I have an Agfa Isolette. It's a great camera but with the guess focusing and no metering it's a bit hard to shoot. I'm fine as long as I'm outside where sunny 16 and hyperfocal focusing works, but inside is a bit harder both because I have to guess exposure and the larger apertures makes actually focusing much harder for me. So either I get exposure right but focus is wrong, or vice versa.
I've come to realize there is such a thing as an accessory rangefinder that fits on an accessory shoe of a camera, that would read out the distance in feet, so I could transfer it to the camera lens. This would be amazing in certain situations. So, do these kind of accessory rangefinders work pretty well, and are they available pretty cheaply?
I have found such rangefinders on Evil Bay...
Try searching for
for a Russian one that measures in meters.
measures in U.S. (feet)
I have one of each rangefinder, to go with my Franka Rolfix, Franka Solida IIIe, and Kodak Vigilant 620, hence the need for metric and U.S. (feet) measurements. For the cameras that do not have an accessory shoe I wish I could find an L-shaped bracket that screws in to the tripod socket and would hold these rangefinders along the "side" of the camera.
I use the accessory range finder you can make with a piece of card and a pen.
I just bought one of the Smena rangefinders on eBay. It was not expensive, shipped from Russia in under a week and works great (although I did have to adjust it).
I got the Smena because I wanted metric for my Zeiss Ercona.
There were quite a few good ones listed. Shouldn't be a problem to find something.
In my opinion, it is totally worth it.
Voigtlander (not Cosina) made one, but collecters have pushed up the price.
There were a number of these made in Japan. Walz made one, and it should be relatively inexpensive.
These are made in feet and meters, so make sure that the rangefinder you buy uses the same type of measurement as the camera. Otherwise, you have to convert between metric and English. Not a problem until you get into the fractional measurements.
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Many companies made them, I had a Welsh made Gnome rangefinder, actually I sold it ti a US member of APUG 2 years ago.
There are plenty around but try posting a wanted advert.
This one works well. I taped it to the back of my Rollei.
Originally Posted by alanrockwood
I use a Russian "Blik".......works well.
I inherited one made by Voigtlander: it is solidly made and appears to work better than the one in the cameras. However, I have never actually used it as I have guesstimate the distances involved with -generally- satisfactory results. I tend to use hyperfocal distance and a small aperture, where possible. I estimate the nearer distances by "rule of arm" or by pacing out -if needed.
What does surprise me is that the results generally appear to me to be sharper than those I have been used to getting with AF lenses/bodies.
Recently, Fotoman (China) started to produce one, I think that's the last model still produced. Available in feet or meters. (www.fotomancamera.com)
Anyway, you can find many second hand vintage models on "fleabay". As usual Leitz models are out of price, as said in previous answer Voigtländer's are quite over-priced but they are many other good models.