WA RF choices in 35mm

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by jd callow, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    At some point I wish to buy a 35mm RF. My sole intent would be for street using a wide angle or short focal lens.

    My current knowledge of these cameras lead me to believe that there are not many or any that are coupled and adjust for parallax in the 15 -21mm (or even 24mm) range.

    Am I terribly wrong or am I stuck with a bessa l?
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I'm not aware of any 35mm RFs with a built in finder for 24mm or wider lenses. The C/V Bessa hot shoes are located directly above lenses, and the 21mm finder has hash marks in the bright lines for parallax (IIRC... it's on extended loan to a friend, so I can't check it right now). The C/V 15mm finder has no bright-lines or parallax correction marks.

    I haven't seen a 25mm C/V finder, but cameraquest.com should have info on it's brightlines and layout. I like the L, but I like the T better. I think you can still find both new, although they're both discontinued.

    Lee
     
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I don't think I've ever seen anything that's coupled shorter than 28mm. Everything else seems to come with an auxiliary finder and scale focusing...although the depth of field on short lenses is so huge that this probably isn't a problem (especially at the 15mm end).

    I've read lots of good stuff on the Voigtlander 15mm lens. If you're going to dedicate one camera to a very short lens, then the old Bessa L is $69 at CameraQuest. It has a meter but no viewfinder or rangefinder...but with a 15mm lens and the auxiliary viewfinder attached I don't think you'll need either of those. I've been toying around with the idea of picking up this set just for "special effects" use...under $420 for a set that'll shoot 15mm rectilinear. At f11 you'll get pretty much everything from about two feet to infinity in focus. (Sets like this show up on eBay from time to time, but I haven't tracked how much they sell for there. It might be worth keeping your eyes open there.)
     
  4. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    I just checked the completed auctions on eBay. The Voigtlander 15mm lens has gone anywhere from $275 - $340 recently. Not too bad, but no warranty, of course.

    What I really want is that lens on my Contax G...but the price is out of control for the conversion. Such is life...
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm sitting here with a Bessa-L with 21mm f:4 lens in front of me...

    The L is made for wide lenses, so it has no rangefinder. The 21mm lens however is rangefinder coupled, in case you wish to se it on a rangefinder camera. I have tried it on a FED-2 just to check. But you would need the auxiliary viewfinder anyway. The shorter lenses are not rangefinder coupled.

    I was out shooting IR film with the Bessa-L yesterday, focus is not a problem when everything from 1m to infinity is sharp at f:8.
     
  6. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    The Cosina Voigtlander 21/4 is a rangefinder coupled lens that comes with an auxiliary viewfinder. It is relatively inexpensive and will work on both screw mount and M-mount leicas with the M-adapter. It is a pretty sharp lens. CV also makes a 15mm lens that is not coupled that has a very good reputation.

     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I guess I thought the main concern was coupling to a parallax corrected finder, as opposed to the rangefinder itself, but that is a bit ambiguous in the question posed. Hyperfocal focusing works well on lenses this wide.

    I do use the L bodies for longer lenses, but focused at infinity for wide-field astrophotography, and hyperfocal for landscapes. They are great for astrophotography because of the light weight, mechanical shutter, and the 1:1 brightline finders for the longer lenses are the best I've seen for composing on the night sky. Both eyes open and many more stars are visible than through any SLR I've ever seen. I use two at a time on a driven mount so I can shoot twice as many time exposures, and on different parts of the sky with different focal lengths. At US$69, I can also leave a body or two dedicated to astrophotography film without feeling like I have spent too much on a "single purpose" body that doesn't see a lot of use. They do end up getting used for other purposes, like the wides and a pinhole body cap I made.

    I own and really like both the 15mm and 21mm C/V lenses. Both are on loan with a Bessa T body to a friend who's a dedicated SLR user in 35mm and 6x7. He's very particular about framing his 'chromes. He called last night and after some initial reticence about their usefulness on rangefinders, he's having a blast using them and asked for an extension on the loan to do another project.

    Lee
     
  8. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Thank you for the answers.
    To help you better understand what I was asking, I will elaborate.

    My goal is to be able to frame and focus with a WA lens on a 35mm non SLR camera. I need to be able to hand hold the camera at most speeds and I prefer the quality and simplicity of RF's.

    I suppose my point is, that I am very comfortable using/framing with RF's that are coupled, w/ parallax adj and was hoping that there was an RF that could do this with short lenses.

    I realize you can hyperfocal focus a 15, 21 or even 24mm to cover most any given street situation. What might be more difficult is properly framing the image, unless it is coupled.

    What I am guessing from the responses is that framing is not a big deal (Lee L) and that the 21mm CV is can be coupled (Ole), but of course not on the Bessa L. Even though the 21 is coupled the aux view finder is still needed for framing and its view finder has some form of parallax indicators (Lee L).

    My concern and It can only be born out by doing is, will aux finder meet my framing requirements.

    Thank you again

    jdc
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2005
  9. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Just to clarify, I think Ole is indicating that the C/V 21mm couples to the camera body rangefinder for focusing, not to any known parallax-correcting in-camera viewfinder frames.

    Since all the C/V bodies' accessory shoes are designed to seat auxiliary finders directly "above" the lens, they only need parallax correction in one dimension, up/down for a horizontally oriented shot. So they are simpler in this regard than the typical built-in parallax correction lines for most rangefinder bodies, which have both horizontal and vertical offsets between lens and finder to indicate. All of the C/V accessory finders with bright lines (this excludes at least the 15mm finder) that I have seen have parallax correction marks for 1 meter. Go to the cameraquest.com C/V accessories page on finders for good information on which finders are bright line and which aren't. Gandy's information is pretty comprehensive, including the finder magnification for a number of the finders.

    Any of the C/V lenses at 25mm or wider should include an auxiliary finder in the price when ordered new from a dealer.

    Lee
     
  10. Biogon Bill

    Biogon Bill Member

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    JD, first of all there are no rangefinder cameras that have parallax corrected frame lines built into the viewfinder with focal lengths shorter than 28 mm. Given that your goal is street shooting, I assume that you want to strive to capture "decisive moments." This is a spontaneous type of picture taking that requires you to act quickly at times. Focusing in the camera's viewfinder & composing in a second accessory finder is too slow & awkward for me. It seems to me that you have 3 choices in a non-SLR camera.

    The first is to use a 28 mm lens as your street shooting wide angle lens. It works very well for this purpose. Leica M 6 & M7, Zeiss Ikon, & Konica Hexar RF all have 28 mm frame lines built into their viewfinders. None of the Bessa series cameras have 28 mm in-camera frame lines.

    Your second choice is to shoot with wider lenses is to take advantage of the great depth of field that these lenses offer - particularly when stopped down. Pre-focus or set the hyperfocal distance for a predetermined shooting range & then compose through the accessory finder.

    Your third choice would be to use a 24 (Leica) or 25 (Zeiss) mm rangefinder coupled lens with a camera with 28 mm frame lines. The 25 mm angle of view, for example, is not that much greater than the 28 mm angle of view - 82 degrees vs 75 degrees, or 3.5 degrees on either side. There is enough extra room around the 28 mm frame lines to compose with either a 24 or 25 mm lens. This is true for any of the 3 cameras mentioned; in the case of a Leica M6 or M7, it is best done with the .58 magnification viewfinder. This approach will allow you to focus a rangefinder coupled lens & compose your picture in the same viewfinder. It will not be parallax corrected for the full 24/25 mm, but using the displayed frame lines as a guide, you can learn to estimate.

    Good luck with your choice,
    Bill
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2005
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Bill and lee, thank you for the information.

    24/25mm is at the long edge of what I would want, but being able to utilize the standard view finder presents a level of comfort. Although, the leica bodies are simply too much money -- the glass I would consider. Switching between the aux finder and the range finder, really defeats my intent, and working style.

    I guess I need to use a camera with the aux finder and see if there is sufficient control to do a proper job of framing. The bessa L @ <70.00 is real tempting.
     
  12. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Leaving viewfinder parallax aside for the moment, there are a couple of things that RF users get used to doing for street shooting and wides. Take a look at the C/V 21 and 25mm lenses and notice the levers on the focusing rings. These act as tactile focusing indices, and you can know about where you're focused and, once you're used to the lens, make adjustments before you even lift the camera up to your eye. In addition, the C/V 25mm has click stops on the focus ring at 1m, 1.5m, and 3m. Use them intelligently by feel before you raise the camera, and with a properly chosen aperture the DOF will cover you. You might also want to calculate the DOF for the 21mm f:4, even wide open. There's a lot of room to move there, and combined with the feel you'll get for the focusing lever, this is not a huge problem, even with an auxiliary finder and no rangefinder.

    Lots of street shooters who "stalk" their shots don't have the camera up in their face for more than a fleeting second before and after the shot. This style of shooting benefits from wide angles and what I think of as a manual pre-focusing lever. Several RF shooters I know scoff at the idea of waiting for a camera to focus itself when they can have it done before the camera is raised.

    Obviously, this may not be the way you prefer to work, but it's a traditional one that's been very successful for a number of people, and is not obvious at first glance to someone who's not used to 35mm rangefinders with focusing levers/tabs.

    Lee
     
  13. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Lee,
    this is not far from how I have been shooting for the past 8 or 9 years (Mamiya 6 w/50mm). At this point my only sticking point is framing. I suspect that framing is a surmountable hurdle.
     
  14. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    ...the danger of rambling on when you don't know your audience well. :smile:

    Are you near anyone who stocks the C/V stuff, or perhaps a used Leica 21mm finder just to look through? A used Leica finder would probably cost nearly the same as the C/V finder and lens combined.

    There is a CVUG list associated with cameraquest.com, and you could probably get a decent percentage of your costs back selling there if you're willing to take a chance on buying one. Or you might pick up a used one there with a "wanted" ad. That might also be a good place to ask about frameline accuracy. I'll have my set back in a month or so, and I could run a framing test for you after that.

    Lee
     
  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm developing a film tonight - after sunset. So I should be able to say something about the frameline accuracy very soon.
     
  16. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Lee,
    I have learned a good bit on this thread from you and if either of us (especially me) assume I already know something than a chance to learn will have gone to the way side.

    Camera Mrt (about 20 miles north) and possibly Adray (20 miles south) may have the equipment for me to at least inspect.

    Ole,
    I am very interested in your results, with regard to the new IR film and the frame lines.
     
  17. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    I use a 15mm with a Bessa R and the depth of field is so great that you can just guess the focus off the range scale on the lens in safety. I use a 21mm on an SLR, but find again that I really dont have to focus.

    David
     
  18. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    MrCallow,

    I feel the same way about at least getting the information out there, and I see APUG is a repository of collective experience, so I do share and appreciate your attitude. Looks like you really are in Ferndale... I thought it might be a joke on the old "Ferndale Tonight" Martin Mull TV show. You're lucky to have actual camera stores nearby, and two at that. Hope you can find a sample to look through. Turns out I'm not that far away by some standards, a bit SW of Cleveland. If you have no luck getting your hands on the C/V stuff, maybe we could meet halfway and you could shoot a roll with my wides after they return home from loan.

    I was also finally relieved of parental duties long enough to sit down and find my DOF spreadsheet and run the numbers. (My wife is on the schedule from hell.) Here are the hyperfocal distances in meters for a 21mm lens with a circle of confusion of 0.025mm, a slightly conservative calculation. Near edge of focus is half of hyperfocal distance.

    Aperture / Hyperfocal distance in meters
    4.0 / 4.41
    5.6 / 3.15
    8.0 / 2.20
    11.0 / 1.60
    16.0 / 1.10
    22.0 / 0.80

    So even wide open with the C/V 21mm at f:4, you're covered from 2.2 meters to infinity, and at a near optimal f:8, you're good from 1.1m to infinity. Back it off a bit if you don't need infinity, then point & shoot, and don't worry a lot about perfect focus, or just guess-timate focus as David mentions and you can hardly miss.

    Lee