How To Buy a Rangefinder Camera on a Budget

Cameras have been around for ages and have evolved from the crude 1839 invention called the daguerreotype camera, which fetched more than $792,000 in a recent auction, to the modern point-and-shoot Cybershot or SLRs we now know today. Aside from its use in the visual arts, many have come to associate cameras with those toted by the paparazzi. Of course we know that cameras have more noble uses than catching celebrities on their bad-hair-no-makeup day!

So if taking beautiful landscape or portrait pictures is a growing fancy, you are definitely into photography!

However, before you join the Manhattan Miniature Camera Club, one of the oldest camera clubs in existence, you must first enroll in a photography class and have your own camera.

You might be thinking “expensive” but there are cameras out there you can purchase for as low as $10 up to a high of $100 that offer more value for the buck. A Rangefinder camera is one such option and it comes highly-recommended, too.

First off, the Rangefinder camera is a vintage and experienced camera. It has been around since the 1950s so that’s a track record in itself. You don’t have to look into the lens - you simply have to peek through a small window to focus on your subject. This is akin to how you use a disposable camera. What’s more, it’s quieter to use and offers a higher image quality and captures images more precisely than most cameras out there.

Now that you’ve been properly acquainted with why it’s a good idea to go for a Rangefinder, it’s time to know how and where to buy it on a budget:

  1. If you want to spend only $10, thrift stores and garage sale places are great places to begin your quest for Rangefinders cameras. Brand models that fetch this amount in these places are the Olympus 35RC or the Olympus Trip 35.
  2. For Rangefinder cameras that are in the $100 range, the recommended model is the “FED” type. Try to check out the former Soviet Blocs where Rangefinder “FED” cameras are still relatively bountiful. Russia and Ukraine are the most recommended source for quality finds. For this, you can go on to eBay or Amazon. A word of caution: be very selective when trying to purchase this type of camera online. You have to choose a good vendor so do a background check, cross-reference with other “FED” vendors, and initiate comments from those who have dealt with the vendor in the past – buyers from the United States are your best bet for the plain and simple truth.  You also have to factor in the shipping and delivery costs involved. If this is too complicated, you can search for vendors within the United States but do not deviate from looking for a Rangefinder “FED” camera.
  3. When you’ve got the vendor down pat (local or international vendor), you can request for a video demonstration and feature presentation of the Rangefinder he is selling. This can be done through Skype or by uploading the video through You Tube. Pay special attention to the condition of the lens. Make sure it’s clean and scratch-free.
  4. Finally, do not rush into buying even if the vendor says he has a lot people bidding for the item. Take your time deciding so you won’t end up with a bad deal or worse, a camera that falls below expectations.

When your transaction has been completed, your adventure into picture-taking begins! Happy click-clicking away!


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