SLR or Rangefinder?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Maxx640, May 27, 2007.

  1. Maxx640

    Maxx640 TPF Noob!

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    Hello,
    I am planning to change film camera after my actual Ricoh has just died on me.
    I have been looking around and I have a budget of 200 €, 269 $, 135 £.
    I am quite exigent with what I would like, I shoot a lot of skiing free-style pictures, take my camera into bad conditions, climbing, and travel with it.

    In the past I have owned rangefinders, slr cameras, and MF. I have kept my MF, I love it but not for everyday use.

    I am hesitating now between a SLR and rangefinder camera. The first is more performant you can change lenses but the second is more discreet for street and travel shooting.

    In SLRs I am interested by Nikon F3, F801s or F90... I don't know.
    In Rangefinders I saw Konika Hexar, Voightlander Bessa, a little Rollei...

    Can you give me your advice on the question? What do you prefer using, why and what are the negative points?
     
  2. I like RFs too, but for that low a budget you're just going to get more in an SLR than a Rangefinder. Also, lenses for SLRs are usually cheaper (and there's more of them).
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you like rangefinders then there are a number of interchangeable lens, very high quality rangefinders from Leica and others.

    The whole purpose of the SLR in the first place was to provide a better, more accurate viewfinder without parallax. The price we paid for that was additional complexity and weight - to say nothing of the need to design wide angle lenses like reversed telescopes. As it turns out, it was an extremely successful move on the part of the camera industry. We cared more about viewfinder accuracy than we did about size, weight and complexity - or at least most of us did.

    However, I can assure you that a rangefinder makes images that are every bit as good or better than those from an SLR. In my 35mm film days I used Nikon and Leica gear. The Nikon was never, ever used except for pro shoots. The Leica got all the personal photography done. Lighter, smaller, better wide angle lenses. Pretty hard to beat.

    It sounds to me that the rangefinder would be a better choice for you. I was a climber in my youth and I didn't carry cameras at all but I would sure have chosen a rangefinder if I had.
     
  4. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    What about the Canonets or Yashica Electros? How about an Olympus Pen? The Kiev rangefinders are nice, just be sure to check the background of the seller. Kievs can be great, but there are plenty of dogs out there.
     
  5. Maxx640

    Maxx640 TPF Noob!

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    How about the Rollei 35, it looks small, does it do good shots?
     
  6. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    If I'm not mistaken, the little Rolleis were actually scale focus cameras without rangefinders. There is a newer "Rollei 35" rangefinder but it seems to be a Cosina-Voigtlander and outside your price range. Anyway if it was the older ones you were referring to, the little Sonnar lenses should produce very nice shots indeed.
     
  7. blackdoglab

    blackdoglab yeah I'm easy.... but I'm not cheap

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    It just hit me like a burlap sack full of bananas.... An argus c-4! Hey, it beats a c-3!
     
  8. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Have you considered writing film noir scripts? :D
     
  9. Maxx640

    Maxx640 TPF Noob!

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    I had a look at the Argus, but it doesn't seem to have a light metering system to it. I might have to go for an SLR because the equivalent rangefinders I am looking for are (a long way) above my price. I like the Contax, and the Leicas... Any ideas are welcome.

    Why do professionnal photographers go for SLRs instead of Rangefinders?
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    They don't. Not all - it depends on the nature of the job. "Professional" is a fairly broad category.
     
  11. Maxx640

    Maxx640 TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, I meant photoreporters. On documentries you see them with F3s, F4s...

    I really don't know what to go for, still looking around to get an idea.
     
  12. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Maxx, of the cameras you listed get the Nikon F90x (do get the x model!)
    It is fairly weather tight, does everything well and you should be able to get one and a nice auto-focus prime (28mm, 35mm, 50mm)- and still come in under budget.

    There will be those who say to get the F100 and this would be even better than the F90x but you would spend your whole budget on the camera.

    If you are going to do any flash work Nikon makes a great flash for their film cameras and an Sb24, Sb 25, Sb 26 or Sb28 will work fine on any of those Nikons. You can also look into a used Metz 45 CT 1 (a CL 1 would be better if you can afford it)- it throws out a lot a light and works fine on auto (no TTL I'm afraid although there may be a widget that will make it work, I don't know)

    good luck

    mike
     

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