Rule of thumb?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by TPPhotog, May 20, 2005.

  1. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I admit I've been watching way too much TV lately, but it has been the history channel so I claim it's educational.

    I noticed that some photographers use their thumb on the shutter release when taking the shot in portraiture. Now for too many years to remember I've used my finger partly as I never considered using my thumb and partly because being a former rifleman there's only one finger for a trigger (we won't go into other fingers for other uses .... don't go there :wink: ).

    I gave it a try and found that with my QL17 it's comfortable and more stable in the portraiture orientation.

    So over to you guys are you a finger or thumb person?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm usually an index finger person, unless I'm using the Technika with the grip that has a thumb release--

    http://www.linhof.de/english/gallery/sport.html

    The 5x7" Press Graflex also has a thumb trigger of a different sort. The fingers of the left hand are supporting the camera with the thumb on the trigger. The right fingers also supports the camera with the thumb on the focus knob. I don't know if it's relevant, but the Technika and Press Graflex are both left-hand releases. On the other hand, so to speak, I have a left hand L-grip for my Bronica S2A, but it's an index finger release.

    With my F-1N, I use the vertical release on the motor drive. With the Vitessa-L, the thumb stays on the focus wheel, so still an index finger camera. I don't usually turn my 6x6 cameras sideways, unless I'm doing something like supporting them against a wall or a post for a long handheld exposure.
     
  3. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    It depends. I'm not consistent in which direction I hold the camera when I go from horizontal to vertical. Most of the time, I hold it with my right hand below and use my index finger to release the shutter. It's more natural to me because I can use my thumb on the film advance lever. When I'm using a slower speed and I'm holding the camera with both hands and pressing it into my face to brace, I use my thumb on the shutter.

    Edit: I'm only speaking of using rangefinders. With SLR's, I always use my index finger and hold the camera with the right hand above in vertical position.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2005
  4. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    Good point Lee I'm the same. SLRs trigger finger, RFs depends on the orientation.
     
  5. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I'm normally a finger person, but do resort to my left thumb ( ! ) on certain occasions .....
    It was once pointed out to me that with the standard issue 35mm SLR, because the lens axis is a couple of inches below the viewfinder axis, the camera-eye view is lower than the photographer's eye. However, turn the camera upside down and the reverse is true - it gives a higher viewpoint than would normally be the case, differing by twice the vertical distance between the viewfinder and the lens. This "periscope" effect by which, say, four inches can be gained can sometimes make all the difference when trying to photograph over a gate, fence, hedge, huge pile of money or whatever, but it does leave the shutter button best operated (IMHO) by ..... the left thumb!
    Best wishes from the Cream County,
    Steve
     
  6. stark raving

    stark raving Member

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    I had to get the camera out and play with it to figure this out, 'cause I do this unconsciously. I'm the reverse of Lee. With normally configured SLR's (not Exaktas) I might hold it with the right side either up or down, it's 50/50. If the right side is down, I use my thumb; if up, I use my index finger. But for rangefinders, I always hold them with the right side up and use my index finger. That's with a Barnack Leica and some Soviet clones.

    Now with a Rolleiflex TLR, I find it very comfortable to cradle it in the palm of my upturned right hand hand and use my thumb on the shutter release. I wonder if other folks do that?

    Jonathan
     
  7. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    OK, not a rangefinder, but...

    Until I bought the MR-3 releases for my Nikons, I would use my thumb on the motor drive for vertical shots. With the MR-3 front release, it's index finger time.
     
  8. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    For me this is becoming a very interesting thread and I hope I don't mess up anyones technique by bringing the subconscious into the conscious.

    Bob no worries it's not with a RF, it looks like this has a wider application to all formats / types.

    Thank you for your replies so far folks :smile:
     
  9. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    When I shoot from the hip with my Lomo cameras I use the thumb. Then I can shoot while holding the camera like I am carrying it around and people won't notice I am shooting.

    When shooting otherwise I do not use the thumb...only when I am using cable release.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    Hmmm... Never occurred to me!

    Index finger, right hand on every beastie I currently own no matter the orientation.

    Thumb on the cable release, does that count?! :smile:
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Voigtlander Superb TLR--that's another thumb camera. It's kind of an all-thumbs camera. Left fingers support the camera, left thumb cocks the shutter and in a separate operation advances the film. Right index finger focuses, right thumb on the trigger. Aperture and shutter speeds are thumb+index finger operations.
     
  12. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I hate to answer digital questions.
     
  13. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning,

    I know this is veering slightly away from the original direction of the thread, but a related item occurs to me.

    Back in the '60's I bought my first "good" camera, a Miranda SLR and have since acquired other Miranda bodies from time to time. Those cameras have a shutter release on the FRONT of the body instead of the top as do most 35mm cameras. Tripping the shutter, regardless of which digit is used, is thus a matter of squeezing rather than punching. This, to me, has the great virtue of being a much steadier method and a more natural way of doing the job. Does anyone know why the front-button approach has never become a common one??? Incidentally, I recall that one other camera (Beseler Topcon, I think) was somewhat similar to the Miranda, with a front-mounted shutter button which angled at about 30 or 45 degrees to the body.) Wonder why almost every manufacturer, at least in 35mm, sticks with the punch-the-button-down approach?

    Konical
     
  14. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    Ouch! Claire :smile:
     
  15. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    Oh....I forgot to mention that I also use my thumb when playing funky bass lines :smile:
     
  16. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Same here. Index finger on camera body, thumb when using cable release (electronic or manual).
     
  17. joeyk49

    joeyk49 Member

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    Right index finger (mostly due to my 35mm upbringing) when handheld.

    Cable release off the tripod. I've even gone to a cable release when hand holding my 124G, because the shutter release button is a bit clumsy.
     
  18. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    Ergonomic? Grip

    David:

    Sort of off topic, but...

    My Tech IV has the 'ergonomic' grip on it. In the past most of my 4x5's have been Speed Graphics with just a side handle, so that's what I'm used to. I've noticed that while the Linhof grip is something nice to hold onto I find that because of how far out I'm holding it (the grip is about 3" further out than the side of the camera) that it tends to act as a lever, and make an already heavy camera feel even heavier! I rarely use a cable release in the grip, instead I connect it to the bed of the camera next to the focusing knob, so I just bought a used standard hand strap for my IV, and while I'm waiting for it to arrive, I've removed the grip, and attached a leather strap in much the same way as the Linhof hand strap is going to mount, and right away the camera feels much lighter, and seems easier to handle.

    Have you ever used your Tech handheld without the ergo grip? If so, what are your thoughts on it?

    -Mike
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The leather strap does make the Technika more compact, but I've got the grip angled so that I can rest my elbow on the side of my body, and that works for me. I know some people just never get along with the grip.

    Sometimes I use the cable release on the bed, particularly if I'm using flash. Then I've got the flash on a Norman L-grip and I remove the ergo grip.
     
  20. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Look at my avatar... :smile:

    That's a 5x7" Technika: Left hand on strap, right hand under the bed while fiddling the focus knob. Problem is finding a third hand for the dark slide, and a fourth for the cable release!
     
  21. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I suppose you could learn to pull the dark slide with your teeth. And then, how about an electro-mechanical shutter release you could short out with your tongue? :wink:
     
  22. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I did find a solution...

    After focusing, adjusting shift et cetera my arms were getting really tired. But before resting I took a sighting along one corner of the camera, so I knew that if i pointed the camera in the same place I would get the scene I had planned.

    So while resting my arms, I inserted the film holder, closed shutter, set time and aperture, mount air release. Then lift camera, pull dark slide with right hand, put it under the handy clip on the back, aim, and stomp on the release bulb.

    Result: http://www.bruraholo.no/bilder/handheld.jpg
     
  23. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    To get back to the original question:

    I shoot a variety of cameras. Some were "uncomfortable" until i realised there is no law that you have to use the right index finger! I often use the right ring finger with small cameras, especially the Bessa-L which I don't really need to aim. I hold the whole thing in one hand, with the ring finger resting on the release...

    The Bronica ETRS I use the long finger, except in portraid which is best with the index finger. Some old folders are definitely easiest with the thumb - plate cameras especially so.
     
  24. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    It's good to hear that we're all fingers and thumbs depending on the camera and if using a cable :D

    But seriously, many thanks for your replies everyone I'm learning an amazing amount about different types of camera.
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    So that's what the clip is for. I always use Grafmatics for 4x5", so it never occurred to me.