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Thread: Rule of thumb?

  1. #1

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    Rule of thumb?

    I admit I've been watching way too much TV lately, but it has been the history channel so I claim it's educational.

    I noticed that some photographers use their thumb on the shutter release when taking the shot in portraiture. Now for too many years to remember I've used my finger partly as I never considered using my thumb and partly because being a former rifleman there's only one finger for a trigger (we won't go into other fingers for other uses .... don't go there ).

    I gave it a try and found that with my QL17 it's comfortable and more stable in the portraiture orientation.

    So over to you guys are you a finger or thumb person?

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I'm usually an index finger person, unless I'm using the Technika with the grip that has a thumb release--

    http://www.linhof.de/english/gallery/sport.html

    The 5x7" Press Graflex also has a thumb trigger of a different sort. The fingers of the left hand are supporting the camera with the thumb on the trigger. The right fingers also supports the camera with the thumb on the focus knob. I don't know if it's relevant, but the Technika and Press Graflex are both left-hand releases. On the other hand, so to speak, I have a left hand L-grip for my Bronica S2A, but it's an index finger release.

    With my F-1N, I use the vertical release on the motor drive. With the Vitessa-L, the thumb stays on the focus wheel, so still an index finger camera. I don't usually turn my 6x6 cameras sideways, unless I'm doing something like supporting them against a wall or a post for a long handheld exposure.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3

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    It depends. I'm not consistent in which direction I hold the camera when I go from horizontal to vertical. Most of the time, I hold it with my right hand below and use my index finger to release the shutter. It's more natural to me because I can use my thumb on the film advance lever. When I'm using a slower speed and I'm holding the camera with both hands and pressing it into my face to brace, I use my thumb on the shutter.

    Edit: I'm only speaking of using rangefinders. With SLR's, I always use my index finger and hold the camera with the right hand above in vertical position.
    Last edited by Lee Shively; 05-20-2005 at 07:25 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: To make sense

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Shively
    ...Edit: I'm only speaking of using rangefinders. With SLR's, I always use my index finger and hold the camera with the right hand above in vertical position.
    Good point Lee I'm the same. SLRs trigger finger, RFs depends on the orientation.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TPPhotog
    So over to you guys are you a finger or thumb person?
    I'm normally a finger person, but do resort to my left thumb ( ! ) on certain occasions .....
    It was once pointed out to me that with the standard issue 35mm SLR, because the lens axis is a couple of inches below the viewfinder axis, the camera-eye view is lower than the photographer's eye. However, turn the camera upside down and the reverse is true - it gives a higher viewpoint than would normally be the case, differing by twice the vertical distance between the viewfinder and the lens. This "periscope" effect by which, say, four inches can be gained can sometimes make all the difference when trying to photograph over a gate, fence, hedge, huge pile of money or whatever, but it does leave the shutter button best operated (IMHO) by ..... the left thumb!
    Best wishes from the Cream County,
    Steve

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Shively
    It depends. I'm not consistent in which direction I hold the camera when I go from horizontal to vertical.
    I had to get the camera out and play with it to figure this out, 'cause I do this unconsciously. I'm the reverse of Lee. With normally configured SLR's (not Exaktas) I might hold it with the right side either up or down, it's 50/50. If the right side is down, I use my thumb; if up, I use my index finger. But for rangefinders, I always hold them with the right side up and use my index finger. That's with a Barnack Leica and some Soviet clones.

    Now with a Rolleiflex TLR, I find it very comfortable to cradle it in the palm of my upturned right hand hand and use my thumb on the shutter release. I wonder if other folks do that?

    Jonathan

  7. #7
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TPPhotog
    I admit I've been watching way too much TV lately, but it has been the history channel so I claim it's educational.

    I noticed that some photographers use their thumb on the shutter release when taking the shot in portraiture. Now for too many years to remember I've used my finger partly as I never considered using my thumb and partly because being a former rifleman there's only one finger for a trigger (we won't go into other fingers for other uses .... don't go there ).

    I gave it a try and found that with my QL17 it's comfortable and more stable in the portraiture orientation.

    So over to you guys are you a finger or thumb person?
    OK, not a rangefinder, but...

    Until I bought the MR-3 releases for my Nikons, I would use my thumb on the motor drive for vertical shots. With the MR-3 front release, it's index finger time.
    Bob Fowler
    fowler@verizon.net
    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

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    For me this is becoming a very interesting thread and I hope I don't mess up anyones technique by bringing the subconscious into the conscious.

    Bob no worries it's not with a RF, it looks like this has a wider application to all formats / types.

    Thank you for your replies so far folks

  9. #9

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    When I shoot from the hip with my Lomo cameras I use the thumb. Then I can shoot while holding the camera like I am carrying it around and people won't notice I am shooting.

    When shooting otherwise I do not use the thumb...only when I am using cable release.


  10. #10
    FrankB's Avatar
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    Hmmm... Never occurred to me!

    Index finger, right hand on every beastie I currently own no matter the orientation.

    Thumb on the cable release, does that count?!

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