What's so inaccurate about through-the-lens focusing? If you see the exact image being formed by the lens, then to borrow a song lyric, is you is or is you aint in focus. With a rangefinder, you have to design the optical projection system around one lens. Any other lens is just an approximation. I fully understand the benefits of rangefinder focusing for low-light situations - there are times when I wish I had one for travel purposes. I don't see how it could be more accurate though.
Originally Posted by df cardwell
Rangefinders can have a longer baseline to triangulate the distance, which is significantly more accurate than your eye seeing a reduced image on an SLR groundglass at normal or wider focal lengths. The "baseline" of SLR split image focusing is shorter than a rangefinder in this case, and DOF covers slight errors on the ground glass.
Longer focal lengths on an SLR eventually overcome this advantage of rangefinders, typically in the short telephoto range. Fast lenses on an SLR help, but a rangefinder with a decent baseline has the upper hand with normals and wides.
The accuracy of an SLR is tied to the magnification of the lens, and the 'depth of field' effect of focus screen. You think the image is sharp, it is not. A rfdr is not tied to the lens, nor the ground glass.
Not opinion, simple fact. Schwalberg did a neat study back in the '80s that gave numbers. Suffice it to say that a Leica has the accuracy of a nikon F2 with a 135/2 lens. SO, every lens, 21, 50, or 135/4 on the Leica benefits of the inherent ability of the rfdr to discern between sharp and not sharp. The shorter the lens on an SLR, the more depth of field, and the true accuracy is muddied. The shorter the lens on an SLR, the less precise the focus. With a rfdr, the more precise. Basically, depth of field works with you on the rfdr, an SLR, against.
AF muddies it even more. You've got the right song, but have to sing the whole question to your SLR:
"Is you is or is you ain't my baby?
The way you're actin' lately makes me doubt
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
If I was in the market for this type of camera, I could easily buy it. The features are nice and the glass is superb. The money saved on buying this and not a Leica would buy a lot of film.
Don't I have the right to say I don't like a camera (or something ABOUT a camera) ? I am accused of Trolling because I dared saying that I didn't like the plastic FEEL this camera left me ?
I AM sorry if I wrongly made someone understand that this camera is ENTIRELY made of plastic, but I only wanted to say that it's got a plastic FEELING (and several plastic parts, too)... But I think that I really have the right to express my (negative or positive) opinion on a product, whether it might be a camera or something else.
I also asked the other users to express their personal views on the subject, but I won't harass anyone that has a different opinion from mine.
Thanks for the offense, though...
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Timeo danaos et dona ferentes.
Originally Posted by George Papantoniou
Dodging Silver Bullets
Interesting thread, especially about the differences in focusing between RF and SLR.
As an owner and user of both SLRs and RFs, I will offer an opinion. The RF has a very limited list of areas where it excels, but it is a killer solution for some of those applications. The SLR is far more flexible overall, but at the expense of some baggage that the RF is free from. Each has its place, possibilities, and limitations. When I go on a shoot, I ask myself whether or not the shoot can be done well with an RF. If so, the SLR stays home. Anytime the RF will do the job, it's my first choice.
Who says a toolbox must have only one tool in it? Each tool for its purpose, I say.
When I got into this hobby in 1960s, the Leica was all but pronounced dead by young TTL SLR whippersnappers like me. A few old timers said things like "Cameras come and cameras go, but the Leica remains." I thought they were crazy. I was wrong. It took years and years to understand why.
The Leica M is a profoundly basic and simple instrument. It has exactly what some seasoned photographers want for making good images, and precious little else. After a couple of decades of chasing silver bullets, I realized that my limitations could not be solved with better gear, longer feature lists, electronics, microprocessors, etc. Every one of my shortfalls fell within the domains of "seeing" and "execution of a vision."
Anyone who measures the merits of a camera by the length of its feature list will be miserably disappointed with a simple basic instrument, whether it be from Leica or anyone else.
I am quite pleased to see the revived interest in classic rangefinders in recent years. I am delighted that the president of Cosina is a life long Leica enthusiast. So far, and from what I read, the only thing about the Ziess Ikon RF that I don't particularly like is that the shutter will probably be louder than that of the M Leicas. I hope the Zeiss Ikon RF turns out to be a strong competitor. It appears to be a for-real classic rangefinder, and not another P&S automatic with Zeiss or Contax badging.
NOT RF vs. SLR please
I'd like to make clear that I was being a little facetious when I said I'd choose an F100. I wasn't making any comment about any alleged superiority about either type of camera. For every argument from the RF camp the SLR camp would have another.
I use and love both kinds of cameras. My comment/amazement was more about the cost of interchangeable lens rangefinders. I am just not convinced that they cost anywhere as much to produce as what they sell for. The point was that an RF system shouldn't be that much costlier to make than a comparable SLR system - at least I can't see why it should.
So, to say that a 50 year old Leica can do things an F6 can't is entirely beside the point. I know that. I am only commenting about cost.
See Henry Ford and the $600 family car built on an assembly line. Come to think of it, is the F6 available in any color as long as it's black?
Originally Posted by Anupam Basu
I can come up with a few reasons for the cost difference. First is economies of scale. Assuming all else is equal, the more of something you build or produce and then sell, the lower the production cost per unit and the lower the selling price can be while still being profitable. Interchangeable lens rangefinders are a rather small market compared to SLRs. The Canon AE-1 sold a quarter million units in it's first 24 months, slightly higher than Leica M sales for the same period (...facetious not an actual sales figure). One reason that the older Cosina Voigtlander Bessa rangefinder models cost relatively little is that they are built on the same chassis as cameras they built as low end SLRs for other marques, so Nikon, Olympus, Vivitar, and others paid for that R&D, not Cosina per se.
Second, the Leica and Zeiss offerings are spec'd higher than most SLRs, and have metal rather than polycarbonate shells, and those things mean much higher production and quality control costs. In some instances you're also looking at a difference between mechanical and electronics based cameras, and the cost of producing mechanically based cameras is much higher than electronically controlled ones. A gear train to time shutters is much more expensive than an IC.
It was the electronics and automated assembly that put the aforementioned AE-1 at a feature and price point that allowed it to completely dominate the SLR entry market for a couple of years. Although it's perhaps less true than in earlier years, Leicas are still much closer to hand-built and tuned. A Cosina built Zeiss Ikon is likely somewhere in between, as is its price.
I understand. Sorry that I missed the point of the humor. It looked like SLR vs RF to me when you said F100. Great SLR, BTW.
I'd like to make clear that I was being a little facetious when I said I'd choose an F100. I wasn't making any comment about any alleged superiority about either type of camera...
Lee's comments about economies of scale seem on the mark to me. I used to wonder why things are seemingly high priced for what one actually holds as an end product sample. I now believe that product planners evaluate a marketspace for its potential to return a profit for any given venture into that market. There is overhead for the product's creation, manufacturing, and marketing. There is the unknown of how many units can be sold and for how long. There is the unknown of what the market will bear in terms of price. There is the unknown of what paradigm shifts might change the whole scenario, and which could cause investment failure, e.g. technological redirection, declining interest in or availability of film, or whatever.
My comment/amazement was more about the cost of interchangeable lens rangefinders. I am just not convinced that they cost anywhere as much to produce as what they sell for. The point was that an RF system shouldn't be that much costlier to make than a comparable SLR system - at least I can't see why it should.
I suspect it is with individual samples of these RF cameras somewhat as it is with individual samples of many other products. The price is not in the incremental cost of making one sample, but rather in the R&D, risk, and pricing potential of the market at large, for that product, as perceived by the investors or company which launches the enterprise. Given that hoards will not swarm to buy an RF, then the price has to be higher, maybe even much, much higher per unit.
It would not surprise me to learn that the incremental cost to manufacture one Zeiss Ikon RF were not less than $300. But to sell it for that would deny suitable recovery for R&D, and would deny the fullest possible return on investment. This for not pricing at a level extracting the fullest market potential from the product venture.
Last edited by T42; 03-24-2006 at 10:35 PM. Click to view previous post history.