Quote Originally Posted by thuggins View Post
I spent a couple of years shooting my Oly "35" rangefinders exclusively, just to give them an honest trial. My observations:
- An SLR will do anything a rangefinder will, but not vice-versa (marcos, tele, etc)
- At least for Oly gear, the shutter noise difference is negligible
- Except for the 35RC and XA's they are no smaller than an OM with equivalent lens
- The focus on a RF can be faster, but my eyesight is not the best (astigmatism). With good eyesight and a split prism focuser I believe the SLR can be focused as fast.
- The camera shake problem is much worse with the rangefinders. This seems counterintuitive, but with the rangefinders you are setting the exposure with the shutter button. This requires a very long, stiff shutter button to trap the needle and set the aperture, and you were never sure where in the travel the shutter would acually release. I almost never get camera shake with my OM's even down to 1/4s, but with the rangefinders shake was not uncommon at 1/60's. (This is not a problem with XA's, but that little shutter button has its own problems.) If you are shooting print film, of course, you do not need a meter and can use an older RF without built in metering. But for slides, you need an external meter which I never found practical. (It is somewhat different with a MF folder, where the metering is just another step in the overall creation process. There I just accept that about 1/3 of the shots will get tossed for bad exposure.)

So while the RF's look lovely in their display case, the OM's go with me now when there are pictures to make.
There is a big difference between the low budget soapbox RF like XA or 35RC and full featured RF like CV Bessa, Zeiss or Leica.

Also, the argument about camera shake is valid in the low end.
Keep in mind that a relative recent SLR intriduce vibration by its mirror, shutter, jumping lens aperture, while in RF there is only shutter that might be source of such..

In wides and primes lens performance RF is #1