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  1. #1
    jd callow's Avatar
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    WA RF choices in 35mm

    At some point I wish to buy a 35mm RF. My sole intent would be for street using a wide angle or short focal lens.

    My current knowledge of these cameras lead me to believe that there are not many or any that are coupled and adjust for parallax in the 15 -21mm (or even 24mm) range.

    Am I terribly wrong or am I stuck with a bessa l?

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  2. #2
    Lee L's Avatar
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    I'm not aware of any 35mm RFs with a built in finder for 24mm or wider lenses. The C/V Bessa hot shoes are located directly above lenses, and the 21mm finder has hash marks in the bright lines for parallax (IIRC... it's on extended loan to a friend, so I can't check it right now). The C/V 15mm finder has no bright-lines or parallax correction marks.

    I haven't seen a 25mm C/V finder, but cameraquest.com should have info on it's brightlines and layout. I like the L, but I like the T better. I think you can still find both new, although they're both discontinued.

    Lee

  3. #3
    Mongo's Avatar
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    I don't think I've ever seen anything that's coupled shorter than 28mm. Everything else seems to come with an auxiliary finder and scale focusing...although the depth of field on short lenses is so huge that this probably isn't a problem (especially at the 15mm end).

    I've read lots of good stuff on the Voigtlander 15mm lens. If you're going to dedicate one camera to a very short lens, then the old Bessa L is $69 at CameraQuest. It has a meter but no viewfinder or rangefinder...but with a 15mm lens and the auxiliary viewfinder attached I don't think you'll need either of those. I've been toying around with the idea of picking up this set just for "special effects" use...under $420 for a set that'll shoot 15mm rectilinear. At f11 you'll get pretty much everything from about two feet to infinity in focus. (Sets like this show up on eBay from time to time, but I haven't tracked how much they sell for there. It might be worth keeping your eyes open there.)
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

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    Mongo's Avatar
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    I just checked the completed auctions on eBay. The Voigtlander 15mm lens has gone anywhere from $275 - $340 recently. Not too bad, but no warranty, of course.

    What I really want is that lens on my Contax G...but the price is out of control for the conversion. Such is life...
    Film is cheap. Opportunities are priceless.

  5. #5
    Ole
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    I'm sitting here with a Bessa-L with 21mm f:4 lens in front of me...

    The L is made for wide lenses, so it has no rangefinder. The 21mm lens however is rangefinder coupled, in case you wish to se it on a rangefinder camera. I have tried it on a FED-2 just to check. But you would need the auxiliary viewfinder anyway. The shorter lenses are not rangefinder coupled.

    I was out shooting IR film with the Bessa-L yesterday, focus is not a problem when everything from 1m to infinity is sharp at f:8.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  6. #6
    clay's Avatar
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    The Cosina Voigtlander 21/4 is a rangefinder coupled lens that comes with an auxiliary viewfinder. It is relatively inexpensive and will work on both screw mount and M-mount leicas with the M-adapter. It is a pretty sharp lens. CV also makes a 15mm lens that is not coupled that has a very good reputation.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    At some point I wish to buy a 35mm RF. My sole intent would be for street using a wide angle or short focal lens.

    My current knowledge of these cameras lead me to believe that there are not many or any that are coupled and adjust for parallax in the 15 -21mm (or even 24mm) range.

    Am I terribly wrong or am I stuck with a bessa l?

  7. #7
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    The L is made for wide lenses, so it has no rangefinder. The 21mm lens however is rangefinder coupled, in case you wish to use it on a rangefinder camera. I have tried it on a FED-2 just to check. But you would need the auxiliary viewfinder anyway. The shorter lenses are not rangefinder coupled.
    I guess I thought the main concern was coupling to a parallax corrected finder, as opposed to the rangefinder itself, but that is a bit ambiguous in the question posed. Hyperfocal focusing works well on lenses this wide.

    I do use the L bodies for longer lenses, but focused at infinity for wide-field astrophotography, and hyperfocal for landscapes. They are great for astrophotography because of the light weight, mechanical shutter, and the 1:1 brightline finders for the longer lenses are the best I've seen for composing on the night sky. Both eyes open and many more stars are visible than through any SLR I've ever seen. I use two at a time on a driven mount so I can shoot twice as many time exposures, and on different parts of the sky with different focal lengths. At US$69, I can also leave a body or two dedicated to astrophotography film without feeling like I have spent too much on a "single purpose" body that doesn't see a lot of use. They do end up getting used for other purposes, like the wides and a pinhole body cap I made.

    I own and really like both the 15mm and 21mm C/V lenses. Both are on loan with a Bessa T body to a friend who's a dedicated SLR user in 35mm and 6x7. He's very particular about framing his 'chromes. He called last night and after some initial reticence about their usefulness on rangefinders, he's having a blast using them and asked for an extension on the loan to do another project.

    Lee

  8. #8
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Thank you for the answers.
    To help you better understand what I was asking, I will elaborate.

    My goal is to be able to frame and focus with a WA lens on a 35mm non SLR camera. I need to be able to hand hold the camera at most speeds and I prefer the quality and simplicity of RF's.

    I suppose my point is, that I am very comfortable using/framing with RF's that are coupled, w/ parallax adj and was hoping that there was an RF that could do this with short lenses.

    I realize you can hyperfocal focus a 15, 21 or even 24mm to cover most any given street situation. What might be more difficult is properly framing the image, unless it is coupled.

    What I am guessing from the responses is that framing is not a big deal (Lee L) and that the 21mm CV is can be coupled (Ole), but of course not on the Bessa L. Even though the 21 is coupled the aux view finder is still needed for framing and its view finder has some form of parallax indicators (Lee L).

    My concern and It can only be born out by doing is, will aux finder meet my framing requirements.

    Thank you again

    jdc
    Last edited by mrcallow; 04-28-2005 at 08:38 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: more info...

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  9. #9
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    What I am guessing from the responses is that framing is not a big deal (Lee L) and that the 21mm CV is can be coupled (Ole), but of course not on the Bessa L. Even though the 21 is coupled the aux view finder is still needed for framing and its view finder has some form of parallax indicators (Lee L).
    Just to clarify, I think Ole is indicating that the C/V 21mm couples to the camera body rangefinder for focusing, not to any known parallax-correcting in-camera viewfinder frames.

    Since all the C/V bodies' accessory shoes are designed to seat auxiliary finders directly "above" the lens, they only need parallax correction in one dimension, up/down for a horizontally oriented shot. So they are simpler in this regard than the typical built-in parallax correction lines for most rangefinder bodies, which have both horizontal and vertical offsets between lens and finder to indicate. All of the C/V accessory finders with bright lines (this excludes at least the 15mm finder) that I have seen have parallax correction marks for 1 meter. Go to the cameraquest.com C/V accessories page on finders for good information on which finders are bright line and which aren't. Gandy's information is pretty comprehensive, including the finder magnification for a number of the finders.

    Any of the C/V lenses at 25mm or wider should include an auxiliary finder in the price when ordered new from a dealer.

    Lee

  10. #10

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    JD, first of all there are no rangefinder cameras that have parallax corrected frame lines built into the viewfinder with focal lengths shorter than 28 mm. Given that your goal is street shooting, I assume that you want to strive to capture "decisive moments." This is a spontaneous type of picture taking that requires you to act quickly at times. Focusing in the camera's viewfinder & composing in a second accessory finder is too slow & awkward for me. It seems to me that you have 3 choices in a non-SLR camera.

    The first is to use a 28 mm lens as your street shooting wide angle lens. It works very well for this purpose. Leica M 6 & M7, Zeiss Ikon, & Konica Hexar RF all have 28 mm frame lines built into their viewfinders. None of the Bessa series cameras have 28 mm in-camera frame lines.

    Your second choice is to shoot with wider lenses is to take advantage of the great depth of field that these lenses offer - particularly when stopped down. Pre-focus or set the hyperfocal distance for a predetermined shooting range & then compose through the accessory finder.

    Your third choice would be to use a 24 (Leica) or 25 (Zeiss) mm rangefinder coupled lens with a camera with 28 mm frame lines. The 25 mm angle of view, for example, is not that much greater than the 28 mm angle of view - 82 degrees vs 75 degrees, or 3.5 degrees on either side. There is enough extra room around the 28 mm frame lines to compose with either a 24 or 25 mm lens. This is true for any of the 3 cameras mentioned; in the case of a Leica M6 or M7, it is best done with the .58 magnification viewfinder. This approach will allow you to focus a rangefinder coupled lens & compose your picture in the same viewfinder. It will not be parallax corrected for the full 24/25 mm, but using the displayed frame lines as a guide, you can learn to estimate.

    Good luck with your choice,
    Bill
    Last edited by Biogon Bill; 04-29-2005 at 07:51 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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