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  1. #11

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    A very good response overall; but....

    Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
    The adventages of the RF are as follows:
    -very quick focusing
    On this I must disagree, or at least place conditions. Personally, I find SLRs easier to focus than rangefinders. Rangefinder focus images are ghostlike shadows that I find hard to interpret, and it's easy to get confused when there are multiple lines or a complex shape in that area. With an SLR, getting the main image in the right ballpark is very easy (if it's blurry it's out of focus) and then the split-image or microprism focusing aid can help with getting the focus spot-on.

    That said, in low light situations, an SLR's focusing aids degrade more rapidly than do a rangefinder's focusing aids, so a rangefinder can be superior in low-light situations.

    All of this interacts with the type of lens, of course. Slow SLR lenses are more likely to cause a black-out of the SLR focusing aids. OTOH, the SLR's focusing ability will be better than a rangefinder's with long lenses at distances that are just a bit shy of infinity -- a typical camera's rangefinder isn't likely to offer enough precision at those distances.

  2. #12
    Gordon Coale's Avatar
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    Not only are there many medium format rangefinders, my Mamiya Universal being only one, there are large format rangefinders. They are called press cameras, such as my Speed Graphic with a Kalart rangefinder.

  3. #13

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    thank you for filling me in. i'm still pretty confused, but i got the idea. i just need to go over what you guys wrote a couple times It sounds really interesting, maybe i'll get my hands on one soon. Of course i'm learning so many things--i should pace myself.

  4. #14
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    There are also different categories of rangefinder. The Leica is the best known of the professional or extremely high quality rangefinder cameras but back in the 60s and 70s most camera companies had decent fixed lens rangefinders available. I have a Yashica Electro 35 G that I love. It is certainly in a whole different ballpark than a Leica or Contax, but I got it for about $20 and it is reasonably small and very easy to use. Actually, it is kind of big, but there are no accessories and lenses to worry about. Canon Canonets are more sought after, but still commonly sold for reasonable prices.

    Here is a nice site that emphasizes rangefinders: http://www.photoethnography.com/. Forgive them the evil window resize script, they know not what they do!

  5. #15
    Andy K's Avatar
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    There is also The Rangefinder Forum. Which is entirely dedicated to rangefinder cameras in all their different guises.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  6. #16
    cvik's Avatar
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    rduraoc: The image shows the rangefinder in the Leica M6. It will look different in a Fed 4. For instance the framelines may be painted on the glass and not projected onto it etc.

    The Leica M5/M6/M7/MP uses TTL metering. The meter works like this: Light enters through the lens and is reflected by a filled white circle on the shutter curtain. The reflection is read by a sensor pointing towards the circle (see http://www.leica-camera.com/imperia/.../4_290x292.gif ). It is quite possible the Fed uses a non-TTL meter and that it is placed behind the middle window.

  7. #17
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    One more kind of rangefinder camera: almost all of the folding, pack-film Polaroids from the 1960s and 1970s had rangefinders, as did most of the better folding roll-film Polaroids in the previous generation. I owned a working one (3x4 prints, Type 47 roll film) in the early 70s, though I only ever managed to buy two rolls of film for it. I own a Model 350 now, waiting for me to get new battery holders wired in to replace the corroded contact ends of the wires; that one takes current film, including Type 665 that will produce a 3x4 format negative.

    The other two rangefinder cameras I own are a Moskva-5, 6x9 cm, and a Petri 7S, 35 mm RF.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by srs5694
    (if it's blurry it's out of focus) and then the split-image or microprism focusing aid can help with getting the focus spot-on.
    Certainly a good point - I just meant that you CAN get it done more quickly, since closest focus to infinity is about a quarter of a turn of the focusing lever... where in an average SLR you sometimes have to turn and turn and turn...
    There is no arguing it - an SLR is the more flexible of the two... but who here would give up their RF's?

    And guys - I need to point this out - I did mention MF rf's in my original post (I just don't want to come across as giving inaccurate info!)

    And... did anyone mention those useless, horrible Canonet QL17 GIII's yet? Horrible little wretched things...

  9. #19

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    re: Focusing rangefinders vs. SLRs

    Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
    I just meant that you CAN get it done more quickly, since closest focus to infinity is about a quarter of a turn of the focusing lever... where in an average SLR you sometimes have to turn and turn and turn...
    That varies a lot with both types. I just checked a few of my cameras and lenses, and my Canonet QL17 rangefinder does have the shortest throw from closest to farthest focus of those I checked, but the next-shortest was a Zenitar 16mm SLR lens, then a Tamron 24mm SLR lens. The standard 50mm Industar 61L/D lens on a FED 5 rangefinder has roughly a 180-degree turn for full focus range, which is similar to that on my Fujica ST-801 SLR's 55mm standard lens.

    The bottom line: If you like lenses with short (or long, for that matter) movement for the full focus range, check the lens; don't assume that you'll get what you want because the camera/lens is of a particular type.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvik
    rduraoc: The image shows the rangefinder in the Leica M6. It will look different in a Fed 4. For instance the framelines may be painted on the glass and not projected onto it etc.

    The Leica M5/M6/M7/MP uses TTL metering. The meter works like this: Light enters through the lens and is reflected by a filled white circle on the shutter curtain. The reflection is read by a sensor pointing towards the circle (see http://www.leica-camera.com/imperia/.../4_290x292.gif ). It is quite possible the Fed uses a non-TTL meter and that it is placed behind the middle window.
    Got it. Thank you.

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