Get out the tar & feathers . . .

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by nsurit, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I got my Nicca 3S and close focusing f2 50mm Nikkor back from Mark Hama a few weeks ago and am working on my second roll of HP 5. Mark's CLA is superb and the craftmanship on the camera is great . . . an extremely well made machine!

    My question is how long does it generally take for the love affair to begin? For one who is use to focusing with a SLR, the rangefinder seems a little more difficult to use and I find myself using the depth of field scale, shooting at f16 and not messing with focusing for many situations.

    My 35mm SLR cameras are Olympus OM single digit series. They are somewhat larger than the Nicca, however not much, if any, heavier. So, it is back to my original question about how long it takes for the love affair to begin? What has those who use rangefinder 35mm cameras select them rather than SLRs?

    Please don't get the tar too hot. Bill Barber
     
  2. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    Use whatever feels best for you. I normally use SLRs for 35mm, but sometimes an RF camera just feels right.
     
  3. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    Everyone has different tastes. RF may not be yours. No problem.
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    I found I really started enjoying rangefinder shooting when I had a feel for the aperture range that I liked and didn't have to look too much at the DOF scale. Usually that means about one or two stops from wide open with whatever lens I have, and the fastest shutter speed I can use. Closer to wide open, I think, you get more of a sense of what a rangefinder lens can do--really sharp subject, soft background. Try sticking around f:8 for a while.
     
  5. michael9793

    michael9793 Subscriber

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    I love my Leica M6 it is light and very quite. But then I love my Pentax 67II. It is a very large SLR, and very very loud. plus LF and ULF cameras, but that has nothing to do with this. You have to get a feel but not all range finder camera are easy to use or can become something you can fall in love with. I also have a Nikon S2 and that is much harder for me to use than the Leica.
     
  6. Polybun

    Polybun Guest

    You know I've been rethinking sports photography lately. I can see why SLR is a desirable trait with sports photography, but focal plane shutters, yuk! So over the summer I used a rangefinder with a leaf shutter, it made a big difference. Mostly because on the bright sunny days i could use fill flash.

    The most intresting part of this, the responce from the bmx racers. They asked "why didn't you bring your good camera?" That was until i had prints in my hand two weeks later :D
     
  7. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I believe for starters that 140ºF for the tar is appropriate. The feathers are used at ambient temperature...I recommend goose feathers... are you down with that?
     
  8. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    You are not alone......

    I started using 70's rangefinders and a FED2 (50mm lens only). Based on those, I thought that I'd love a leica. I didn't. I just didn't like the less-than-full viewfinder view with anything other than the widest lens. I still love my old, cheap rangefinders and I have one of my OM's being CLAed now. I'd also love one of the new (or old) Fujis....but I don't really want an interchangable lens rangefinder.
     
  9. nsouto

    nsouto Subscriber

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    To me the biggest attraction of the rangefinder is the ability to easily hand-hold at much lower shutter speeds than with a slr.

    There is also the "can see through the shot, no black-out" argument, but that is a bit moot in my opinion.

    I've also had better image quality wide open from my r/f lenses than anything I have for slrs, but I know others don't accept that argument for various reasons.

    As for the feathers: hey, pillow-fight! :D
     
  10. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    I think the post about "love it or hate it" definately applies. I shot for 20+ years before buying my first RF, a Minolta 7sII. I loved the small, compact almost invisible camera compared to the Nikon F4e and Minolta XK Motor I was shooting with at the time.

    I waited two years before buying my first Leica. Hemmed and hawed - really afraid I was making a mistake, and an expensive one at that.

    It was no mistake, however. When the M3 and Summicron DR 50mm, f/2 arrived from a friend, I loaded it with Velvia and went for a stroll down Route 66. These days I don't leave the house without a RF and almost never use my SLRs. It is indeed a style thing - my preferred style of shooting works better with the RF. If you walk into a room carrying an SLR w/ motor drive and a big hunk of big-aperature lens on it (like the Noct), it doesn't matter if you're shooting flash or not, you're not going to get the same relaxed shots you'll get with a small unobtrusive RF. Even a smaller SLR, like the FM doesn't shoot like an RF - perhaps its the way a RF doesn't cover your whole face while you're shooting... dunno, but it's different.

    Gentlemen, since he's at least tried RF before rejecting it, what say we set the tar at only mildly scalding?
     
  11. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    Get a couple of rolls of Ilford SFX or Rolli Superpan.
    Put an IR filter on your lens (Wraten 89b, or any other 720nm filter) and go shooting

    you'll fall in love :smile:
     
  12. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I've used Leicas for much photography since 1953. They feel more user friendly when one doesn't need really close focusing or long lenses. Focusing seems faster and more precise than SLRs. The M series are even better than the screw mount Leicas and their many imitators.
     
  13. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    Last year ('06 / '07) I shot my son's and daughter's kid-league soccer games with both my Digital SLR's (D1H / D2H) and with a couple of my rangefinders (M3, M5, CLE). I also shot many of the league team shots, helping out the independant photogapher who had contracted with the league.

    The RF's I used didn't have leaf shutters, but performed admirably. I do own a few Minolta 7sII's, and when the need arises, I happily snatch one of them for that purpose.

    I found that for formal group shots the DLSRs gave me better shots, BUT I would suggest that most of that had to do with lighting, not cameras or lenses.


    For action shots - of kids at least - the RF's did just as well as the DSLRs. I may have taken more photos with digital, but the keepers between film and digital were about the same. And of course the percentage of keepers was astronomically higher among the film (RF in this case) shots.

    I shot most of the images with a Leica 90mm, f/4.

    Indoors I used a Minolta 360PX flash with the CLE set either on A or TTL flash mode.

    Perhaps the best images of all came from my trusty M3 and a 30 year old lens and some Kodak slide film. Shot the way my grandfather used to shoot them- and just as good.

    I guess I post all this to say that we can take just as good a photo in a sports environment as some mom or dad on the side of the field shooting their newest DSLR. Probably better, in most cases.

    Jeff M
     
  14. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I've been photographing since the 1960's, starting with SLRs for the most part. I then got a Nikon RF, took it to Africa in the 70's, had it stolen, and didn't get back to RFs until about 8 years ago.

    I think there are two main differences, at least to my mind. When I look through an SLR, my mind is caught in the act of looking at the overall picture, as if I am looking at the picture on a wall and I'm judging how it looks as a composition. With the RF, I seem to be less concerned about framing than about the moment of pressing the shutter release and the instant that I'm capturing. I react to the image in the RF viewfinder differently.

    One thing that drove me -- as if driving were necessary -- to RFs was a family event I attended several years ago with my Contax SLRs and several zoom and primes. It was an indoor wedding event at night, and I'll be damned if I could focus a wide angle image at all. I dearly regretted not having an RF that facilitated focussing, especially of wide angle lenses, and especially in the ambient darkness.

    So, I usually walk around with an RF. But if I need to do close-ups or telephoto shots, it's an SLR all the way. Leica NOOKY attachments are fun, but nothing beats looking through the lens in certain situations.

    FYI, I've got Leica M and LTM, Nikon, Contax, Minolta CLE and Kiev RF cameras. Each is a bit different and each has its own attributes. As does the leaf-shutter Konica IIIa, with its great lens and flash sync.
     
  15. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    I dunno. I've been using RFs for over a year now. Last week I had to shoot my school's culture festival with an SLR. Over the weekend it inspired me to bring out my F80 :smile:
     
  16. p3200TMZ

    p3200TMZ Member

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    Took me close to 18 months to 'fall in love' with the rangefinder method of photography. I inherited my grandfather Minolta Hi-Matic E many years ago and loved. So about 2 years I bought a Bessa outfit and hated it. Hated the whole rangefinder method of focusing, shooting , everything. Threatened to sell my Bessa so many times, but just could not bother. About 3 months determined to make shelf space, I went to sell the Bessa, found it had almost a full roll of film in it. Took it out to waste the roll on the street... I now own 2 Bessa's and a Leica M5 and have spent a small fortune on LTM and M mount lens in the past few months.

    Go figure...
     
  17. stark raving

    stark raving Member

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    RF's, SLR's, TLR's.... it's all good. I started a billion years ago on a rangefinder-less model of Kodak Retina and learned to guess focus. The squinty little viewfinder was pretty useless for framing. Any system that shows an accurate frame and doesn't make me guess focus is good by me! :smile:
     
  18. naeroscatu

    naeroscatu Subscriber

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    RF, SRL, MF are just tools. You just need to pick the right tool for the subject you are shooting.
     
  19. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Bill;

    The choice of camera may depend on what you want to do. My range finder cameras allow me to be much more discreet; the quiet "snick" of the in-the-lens leaf shutter is much less noticeable than the "clank-vzsssst-flock" of some of my early SLR. Then there is also the point about being able to use fill-in flash with an electronic or strobe flash unit at any shutter speed.

    If I am using a telephoto lens, or a very wide lens, or a bellows, or I need to know is going to go onto the film, then the SLR really shines. Also, I have never left the lens cap on with an SLR.
     
  20. rossawilson1

    rossawilson1 Member

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    There are lots of little things that make you fall in love..

    My M6 was so much less intrusive, even if people didn't care I had a camera I did, the M6 made me stop caring. Then there's the build quality.. nuff said. The freedom you get in the viewfinder was refreshing. I find it easier to imagine out of depth areas than than imagine sharp areas on a shallow SLR viewfinder. On to of that the extra room around the edges made it easier to see what I was missing just outside the frame.. rather than having to paint the scene with the SLR to see everything. The lack of mirror slap is also a huge boon and of course the Lecia glass. I didn't realise all this at first but I still fell in love the day I took it home.

    Some relationships take longer to foster.. apparently women are good at this kind of advice.. I suggest you seek one out or burn though some more film.

    At the end of the day if it doesn't work out that's okay too.. well.. providing you survive a road surface strength tarring!
     
  21. phc

    phc Member

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    I'm not trying to be cheeky, but do I understand that you've just started with your second film? You can't expect to get used to a camera until you've shot MUCH more than that, in many different situations. When you get to the stage of forgetting the camera and just taking pictures, then you've got the hang of it. Cheers, Paul.
     
  22. ron110n

    ron110n Member

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    Rangefinder advantage: You can shoot at clubs hand held utilizing available light. No need of tripods or flash.

    [​IMG]
    Leica M6, Summilux 50mm asph f1.4, Fuji Press 800
     
  23. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    I traded in my Canon EOS 1 with the 24-70mm lens (lovely, but huge. Not ideal when you have to ride the bus each way every day) to finance a Voigtlander Bessa R2A and a 50/1.8 Canon lens. It just suit what I do much better. If a rangefinder doesn't suit you methods, no harm done. They're still pretty neat. I use my Nikon FM2n just as much, they sit side-by-side in my camera bag.
     
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  24. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Maybe an older RF may never feel right for you after using an Ollie system, Bill. I shot a contemporary, a Canon IV, and the RF/VF always seemed "squinty" to me. Using the infinity lock to move the focus ring was pretty nifty, though.
     
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  25. davela

    davela Subscriber

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    Honestly, I don't think a bottom loading LTM camera is a good intro to rangefinders (I own and use several BTW) particularly for someone accustomed to modern cameras. They take a fair amount of care and knowledge to use effectively, especially if one is coming to them with no personal instruction, although the results can be extremely satisfying when mastered.

    My first rangefinder was a Yashica fixed lens model, simple to use, so I was able to (slowly) appreciate the advantages they yielded, despite the fact that was in an era (late 60's and early 70's) when the 35mm SLR was all the rage and photo magazines sort of implicitly sneered at any other camera design. My suggestion for anyone wanting to try rangefinders is to get a good fixed lens rangefinder that is modern like the QL17 or perhaps the Konica S2 (there are many others) and use it in mostly manual exposure mode. Go from there to a Bessa R or a Canon 7 perhaps. Graduating to the "hard-core" manual rangefinders Leotax's, Nicca's, Leica's, Contax's, Nikon S's, Tower's etc. ,etc. will then be a natural evolution - in fact in some cases (regrettably) a compulsion :smile:
     
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