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  1. #11

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    I spent a couple of years shooting my Oly "35" rangefinders exclusively, just to give them an honest trial. My observations:
    - An SLR will do anything a rangefinder will, but not vice-versa (marcos, tele, etc)
    - At least for Oly gear, the shutter noise difference is negligible
    - Except for the 35RC and XA's they are no smaller than an OM with equivalent lens
    - The focus on a RF can be faster, but my eyesight is not the best (astigmatism). With good eyesight and a split prism focuser I believe the SLR can be focused as fast.
    - The camera shake problem is much worse with the rangefinders. This seems counterintuitive, but with the rangefinders you are setting the exposure with the shutter button. This requires a very long, stiff shutter button to trap the needle and set the aperture, and you were never sure where in the travel the shutter would acually release. I almost never get camera shake with my OM's even down to 1/4s, but with the rangefinders shake was not uncommon at 1/60's. (This is not a problem with XA's, but that little shutter button has its own problems.) If you are shooting print film, of course, you do not need a meter and can use an older RF without built in metering. But for slides, you need an external meter which I never found practical. (It is somewhat different with a MF folder, where the metering is just another step in the overall creation process. There I just accept that about 1/3 of the shots will get tossed for bad exposure.)

    So while the RF's look lovely in their display case, the OM's go with me now when there are pictures to make.

  2. #12
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    For decades I used both Leica RF and Nikon SLR outfits. They each have advantages and disadvantages, depending on the task at hand. I also have a compact car and a light truck for the same reasons.

  3. #13

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    I haven't used an RF for several years (excepting testing an Argus last year) because they don't offer any advantages over an SLR, save for being quieter, and using filters without messing with your viewfinder. Both of those things can be big advantages depending on what you're shooting, but for me not so much. I rarely use anything other than a yellow filter for B/W which is not too bad to look through on an SLR, but if you're going to be stacking neutral density filters or using deep reds, etc. then the advantage of an RF is much more pronounced. If you shoot indoor situations the lessened shutter noise can also be advantageous.
    Last edited by Yashinoff; 01-20-2013 at 11:12 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #14
    fotch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thuggins View Post
    ..........An SLR will do anything a rangefinder will, but not vice-versa (marcos, tele, etc)
    .......
    Except a Leica with Visoflex finder.
    Items for sale or trade at www.Camera35.com

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by kbrede View Post
    I purchased both an SLR and a rangefinder for different purposes. It really depends on what you like to shoot. The SLR gets used for close up, macro or longer telephoto. The rangefinder comes out for shooting street scenes and some landscape/cityscape scenes. Of course you can always get a rangefinder because you want one.
    +1. I would add "wide angle" to list of where I use the SLRs.
    An assortment of F-series Nikons (F to F6, excluding the F4) with quite a few Nikkors, a pair of M6s with some Leitz glass, a pair of 500c/ms with a wide range of Zeiss optics and, just to help keep Duracell solvent, a D800.

    Favourite films: (1). KE ("Kodachrome Era"): 35mm: PKM25 and PKR64, HP5/Tri-X; 120: PKR64, PanF, FP4. (2). PKE ("Post-Kodachrome Era"): (a) 35mm: E100G, HP5 Plus/Tri-X and Delta 3200; (b) 120: E100G, PanF Plus, FP4 Plus, TMax 100.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by thuggins View Post
    I spent a couple of years shooting my Oly "35" rangefinders exclusively, just to give them an honest trial. My observations:
    - An SLR will do anything a rangefinder will, but not vice-versa (marcos, tele, etc)
    - At least for Oly gear, the shutter noise difference is negligible
    - Except for the 35RC and XA's they are no smaller than an OM with equivalent lens
    - The focus on a RF can be faster, but my eyesight is not the best (astigmatism). With good eyesight and a split prism focuser I believe the SLR can be focused as fast.
    - The camera shake problem is much worse with the rangefinders. This seems counterintuitive, but with the rangefinders you are setting the exposure with the shutter button. This requires a very long, stiff shutter button to trap the needle and set the aperture, and you were never sure where in the travel the shutter would acually release. I almost never get camera shake with my OM's even down to 1/4s, but with the rangefinders shake was not uncommon at 1/60's. (This is not a problem with XA's, but that little shutter button has its own problems.) If you are shooting print film, of course, you do not need a meter and can use an older RF without built in metering. But for slides, you need an external meter which I never found practical. (It is somewhat different with a MF folder, where the metering is just another step in the overall creation process. There I just accept that about 1/3 of the shots will get tossed for bad exposure.)

    So while the RF's look lovely in their display case, the OM's go with me now when there are pictures to make.
    There is a big difference between the low budget soapbox RF like XA or 35RC and full featured RF like CV Bessa, Zeiss or Leica.

    Also, the argument about camera shake is valid in the low end.
    Keep in mind that a relative recent SLR intriduce vibration by its mirror, shutter, jumping lens aperture, while in RF there is only shutter that might be source of such..

    In wides and primes lens performance RF is #1
    Regards,
    Georg

  7. #17

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    Georg,
    Look at some of the reviews of the lowly 35RC VS Leica, Zeiss etc. You will be amazed.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by georg16nik View Post
    There is a big difference between the low budget soapbox RF like XA or 35RC and full featured RF like CV Bessa, Zeiss or Leica.
    I haven't shot the Olympus rangefinders, but assuming they're similar to their relatives from Canon, Yashica, Minolta, etc., I think this statement is only sort of correct. There is a big difference, but I think it has more to do with the user experience than with objective measures of quality. (As far as the bodies are concerned, that is. Lenses are a more complicated issue.) The fixed-lens rangefinders mostly have electronic shutters that are dead-on if they're working at all, onboard meters that work fine given the right battery, and often really good viewfinders---but the controls are sometimes fiddly, many don't have full manual modes, and they just don't *feel* like high-end cameras. To some people that adds up to "terrific cheap camera", to others it adds up to "not comfortable enough to make its virtues practical".

    Also, the argument about camera shake is valid in the low end.
    I didn't understand thuggins's point about "setting the exposure with the shutter button", and maybe it's a construction specific to the Olympus cameras. I think everyone agrees that camera shake induced by the internal moving parts is worse with an SLR than a rangefinder, all other things being equal---and especially with the cheap fixed-lens RFs, which mostly have leaf shutters---but the concern seems to be something about shake induced by pushing the shutter release. I'm pretty sure it doesn't apply to the Bessa bodies, which if I remember correctly actually share their release mechanism with some Cosina-made SLRs.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by thuggins View Post
    The camera shake problem is much worse with the rangefinders. This seems counterintuitive, but with the rangefinders you are setting the exposure with the shutter button. This requires a very long, stiff shutter button to trap the needle and set the aperture, and you were never sure where in the travel the shutter would acually release. I almost never get camera shake with my OM's even down to 1/4s, but with the rangefinders shake was not uncommon at 1/60's.
    Not sure of the RF to which you're referring but I suggest an upgrade to a proper RF that allows you to control aperture and shutter speed and has consistent travel in the release. Your experience sounds disastrous. Why spend any time with a camera that induces 'shake' at 1/60?

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bits View Post
    Georg,
    Look at some of the reviews of the lowly 35RC VS Leica, Zeiss etc. You will be amazed.
    2bits,
    Comparing tourists RF soapboxes with RF camera systems compatible with the best optical glasses way back to 1930's borders humor and science fiction.

    Try those lowly 35RC vs Leica or Zeiss RF's on film capable to resolve the differences, print optically with a capable enlarger, then go look at the mirror and see who's is amazed.
    Regards,
    Georg

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