I have much experience with medium format rangefinders and SLRs and I can say that I can see a significant difference in sharpness between the Mamiya 6 lenses and the Bronica SQ lenses. Certain Bronica lenses at certain apertures can come close, and Hasselblad lenses in general do come very close to the same sharpness but not quite. Again, this is my experience. Someone else may not believe me but I'm just stating what I've seen. I think anyone that owns a Mamiya 6 or 7 can attest to the rediculous shapness of the lenses. They probably are the sharpest MF lenses.
I always thought the RF vs SLR lens quality discussion made very little sense because most 35mm photography is done handheld anyway. A tripod would probably make more difference than the lens anyway. That said, a rangefinder is much easier to handhold given the lack of a mirror so I think the biggest advantage for rangefinder image quality has to do with the lack of mirror and aperture shut down than anything else.
Another advantage of RF in relation to SLR is that RF tend to be much less noisy. That means you can actually take several pictures, let's say at a party, without people really looking at you, while with a SLR after the first picture everybody in a 4 m range will turn their head toward you and from that moment on they will just pretend they are not aware of you.
Not every RF is silent, though. I have two, a Canon Canonet 19 QL-III and a Voigtlaender Vito CLR. The former is quite noisy, not as much as a SLR but really not much more silent, the latter is very very quiet and is probably the quietest camera on Earth.
Among RF with interchangeable lenses, cameras with horizontal cloth shutters (such as Leica M) are said to be generally more silent than cameras with vertical metallic shutters (such as Contax G2). I have no direct experience of those though.
The advantage of a RF over a SLR can be subtle: an unobtrusive camera can make you less obvious and can make people more relaxed. The bigger and the noisier the camera, the more people is "aware" of the presence of the photographer and tends to behave rather than just be.
Some people, for whatever reason, don't like their picture to be taken with a "serious" camera but don't object to the same picture being taken with an "unpretentious" camera. That also goes for places where security/paranoid reasons restrict photography, i.e. restrict photography to persons with big SLRs
And then there is the thread saying Zooms are as good as primes....... use what works for you!
I have reached the point where I use lenses like a painter uses a certain brushes. Zeiss, Rodenstock and Nikkors like painters knife, Petzal like a sponge, Jupiter and old Woolensacks like a watercolors,
Much of the price of Rangefinder lenses comes from their scarcity. The lens quality is there, and is also available in SLR lenses at lower prices. But I believe the chief advantage of Rangefinder over other kinds of cameras is that a rangefinder takes the picture when you press the shutter and you see the picture as it is taken. With an SLR, you see every moment except the moment you got. For carefully composed, tripod-mounted photography this is a non-issue. But I find that for handheld shots of active scenes, a rangefinder yields more beautiful pictures.
I discovered the effect with a Canonet, you could probably see the same effect already because that camera is so easy to bring to the eye and shoot.
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RF 50mm & shorter lenses are generally smaller & lighter. Some designs CAN NOT be made in an SLR version eg 21mm Biogon /38m Biogon. Long focus & telephotos are about the same RF & SLR versions except RF versions can have twice as many iris blades and not worty about auto stopdown issues - hence better bokeh.
"Fun and occasional edge" are pretty subjective and rooted in emotion too.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
Any tool has an optimum use. Low light focus, silent operation, compact size are some.
Perfectly timed can't be done with an SLR unless you compensate for the delay in shutter release time that it takes the mirror to actually release the shutter. Composition? Most SLR's don't use the entire frame to focus anyhow. they use 93-97% of the negative area to compose with. slightly different spatial relationships indeed. that 1 1/2 difference will make a big difference when you can't even compose accurately with your SLR.
Can't compose because you meter needle was in the way etc. And I find them lacking in the practicality department. = )
All of your arguments are specious and nonsensical .
Sorry but I've gotta give you a hard time, John! Here goes.
SLR shutter lag, there's something not worth discussing. I don't know too many sports and wildlife shooters who use RFs. Stalking a decisive moment on a street- great. Extra bonus points to anyone for getting that one street shot off at precisely the right moment. I've seen a whole lot of amazing SLR decisive moments too though. Come to think of it, we've seen a lot of LF decisive moments too, right? It's all in the anticipation. A lot of successful photography is anticipatory.
And if the objection to SLRs is that they don't have 100% VFs, well, how much of the RF window do you use to focus anyway? With most RFs you use a fairly small center patch. Now, RF patch focusing is fine and dandy unless your point of focus happens to be off center, then you have to do the wiggle. I can do the wiggle, all of us RFers can do the wiggle. But it is a limitation on speed and precision to which some could legitimately object.
Anyway I hate to step into these A vs. B arguments; they are usually beside the point, in my opinion. Use the best tool for the task. Or, better yet: use the tool you want to use. And be happy!
P.S. Everybody should just give their opinion and let it go. Everybody is entitled to their opinion. I don't understand this need to rebut somebody else's opinion. But I guess I just did that so... my bad
P.P.S. I am a proud SLR, RF, LF, pinhole, whatever-the-hell user....
I was pleasantly surprised when I bought Oly 35SP rangefinder that its lens is far superior to my 50mm Nikkor. In rendering and sharpness, but of course it has a much worse flare as the coatings were not up to par.
That said, since I've used to use an AF Nikon SLR with that crappy (by comparison) lens, more often, I've gotten more interesting shots with it than Oly.
Older lenses often have surprisingly better rendering than the mass-produced well-corrected stuff. All these corrections IMO only make rendering boring. I like smooth and swirly bokeh, and 3D look of certain older lenses that I want to own.
That said, it's possible to take a great photo even with lenses with boring rendering, a toy camera or a pinhole. It depends on the photographer.
I agree with your response, but when it's suggested that a rangefinder is for "fun" and an SLR is "serious" it's silly. For every point there's a counterpoint.
Inaccurate framing on the RF vs inaccurate framing because of incomplete composition from lack of coverage. RF's being slower? not any slower than a manual SLR.
All the arguments are paper tigers. 1=1=1. It's based on particular strong points for the job.