Rangefinder shooting style?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by jvarsoke, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

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    Ralph Barker mentioned that SLR and Rangefinder shooting styles differ and not everyone makes the transition kindly.

    I shoot both and yet I'm not sure what the statement refers to. Anyone wish to clarify?

    (didn't want to pollute the other thread)
     
  2. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Well, you have to remember to take the lens cap off with a rangefinder :smile:

    David.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Graflex SLR ad, 1913--

    "GRAFLEX CAMERAS
    With this camera you can make better pictures


    There is no uncertainty with a Graflex. You see the image the size it will appear in the negative, up to the instant of exposure. You can watch the changing composition and expression until you see the picture just as you want it, when a slight pressure releases the shutter. There is no guesswork--no finder nor focusing scale.

    The Graflex shutter works at any speed from 'time' to 1-1000 of a second. With the Graflex you can make snapshots indoors or in the shade."
     
  4. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    What I was referring to is really a combination of things. First, the disconnect between the viewfinder and what the lens actually "sees" (paralax issues, etc.). Precise framing becomes a matter of getting to know the camera, what the framelines represent at different distances, and so forth. Then, there's the difference in focusing - some people have trouble with the super-imposed rangefinder image patch. That's further complicated when you need to focus and then recompose when using very wide apertures with minimal DOF. (Moving the camera to recompose also shifts what is in critical focus.)

    Although no mental adjustment is required for casual shots with a rangefinder, a little more thought is usually required when doing critical work. It's just "different" than an SLR, and some folks seem to have a problem making the adjustment.
     
  5. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    And having to clean the viewfinder window every time you pick the camera up by the corner after eaten that greasy order of fries. It's just a matter of time before you learn.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If I haven't been using the Technika for a while as a rangefinder camera, my habitual mistake is to forget to focus, but I seem to be doing that less and less.
     
  7. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I'm waiting for my new Bessa R3a so please don't anyone say anything bad about it and harsh my bliss....

    I found some interesting reading yesterday at:

    http://www.cameraquest.com/leica.htm

    This in particular:

    Rangefinder images with BOTH superimposed AND split images are more accurate than superimposed images alone because the human eye can focus split images VERY easily. Unfortunately, only the Leica M's, CL, CLE, Hexar RF and Bessa R have this feature. According to Modern Photography, with some people this accuracy increase may be as much as 5 times!


    Best,

    Will
     
  8. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Some other rangefinder shooting differences:

    Rangefinders allow you to see your shot at the exact instant of exposure, and during tracking of a panning shot, so you know what expression you got or that your fast-moving subject was in frame.

    Certain rangefinders, like the Bessa R3A and to some degree the Leica M3, have 1:1 or nearly 1:1 finder magnification. This allows you to shoot with both eyes open, and you can see the whole scene in front of you (although there are problems if you're left-eyed) with the framelines floating in front of you. You can also achieve this with 1:1 shoe mount finders, available in 50mm and longer focal lengths. The shoe mount finders also keep the typical rangefinder body from blocking the right eye of a left-eyed person. I find shooting this way to be wonderful, and when photographing people, feel much more connected to them, and less like I'm hiding behind a metal box.

    Rangefinders are often quieter than SLRs, and look less "professional", so may attract less attention, depending on circumstances.

    Some rangefinder focus rings have tabs or levers attached, and with a little practice, you can rough focus by feel before bringing the camera to your eye. With wide angles and a bit of stopping down, you can rough focus and be assured your DOF will cover you near or far. Cosina even makes a wide angle with three focusing detents so you can click into certain distances.

    Lee
     
  9. avandesande

    avandesande Member

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    To add to the others
    The entire scene in the viewfinder is in focus
    Usually quieter than a slr
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Another advantage if you like to use fill flash - fixed lens rangefinders are more likely to have a leaf shutter, that offers flash synch at all speeds.
     
  11. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    . . . as well as the Rollei 35 RF, Bessa R2, Bessa R2A, Bessa R3A, new Zeiss Ikon, etc.
     
  12. Peter Williams

    Peter Williams Member

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    There is also the fact that there are no zoom lenses for rangefinders. For those SLR shooters that use them, the thought process that goes into framing a shot changes when using a rangefinder.
     
  13. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Aside from the afore mentioned, very astute points, there is one that really appeals to me. Its an intangible, probably born of my love of gadgets and mechanical things: it just "feels" different. And to me, that alone is reason enough. I simply get in a different frame of mind behind an RF. Silly as it may sound, I find these type of "feel" issues can be really helpful when experiencing a "funk" or a creative block - grab a different camera, it will put you in a different mood, mabe you will make a picture you would have not otherwise made.

    Peter.
     
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  15. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Besides the greater focusing accuracy with 50mm and shorter lenses, compared with an SLR, the biggest difference, for me, is shutter noise. With the Leica M, at least, the shutter is so much quieter it allows a totally different level of intimacy with the subject. Hard to explain, but people know you're taking pictures but you're not being intrusive about it. For this reason alone, I'm willing to put up with the framing inaccuracies and inability to focus on a moving subjects that SLRs do so much better.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  16. Will S

    Will S Member

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    I got to test an M3 a few days ago and I was surprised how loud the shutter was. Nothing like my F100 of course, but my Petri 7s (sadly now defunct) was a lot quieter. I've heard so much about how quiet these are I was expecting it to be almost silent. Of course, it could have just been this camera.

    I'm waiting to compare with the R3A I just ordered.....

    Thanks,

    Will
     
  17. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Making the transition from rangefinder to SLR was indeed hard for me. Some of the things I found difficult were:

    1. Hard to cope with the increased SLR noise level.
    2. Watching the SLR image disappear when I pressed the shutter release button.
    3. Difficulty focusing the SLR when using dark filters.
    4. At first, not seeing the need for any lens longer than 100mm or wider than 35mm for a 35mm camera.
    5. It took me even longer to see any value in a zoom lens.
    6. The higher cost of the SLR did not seem worth the expense.
    7. Lack of trust in the SLR viewfinder image. For some reason, I equated the SLR viewfinder image with smoke and mirrors.
    8. Preferred the rangefinder viewfinder image that showed subject activity occurring outside that portion that would be captured on film as opposed to the SLR viewfinder image that was restricted to only what would be captured on film.
     
  18. kaiyen

    kaiyen Member

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    I'm pretty sure the Petri uses a leaf shutter. Using a leaf shutter without a mirror is a great combination for stealthy, quiet work. My Retinae are quiet enough for churches, and my Canonet is barely any louder. The focal plane shutter in a Leica, in comparison, will be louder.

    allan
     
  19. Will S

    Will S Member

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    That explains it. I got the Bessa R3A (about 11am in the mail) and it sounds about as loud as the M3 to me. Maybe a tad quieter. Would have to compare them side by side to be sure.

    The viewfinder on the R3A is eerily bright. And keeping both eyes open is really cool.

    I am very happy right now...
     
  20. frank

    frank Member

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    If the Bessa sounded a bit quieter than the M3, then there was something wrong with the M3.
     
  21. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    When you shoot an SLR, you are looking at the little groundglass inside the camera and watching that. When you see a picture, you push the button.

    When you shoot a Rangefinder, you watch the world. When you see a picture, you lift the camera to your eye and push the button.

    If you think there is a difference, there is a difference.

    .
     
  22. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    Hi guys, While wholeheartedly agreeing with all the good points you mentioned, one distinct advantage the rangefinder will always hold is its ability to take sharper pics at slower speeds handheld ! This is for me, the essence of its charm. No need for all the flash bang whallop etc ! Gets discreet intimate images with a minimum of fuss and razor sharp........
     
  23. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Yep. A zillion TLR and SLR, and one rangefinder. That's my problem, too. :tongue:

    (another) David
     
  24. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I own both SLR and ranngefinder systems. The SLR is more versatile and the rangefinder is quiet, compact, and discrete.

    Robert
     
  25. Ben Z

    Ben Z Member

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    I shoot both too and in practical terms (macro/micro and long-lens sports/wildlife photography excepted) the statement means nothing. Perhaps some people aren't willing to shoot enough and keep track of things so as to learn how to get precise framing with the rangefinder at various distances, so they try to convince others that "rangefinder style" allows for imprecise framing. Perhaps some people read that HCB and Winnogrand and others used a rangefinder for their "street" candids, and so believe the genre is inexorably tied to the type of camera. Perhaps some people need to justify owning several different systems by pigeon-holing each to a specific "style".
     
  26. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I also shoot both for 35mm but I consider SLRs and RFs for different purposes.

    I consider rangefinders as great general purpose cameras. A Leica is small and light enough to carry around without being a burden and discreet enough to use when you don't want to look like Joe Photo on assignment for National Lifeographic. It can do most everything pretty well but it has limitations.

    SLRs overcome those RF limitations. They're great for close-ups, telephotos, zooms and those rare occasions when 5 fps is really necessary. Autofocus SLRs are also quicker for fast action than my hand/eye coordination with manual focus rangefinders. The limitations are that SLRs are big, generally heavier (especially with that 70-200/2.8 and motor booster) and they're not at all discreet. Rangefinders overcome those limitations.