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Is RFF even relevant anymore?
Old 08-30-2018   #1
kshapero
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Smile Is RFF even relevant anymore?

I know I am asking for my head to be chopped off, but I think we need to exam this question. With Nikon's Mirrorless announcement on one end and the onslaught of Algorithm based smartphones on the other end, is there anything left? As a Rangefinder forum, all we really have is expensive Leica M's and nostalgic rangefinders of old. Sure we have lots of sub forums for other rigs but are they really RF's or are we just trying keep the forum alive? I, for one, appreciate the content level of this forum and read it everyday (and contribute my fair share). So my real question, is are we becoming obsolete? Do we care? Is the photog world leaving us in the dust of our film day memories? Written with respect and request for spirited reflection and lively discourse. Please no flaming.:cool

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A few key decisions shaped RFF along the way.

1) would RFF remain film only, or embrace digital?
As Leica started making digital cameras, RFF started talking about them.

2) would RFF remain only rangefinders, or embrace other platforms?
As more members requested other non RF forums, we added other camera types

3) would RFF take note of mirrorless cameras that could adapt RF lenses?
any camera that shoots RF lenses is a RF of sorts, so there are many subforums on mirrorless cameras that can shoot RF lenses

4) would RFF remain centered on gear?
Yep, never any maybe on that. I don't see many discussions on Flickr wishing for more gear talk,
so why question RFF is primarily about gear?

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Old 08-30-2018   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
I know I am asking for my head to be chopped off, but I think we need to exam this question. With Nikon's Mirrorless announcement on one end and the onslaught of Algorithm based smartphones on the other end, is there anything left? As a Rangefinder forum, all we really have is expensive Leica M's and nostalgic rangefinders of old. Sure we have lots of sub forums for other rigs but are they really RF's or are we just trying keep the forum alive? I, for one, appreciate the content level of this forum and read it everyday (and contribute my fair share). So my real question, is are we becoming obsolete? Do we care? Is the photog world leaving us in the dust of our film day memories? Written with respect and request for spirited reflection and lively discourse. Please no flaming.
At its core this still a rangefinder camera forum albeit it has evolved into many facets since I joined in early 2004.

But even then it had many sides to it and it was not a one trick pony, so you can say it is constantly evolving and it is still to its true photo gear/image making and photo images inception of yesteryears.
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Old 08-30-2018   #3
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I participate on RFF for the content which has nothing to do with rangefinders, of which there is a substantial amount. What's not to like?
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Old 08-30-2018   #4
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I would assume many of us shoot with all different types of cameras. For work I have to use my DSLR's. For personal projects and pleasure I use a bevy of old Nikon & Leica rangefinders. Yeah, some from the 1940's & 1950's, but they all still work "as new" and about half the images I make each year are from them. So, only speaking for myself, I find RFF quite relevant.

There will always be a "latest & greatest", and with digital technology the latest and greatest changes almost monthly. There are web sites catering to folks who are interested in that. RFF seems to cater to folks who have a wider interest in photography, and a bit of respect for what came before.

Just my 2¢ worth.

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Old 08-30-2018   #5
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Attendance is not "mandatory", so to speak. Any person can decide and act on staying or leaving any website.
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Old 08-30-2018   #6
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Since I find RFF generally speaking, an intelligent place to hang out, I appreciate that we include many other types of rigs in sub forums.
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Old 08-30-2018   #7
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It has a much broader base of information than a brand centric site like LUF. There is always an interesting thread that may have nothing to do with rangefinder cameras but show a deeper knowledge of both the art and science of photography. Most of us are on here because we like cameras, all types both new and old and this is one of the few places to visit where you can read an unvarnished look at the widest variety.
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Old 08-30-2018   #8
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An internet forum that is based on the discussion of rangefinder cameras was (is) a forum fitting a niche. The majority of the photography world (manufacturers and consumers) moved away from rangefinders decades before the web even existed.

That is OK. How, and what we use, to take pictures has evolved from the very first days of photography. That is continuing today.

That doesn't mean RFF isn't useful or relevant. That the forum is evolving into a place where other tools for creating photographs is discussed is fine, IMO. And a good resource for information.

As far as the RFF part itself is concerned... back in my original film days I used SLRs. When I got back into film about 8 or 10 years ago I took up rangefinders. (And others)

My original digital was a P&S, then digital SLRs, then mirrorless. Thanks to the M10 I was able to just purchase a used M240 kit for about 35% the cost when new. So RFF is still very much relevant to me in discussing rangefinders.

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I think it is!
Old 08-30-2018   #9
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I think it is!

Coming from a whippersnapper who rather recently entered the world of analog photography and found a new passion in rangefinders, I must say I definitely see RFF as a very relevant medium.

It is a place where I can share this passion with other people. A place that fuels this passion. RFF helped me tremendously throughout the last year or so. I cannot possibly count the number of occasions where I got lost in threads from 2007, dozens of pages long, that discussed the questions i'd been asking (or not asking) myself. It is a great knowledge base. And the best thing: since the technology we use is ancient itself, these old threads remain relevant to this day and beyond.

Technology will advance, making photography faster, more convenient, and also more abundant. But I think there are still many people who will find that all this tech driven photography lacks the essence of what it is really all about. People who love photography for more than its social media potential will keep coming back to the old world of analog photography. And RFF is an important gate to this world.

And educating people and getting them hooked greatly serves the selfish objective to keep film alive so we can keep shooting it. If someone even younger than me finds grandpas old film camera, he or she is more likely to give it a go if there is information on it available.

So I say yes, this ugly forum is still relevant, no matter how great fake bokeh from smartphones looks nowadays. And if it all fails and film dies, at least we can mourn its death together and make the best of it.
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Old 08-30-2018   #10
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Asking about relevance raises the question of "to whom?" Or "to what?" (Relevance is always relative, i.e., related to something or someone.) Is RFF relevant to global photographic sales? Photography on global social media? Photographic technology development? Perhaps not. Is it relevant to those individuals who post questions, commentary, and yes, even photos on RFF? Yes, most assuredly it is. (As an aside: I am frequently struck by the number of dedicated photo threads on RFF -- sure, many of those are gear-centric (photos with such-and-such lens), but as a community RFF is pretty active in shooting images and posting them. We don't always discuss image content that much, perhaps because we find candid critique abrasive and corrosive of civility, but that's okay as there are other venues for people to seek out that sort of exchange.) Is RFF relevant to people searching for answers to questions about rangefinders (new and old)? Yep, I am sure it serves as a repository and interactive resource of knowledge and answers to a whole host of questions and concerns.

IMO, there's no need to wring our hands or even feel twinges of angst that somehow we're "not relevant" to a wider body of photographers. Since early days, there have always been multiple venues for photographic knowledge, each catering to sub-groups within the larger community of the photography obsessed. That hasn't changed and RFF serves its fairly small community well. In other words, RFF remains relevant to the people who make up the RFF community, as well as to some number of lurkers who pass through without leaving any trace, except in traffic stats and bandwidth usage. That's good enough, I reckon.
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Old 08-30-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
I know I am asking for my head to be chopped off, but I think we need to exam this question. With Nikon's Mirrorless announcement on one end and the onslaught of Algorithm based smartphones on the other end, is there anything left? As a Rangefinder forum, all we really have is expensive Leica M's and nostalgic rangefinders of old. Sure we have lots of sub forums for other rigs but are they really RF's or are we just trying keep the forum alive? I, for one, appreciate the content level of this forum and read it everyday (and contribute my fair share). So my real question, is are we becoming obsolete? Do we care? Is the photog world leaving us in the dust of our film day memories? Written with respect and request for spirited reflection and lively discourse. Please no flaming.
As others have said, RFF has quite a broad-base now, with a core of rangefinder content, so I don't think it's become irrelevant. I look at non-rangefinder content as much as any other. Having said that, there are other camera forums that I participate in much more. UK local photograph forums and 'Photrio', which I prefer for it's original analogue-specific content.

As an aside, my two most used rangefinder cameras are the Mamiya 6 and Hasselblad Xpan, neither of which are expensive Leicas or particularly old.
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Old 08-30-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
I know I am asking for my head to be chopped off, but I think we need to exam this question. With Nikon's Mirrorless announcement on one end and the onslaught of Algorithm based smartphones on the other end, is there anything left? As a Rangefinder forum, all we really have is expensive Leica M's and nostalgic rangefinders of old. Sure we have lots of sub forums for other rigs but are they really RF's or are we just trying keep the forum alive? I, for one, appreciate the content level of this forum and read it everyday (and contribute my fair share). So my real question, is are we becoming obsolete? Do we care? Is the photog world leaving us in the dust of our film day memories? Written with respect and request for spirited reflection and lively discourse. Please no flaming.
To me you are flaming already.

According to your Flickr activity you quit from RF. So be it, I know people have to quit RF focusing for some more than just because reasons.
Then I see old threads I see how many other fellow members migrated same way. Something like film Bessa, digital Leica, FujiNoTaFilm.

But please, do not judge and make assumptions on what is happening here. Where are plenty of those who are like me. RF and RF like shooting. Check Gallery and many threads with pictures.

RF style shooting doesn't have to be strictly on RF.
Helen Hill photography is RF photography with any camera she is using and showing results of.
I often focus by the focus tab. And now also by AF in SLR.

As long as this forum is not about pictures of flowers and HDR, but no drama landscapes we will be able to pull it out. It is about RF style shooting. Could be...
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Old 08-30-2018   #13
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It's true the content of this website doesn't really fit it's name. The fact is, there's not much exciting news on the rangefinder front, and hasn't been for quite awhile. Rangefinders are more of a niche now that ever, so I'm glad this forum takes on other subjects. If it didn't it would be decidedly backwards-looking and inhabited by a more closed-minded crowd.
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Old 08-30-2018   #14
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I think most, if not all, online photography forums are becoming a tad bit obsolete. Everything lasts only as long as it lasts, nothing goes on forever. I never considered this a strictly rangefinder forum anyway. It's a photography forum, w/ an emphasis on gear more than images and processes. Everyone knows that.

That's OK too. It is what it is, and I personally feel that it's wonderful that people can speak their minds on different things and not have to deal with an over reaching and over moderated forum like photo.net. Those negative traits surely contributed to it's decline and irrelevance. APUG got very heavily into over moderation as well, and people tended to become almost religious in their castigation of different forms of photography. That forum appears to have reinvented itself, and now offers more forums for non film users. It's probably a day late and a dollar short on this, and it's always been dominated by the one man who owns it, but at least it "appears" to be more democratic now.

It's the people that make a forum, and the forum's policies dictate the people that contribute to it. If a forum becomes over moderated it attracts people that have narrow views. They don't don't appreciate diversity or new ideas. This has always been a very democratic place, and w/ that concept disappearing in many areas of our lives today, it's a healthy place to be. I don't care about the latest and greatest offerings from Leica, or the best bag to put your stuff in, but there's so much else here that I like.
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Old 08-30-2018   #15
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Nikon's mirrorless cameras, smartphones etc makes RFF more relevant than ever, not less.
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Old 08-30-2018   #16
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Quote:
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Nikon's mirrorless cameras, smartphones etc makes RFF more relevant than ever, not less.
Pen F with 35mm (in 35mm equivalent) lens with just as at RF lens manual focus scale.

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Old 08-30-2018   #17
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I believe "relevant" is not absolute, but a relative term specific to personnel choices.

Rangefinders were rendered obsolete 60 years ago, but they still exist to this day for a reason...because people like them. I like them. In that sense RFF is always relevant.
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Old 08-30-2018   #18
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
To me you are flaming already.

According to your Flickr activity you quit from RF. So be it, I know people have to quit RF focusing for some more than just because reasons.
Then I see old threads I see how many other fellow members migrated same way. Something like film Bessa, digital Leica, FujiNoTaFilm.

But please, do not judge and make assumptions on what is happening here. Where are plenty of those who are like me. RF and RF like shooting. Check Gallery and many threads with pictures.

RF style shooting doesn't have to be strictly on RF.
Helen Hill photography is RF photography with any camera she is using and showing results of.
I often focus by the focus tab. And now also by AF in SLR.

As long as this forum is not about pictures of flowers and HDR, but no drama landscapes we will be able to pull it out. It is about RF style shooting. Could be...
Excuse me but I joined RFF in 2006 and have never quit this forum. Flaming is the act of destroying, insulting or offending none of which am I doing. My thread was to create interesting discussion and a potential reset for good of RFF's direction. Never was their judgement in my thread. Yours and all positive and thoughtful comments are welcome here.
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Old 08-30-2018   #19
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If RFF was just rangefinders it would have disappeared, though that base is what draws people in. I rarely go to LUF or APUG as their mandates are too narrow to be enjoyable for me. Some of the best threads on RFF are about new gear and this compliments the threads about film and lovely old cameras. A fine balance, I would say. I rarely venture to photo.net or the comments at DPR so it seems there is something special about RFF!
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Old 08-30-2018   #20
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Of course RFF is still relevant. It's not like it existed during the heyday of rangefinder camera photography, that was dead long ago. It is at least, if not more so relevant today as it was when it was started, with old RF lenses being more relevant in the present day use of mirrorless digital cameras. Those old (and new) rangefinder lenses, largely from Leica, Canon and Nikon now have a use on some extraordinary digital cameras. Remember, a camera is just a box with a hole (that sometimes has a lens in it) at one end and an image recording medium at the other. This use of old RF lenses on modern equipment is certainly responsible for our latest uptick in value of these optics as well as the little resurgence in film use we have seen over the last couple years.
So yeah, it's relevant.

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Old 08-30-2018   #21
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If RFF was just rangefinders it would have disappeared, though that base is what draws people in.
Think of our rangefinder guru TomA and the SLR cameras he used and would discuss with us. Also the films we would experiment with like Eastman XX, the soups we conjure up to develop them.

Even my 110 pictures are being posted here. I have to agree that it was the rangefinder that brought me here.

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Old 08-30-2018   #22
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Originally Posted by kshapero View Post
I know I am asking for my head to be chopped off, but I think we need to exam this question. With Nikon's Mirrorless announcement on one end and the onslaught of Algorithm based smartphones on the other end, is there anything left? As a Rangefinder forum, all we really have is expensive Leica M's and nostalgic rangefinders of old. Sure we have lots of sub forums for other rigs but are they really RF's or are we just trying keep the forum alive? I, for one, appreciate the content level of this forum and read it everyday (and contribute my fair share). So my real question, is are we becoming obsolete? Do we care? Is the photog world leaving us in the dust of our film day memories? Written with respect and request for spirited reflection and lively discourse. Please no flaming.
Sorry, it just seems like a silly question. Look at how this site has grown, both in membership and topics covered. No lack of interest of all aspects of photography that I can see. When new stuff comes along, and reaches a sufficient base, it is just absorbed. Good for everybody.
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Old 08-30-2018   #23
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RFF has experienced “scope creep” as alternatives developed and members explored different types of cameras in their own photography. The community welcomed the changes and adopted an inclusive policy for non-rangefinder camera discussion.

The Rangefinder Renaissance may be over, and most discussions on RFF might not be about rangefinders, but the forum still works as an online “third place.” Is it perfect? No. Is it good enough? Yes, usually. These days, I like that it’s an online forum since I deleted Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The occasional flame wars and trollish people are tolerable.

It would be interesting to do a survey on why members old and new participate on RFF, or why they left.
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Old 08-30-2018   #24
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I think most of us came from using rangefinders or at least came here first to learn about rangefinders. I think what truly changed this forum was Mirrorless. It was a true alternative to Leica digital cameras. For film, nothing has changed except that it seems to be another lull in film Leica M craziness. It always comes back around though... it`s just cyclical.
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Old 08-30-2018   #25
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Lets just change the name of the site. We could have a contest to pick the new name! :-P

I'll start: "LeicaIsDead.com"
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Old 08-30-2018   #26
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RFF is very relevant to me. The world is a better place for it.
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Old 08-30-2018   #27
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“Excuse me but I joined RFF in 2006 and have never quit this forum.“

I think he means you appear to have stopped using rangefinder cameras.

I have been an RFF partipant—reader and very occasional poster—almost since inception. It has been a great source of information and continues to be. There have always been many alternative gear choices. The site’s relevance is stable for those interested in rangefinder equipment generally and Leica specifically.
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Old 08-30-2018   #28
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Old 08-30-2018   #29
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Back from 2000 to 2006, I was very active on photo.net. Then it went wierd, and very negative. People used to rage against each other over trivialities. I remember back when film was still commonly used how people would argue about how some particular emulsion was garbage because it wouldn't render purple flowers properly (due to UV reflectance?).

As a refuge away from this craziness, and with the purchase of a Leica IIF, I entered the RFF world. It has been a pleasant place, with people who can discuss love of these old film cameras (and new ones too), without someone always starting a war on why these all belong in the landfill since digital is now the true and only way and etc., etc., etc....

We do discuss a lot about rangefinders here, but there is plenty of activities regarding SLRs, medium format cameras, and even some large format. I view this site as a rangefinder friendly, general photographic information forum.
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Old 08-30-2018   #30
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Back from 2000 to 2006, I was very active on photo.net. Then it went wierd, and very negative. People used to rage against each other over trivialities. I remember back when film was still commonly used how people would argue about how some particular emulsion was garbage because it wouldn't render purple flowers properly (due to UV reflectance?).

As a refuge away from this craziness, and with the purchase of a Leica IIF, I entered the RFF world. It has been a pleasant place, with people who can discuss love of these old film cameras (and new ones too), without someone always starting a war on why these all belong in the landfill since digital is now the true and only way and etc., etc., etc....

We do discuss a lot about rangefinders here, but there is plenty of activities regarding SLRs, medium format cameras, and even some large format. I view this site as a rangefinder friendly, general photographic information forum.
My Forum travels are quite the same. And yes I enjoy this being my main home for all things Photo oriented.
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Old 08-30-2018   #31
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Lets just change the name of the site. We could have a contest to pick the new name! :-P

I'll start: "LeicaIsDead.com"
Well that's not close to being accurate. How about: LeicasaretooexpensiveForum.
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Old 08-30-2018   #32
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.....all positive and thoughtful comments are welcome here.
I'm positive you were NOT flaming.

To answer the Original Question, H3LL YES RFF is relevant!

While it started out as a forum focused on Rangefinders it has grown organically to include many different styles of cameras and photography. As other sites have looked to monetize themselves our wonderful Head Bartender has avoided it materially impacting the member experience.

The OM-X, the original Un-Rangefinder might have opened the door and every sort of question, idea, approach around photography is welcome. Other places focus on a much narrower space and a few even want cash.

I see questions about wet process, dry process, large format, old glass, self-CLA, everything here and LOVE IT!!!

This is THE place were experienced and new can all hang out, share ideas, successes and failures so everyone can get better.

Thank you Stephen.

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Old 08-30-2018   #33
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How many are actually shooting a rangefinder anymore?
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Old 08-30-2018   #34
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Well that's not close to being accurate. How about: LeicasaretooexpensiveForum.
How about DamnNewLeicasAreTooExpensiveForum (aka DNLATEF).

Or IDoNotWantAnotherMorrgageOnMyHouseToAffordANewLeic a (aka IDNWAMOMHTAANL)


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Old 08-30-2018   #35
kshapero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillBingham2 View Post
How about DamnNewLeicasAreTooExpensiveForum (aka DNLATEF).

Or IDoNotWantAnotherMorrgageOnMyHouseToAffordANewLeic a (aka IDNWAMOMHTAANL)


B2 (;->
LOL, that could work.
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Old 08-30-2018   #36
leica M2 fan
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RFF continues to thrive as much or more than when I first started here 13 years ago.
It will continue to evolve and thrive. Let's not forget all the work done by Stephen and
Jorge to improve the site. Also kudos to the Mods who keep a rein on the goings on here.
Thanks to everyone!
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Old 08-30-2018   #37
Michael Markey
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…. and lets not forget you too ,Tony.

You do more than your share of keeping things moving along on here .
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Old 08-30-2018   #38
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I think of RFF kind of like a Jazz discussion board- we may not be the IT THING, but we are still vital and evolving artists, doing important work.
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Old 08-30-2018   #39
NY_Dan
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I think there's added relevance if you like the following:
1) Shooting film
2) Mechanical cameras
3) Latest offerings from Fuji, Leica, and others
4) Street photography
5) Classified listings
6) Grabbing a beer at your local RFF meeting
7) Reading my lame ass posts

8-10) My main reason is reading Calzone's Hunter-Thompsonesque tales of heroism in the face of insanity
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Old 08-30-2018   #40
Nigel Meaby
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The prices of used film rangefinders (and most film cameras) continue to steadily rise. This occurs due to scarcity and demand. The demand indicates that little has changed regarding the relevance of rangefinders and in turn this forum.
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