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  1. #1
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Best rangefinder with 1:1 viewfinder

    I use an OM2n. I chose this camera out of the sea of cheap Japanese SLRs precisely because with a 50mm lens, viewfinder magnification is exactly 1:1 so I can keep both my eyes open at moderate distances and aside from the fact that the focus can be hard to nail, it works pretty well...but only with the 50mm.

    I've never shot a Leica. Or even held one. Up until today, I still wanted one though. I thought that a rangefinder would be a superior camera for anything but macro and long lenses...or 99% of my shooting. People talk as if using a rangefinder allows you to be more aware of the world outside the frame, so I always assumed rangefinder viewfinders were like looking through a window with some framelines. But I was reading today that Leica (and most rangefinder) viewfinders are not actually 100% magnification. This totally burst my bubble since I felt this kind of composing freedom would be the total point of using a rangefinder, aside from easier low-light focus, compactness, and quietness.

    Now that I don't want a Leica on account of the viewfinders not actually being 1:1 like I always thought they were, what should I be looking for? I hear that the Canon P and Bessa R3m have 1:1 finders. Any others?

    I would most like to use a 35mm or 40mm, f/2 or faster lens, and I would like the camera to work without batteries. It MUST be easy to use fully manually. Really, the Leica M2 was my dream camera until I found out about the viewfinders not being 1:1 magnification. It really seems like a waste.
    f/22 and be there.

  2. #2

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    Bessa R3M and R3A are the only ones that come to mind. I use an R2A and I wish I had that 100% finder sometimes.

  3. #3
    David William White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    ...I would most like to use a 35mm or 40mm, f/2 or faster lens, and I would like the camera to work without batteries. It MUST be easy to use fully manually. Really, the Leica M2 was my dream camera until I found out about the viewfinders not being 1:1 magnification. It really seems like a waste.
    It all makes sense. Recall that 40-50mm seems 'natural' i.e. the perspective they eye sees? To mount a 28mm lens AND see the framelines requires reduction from 1:1. So the Bessa R3m/a are a real treat to use just as you described -- I love mine -- but they can't show framelines wider than 40. That's the 'gotcha', but totally worth it in my opinion. Panning with both eyes open, full peripheral vision is much more useful.

    The R3m is a mechanical shutter and will operate without batteries. The framelines are set for 40/90, 50, 75.
    Considerably AWOL at the present time...

    Archive/Blog: http://davidwilliamwhite.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    I suppose what I need then is an R3m. A 40mm lens suits me just fine. What's an inexpensive 40 or 50mm lens that fits this camera? I don't have high lens standards, and any old lens that works will probably be fine for me.
    f/22 and be there.

  5. #5
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Now that I don't want a Leica on account of the viewfinders not actually being 1:1 like I always thought they were, what should I be looking for? I hear that the Canon P and Bessa R3m have 1:1 finders. Any others?

    I would most like to use a 35mm or 40mm, f/2 or faster lens, and I would like the camera to work without batteries. It MUST be easy to use fully manually.
    The Nikon S3 and SP viewfinders are 1:1, too. Collector's items, but they can be used. I do (S3 2000), with a Nikkor-S f/1.8 3,5 cm.

  6. #6
    Trask's Avatar
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    I know that the Nikon S2 RF viewfinder is 1:1, as is that of the Konica IIIa fixed-lens RF camera.

  7. #7
    Krzys's Avatar
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    Leica M3 is close enough to shoot both eyes open. But come on...1:1 are so few and far that I'm sure you can make up your own mind on which vastly different camera most interests you!

  8. #8
    mablo's Avatar
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    Canon P has 1:1 viewfinder too.

  9. #9

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    I come from a history of Nikon F's and Leica M3 which has about a 0.93 finder.
    I have an M6 and two M7's, all with 0.85 viewfinders. I find them no problem what so ever and have no problem going between them and my current Nikon favorite, the FM3a.
    If you discount the current MP and M7 or the discontinued M6, which all have metering systems built in and are very much like the Nikon center weighted systems, you are not including one of the best ever handling cameras for 35mm film photography ever made, but not availing yourself of probably the best set of (Current lenses) lenses ever manufactured for any 35mm film camera.
    But of course the choice is yours.-Dick

  10. #10

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    For a 40/50mm lens it's hard to go wrong with Leica,Canon,Voigtlander lenses.
    The 40 Voigtlander and Rokkors are very compact but are more money than an(old) Leica 50.
    If you use filters though the Rokkor uses Series 5.5 that aren't all that common.
    M3 is .91 viewfinder magnification, M2/4/ is .72 & later can be found with .58/.72/.85
    You had your choice.
    Although I have an M3(.91) now, I really prefer the .72 finder it's much easier to see the entire 50mm frame than with the M3. I've also got a Canon Vl & I think it's 1:1 but its very squinty to view through. Haven't used a Bessa so, no experience.

    I focus & compose with both eyes open & find the .72 the most comfortable & am probably going to get rid of the M3.
    Last edited by John Koehrer; 05-16-2010 at 11:37 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Expletive Deleted!

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