I have or have had a number of WLF 35mm SLRs and they do have an
advantage for street use in that you can shoot people without putting a camera
to your eye. You do have to pre-focus which requires sticking your face into
the finder but once focused I find it fairly easy to compose by simply looking
down at the screen. I've also used TLRs this way which have an added
advantage of quieter shutters (usually).
You might want to try a Topcon Super D, RE Super or Super DM. All of these have meters on the mirror so changing the finder will not eliminate having a meter. They are not that common and were last manufactured in the early '70s. They have great optics, built like bricks and are long lived. I've had mine for over 30 years. They also have an Exakta mount and will take those lenses.
Originally Posted by holmburgers
Wow, great thread
Thanks everyone. Well I think what I've decided is a) someday I should get an F-1, but b) in the meantime I'm gonna mess around with my Praktina FX.
I said it was junky, but I meant functionally, as in the slower shutter speeds stick. But it seems to do ok above 1/25th. The Zeiss Biotar (58mm f2) has some fungus, but it's really not bad either.
Some of you have brought some really cool cameras to my attention that I might otherwise never have heard about. Thanks!
and BTW, Erik Petersen's examples are just exactly what I had imagined. In fact, the idea to have a WLF dawned on me while riding the metro in D.C.
Hi, glad that you liked my photos. I would be nice to see your results from the metro. The slow shutter speeds will be very useful. I often used 1/30 and 1/15, and took the photos when the train had stopped on the stations, and I had to use the really fast b/w films.
Probably already mentioned were the early Praktica FX, FX2 and FX3, as well as the Ihagee Exa, the Zeiss Ikon/Voigtlander Icarex and certain Agfa Ambiflex cameras. And also, the Zeiss Ikon Contaflex TLR.
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Erik, yeah, you captured some great moments. Definitely some images à la sauvette!
Unfortunately, I took no pictures on the metro, kind of because I didn't have a WLF. No excuse I know, but it's just too disruptive to put a camera up to your eye sometimes... the moment vanishes.
I have used the waist-level viewfinder on my first 35mm SLR (a Miranda Sensorex), on my second 35mm SLR (Nikon F), and on my current 35mm SLRs (Nikon F2 and Nikon F4).
Yes, I find the waist-level finder on an SLR useful for shooting candid/street photography. However, I prefer using a 35mm rangefinder because its smaller size attracts less attention than the SLR and it is not as noisy as the SLR. I also prefer using a 6x6 TLR with waist-level finder because it is not as noisy as an SLR and I do not have to worry about portrait vs. landscape orientation on the square format.
Thanks, that is a nice compliment. Don't forget to show your pictures later on. I agree that an SLR will attract attention on the metro.
Originally Posted by holmburgers
Yes, there is a Waist Level Finder I can put onto the Nikon F and F2, but I do not do that very often. There is a magnifying finder that is used much more often than the WLF for critical focusing.
While others have commented on the advantage of the WLF when working with "street shooting," the noise of a SLR camera mirror and shutter system has always been a problem for me. For that sort of work, I find that the Minolta Hi-Matic 9 rangefinder with its in-the-lens leaf shutter to be much more discrete and almost inobtrusive when fired. With fast film and zone focusing, and a little bit of careful handling (plus a dash of luck), the fairly wide lens on the Hi-Matic 9 has provided some nice photographs. The Yashica Lynx also works well.
With all of the comments about riding on the "Metro," I keep being reminded that I left Washington, D. C. back when they were beginning to talk about building that. The current location here has proven to be even more photogenic. Then, I also remember the view of the light pattern on the clouds above the Washington Monument at night. There are some nice things there still.
Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington
When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."