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  1. #1
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Best mechanical 35mm analog Range Finder camera

    Hello there,

    After a long hunt for an analog 35mm full-mechanical SLR, I managed to settled down with Olympus OM-1n with a 35mm lens.

    Now, I am thinking to get one Range finder camera and I have no idea about it except Leica M3 and M6. Further, I do not want to spend too much money on it.

    Please recommend any camera that takes 80mm or above lenses.

  2. #2

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    Not for nothing, but rangefinders don't really go all that well with telephoto lenses. (90mm is a practical limitation on a Leica, although they can often take 135mm lenses)

    The best film rangefinder is (possibly) the MP. I'm not sure, since I am sure it is overpriced. You already know the best ones for less money. If you don't want a meter, and don't mind being limited to 35mm and greater lenses (but only with goggles) the M3 should be great. I am very happy with the M6.

    The (Cosina) Voigtlander Bessa R3M is a fine camera as well, although it ma lack some of the polish of the more expensive (and heavier) Leica. Honestly, I never had complaints about my R4A.

  3. #3
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Well, I have f=35mm and f=50mm on OM-1n and EOS 650(not mechanical at all). So, I decided to have one range finder with f=75mm or above.

    After reading some nice pages in kenrockwell.com, I came to understand the limitations of rangerfinders in terms of choices of lens.

    What other options do I have when I take other than 35mm path?

    I am interested to shoot with black-and-white in an extreme low-light conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by degruyl View Post
    Not for nothing, but rangefinders don't really go all that well with telephoto lenses. (90mm is a practical limitation on a Leica, although they can often take 135mm lenses)

    The best film rangefinder is (possibly) the MP. I'm not sure, since I am sure it is overpriced. You already know the best ones for less money. If you don't want a meter, and don't mind being limited to 35mm and greater lenses (but only with goggles) the M3 should be great. I am very happy with the M6.

    The (Cosina) Voigtlander Bessa R3M is a fine camera as well, although it ma lack some of the polish of the more expensive (and heavier) Leica. Honestly, I never had complaints about my R4A.

  4. #4
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baachitraka View Post
    . . . I am interested to shoot with black-and-white in an extreme low-light conditions.
    That's another reason to choose a Leica. I used a f/2.8 90mm wide open quite a bit in college. The camera was quiet and relatively vibration free, and focusing was accurate. A 135mm lens focused well enough, too. Leicas are even better with normal or wide angle lenses. In 58 years of using Leicas I've managed to beat two of them to death, but never had any other failure.

  5. #5
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Usually it's the other way around: for example, I tend to use a 35mm on a rangefinder and a 90mm (or similar) on an SLR.
    Though it doesn't *have* to be that way...

    If you really want to use a rangefinder mainly for teles, you can get a model with a higher magnification viewfinder (in Leica's world that's 0.85 or get an M3).
    I think Cosina/Voigtländer also make a high-magnification model.

    Or get a camera which will mount a Zeiss 85mm f/1.4
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  6. #6
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    Erste mal Moin,

    Well, as I understood from kenrockwell that it is easy with a rangefinder camera to shoot at very low shutter speeds without a tripod because no mirror, no vibrations and so on.

    On real scenario I do not know how easy it will be.

    Will this arthematic: shutter speed ~ 1/focal length on full-frame holds for rangerfinders too. Help me to understand better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rol_Lei Nut View Post
    Usually it's the other way around: for example, I tend to use a 35mm on a rangefinder and a 90mm (or similar) on an SLR.
    Though it doesn't *have* to be that way...

    If you really want to use a rangefinder mainly for teles, you can get a model with a higher magnification viewfinder (in Leica's world that's 0.85 or get an M3).
    I think Cosina/Voigtländer also make a high-magnification model.

    Or get a camera which will mount a Zeiss 85mm f/1.4

  7. #7
    Rol_Lei Nut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baachitraka View Post
    Well, as I understood from kenrockwell that it is easy with a rangefinder camera to shoot at very low shutter speeds without a tripod because no mirror, no vibrations and so on.

    On real scenario I do not know how easy it will be.

    Will this arthematic: shutter speed ~ 1/focal length on full-frame holds for rangerfinders too. Help me to understand better.
    This is *partly* true.

    Shooting hand-held at slower speeds with any camera involves a certain degree of luck, chance and skill.
    Let's say that, with any camera, (carefully) shooting a 90mm lens at 1/125 should give a reasonably sharp result 90% of the time (not perfectly sharp: the difference if using a tripod will usually be visible in large enlargements).
    If you shoot the 90mm lens at 1/60, with a classic SLR (Nikon FM, F2, for example) you might have a 60% chance of a reasonably sharp picture (my % figures are examples only - YMMV) while a Leica M might yield 85% success...
    At 1/30, the classic SLR might only get 25% and the M might get 60% (again, figures are examples only).

    Some SLRs (like the Leicaflex I tried to convince you to buy in the earlier SLR thread ) have very dampened mirrors (and shutters). Their extra weight also helps stabilise things.
    I can shoot my Leicaflexes hand-held roughly at the same speeds (with the same chance of getting a reasonably sharp picture) as my M6. Your Olympus should also do very well at that. Probably you wouldn't get more than a one stop advantage using a rangefinder rather than your Olympus (again - it depends!).
    M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa

  8. #8

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    I use Rangefinders, although not leica's, I have a Voightlander vitomatic, a couple of retina's and a contina with uncoupled rangefinder, all fixed lens, plus a MF Ensign commando 6x6/645, and with all the 35mm I have handheld down to 1/8 sec without problem, they are lighter, all mine have leaf shutters, and they lend themselves to low speed handholding,

    Richard

  9. #9
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by baachitraka View Post
    Erste mal Moin,
    Nördlichen Deutschland?

    Bessa, Leica, or Contax maybe? Finding a 90mm or so looks to be the hardest part...
    K.S. Klain

  10. #10
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    A Canon P or some of the older Leica-thread-mount Canon rangefinders are highly regarded and relatively affordable. No light meter probably...

    If I were buying one today, I'd get one of the Voigtlander Bessa RF's.
    If you are the big tree, we are the small axe

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