Rangefinder

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Ejazzle, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Jupiter/ Tequesta FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    can someone please explain to me the difference between a rangefinder and a DSLR??
    i feel kinda dumb asking this:blushing:

    thanks

    Ej
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2006
    Messages:
    1,314
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Steventon, Oxfordshire, UK
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    In a SLR (digital or film) you see the image you are taking through the lens.There is a mirror behind the lens that will reflects the image to the viewfinder. The mirror has to flip up before the exposure and then flips down afterwards.

    In a rangefinder you see the scene through a separate window and there is nothing between the lens and the film/sensor (apart from the shutter of course). Because there is no mirror in a rangefinder, they are more compact than SLR's.

    Usually lenses for rangefinders are also more compact than lenses for SLR's and the brightness of the image you see in the viewfinder does not depend on the maximum aperture of the lens (as you don't see through it).

    I am sure rangefinder users such as Usayit or Iron Flatline will be happy to give more details if required.
     
  3. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    Messages:
    381
    Likes Received:
    0
    In an SLR's viewfinder you see the exact image that the sensor will register because you are looking through the lens itself. With a rangefinder camera you're looking through a separate viewfinder that's next to the lens. So the image in the viewfinder will be 'looking' at the subject from a position next to the lens, so the image is visible from a different angle. That angle changes with the distance to subject. It is called the 'parallax'. Some viewfinders have corrections for parallax, but they can never completely solve it.
     
  4. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,296
    Likes Received:
    465
    Location:
    Hell's Kitchen, New York
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Most of the differences have already been mentioned. Here are a few others, all simplified. Fee free to ask for explanations.

    The viewfinder of a rangefinder camera (I'll shorten that to rangefinder) is always in focus. There is no depth of field preview. A few rangefinders have a very limited use DoF indicator, however.

    The frame lines are not as accurate as an equivalent reflex camera, even if parallax and frame size are corrected to some degree.

    Parallax is not the only thing that can change with focus distance, the frame size needs to change as well. You don't use a rangefinder if you want very precise framing.

    The angle of view does not change when you change lenses (on most rangefinders, but not all). This means that long lenses aren't very practical, and that a separate viewfinder may be required for wide lenses. The separate viewfinder, whether for long or short lenses, will not have the rangefinder window.

    The rangefinder window is in the centre of the viewfinder. This means that you may have to reframe between focusing and taking the picture. This can be a small problem.

    There's little noise and vibration when the shutter fires (Steph has already mentioned the lack of a mirror).

    The lens always operates at the working aperture, so pre-exposure TTL metering always occurs at the working aperture without special arrangements being necessary (An SLR can use TTL metering at the working aperture during the exposure, of course).

    The distance from the lens flange to the sensor/film plane is usually significantly shorter than that of an SLR. This means that wide lenses may not have to be retrofocus. This has advantages and disadvantages, the disadvantages being mainly with digital rangefinders.

    Zoom lenses are more difficult to use, but not impossible.

    It's easier to use leaf shutter lenses with a rangefinder camera, and many medium format ones do. It's not common with interchangeable-lens 35 mm rangefinders, however.

    That's all that comes to mind immediately. I have quite a few rangefinder cameras, from 35 mm to 4x5, and I think that they have advantages in many circumstances.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  5. See if you can get your hands around one, you'll immediately understand the points being explained here, and thus the difference between the two types.

    One other issue: a typical 35mm RF is a lot smaller than an SLR, and as such lends itself well for a certain kind of street/candid/journalistic style. That's why they are the preferred tool for some photographers.

    EDIT:

    Me, busting a pose with an R-D1 with a rather big 35mm Voigtlaender Nokton lens.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    9,521
    Likes Received:
    343
    Location:
    North New Jersey, United States of America
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Pretty much the major differences have been mentioned. Think of it as the camera for those looking for simplicity.

    Start with a light tight box with a shutter
    Add a lens to collect and focus
    Add a viewfinder to help "frame" the subject
    Add a rangefinder to help tell the distance of the subject

    More advanced rangefinder cameras will couple the rangefinder to the lens for faster focusing and a TTL light meter.



    All technicalities asside... the way you shoot a rangefinder camera is different from an SLR. Kinda hard to explain. The camera becomes more of an extension of the eye without interruption. You essentially "frame" subjects rather than placing them within a viewfinder. A lot of times, I don't even frame... just shoot at the hip.
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    9,521
    Likes Received:
    343
    Location:
    North New Jersey, United States of America
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Iron,

    An hour with a dremel taken to a spare GMP grip and my Epson is now sporting a grip:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Does improve the handling quite a bit....
     
  8. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    Messages:
    381
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh yeah, one more thing: the central leaf shutter in most RF cameras enables flash sync at all shutter speeds!
     
  9. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    9,521
    Likes Received:
    343
    Location:
    North New Jersey, United States of America
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Also notice that all the disadvantages (and advantages) brought up by Helen compliment the adv/disadv of SLRs. It is quite interesting how current technologies influence upcoming...
     
  10. Ejazzle

    Ejazzle TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 3, 2008
    Messages:
    653
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Jupiter/ Tequesta FL
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    wow thanks for your help everybody!!! i tottaly understand all the differences now. thanks everyone i really appreciate it


    EJ
     
  11. jvgig

    jvgig TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have a question about focusing. Please correct anything that I say that is incorrect as I do not really know what I am talking about. So, the rangefinder tells you how far away the central point with respect to the lens is from the camera. Then you have to adjust the focus to match that number or compensate to whatever it is you want to focus on? This would make fine focus adjustments almost of a guess work then? Does the range show up in the viewfinder then, or is it on a separate display, or is it a mechanical thing?
     
  12. chris

    chris TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Scotland
    On some rangefinder cameras the focus mechanism of the lens is connected to the rangefinder so you don't have to transfer readings from the range finder to the lens. A popuklar accessory in the days before SLRs were common was to have a separate rangefinder that could be used hand held or clipped into the flash bracket of a camera that did not have a built-in rangefinder.

    Note that while it is possible to use a rangefinder for macro photography most people would probably decide that life is too short to go through all the setting up, measuring of focal plane to subject, calculation of exposure etc that would be required for success - macro photography is one of the things that SLRs can excel at but it is extremely difficult and time consuming with a rangefinder.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
forum leica rangefinder focus issue
,

leica gmp grip

,
r-d1 grip
,
rangefinder macro