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Old 01-01-2014   #41
tunalegs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
In a rangefinder, you look at the world, and you put a frame around what you see, in a SLR, you look into a black tunnel and you try to see the world.
I don't know that I would agree as there are definitely SLRs out there with "bigger viewfinders" than most rangefinders. In fact since the Kine Exakta came out it was rangefinders that were playing catch up with SLRs for viewfinder size. Looking into the viewfinder of a Leica IIIx or just about any other RF of the era is very much like looking down a tunnel at a tiny image to try and compose. Even once designers began to make larger viewfinders most of them were dim or tinted funny colors... there's only a handful of rangefinders in the entire history of the camera that have truly great viewfinders.

My personal like for rangefinders has to do with them being quiet and small, I mostly favor leaf shutter designs for these reasons. Also a lever focus has distinct ergonomic advantages over turning a lens barrel through 180 degrees or more.
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Old 01-01-2014   #42
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There are many reasons:

- A rangefinder can be more compact and lighter than a SLR. - I like the screw mount Leicas very much for their small bodies.

- Smaller and lighter cameras in medium format: e.g. Mamiya 7 <--> Pentax 67

- Rangefindes lenses are smaller that most SLR lenses. - They do not need automatic apertures and you can use lenses with moderate max. aperture as you do not need a fast lens for precise focussing.

- More flexible lens desinges:
- You could use the Sonnar lenses at 50 mm.
- No need for retro focus wide angle lenses.

- Good rangefindes are easier to focus at low light.

- No mirror slap. / More quiet than an SLR - Spechially when using focal plane shutters.
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Old 01-01-2014   #43
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I wanted to get back into 35mm film photography and a rangefinder was what I was after, mainly because my eyes are fairly crap for manual focusing but with a rangefinder, no problem. And the small form factor appealed. Also, I really like older cameras from the 60's and 70's... and there are plenty of RF options of that vintage available. Also, many of them have fast lenses which is of course no longer the norm when buying modern DSLR kits.

I have DSLRs, and now a couple of film SLRs, as well as a scale focus camera or two (one being an RF with *ahem* a busted RF), and a medium format TLR. But I love my little rangefinders.
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Old 01-01-2014   #44
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I think the exercise should be started with "what do you want in a picture taking instrument" ?

size ? quality of image, choice of lenses, simplicity/complexity of operation. quality of results ? aesthetic look/feel of the camera, ergonomics, optics/focusing ?

when you examine these areas and define what is important to you , then pick a tool

we shouldn't lock onto rangefinders any more than Kodak locked on film - Kodak was in the imaging business, but couldn't successfully navigate away from film. We are in the image making business (and gear fetish). don't let the tool dictate the result, let the requirements, and vision dictate the tool
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Old 01-01-2014   #45
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I like how I can see everything in focus in a rangefinder's viewfinder. Focusing with a rangefinder's split image is quicker, simpler, and easier for me. I love 35 f/1.4 lenses, and the size of a Summilux and film M together makes for a very appealing package. The quiet shutter and lack of loud, flipping reflex mirror is also a definite plus.
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Old 01-01-2014   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
In a rangefinder, you look at the world, and you put a frame around what you see, in a SLR, you look into a black tunnel and you try to see the world.

This.

I find the rf is subject focused and the slr image focused. For me it's not all about the image and so the rf gets in the way less. That's just me, and I seem to shoot mostly 50mm focal length.
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Old 01-11-2014   #47
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Just to add on what the rest has covered, I feel both rf and slr merits a place in a photographer's bag.

It all boils down to what they intend to shoot and which on them make them feel whole.

I shoot with both rf and slr and also my digital omd. And in all I find pleasure in whenever I use them.

But yeah rf are a joy to use. The feel of the body. The lenses are great. And when I press the shuttter..... magical. 😊
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Old 01-13-2014   #48
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Dear Agony Aunt,

I feel a little blasphemy coming on.

I own an M9-P and an M7. I have owned a Voigtlander R2m, Zeiss Ikon ZM, M4, M4-P & M8 before these so am not new to RFs. I also own a D300, D700, V1, P67II and a Fuji GW690. Because the local shop is so appalling at developing/scanning I have all but given up on film as I don't have time to do wet work myself and digital allows me to control the whole process up to printing.
I usually use the Nikons for studio, product and sports/nature but carry the M9-P most of the time for it's size and a kind of perverted pleasure of using it. My dSLR images are way better than the RF ones and I'm beginning to wonder if the Leica was only worth $300 I would use it less and the sheer cost of the M is what makes me carry it.
I could be a Leica fanboy with the best of them but am trying to be honest with myself. At times I almost resent the digital M for being the only (expensive) show in town.

Am I alone in this thought?
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Old 01-13-2014   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woollybandit View Post
Dear Agony Aunt,

I feel a little blasphemy coming on.

I own an M9-P and an M7. I have owned a Voigtlander R2m, Zeiss Ikon ZM, M4, M4-P & M8 before these so am not new to RFs. I also own a D300, D700, V1, P67II and a Fuji GW690. Because the local shop is so appalling at developing/scanning I have all but given up on film as I don't have time to do wet work myself and digital allows me to control the whole process up to printing.
I usually use the Nikons for studio, product and sports/nature but carry the M9-P most of the time for it's size and a kind of perverted pleasure of using it. My dSLR images are way better than the RF ones and I'm beginning to wonder if the Leica was only worth $300 I would use it less and the sheer cost of the M is what makes me carry it.
I could be a Leica fanboy with the best of them but am trying to be honest with myself. At times I almost resent the digital M for being the only (expensive) show in town.

Am I alone in this thought?
For film, just find a different lab and use mail order.

For the standard of image, I suppose it depends on what you mean by 'better', better content, colour, resolution?
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Old 01-13-2014   #50
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Better content? I don't think the camera really matters, so long as it's not a plate camera :-)
Better composition? Focusing manually and framing can be done simultaneously with an slr without having to re-frame after using the patch. The patch could be bigger I think. I actually like SLR focusing and seeing the final image without parallax errors. As for seeing events outside of the frame lines ... I can do that with my other eye regardless of which camera.
Colour is what ever you want it to be if you shoot NEF/DNG, but this isn't really an issue in the thread topic which is 'Why a Rangefinder'.
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Old 01-14-2014   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ansel View Post
If you want to buy another RF then go ahead.
I'd be interested in seeing one I haven't already tried.

My original question was .. Would I still use the Leica if it wasn't so expensive? My point being that the cost compels it's use ... not because it is better. The fact that it's the only digital RF around essentially makes it better.
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Old 01-14-2014   #52
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Originally Posted by woollybandit View Post
Would I still use the Leica if it wasn't so expensive? My point being that the cost compels it's use ... not because it is better.
It's not a gym membership. You can actually get rid of it.
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Old 01-14-2014   #53
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Konica TC-X (SLR):
Super clear VF & focus-spot.
TTL-metering with needle inside VF.
Beastly and firm shutter sound, gives great satisfaction.
Superb shutter release button.
Mirror blackout don't bother me at all, have no problem following the action.
Nice single stroke film advance lever.
More compact body size than my Zorki-4.
I have no idea why I love my Zorki-4 (RF) as much as I do. It's not a brilliant camera like I feel my TC-X is. It doesn't compare at all. And I use it more like a viewfinder/scale focus camera, at least when I'm using the Jupiter-12 on it. Maybe that's the beauty of it. Set focus, aperture and speed, walk around waiting for pray to enter my focus zone. It relies on me doing a good job, more than my TC-X which is so spot on it makes me feel stupid when screwing up a frame. Like screwing up 2+2 with a calculator in front of you :P
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Old 01-14-2014   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCB View Post
I was wondering why you choose to shoot with a rangefinder? I have 2 and am not sure about them. I have always used SLR's so I know there is a learning curve...

Thinking about getting another one but not sure.

Thanks

Peace
For when the sound and vibration from the SLAP!!! of a mirror just won't do.

That and faster focus, because of the convergent image. Unless the SLR has a split image focus screen.
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Old 01-14-2014   #55
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I too have followed this thread with some interest, having ditched all my DSLR gear in the past year and returned to Leica, both digital and film. I'm not afraid of large cameras. In the past couple of weeks, I'm also in the process of re-acquiring my Hasselblad outfit, a newer setup this time with a 503 CXi and a late-model 500CM.

At the end of the day in this discussion, a coincident-rangefinder/bright frame viewfinder camera either fits your style of shooting or it doesn't. SLRs allow for a different style of shooting. A rangefinder camera uses primes, and large aperture primes can be much smaller and lighter than those typically found on SLR cameras. Smaller aperture lenses are much, much smaller and lighter.

Electronics allow for the photographer not to have to work as hard mentally at planning and executing the shot, particularly in nasty lighting. Some argue that's a good thing. What it boils down to for many is convenience versus control. If you can look at a scene, evaluate the light, know when you need a ND filter and know how to use one, then you probably don't need automation. If you don't have clue how much DOF you get at a specific aperture with a specific lens, and you can't visualize it on the fly, then automation will probably do a better job that you would do manually.

Small physical size, large aperture primes also lend themselves to a different working style which then causes rangefinder camera users to adopt a different working style of shooting. Rangefinder camera users tend to move more for framing and perspective than SLR shooters with zooms. And, of course, there are some things that are just done more conveniently with an SLR; long lenses and macro work. Although the Leica M series are just as competent at both; they're just not as convenient to use. And for those who think they're not competent to do those kinds of things, here a shot I did with my M9, Viso III and 65mm Viso-Elmar this week:


L1008511 by chief1120, on Flickr

But the real benefit is the viewing system. If you like a coincident rangefinder in a bright line finder and it works for you, then that kind of camera is a good choice. If you don't then an SLR or EVF is probably the better choice for you. There's no magic here, there's just different ways of seeing the world through a camera. The bottom line is that you should use what you're most comfortable with because if you don't have to fight with the camera, you'll be able to make the images you want to make.
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Old 01-14-2014   #56
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The small size attracted me to RF`s .
I can still focus an slr just as quickly so the rangefinder aspect isn`t a significant factor for me.
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Old 01-14-2014   #57
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For me the big RF advantages are:

focusing with wide angle is very uncertain with slr, not so with RF

filter utilization (polarizer apart): far better the separate viewfinder

less shutter vibration and loudness

the lenses only Leica has

On the counterpart telephoto and macro require a slr

The RF is also in medium format cameras that can be used also on street (Mamyia and Plaubel Makina); wow!

Antonio
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Old 01-14-2014   #58
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(1) Small(er) bodies & lenses.

(2) Easier manual focusing (for me & especially in low light).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCB View Post
I was wondering why you choose to shoot with a rangefinder? I have 2 and am not sure about them. I have always used SLR's so I know there is a learning curve...

Thinking about getting another one but not sure.

Thanks

Peace
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Old 01-14-2014   #59
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I've just been out for a lunchtime walk with a rangefinder* in my jacket pocket, and got some interesting street and architectural shots.

I wouldn't have even considered taking my (albeit small) SLR for a walk in similar circumstances, even had I bothered to lug it to work.

* Olympus XA
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Old 01-14-2014   #60
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Well I got me another good rangefinder...



Konica IIIM.

The rangefinder is really nice large and it's pretty easy to pick up the patch. Shooting with both eyes open is new and different.

Still working on it.:roll eyes:

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Old 01-14-2014   #61
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+1 What Hepcat said above.
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Old 01-14-2014   #62
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This always amazes me with RF shooters. I know that half of them buy RFs because they like them, they look and feel nice, and yet nowhere near half of them admit that this was the main reason. Why's that? is it embarrassing to buy something because you like it?

Anyway, I like RFs, just like everybody else, and bought a ton of them, because I could, but in the end I realised that focusing by aligning two small patches was not working well for me and I was missing photos. So I settled for the nearest thing with AF, which is the Contax G + Hexar AF and in digital Fuji X.
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Old 01-14-2014   #63
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AH the RF mystique

No chimping because there's nothing to see, LOL

I've had a couple film RFs, Contax 3a, fuji MF RF and M6 for a few years, because they are so cool, but really I do a roll every few months not more.

What's changed recently are the EVFs--the Sony A7 is really good for MF, and wsiwyg. RF is not easier for me.

But what did I shoot all day today? M9 Why? In broad daylight nothing you can carry does better


L1000772 by unoh7, on Flickr


L1000761 by unoh7, on Flickr

so for me the answer to "why RF?" is very simple: it's the best daylight landscape camera I can ski or ride my bike in the backcountry and take with me.

It IS a very beautiful object which I waste time worshiping, but the A7 is easier to use in every way except it just can't deliver clean ultra-sharp images like the M9 in daylight. At night the sony is better, and then it's my primary.
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RF: a way of working
Old 01-14-2014   #64
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RF: a way of working

Quote:
Originally Posted by uhoh7 View Post
so for me the answer to "why RF?" is very simple: it's the best daylight landscape camera I can ski or ride my bike in the backcountry and take with me.
I put the M9 up against a DP Merrill and decided the latter was better for backcountry use. Image quality, for starters, followed by live view, lower weight (depending on use), dust resistance, etc...all speak to me in favor of the DP Merrill. YMMV.

====

One thing I appreciate about most of the people who use and advocate RFs is that they generally do not claim "it's the best..." RF isn't about being the "best", at least not in quantitative terms. That debate was settled decades ago when SLRs replaced RFs.

Yes, there are some technical advantages to modern RFs. Lenses (wide open performance of lenses, decades of compatible legacy glass, wide angle designs on film), ergonomics (size), The View (integrated RF/VF) etc... Any one of these qualities might become a primary motivation to use the RF camera.

But overall, what these people say, often poetically, as shown multiple times in this thread and countless others, is that the RF camera is more about a way of working. Working with limits, working with relations of a human dimension.

It's the RF experience. The pleasure of work and the work of pleasure.
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Old 01-17-2014   #65
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Quote:
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This always amazes me with RF shooters. I know that half of them buy RFs because they like them, they look and feel nice, and yet nowhere near half of them admit that this was the main reason.
How do you know? Is it from personal experience? Is your conclusion deduced from a RFF poll?

As a new member, I'd be interested to know.
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Old 01-17-2014   #66
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http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139176
Old 01-19-2014   #67
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Talking http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=139176

The Rf for me means a Leica M.
I am basically a film guy, but using a compact digital point and shoot, for everyday usage.
I have used almost every make and format, mostly not mine.
These were advertising, publicity ans news agency equipment.
The camera one grabs in a hurry for an important shoot, is usually, the one you should use all the time.
I can easily focus an SLR, but for wide angles, even depth of field, won't save my mis-focus.
The reliance on auto focus is another "no NO".
i see the point of focus where i don't want it!
The simplicity of the frames, choosing a shutter speed and and aperture a simple joy.
Digging into menus is a waste of time and effort.
A modern auto everything camera really only works in the "Green" symbol "PRO" program.
If i fail, it's me.
I f i succeed it's not matrix metering, some clever processor or weird application.
Less is more!
I can happily go shooting with my M3(since 1967) with only a normal lens and a roll of film..
When i haul a SLR/DSLR i need a trailer.
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Old 01-19-2014   #68
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Old 02-08-2014   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCB View Post
I was wondering why you choose to shoot with a rangefinder? I have 2 and am not sure about them. I have always used SLR's so I know there is a learning curve...

Thinking about getting another one but not sure.

Thanks

Peace
Back in 2003, I had always used 35mm SLRs and a Hasselblad 501c, along with doing a bit of Hasselblad XPAN shooting. 35mm SLRs were my main cameras, though. When the Leica MP was announced, I began to research and read about rangefinder cameras and Leica M cameras in earnest. I decided to give rangefinders a full on try. I figured that if the MP wasn't a good fit for me, I could wait a year or two and sell it, recovering much if not all of my investment. I ordered an MP and a 50mm Summilux (pre-ASPH) from Tamarkin.

I found the MP easy to catch on to and soon came to prefer it to my Nikon SLRs. There was no learning curve for me; maybe my experience with the XPAN helped. I remember when I first started using the XPAN. I thought how easy shooting with a rangefinder was and could not see what the fuss over the rangefinder learning curve was about.

Nowadays, the Leica M rangefinder is virtually all I shoot with.

That was my experience in moving from SLRs to RFs, anyway. YMMV.
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Old 02-08-2014   #70
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If I'm in the mood, I prefer the Retina Ia and Ib cameras that are not even rangefinders, they're scale focus. I prefer to make the parallax correction myself, and over the years I've become pretty good at estimating focus distances. Keeps the viewfinder clean and clear too w/o a RF patch. Cameras w/o rangefinders tend to be smaller and simpler too.

But generally I use SLRs because what you see is what you get. It's probably due to my early training as a painter. I want to see that tunnel view of only what's in the viewfinder so I can get a tight composition. Seeing what is out of the frame lines is just distracting. The size thing is generally a wash unless you're using fast, long glass. My EM w/ a 50 lens is as compact as a Leica, maybe more so, and a lot lighter. Depends on the camera. My Canon T90 is as big as a medium format camera.
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Old 02-22-2014   #71
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I am late to the party, as usual . . . and I want to echo a lot of what I've read here: accuracy in focusing, good for wide angle lenses, many wonderful lenses and some of them are even affordable (lol). Not sure anyone said it, but I would also point to the longevity of the RF system; the fact that it is still going with dedicated enthusiasts, dedicated fora, and mechanics who repair and refurbish old equipment fascinates me.

I also very much like the portability of the old style RFs I shoot: a IIIf and a Bessa-T. Thinking about a M camera but I think may be too large and heavy for my taste.
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