BEST night photography camera

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by snaggs, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Im looking for a single purpose camera, night time candids/street photography. It will only be loaded with TMAX 3200, ideally with a 35mm lens. Options in mind (leica is too expensive).

    Bessa ? w/Voigtlander 35/1.2
    Nikon FM2N w/Sigma 28/1.8

    are there any medium format rangefinders with fast lenses? The advantage being I could push the film more without noticing the grain.

    I am a Nikon user at the moment, the FM2N does make some sense, except, that since my digital lenses dont have aperture collars, they wont work on the FM2N anyways... so I have no problem buying into a different system for this one application.

    Daniel.
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Milan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Are you thinking of hand holding as in no tripod? If that is the case a RF with a wide fast lens is the only way to go. Range finder because mirror slap on an slr is going to require a shutter speed of at least 1/15 and more likely faster. With practice shooting handheld at 1/8 w/o support is very doable slower speeds when leaning against walls poll etc.. A wide angle lens because camera shake is less noticable or likely and DOF is greater at wider apertures. A fast lens because... well thats self evident.

    I'd go with the Bessa.
     
  3. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for your reply, yes with regards to Handholding. The options seem large, Im now also researching the

    Bessa R2A w/40mm f1.4 Nokton Classic

    I currently have a Nikon F65 w/50mm f/1.4, so Im wondering if a rangefinder adn the above lens would give me much improvement in low light (i see to always be fighting to get near to 1/50 shutter to guarantee a sharp shot).

    What would be better for me? R2A or R3A?

    Finally, does anyone have experience with the Zeiss Ikon? Is this just another rebadged Bessa like the Rollei 35RF? How about the Hexar RF?

    One more question, I read in a FAQ that the Bessa's arnt as quiet as Leicas, but then even quieter than Leicas are Rangefinders with Leaf shutters.. who makes these?

    Thanks in advance for any comments and the benefit of your experience.

    Daniel.
     
  4. martin@jangowski.de

    martin@jangowski.de Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    IMHO the ultimate combo is a Leica M (preferably with 0.85 finder or the M3 with its 0.92 finder) and the Noctilux. Nothing beats f1 with a TMax or Delta 3200. I made a few shots like this with this combo last Xmas. M6, Noctilux f1@1/15s, TMAX 3200@1000ASA, the only lighting is one single candle about 1m away.

    Martin

    [​IMG]
     
  5. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hmm, I notice your photo doesnt have alot of grain. How did you minimise it? Heres a shot of mine at ISO 3200.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. argus

    argus Member

    Messages:
    2,146
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Developing method? What developer did you use?

    G
     
  7. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Well, I dont do it myself, however Im pretty sure it was done in Xtol.
     
  8. Ara Ghajanian

    Ara Ghajanian Member

    Messages:
    368
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Providence,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You may want to consider the Nikon F3 only because I have some experience with the aperature priority mode at night. It also has a +/-2 stop exposure compensation. With the combination of those 2 features, I've done some night photography with available light that must have exposed automatic for almost 30 minutes and the exposures were 'right on'. Damn fine piece of equipment for night photography.
     
  9. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,578
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Konica Hexar. The older fixed lens 35mm f2 Leica copy. A bit pricey perhaps but validly so.
     
  10. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

    Messages:
    1,303
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One thing to check is whether you are both using the same method to present the image.

    In particular, is one a negative scan and the other a print? I find a lot more grain in negative scans on my flatbed (epson) scanner than I get from prints.

    Matt
     
  11. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

    Messages:
    331
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    bay area, ca
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I generally do find that I can use much slower shutter speeds with a rangefinder than an SLR, if only because of the lack of mirror slap. I often set my RF to 1/15 in shutter mode and fire away. I get at least 75% of my photos sharp, and many of the ones that aren't are because there was more subject movement than I had thought.

    this is in line with what others find with RF cameras, but I am trying to speak specifically for myself.

    The Zeiss Ikon is a completely new M-mount camera, as far as I know.

    I'm not sure anyone still makes a leaf-shutter based RF. There are many older cameras that have them - the Canonet cameras (I have a QLIII 17), the Minolta hi-matics, Olympus 35's, etc. My Canonet is very quiet, and I actually find the meter pretty good even in tough situations. If you want to get insanely quiet get a Kodak Retina IIa, but then you lose the meter.

    allan
     
  12. martin@jangowski.de

    martin@jangowski.de Member

    Messages:
    39
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I rate the TMZ3200 with 1000 ASA and develop it in DS-10 1+1, 17:00@24deg continous motion. This gives negs with a CI of about 0.65 perfectly suited for street photography in the dusk etc.

    I print my 24x36 negs on 14x20cm (Agfa MCP) and scan it with a Epson 2400 flatbed scanner. This method isn't perfect, but my trials with scanning negs were much worse. I don't want to go into digital, so I'm not going to invest much energy into this... I prefer good silver gelatine prints.

    Martin
     
  13. Mongo

    Mongo Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    Pittsburgh,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Sorta'. It's manufactured by Cosina and apparently shares a lot of internals with the Bessa cameras. Not quite the Bessa copy that the Rollei was, but not all that different either. (The real news is the lenses...M-mount Zeiss lenses...now that's something to get excited about.)
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, this is a scan from Negative (Fuji Frontier).

    Daniel.
     
  16. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Btw, I have one more option, I can get a Leica M3 with >1 million serial number for about the same price as a new Bessa R3A..

    Daniel.
     
  17. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

    Messages:
    405
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    I'm not sure what the big deal on noise is.. Both the bessa and the leica's are noisy compared to my Rollei TLR. First time I actually shot a Leica I laughed, it's a lot quieter than an SLR but it wasn't anything like the near mystical quietness I was expecting after reading Leica's marketing materials, the FAQ's and other nonsense online.

    There are MF rangefinders with leaf shutters. old weird/cool stuff like koni-omega's and some similar.. fastest lens is usually a F3.5
    or if you want to go really odd - you could go with a baby crown graphic with a 120 back and a rangefinder on it.. there was an illuminated rangefinder option which you still find occaisionally. Be a darn funky night set up. :wink:
    see www.graflex.org , pretty sure they have a copy of an original ad on their site.

    New Bessa VS old Leica.

    They both do the same basic job. The in-camera metering and easier film loading is a bonus with the Bessa.
    The Leica definitely feels nicer. From winding to releasing the shutter it all just feels better, more solid. The downside is you are buying an old camera. Old camera's need service. Service can be expensive.

    Hope this helps you some.


    Cheers,
    Ian
     
  18. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,523
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I was a working photojournalist I always carried a rangefinder for low level light situations, either a Cannon 7s, Leica IIIg and later a M4. I agree with Ian that none of these are as quite as a Rolliflex or a 2X3 Crown, but the advantage of a modern rangefinder is interchangable lens. I also carried a fast 90mm and 35mm as well as the standard 50. I had a Cannon 50 1.4 that was very sharp for its day. I still have a Cannon IIIg rangefinder from the 70s that is quite sharp, but without interchangable lens it can be quite limiting, I also have a Retina III big C with the two lens 35mm and 80mm, but there are very slow and the old external light meter does not meter in low light very well. I have not used the Bessas, but I did try the new Konica rangefinder, if I had the money I would get one with 2 lens. The motor advance was very quite.

    Paul
     
  19. Roger Krueger

    Roger Krueger Member

    Messages:
    148
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Med. Format RF
    I use a Mamiya Universal (6x9) with a 100/2.8 (a Planar design, which is MUCH better wide open than the more common 100/3.5 Tessar). I use Delta 3200 (no 120 TMZ, sigh) stand developed in 1:1 XTOL for 25-30 minutes, EI of about 12,500. This is a leaf-shutter rangefinder design.

    There are a number of other lenses in the system, but none of them are remotely fast. Still, I shoot my 50/6.3 from the neckstrap (and scale focused) as slow as 1/8 with pretty good results.

    Plan on adjusting the rangefinder (easy) so your fast lens is dead on--these cameras are very prone to going out of adjustment over the years.

    The Koni-Omega is a very similar system, but it lacks the killer-wide-open Planar.

    One neat benefit to the Mamiya's slow 50/6.3 is that you can shoot it wide open to get rid of the "spikes" around lights and still have decent depth of field and great lens performance.
     
  20. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Can the Mamiya Universal use all the Mamiya lenses? As I belive there is a Mamiya 80mm f/1.9.

    Ok, to summarise the posts so far, we have two distinct possibilities.. Since this is a single purpose application, brand of the depth of the system arnt a consideration. Performance is, with what it costs to reach being subjective in the end.

    1) 35mm Rangefinder with fast lens. Obviously any 35mm camera can use the same film, so the differences boil down to mirror slap, focal length and speed of lens.

    2) MF Rangefinder with slowish lens. All the MF lenses seem quite a bit slower than their 35mm compatriots.

    So, here would be my guesses in order of handholdability (and ability to freeze motion) given the same amount of light using Delta 3200 film.

    Currently Im using a Nikon F65 with a 50mm f1.4, our meter is showing 1/15. This is the problem I have at the moment.. its just not fast enough to avoid the mirror slap of the SLR, the ideal 1/50 required for 50mm, and still susceptible for people moving.

    Below is a chart of what various combinations will achieve, i.e. with the Bessa 2R, half a stop gets us to the 1/20 speed on the camera, and 35mm needs an ideal 1/35.

    Now heres the interesting question. If we fix the enlargement size to 8x10.. how much can we push a 6x7 negative for it to still achieve the same resolution as the 35mm negative? Lets say its two stops since theres 4 times as much film. Im also asumming that a 80mm lens on MF will still only require 1/50 since its the normal lens for MF and so movement has the same angular resolution effect. Someone please answer this.


    ____________________________________Shutter_________Ideal
    Mamiya 645 w/80mm f1.9 @ ISO 12800.....1/40..................1/50
    Leica M3 w/50mm f1.0 @ ISO 3200...........1/30..................1/50
    Bessa 2R w/35mm f1.2 @ ISO 3200...........1/20..................1/35
    Mamiya Univ w/100mm f2.8 @ ISO 12800...1/30..................1/60
    Bessa 3R w/40mm f1.4 @ ISO 3200...........1/15..................1/40
    Mamiya 7 w/80mm f4.0 @ ISO 12800.........1/15..................1/50
    F65 w/50mm F1.4 @ ISO 3200.................1/15..................1/50

    Corrections?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 14, 2005
  21. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Heres a excerpt of a review from Shutterbug on Ilfords site

    http://www.ilford.com/html/us_english/prodreviews/prodreviews.html

    So it would seem it could be alot more than 2 stops.

     
  22. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I do not know what focal lengths you need. I also do not know your budget. Have you considered a 5mm 1.2 Noct-Nikkor? I imagine that these are rather hard to find used...I have never looked for one so I do not know. They may also be quite peicey.
     
  23. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,523
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a Mamyia Universal with 3 lens. The only draw backs to a Mamyia Press or Universal is that you have to cock the stutter, and you have to look at the lens to confirm and change both the shutter and f stop. Most photojournalist who used any of the press type camera used a flash. Mamyia made a family of press cameras, the early cameras used a 90 and the universal uses a 100. There are 2 wides a 50 and 65, (and need a seperate viewfinder) and 2 longs lens a 150 and 250 (rather rare) which if I recall correctly did not couple to the rangefinder. Mamyia made a 127 for the Polaroid verison of the press. All of the lens are rather slow and I think I would have a difficult time hand holding a Universal at low shutter speeds as it is a rather heavy camera. And if you trying to be discrete it is a very large camera.

    The upside is that with a 6X7 or 6X9 depending on the back (Mamyia also made a multiformate back with 4.5X6 6X6 and 6X9) you get a large negative to work with, so you can push your film 1 or 2 stops, or use Dianfine so the slower lens are not too much a problem.

    Paul
     
  24. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    What is Dianfine?

    Daniel.
     
  25. ian_greant

    ian_greant Member

    Messages:
    405
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    diafine - http://www.dunnamphoto.com/diafine_developer.htm

    Looking at your first post and what your stated requirements are I believe a 35mm rangefinder is your best bet.

    Any handling/focusing/mirror slap/etc problems you are having with your F65 will be magnified by moving to a Medium Format SLR like a Mamiya Pro 645 or similar system.

    If your goal was to take Michael Kenna style night photos (long exposure's) I would be very inclined to recommend a larger MF system camera, but for documentary/street style shooting you are likely to find the extra size/complexity/etc to impede your ability to "get the shot".
     
  26. snaggs

    snaggs Member

    Messages:
    325
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    Perth, Austr
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Diafine sounds very interesting, however, Im not so sure that the lighting for the shots Im trying to capture is so contrasty.

    Im want just a little less grain than this so I can get good 8x10. Also, since kids move around alot, every ounch of shutter speed I can get is gold.

    prints.[​IMG]

    I think you may be right about a 35mm rangefinder, there seem to be some problems with the mirror shake of the MF camera's, except for the MF Rangefinders, but they all have slow lenses.

    Daniel.