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  1. #1

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    Rangefinder Toughts from a Long Time SLR User

    After my first 3 months of using a rangefinder exclusively after almost zero previous experience I wanted to share my thoughts to see how they compared to everyone else's.

    - I can get two bodies, lens coverage from 35mm to 135mm, and all necessary accessories in one small bag.
    - Framing is slower and more difficult than an SLR, but I'm using a Zorki so this my not be the case with all.
    - Close focusing is just not possible unless you use a very wide lens or very small aperture and it makes the framing problem above more difficult.
    - Long lenses (135mm) are hard to get correctly focused wide open or at close distances (close is relative in this context, close for this lens seems too far away to me).
    - People will stop you and ask about your camera. (Zorki specific?)
    - I think I can focus faster in low light. For some reason it seems a little easier getting that patch to match up in lower light than finding the correct focus on my SLR focusing screens. Jury is still out though.

  2. #2
    frank's Avatar
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    Tank you for your toughts!

    (Sorry couldn't elp myself.)

    In a more helpful vein, you can buy an external viewfinder for the lens focal length you are using on your RF, and it will provide a lovely view.

    My blog / photo website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

    Openly biased and unabashedly
    pro film and wet darkroom

  3. #3
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    I'm coming from a similar place - longtime SLR user in my newspaper job. A few years ago I went to an M6 -- focusing to me is slower and a little harder than an SLR, but not tremendously so, and it's getting easier.
    The low-light use is a good point. It sounds overblown sometimes, but you really are perceived differently with a smaller rangefinder than a huge (relatively) SLR body and lenses.
    "Never criticize someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes. That way, you're a mile away and you've got their shoes."

    MY BLOG - www.reservedatalltimes.com
    YOU SHOULD LOOK AT THIS SITE - www.colincorneau.com
    INSTAGRAM: colincorneau

  4. #4
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I find that I love using the rangefinder. Over the last three years that I've had one, I work faster with it than my regular SLRs.

    For close-up shots, the fastest Leica shooters set the distance, and physically move the camera to focus, which is faster than turning the knob.

    It's so compact and elegant, and with a nice leather on it, and a bigger shutter release button, it works with my very large hands.

    If I had to keep one single camera, it would be the Leica.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  5. #5

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    You've probably figured out that each has it's place. For me the SLR is for close and telephoto.
    RF for quiet, quick & unobtrusive.
    Expletive Deleted!

  6. #6
    cliveh's Avatar
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    If you want to use a lot of different lenses then you may be better off with a SLR. Also if you have spent years using a SLR and then switch to a RF, it is going to take you time to get use to it. But in terms of speed of use it is just a question of practice.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  7. #7
    PDH
    PDH is offline

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    I have always shot with both rangefinders and SLRs, in 35mm, MF and LF, my first good camera was a Kodak Retina III in 1966 which I still have. After I bought a Pentax Spot in 67 I carried both for several years until I able to move to Leica/Canon and Nikon. Although I no longer have a Lecia I still shoot with my Retina or Canon IIIG. Rangefinders and SLRs just do differnt things well.

  8. #8

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    I love Rangefinders, they are very fun to use. The only thing about switching back and forth from SLRs and RFs for me is that sometimes I forget to uncap the RF lens ahah.

  9. #9
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacksofa View Post
    I love Rangefinders, they are very fun to use. The only thing about switching back and forth from SLRs and RFs for me is that sometimes I forget to uncap the RF lens ahah.
    Then don't use a lens cap.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  10. #10

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    I've had an RF a year or so now & enjoy the whole process, with all it's attendant highs (when it all works) & lows (user error usually).
    Spend zero time looking at the LCD although to begin with I would catch myself looking at the back of the camera in anticipation, old habits die hard I guess!
    I found focus tricky at first as did the OP, my eyesight is a little dodgy & my old slr rarely ever missed so I thought the first thing I should calibrate were my eyes. Ended up with new nikon lenses, but in my specs, now -4.0 both eyes.
    I like the deliberate approach, I really enjoy the size & weight, I get one or two bodies, change up lens, meter & film in a light shoulder bag & there's a lot to be said for using a camera thats less obtrusive than the bazooka that my D700 with an 80-200 was.
    The simplicity of the equipment is probably what has won me over quickly, but not because it makes it simple - getting the result I want requires full engagement of my meagre brain power. I just think it's made me more involved with making the picture & it's to me, more fun fwiw.

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