Rangefinder for wedding

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by jayvo86, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    I know of people using a Leica rangefinder for weddings. I'm very attracted to this minimal approach, but I'd like to shoot MF.

    The problem is...I can't seem to find any MF rangefinder that have a lens faster that F3.5.

    As an alternative, I'd be interested in a 35mm rangefinder that offers faster glass speed if no options in MF exist. (Can't really afford a Leica right now.)

    Can anyone comment?
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Do you want the wider aperture for reducing depth of field or for low light?

    If it's for depth of field, medium format has less than 35mm anyway so you should be o.k.

    If If it's for low light then I don't know. Judging by questions like these and questions about super high ISOs on other forums, weddings must be much darker now than they were when my father used to photograph them with fairly normal lenses and ISO 160 film!


    Steve.
     
  3. thegman

    thegman Member

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    If it's about low light, Portra 400 or XP2 400 can be shot at 800, and and I'd say Portra 400 can go beyond that. Also, the theory at least say that you can shoot a range finder at lower speeds than an SLR, due to no mirror slap and also the fact the finder does not black out when fired.

    If you can't afford a Leica, then check out Voigtlander Bessa, they are pretty cheap used, and you can get fast lenses easy/cheap too.
     
  4. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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    I shot weddings for years with a Mamiya 7 and never had any problems even in low light despite the f/4 optics. I just shot Delta 3200 and pushed the hell out of it when necessary. These days I bet grain would seem exotic to those used to digital so it could be a plus.

    This was taken with Delta 3200 @ EI 1600:

    [​IMG]

    Jonathan
     
  5. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    Steve, I'm looking for a very shallow DOF.
     
  6. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    I've also seen a few Yashica Electro's, but I know nothing about them.
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    If you go to one of the websites which works out depth of field you can find out the depth of field for the settings you would normally use for 35mm then see how the aperture differs for other formats when set up for the same depth of field limits.

    http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html


    Steve.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    The trouble with rangefinders is focusing. To build a MF rangefinder, using glass fast enough for something like an f/2 max aperture, you would have a HUGE lens that would likely interfere with the rangefinder itself, and that's in addition to focusing such a beast with razor thin depth of field anyway.

    I'd go with 35mm if I were you. I use a 35mm Nokton f/1.4 on my rangefinder, and comfortably shoot TMax 3200 @ 800 hand held indoors after dark. Max aperture gives me about 1/15th s exposure time. You may wish to invest in a monopod; they don't get in the way much, and will allow you exposure times down to about 1/8th s or even 1/4 s if you're really steady and have a 'cool' hand.
     
  9. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well the obvious choice is a press camera! They are actually very quiet and you have a rangefinder. How about a graphic? Put on a rollfilm back and call it medium format. There are fast lenses available.

    If you want something smaller and more agile, how about a konica hexar AF... stealthy, and with an all-purpose semiwide (35mm) lens. A contax g2 might also be nice and can make use of several great lenses, though it is louder.
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    My father used to use Koni Omega rangefinders for weddings. His employer was a Leica user and bought the Koni as a medium format version of the Leica.

    The lenses aren't as fast as you want though: http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Koni-Omega


    Steve.
     
  11. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Koni Omega is much too underrated! Fine camera.
     
  12. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    In MF you won't find much if anything faster than f/2,8 and the difference in DOF from f/2,8 to f/3,5 would I say is minor.
    DOF in a MF neg seems, to me at least, to be shallow at those appertures.
    Which focal lenght are you looking for in 35mm RF glass? Mind you that fast teles (75< ) are more difficult to focus than similar SLR lenses, the RF base on the Bessa may be just to short for that task unless you use e.g. a nikon 2X magnifier. If you want to stick with normal lenses maybe a Canon QL 17 GIII would fit the bill and a TLR with a f/2,8 lens could be a MF option.
    Best regards
     
  13. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    An 80mm lens at f/3.5 has a 23mm aperture.
    A 50mm lens at f/2, and 35mm at f/1.4 have a 25mm aperture.
    That gives you basically identical depth of field among all three of them.

    Just thought I'd throw that out there.
     
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  15. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Plaubel Makina 67 or 670, with 80/2.8 Nikkor. But one of those in good condition is not cheap.

    If you don't mind the square format, you can get a usable Rolleiflex 2.8 for quite a bit less. That will give you the continuous viewing of a RF and a quiet shutter, too. But TLR handling isn't for everyone.
     
  16. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    They aren't particularly quiet in operation though. They do have leaf shutters, but the film advance ratchet is famous for its sound, and the shutter cocking lever snaps back pretty loudly. I think my RB67 makes less noise.
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    That's true, and could be important at a wedding.
     
  18. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Now if you went with a 4x5 rangefinder, even a 135mm f/4.7 gives reasonably shallow depth of field. Plus the wedding pictures would be fabulous.
     
  19. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yes, a basic grown graphic with a 135mm or similar lens will deliver quite shallow depth of field. A comparable linhof or horseman VH-R would also be something to consider. All depends how much attention you want to draw to yourself. A crown graphic will probably be the talk of the room; not sure you want that.
     
  20. Brian C. Miller

    Brian C. Miller Member

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    Since the lenses on a MF camera will be longer, then of course the DOF will be shallower than 35mm. There are a number of 6x9 rangefinder cameras. The speediest lens I saw was f/3.5, though.

    For a really fast f/stop, the only choice is an expensive surplus aerial surveillance lens. Then you'll also need a shutter, and the lens itself might be larger than the camera.
     
  21. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    If looking for a Leica at a bargain, I'd suggest the CL and then add a 50mm lense since it has the framing for it. These are great cameras and both quiet ans unobtrusive. When I got married, the photogrpapher used 1 with the 40 and 90mm lenses for the grab shots. More than half the time we did not even notice he was shooting. With the setups, he used a Bronica ETRS that was standard fare for many wedding photographers for many years. A few years later, I ended up buying the camera and lenses from him so they sit next to the wedding album when not in use and even if it were to break down would not be sold.
     
  22. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Coincidently, I also own the camera used for my wedding photographs. It's not as exotic as yours though as it's Nikon F601 (N6006 in US I think).


    Steve.
     
  23. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    Thanks for everyone's reply! Lots of things to research and think about.

    In the mean time, can anyone comment on the Yashica Electro? Seems like a cheap camera with a fast lens if you can get it in good condition.

    Thanks!
     
  24. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    I used the Yashica Electro 35 GSN cameras (pair) for about ten years before I went pro. I still used them in rare occasion after, but never for a wedding. Used them for reportage type shooting for school yearbooks. The biggest problem I had with them was the fact they were only aperture priority mode. on a positive note, the metering system was excellent. The lens is decent, but not spectacular. It also is not a quiet camera. Winding often is noisy with a clunk. The rangefinder is pretty good, though.
     
  25. jayvo86

    jayvo86 Member

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    [HR][/HR]Hmm....AP only...I'm not sure how much I would like that.
     
  26. Ken N

    Ken N Member

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    A fully restored GSN is a nice camera and the black ones are beautiful. The metering system is simple, intuitive and hard to screw up.

    Over the past couple of years I've dug my remaining beater camera out thinking that maybe I'll use it for something. It takes me a couple minutes to remember just how restrictive that auto exposure is. I'm much happier with my OM bodies.

    I would actually recommend one of these Cosina/Voigtlander Bessa cameras. The new prices are reasonable and the resale prices are even more so and stable. I've been very tempted to pick one up and equip it with a really bright normal-wide like 35mm.

    I never shot a wedding with my Crown Graphic. I was really tempted to, but...