are the limit guide for close up shooting (you put the subject within that smaller frame to for parallax). Especially since this camera can focus down to 1 foot 6 inches.

    The shutter cocking knob also advances the film, and the shutter speed selection rotates as it winds (like some of the old Leica RFs, the shutter speeds aren't selectable until the shutter has been cocked). Firing off the shutter has a very satisfying "woosh-clunk".

    A portrait of my oldest back in 2008 at the closest focusing distance (this was before I cleaned the lens this year too). Shot on Kodak BW400CN chromogenic B&W.


    Fed 2A (PE036) - 1955~1956

    The other one I've had for 9 years now. A Fed 2A was one of two FED rangefinders I got in trade for a Canonet QL-17 GIII and a Seagull SA-85 TLR.

    The one I kept (shown above) was CLA'd by the previous owner. He made comments about how a lot of the FSU cameras seemed like they were serviced by tank mechanics wound up so tightly that it's like a gun going off when the shutter fires.

    Said that he had properly tuned it, lubed it, adjusted it to be very smooth and even modified the shutter speed knob so that it could be operated regardless of whether or not the shutter was cocked. Meaning it wouldn't damage the mechanism if you turned it either way, you just simply wouldn't know what speed was selected until you cocked it.

    The lens on it is an Fed Industar-10 50/3.5 collapsible which I just recently cleaned (it was super hazy/soft and low contrast for a while, now it's clear and rather crisp near the center). And like the previous owner said it not only feels very solid but it seemed to operate very smoothly and accurately without feeling like a rat trap went off in your hand. Probably the best Leica styled rangefinder I have aside from the Canon P I owned and the Canon 7 I have now. My only gripe with it is that the viewfinder/RF spot isn't the greatest, but it's certainly usable and I have not needed to adjust it yet.

    The store I used to work at, which went out of business in late 2007. It's now a guitar shop on the right side, and a Jimmy Johns (sorta like blimpy/subway) on left.


    Canon 7 - 1961-?

    Just recently got this as I was wanting to get a 'good' rangefinder again for an upcoming film photography class I have next semester. I used to have a Canon P which I absolutely loved (especially with CV Color Skopar 21/4, the super-wide Heliar 15/4.5 and the Canon 50/1.8 it came with). But it seemed like the prices on the Ps are still up there, yet a 7 seemed like could find some good deals on it.

    Well I did find a good deal on a 7, was about 129 shipped (off 'greedbay :D'), but then there was a dent which wasn't disclosed so he did a partial refund bringing it down to about 105 shipped. Then there was a problem with the frame lines just sliding around the viewfinder with gravity. Decided to take a gamble and open up the top, and turned out the prism back near the viewfinder was no longer glued in. So I took care of that with some shellac. I didn't get the frame lines perfect, but with a check with a ground glass I just have to remember that the frame lines are like 5-10% more to the right than the actual image captured. Everything else seems to work well, including the meter which appears to be accurate compared to my Minolta Autometer IVf.

    It's a big camera, heavy feeling, but I like it. The viewfinder is rather nice and easy to see thru, especially the 35mm view being easier to see than I remember of my Canon P.

    Shortly after I went ahead and picked up a Canon Serenar 35mm f/2.8 Mk1 and then did my rangefinder calibration based off that (Didn't really trust my Industar-61L/D 55/2.8 or Industar-10 50/3.5 to be accurately coupled for non-FSU bodies). I'm hoping to pick up a Leitz Summitar (post-50s model) for cheap(er), since it seems like the hexagonal apertures weren't as desired as the older 10-blade version to cover my 50mm range. (either that or see if there's a Canon 50/1.4 of the same era as the 7 for under 250).

    Of the four this is "My Precious" as smeagol would say.

    I need to get a roll thru the Canon 35/2.8, but for I did get a test roll of some expired Kodak gold 200 thru the Industar-10 50/3.5.


    Argus C3 - 1953

    Re-skinned with Optics (I assume just the lens) cleaned. Still fiddling with this one. I have a Black C3 which is mostly for parts right now as I lost the lens assembly when I was trying to adapt it to a digital set up (makes for a really cool macro lens). The C3 was probably the first rangefinder I used when I got into film, after using a Kodak Pony 135 (which doesn't have a coupled rangefinder).

    With this blue one, so far I removed the front plate, cleaned behind the viewfinder/rangefinder windows, inspected the insides. Changed the flash timing so that it's set for x-sync, reapplied some new tape over by one of the flash contacts where an old black tape had dried up and crumbled. Re-adjusted the shutter level to a more comfortable position and took the 7-speed black shutter speed dial from my old black C3 and put it onto this one. Also adjusted the lens to accurately focus to infinity since none of the thread entries were allowing for it (I suspect the lens came from a different body), and adjusted the rangefinder to match so that now the lens, RF and focus scale are all spot on. I'm debating about taking the shutter assembly from my older C3 and putting it into this one since the shutter blades on my black one seem cleaner.

    I might eventually re-skin this one since the current skin seems to have what appears like little fluffs of fabric hanging out where the skin kit was perforated, might go classic black just to match the theme of everything else I got going.

    Have not shot a roll thru this one yet.

    Future Plans

    Eventually I want to try to re-acquire some of the favorites that I had to part with such as :
    - Olympus 35RC
    - Zeiss Ikon Nettar 515 (6x4.5 folding camera)
    - Canon Demi
  2. The biggest problem with most FSU rangefinders is that the lubricants weren't great when they were made and they've only gotten worse with time. A good CLA and relubing is all it takes to make these pretty good cameras. I love my two FED-2 cameras and my Zorki 4 that I had CLA'd by someone in the Netherlands. The camera feels good in the hand when using it and it's almost as smooth as my Leicas. (I wonder how may fanboys I gave heart attacks with that statement?) And they are built like tanks so they can take rougher handling than my Leicas and still soldier on.

    I have two C3s and they are nice cameras. A bit blocky in the hand, but once you remember to keep your right fingers away from the cocking lever it's not a problem. Otherwise you will slow down the shutter by retarding the cocking lever (lots of experience there).
  3. That portrait of your son is a keeper - very nicely done.
  4. I count 8 steps to take a photo with a C3. Great camera but it's a pain to carry around! I keep running afoul of the cocking lever...
  5. Least it's quite easy to double/triple expose on an Argus C3. The other three cock and auto advance with the same movement.
  6. Karl, you still got a camera store around!
    I learned that such is a rarity in the USA. Well, they got scarce here too.
  7. No, if you read my comment that store went out of business in 2007. Couldn't compete with the likes of Best Buy, and Norman's that added a second store to the city.
  8. I spent a bit of time in your store and truly miss it. It used to be fun to run over to Arden's, then hit your store and last stop was Mark's photo. I used to hang with Rob L and Richard K from East GR and we'd do most of Sam Vinegar's Photorama camera shows also. Are you old enough to remember Jim Geluso? We were always buying and selling cameras and darkroom stuff. Those good old days are gone forever I'm afraid. The only good thing to come out of this is the fact that a lot of gear we used to dream about is now well within our reach and wallet.
  9. The name doesn't ring a bell, I started working there around 2004~2005, and was there until about April of 2008 (though officially the store closed in December of 2007, but Greg Farmer the owner needed help getting most of the inventory to storage). I'll be 36 in March, to give you an idea of how old I was there. In a nutshell my coworkers were a combined wealth of Knowledge especially Ellis White who mentored me on not only Photoshop, but also how photographers used to do things as well as some of the little tricks when it came to various kinds of cameras of films.

    I spent a lot of time going thru the expired paper and film that was in the basement, Ellis wasn't sure why I would waste my time with it. But I felt that something not used was wasted and I liked figuring out how to get some 1957 sheets of Agfa Brovira paper to be printable. He went mirrorless digital with a Panasonic during that time and hasn't looked back, whereas I was enamored with every analog camera I could get my hands on. Course it was easier then as I had plenty of resources to pick from and my own makeshift darkroom and what not prior to the store going out of business and my eviction from the trailer park (which is where I had the whole walk in closet setup for printing and developing both B&W and E-6).

    Rob died of I think Cancer not that long after. I haven't heard from Ellis since maybe 2013, and I haven't heard/seen Greg since the store closed down finally in 2008.
  10. Back when I would stop in the group of guys seemed like they weren't doing a job, but doing something they liked doing and called it a job. Always joking around and just having fun. I got to know Paul, Ellis, and Larry pretty good and would spend much time talking vintage and new technology. Paul was a real stereo kind of guy and loved to show his stereo slides on his stereo projector. Larry was just a real nice guy and very pleasant to talk with. Ellis? Well Ellis was Ellis. He was up on the latest and greatest equipment as well as the old stuff and he knew it inside and out. He was a real techy type guy and the one you went to if you had a question about a product. The last time I was in there he had a spot right up in the front corner so he could see people go by(probably pretty girls) and in front of him was his new(then) Epson 1200 inkjet printer. I don't think I ever went back to the store after Paul died. He was a great guy and died way to young. You probably started after I stopped making the rounds. I'll be 67 in March so we're in a slightly different age bracket, but our interests are similar.
    If I knew I could just break even or put a little change in my pocket I'd love to open a used film camera/darkroom store with several rentable darkrooms setup in it. Also, a large conference style room for use for camera clubs and artsy fartsy groups to meet and discuss processes. With all the colleges now being established in GR I think if the film bug could be planted in some of those younger folks it might work. Trouble with using film at the present time is where do I buy it? Where do I process it? Where do I get good prints made? It almost makes it not worth the bother. Put everything in one spot as kind of a meeting place and you might be able to keep it afloat for a spell. Certainly no competition in that area and it sure would be fun to run. Kind of like the "old" Camera Center.
    I've owned all the cameras you have in the picture above and still own a couple of them. My favorite there would be the Canon 7, but I must admit I liked my Canon P better for a user. I've had several Canons over the years(Canon IVsb, III, VL, VT, 7, 7Sz, P) and the P is still my first choice. I owned a absolutely mint 7Sz Canon with a nice 50mm 1.4, but was always way to careful with it to take it out and really use it. I sold it for a pretty penny and stuck with the Canon P w/50mm f1.8 black barrel. I liked that lens better than any Leica or Nikon 50mm lens I have ever owned. The only lens I have that has that type of "look" now is an old 55mm f1.8 screw mount Pentax Takumar. I have thought about getting another Canon P off the big auction site and the black barrel 50mm to go with it, but I just don't shoot much 35mm anymore. Besides, I have far to many 35mm cameras anyway. Plus, my "NOW" user 35mm is a Contax G1 with 28mm, 45mm and 90mm so I actually have near the best I can get in 35mm. Alas, there is sure a ton of very nice equipment out there to play with at very reasonable prices too.

    The Camera Center, Inc. is a family owned business in the heart of the Eastown shopping district in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In business for 50 years,
    we're working on being around for the next 50!


    When you come in here, expect to have a smile and a laugh
    along with expert service.

    The Camera Center Crew :








    Our success is built on a commitment to customer service,
    and a strong working relationship:

    Corporate problem solving.

    Camera Center Flashbacks:


    Ellis White, ace photographer
    (Working for Richmond Studio, 1970).
    Photo by Mr. Danford Richmond.


    One Cool Cat.


    Dig that shirt !!


    Would you buy cookies
    from this Girl Scout ???


    Me, about 1990.
    Boy, was I cute.
    Cool shirt, too.


    Paul and Larry,
    photographed by Dan Broyhill.

    In loving memory of our founder, Mr. Henry Douglas,
    and his wife, Constance.



  11. Seeing the picture, I met Rich once or twice.

    The P was also my favorite, one I acquired there, and then had fully CLA'd by Peter's Camera Repair (which is no longer in business, though it seemed to have lasted longer than Camera Center LLC, I think the LLC came after Inc, because I think he sold it to Greg Farmer at that time. Greg used to joke that it took buying the store in order to buy the collection he had).

    A couple I got of Ellis while I worked there, and like you said, Ellis is Ellis. I often liked using him as my 'unsuspecting' test model.

    On my Crown Graphic 4x5

    On my Canon P (with flash bracket and flash bulb) when we were staying in Greg's cabin up at Baldwin Michigan for a Week.

    Not sure where this one came off of... probably my Pen-FT.

    And Bob and Ellis from my Canon P and the Voigtlander 21/4 Color Skopar

    Ellis is the one that suggested I get up on top of the camera store to shoot the funeral ride of Gerald R Ford when he came down thru Eastown on the way to the Presidential Museum.

    Shot with a Crown Graphic 4x5 on a tripod with Tri-X Pro 320.

    Greg's Kids in the Cabin in Baldwin shot with my Mamiya RB67


    Shot Greg took of me with my RB67, with his Hasselblad 500CM

    A shot Ellis took of me photographing across the river with the Crown Graphic (we were up there twice, once in the summer and once during february)

    The Baldwin Cabin was to be all analog, so Ellis wasn't allowed his Panasonic.
  12. Boy, those bring back memories. Yes, and there is Ellis's hat in the first picture. Did you have fun when you worked there? I think I would have almost volunteered for free just to work there. That 21mm f4 Skopar sure did a nice job.
    Yes, Peter's was very good with older stuff, but he sure didn't care for the new fang dangled hi-tech stuff. I remember a lady brought in a Canon "something-or-other" hi-tech camera that wasn't working while I was visiting with him. She said she loved it and wanted it fixed. He looked it over and kindly told her that she should give it to her grandkids to play with since it wasn't worth the expense of fixing it. I don't think she took that very well, but by the time she left he had her understanding as to what he was talking about. He wasn't super-fast at repairs, but he was reasonable in price and did very good work. I had several Leicas repaired by him. The last one was my Leica SL, which I still have and it works perfect. He replaced one of the metering cells in it for me and tuned it up. His wife was pretty good and handy at helping him too. Take care and keep on clicking!
  13. I can't find anyone who will do a CLA on a 7. Seems most I found will do P and lower, but not a 7 (and I don't even need the meter working, which already works, I just like to have someone on hand that I can send it to for a look over).

    But yea Peter's didn't like doing electronics, and with digital it kind of makes sense, the parts and what not were too expensive compared to the value and longevity of the camera.

    My broken Olympus E-M5 for example can be overhauled by Olympus for a flat rate of $160, which is about half the used price (so will probably send it off once I get some spare time to do so, so that I have two digital bodies for work)
  14. Peter's also said he was getting to old and didn't want all the proper test equipment he would need for all the new digital stuff. I can understand his feelings on that one. Us former "backyard" auto mechanics know the feeling when it comes to buying analyzers just to find out what's wrong with your car. Let alone the cost to fix it after you do find out.
    $160.00 for the Oly seems pretty darn fair to me. Most of the time you're further ahead just to buy new or used. Of course a lot depends on how old your new/old equipment is as to the cost of the repair and whether it's worth it or not.
    P.S. Looking at the picture of you that Ellis took I'd say I can't really remember you, but I suffer from old age memory farts from time to time. Oh, excuse me, memory burps.
  15. I was only there from around 2005 to 2008.
  16. Paul Douglas died in 2008 and I was wondering when Greg bought the store from the Douglas family?
  17. Before 2005 that's for sure, and I remember hearing about Paul's funeral from Ellis.
    (His death shortly after the official closing down of the store in Dec 2007 kind of had a weird feeling about it)
  18. Weird, but fitting that the two should go together like that. I never new it, but I guess Paul had been sick(leukemia) for a while. I guess we should just enjoy what we have while we got it or while we're here at least. I just loaded some Fuji Acros in my old Kodak Medalist I and if I get a chance I'm going to take some shots of an old one room school house and a rusty locomotive. It's a rangefinder ala'superb and I love the results from that old beast. Little bigger in size compared to a Canon 7, but I don't mind it.