~What is a Rangefinder?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by UUilliam, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. UUilliam

    UUilliam TPF Noob!

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    Is a range finder just a digital compact SLR?
    And why do they cost so much !!!!
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    a rangefinder camera is not just a digital compact SLR.

    the view finder sets off center *to the left* of the lens and one does not see through the lens and must account for that when focusing and framing an image.

    Because there is no mirror to worry with, less camera shake, noise and why the expense. Very few companies make them and those that do are very high end camera makers.
     
  3. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It's also a pretty good photo magazine. Free subscription if your "a studio" of sorts.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  5. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For me, it was the best issue so far, as I'm trying to put the pieces of that puzzle together.
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I consider Steven Gandy's web site, Camera Quest, to be the definitive site devoted (mostly but not exclusively) to rangefinder cameras, both modern and older. Gandy is an official importer/distributor of the Cosina-made Voigtlander Bessa line of camera bodies, s well as Voigtlander lenses in Leica M-mount as well as thread mount lenses.

    His site has a TON of articles on all rangefinders--Nikon, Leica, Contax, Bessa, and Zeiss-Ikon. Loads of informative articles also on older Nikon gear, plus a source of precision lens adapters. Leicas are out of frch for many people, but the new Voigtlander Bessa bodies and Voigtlander lenses are very affordable,and pretty good optically.

    CameraQuest Home Page

    Classic Camera Profiles

    Canon QL17 GIII

    If you want an affordable, simple, inexpensive rangefinder, the Canon Canonet profile at the last link above is a good one to buy and use.
     
  7. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Oddly, this was in the hospital waiting room the other day... Good magazine.
     
  8. msf

    msf TPF Noob!

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    I was going to say a rangefinder is a magazine. :D Ive been getting it for like 4 years for free. Each year I either google "rangefinder free subscription" or send in the postcard that comes with my last few issues to renew it.

    Great magazine, but I do miss the studio setup illustrations they use to do, and the photoshop tutorials they use to publish. Cant beat the price, and compared to the other photo magazines, hardly any loose cards inside.

    I believe a rangefinder camera is a DLR, dual lens reflex, not slr, single lens reflex. :D since you look through one lens and it takes a picture with another.

    I woudlnt mind having one, but they are rather expensive and that money could get me other things that are higher on my priority list. :D
     
  9. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    msf,
    your thinking of a twin reflex camera, it has two lens . for for looking the other for taking.
     
  10. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They're not all expensive. I paid 25 bucks for two Canonets (one had parts to fix the other), my Yashica Electro was around $40 for a perfectly working one.

    My Leica on the other hand.. that was expensive. I paid more for just the 20 year old body than my d70 kit cost me when I bought it new, then I had to buy a lens for it, but for me, it was worth every cent.
     
  11. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When they were more popular, they were no more expensive than other cameras on the market. What is nice is that many rangefinders were made with such craftsmanship that they are still perfectly fine today... at all ranges of pricing.

    I second the Canonet... just be ready to change the foam at the rear door. Easy DIY once you source replacement material. Bessa's are very nice as well and available brand new. Unfortunately, for some reason I always find another vintage rangefinder/cameras more interesting. Often for less than a new Bessa even with the cost of repair.

    Karen Nakamura has a few writeups on her web page worth reading:
    Photoethnography.com - Photoethnography Equipment


    Today... New ones are expensive because they are a niche market. That and the name that has become synonymous with rangefinders is Leica... which is expensive across the line.. period. As for digital rangefinders, Leica is pretty much the only player for new... another reason why rangefinders "seem" expensive.

    What hasn't been mentioned is that you shoot differently with a rangefinder. You either like it or you don't. I like it. It is difficult to explain without just trying it out for a while.



    Oh btw... on the classic/vintage/collector market, you'll find Nikon rangefinders just as valuable as Leica even though no one seems to discuss those cameras very often.
     

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