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  1. #21

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    I'm also an RF645 fan (have two, the most recent of which I bought because it came with a 45mm lens and a polarizer filter... ;-). I've also owned the Ikon, and currently own an M2.

    Most of my photography is in two different areas: (1) daytime portraits of people, cities, and landscapes, and (2) low-light/contrasty pictures of performances (circus, cabaret, vaudeville) in small clubs. The RF645 is wonderful for the former, but not so good for the latter, as you may have found. I've shot many rolls of MF Delta 3200 (usually at 1600, always dev'ed in Microphen), at f/4 @ 1/125, and can just *barely* get useful shots. When I get a good one, it's excellent: lots of tone, relatively little grain. But that route has ultimately been frustrating: f/4 (or 4.5, with the 100mm) is just not enough light, and not enough flexibility.

    As you've posited, 35mm RFs work wonderfully in low light, and if you have a fast lens, you should be able to shoot with some degree of adjustability, rather than being at the extremes, as I often find myself with the RF645. I'm currently using a Voigtlander 75/2.5 for most of this work, and it's alright, although I've realized that a faster 50mm would be more useful -- in fact, I've just ordered the Zeiss 50/1.4 Sonnar, and am looking forward to using it.

    I wasn't all that pleased with the Ikon. It shot okay, but is not built nearly as nicely as the Bronica, nor a Leica. The meter is fine in daylight, but jumpy; I found it was much easier for low-light subjects just to use the external spot meter and set the Ikon manually, occasionally flipping shutter speed to allow for brighter/dimmer light. The Bronica's meter is fantastic, and you're probably spoiled by it, as I was. The viewfinder of the Ikon is bright -- like your Bronica -- but the readout is not nearly as nice. Instead of the clear side-display of those green LCDs, you have very bright red shutter numbers, super-imposed on the image. I found them distracting, when I could even see them (I wear glasses).

    I sold the Ikon a year ago, but recently dove back into 35mm, first through an M4P (too many framelines, and felt a bit chintzy), then an M6TTL (whose meter seemed to fail immediately), and now to a 1950s-era M2, which is wonderful. I carry a meter, which really isn't a big deal, and is freeing in some ways. (Granted, I learned on an old Rolleiflex, also w/o built-in metering.)

    So there are my observations. A final observation I'll leave you with is that I've realized that it's always a problem for me when I have two cameras that are too similar. If I have multiple cameras, I've learned that they should have radically different looks and feels (both in shooting & imaging). At the moment, anyway, I'm very much enjoying the M2 and its mechanical nature. I know I'll pick up the Bronica for something a bit slower and less everyday, and the Rolleiflex for something even slower. All have their purposes, and individual personalities.

    Hope this helps.

    --John

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    Most Leica's don't have metering, and the one's that do don't offer an Aperture priority mode. That's my problem with them.
    M6, M7, and MP have meters. But an M3/M2/M4 or a IIIF with a Voightlander VC Meter II is a good combo.

  3. #23
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jslabovitz View Post
    I'm also an RF645 fan (have two, the most recent of which I bought because it came with a 45mm lens and a polarizer filter... ;-). I've also owned the Ikon, and currently own an M2.

    Most of my photography is in two different areas: (1) daytime portraits of people, cities, and landscapes, and (2) low-light/contrasty pictures of performances (circus, cabaret, vaudeville) in small clubs. The RF645 is wonderful for the former, but not so good for the latter, as you may have found. I've shot many rolls of MF Delta 3200 (usually at 1600, always dev'ed in Microphen), at f/4 @ 1/125, and can just *barely* get useful shots. When I get a good one, it's excellent: lots of tone, relatively little grain. But that route has ultimately been frustrating: f/4 (or 4.5, with the 100mm) is just not enough light, and not enough flexibility.

    As you've posited, 35mm RFs work wonderfully in low light, and if you have a fast lens, you should be able to shoot with some degree of adjustability, rather than being at the extremes, as I often find myself with the RF645. I'm currently using a Voigtlander 75/2.5 for most of this work, and it's alright, although I've realized that a faster 50mm would be more useful -- in fact, I've just ordered the Zeiss 50/1.4 Sonnar, and am looking forward to using it.

    I wasn't all that pleased with the Ikon. It shot okay, but is not built nearly as nicely as the Bronica, nor a Leica. The meter is fine in daylight, but jumpy; I found it was much easier for low-light subjects just to use the external spot meter and set the Ikon manually, occasionally flipping shutter speed to allow for brighter/dimmer light. The Bronica's meter is fantastic, and you're probably spoiled by it, as I was. The viewfinder of the Ikon is bright -- like your Bronica -- but the readout is not nearly as nice. Instead of the clear side-display of those green LCDs, you have very bright red shutter numbers, super-imposed on the image. I found them distracting, when I could even see them (I wear glasses).

    I sold the Ikon a year ago, but recently dove back into 35mm, first through an M4P (too many framelines, and felt a bit chintzy), then an M6TTL (whose meter seemed to fail immediately), and now to a 1950s-era M2, which is wonderful. I carry a meter, which really isn't a big deal, and is freeing in some ways. (Granted, I learned on an old Rolleiflex, also w/o built-in metering.)

    So there are my observations. A final observation I'll leave you with is that I've realized that it's always a problem for me when I have two cameras that are too similar. If I have multiple cameras, I've learned that they should have radically different looks and feels (both in shooting & imaging). At the moment, anyway, I'm very much enjoying the M2 and its mechanical nature. I know I'll pick up the Bronica for something a bit slower and less everyday, and the Rolleiflex for something even slower. All have their purposes, and individual personalities.

    Hope this helps.

    --John
    Thank you John!! This was extremely helpful!!

    I will be curious to hear what you think of the 50/1.5 sonnar. I did research that lens quite a bit when looking at the planar as well.

    I am spoiled by the RF645's metering. It's great. I don't trust my Mamiya 6 meters and use a digital spot meter with those cameras. But those are the ones I work slower with and also on tripods. I'm thinking that maybe and old Leica may be a better route. Not sure yet. I'm still enjoying the info and suggestions I'm getting!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipA View Post
    M6, M7, and MP have meters. But an M3/M2/M4 or a IIIF with a Voightlander VC Meter II is a good combo.
    Can you explain the Voigtlander VC Meter?

  5. #25

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    The VC Meter II (Voigtlander Cosina) is a small reflected light meter that sits in your cold or hot shoe. It's quite compact, and looks good on a Leica and many other cameras. I have one that I switch between my IIIc and my M3.

    You have to push the button and turn the aperture dial until the center LED lights up, then transfer the settings to your camera lens and speed dial. So it's like using a separate hand-held meter, except that it perches handily on top of your camera.

  6. #26
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkipA View Post
    The VC Meter II (Voigtlander Cosina) is a small reflected light meter that sits in your cold or hot shoe. It's quite compact, and looks good on a Leica and many other cameras. I have one that I switch between my IIIc and my M3.

    You have to push the button and turn the aperture dial until the center LED lights up, then transfer the settings to your camera lens and speed dial. So it's like using a separate hand-held meter, except that it perches handily on top of your camera.
    Very cool! That's an idea.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    Most Leica's don't have metering, and the one's that do don't offer an Aperture priority mode. That's my problem with them.
    IIRC the M7 does have aperature priority.

    I was in the same boat as you a few months ago, trying to choose a rangefinder. IIRC KEH was selling M7 bodies for about the same price as the Zeiss one lens and hood kit. I went with the brand new option with a three year warentee and larger viewfinder. I got the ZI 28mm kit and purchased the 50mm f2 later. I have no regrets.
    --
    Kenton Brede
    http://kentonbrede.com/

  8. #28

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    35 will broaden your scope -- free you up to shoot more (waste more) and make you a faster shooter.

    If nothing else, you can re-sell it for nearly what you paid for it in two years if you change your mind, so the whole experiment will only cost you a coupla hundred. If you have the money, go for it.

    If you want a cheaper way to try out the concept, buy a Leica CL and a 40mm summicron lens to go with it -- whole thing will cost you $1,000 and you can get it all back if you change your mind.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    ...What situations would I prefer the 35mm RF? I can think of a few. Low light.

    ...and the images that are made with Zeiss/Leica glass are just special, they really are. They just have a soul to them, they speak to you. That is the main reason I want one. It would also help me to photograph people more, something I don't do very often.

    Brian:

    1. In addition to low light, whenever portability and ease of use is important. I find that the more portable and easy to use that a camera is the more it gets used. When there is something that I want to photograph then I use a larger format, however, for walking around or more "spontaneous" photography the RF is the only way to go... for me.

    2. There is a very distinct difference between Zeiss ZM and Leica lens, even to my very amateur eye. If you look at the examples on the LFI Gallery here: analogue and here: digital (many posts are taken with Zeiss lenses) you can judge for yourself and see if the difference is important to you. I can also see a very distinct difference between the types Leica lens: Summicron vs Summilux, etc. (I much prefer the look of the Summicrons)

    Finally, I am in the process of selling down my camera herd to just the two that get used 95% of the time (TLR and RF) and my experience is that Leica does maintain (or even increase in) value.

    All in all the RF is a fun and easy to use format and really suited for people and family photography. Good luck!
    Last edited by mhanc; 08-27-2012 at 07:15 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #30
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    Get it !!!! Living but once is a bummer, I think and there are so many cameras to have and that one is truly superior, so, GET IT and soon !!! Shoot TRI X while you can get it and have some fun...
    Logan

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