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  1. #11
    Nicole's Avatar
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    I don't mean to sound ignorant, but what exactly is a rangefinder and what are it's benefits?

  2. #12
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicole McGrade
    I don't mean to sound ignorant, but what exactly is a rangefinder and what are it's benefits?
    Nicole,

    A rangefinder camera is one that uses a set of prisms to triangulate the distance to the subject by making two images at a given offset come together in a viewfinder. This is mechanically connected to the lens, and as the lens is focused, the two images are superimposed. Some older cameras have separate rangefinders and viewfinders, but newer ones tend to combine the two. The viewfinder has a set of lines to show what's in the frame, and the interchangeable lens rangefinder cameras have multiple frames available for different focal length lenses, or can use auxiliary flast-shoe mounted finders. The split image focus common in some single lens reflex cameras is a form of rangefinding device.

    Rangefinders have no viewing pentaprism or mirror to move from behind the lens on taking an exposure, so you can see the subject during the exposure, and there is often less shutter lag in a rangefinder design. They also don't require special lens designs at short focal lengths to make room for a mirror box, so those designs can be more straightforward. They are _generally_ lighter, smaller, and faster handling than an SLR of equivalent format. They do come in formats from smaller than 35mm through at least 4x5. Look up the Leica, Nikon, Canon, and Minolta 35mm rangefinders, lots of Fuji 670 and 690 models, Mamiya 7, many Graflex 4x5's were available with rangefinders, Plaubel-Makina 67, and The Fuji/Hasselblad Xpan. Literally hundreds of models of folding medium format camera models from about 1900 up through the 50's were rangefinders.

    Rangefinder benefits are faster, more accurate focusing on mid to wide focal lengths, fast handling, lower sound levels, light weight, and small size. Drawbacks are somewhat less accurate framing, poor handling/framing with lenses longer than short telephotos, and most are fairly basic cameras if you prefer the automatic stuff. There are a few autofocus/autoexposure rangefinders, although some would not call an autofocus camera a true rangefinder. Most rangefinder shooters prefer them because once they know the camera, it stays out of the way, or at least makes it easier to get what you want quickly and discretely. There has been a rangefinder "rennaisance" in the last 5 - 10 years, especially in 35mm, where new, lower priced cameras and lenses have rejuvenated the market.

    Lee

  3. #13
    Nicole's Avatar
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    Wow, Lee, thank you very much for all the info!
    Do you know a good website to checkout various rangefinders?
    Kind regards,
    Nicole

  4. #14
    bjorke's Avatar
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    I like my Contax G2 (http://www.contaxg.com). It's a bit loud because of the motor. The shutter is the same assembly as that used in the Hexar RF. The classic Konica Hexar (fixed 35mm lens) is AF and the early black models had a famous SILENT "stealth mode." Expecftg to pay a premium. The lens is very good, probably on par with a 1990 35mm Summicron.

    I like my Canonet too and I've pretty sure it's the quietest of all mechanical 35mm cameras (maybe the Rollei-35's compete). It's a wee bit quieter than my 6x6 TLR. Leaf shutters all.

    [size=1](My old Canon digi is quieter still, annoyingly TOO quiet -- can't tell when it fires sometimes! Electronic "shutter noises" from modern cameras (including film P&S cameras) should be entirely mistrusted -- their timing is highly suspect.)[/size]

    Quietest manual SLRs are probably the Olympus OM series -- Canon newer EOS's are also quite quiet for SLRs.

    "What Would Zeus Do?"
    KBPhotoRantPhotoPermitAPUG flickr Robot

  5. #15
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicole McGrade
    Wow, Lee, thank you very much for all the info!
    Do you know a good website to checkout various rangefinders?
    Kind regards,
    Nicole
    Nicole,

    You're welcome. I don't want to hijack the thread, so I'll just point to a couple of places:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...gefinder.shtml

    Steven Gandy's page:
    http://cameraquest.com/classics.htm
    Gandy also has models in the Bessa line that are new since the comparison page at luminous-landscape above came out.

    Karen Nakamura's page:
    http://www.photoethnography.com/ClassicCameras/
    and her take on general pros/cons for camera types:
    http://www.photoethnography.com/Clas...html~mainFrame

    And she has specific models on the left hand side, but don't miss the "more..." link at the bottom of the left side menu.

    Lee

  6. #16
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Nicole - here's the "perfect" 35mm rangefinder for your style of work - a Leica M6TTL with a 75mm f1.4 Summilux lens.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  7. #17
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I like the size of a rangefinder and carry my little CL kit with me constantly.
    But I'd prefer shooting with an SLR any day.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  8. #18
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Nicole,

    Here are some medium format rangefinders and the rangefinder forum.

    Re the 75 mm Summilux that Ralph mentioned: the word is that the 75 mm f/2 Summicron-M asph is due out very soon.

    Best,
    Helen

  9. #19
    Nicole's Avatar
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    Wow, how much does one of them set you back?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbarker
    Nicole - here's the "perfect" 35mm rangefinder for your style of work - a Leica M6TTL with a 75mm f1.4 Summilux lens.

  10. #20
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicole McGrade
    Wow, how much does one of them set you back?
    The out-of-pocket expense wasn't too bad, but I do kind of miss my first-born son.

    Seriously, Leica gear is fairly expensive. But, if you buy used, you'll likely get all or most of your money out of a Leica if you sell later.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

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