What is a Rangefinder?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by cosmonaut, Nov 16, 2006.

  1. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What qualifies a camera to be a Rangefinder and why are they so expensive? Sorry for the stupid question, but who else will tell me....
    Cosmo
     
  2. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A rangefinder is actually what you use to focus the subject with your camera. In the sense you are talking about, a rangefinder is a camera that is not a single lens reflex. In other words the focusing mechanism works outside of the lens instead of through it as it does in an SLR.

    Some of them are expensive because they are collector items or were expensive cameras in the first place. Examples would be the Leica and Nikon rangefinder cameras.
     
  3. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks, I can see they have sort of a cult following. I was interested because my Dad has an old Yaschica, but you focus through the lens so I guess it's an SLR...
    Cosmo
     
  4. LittleMan

    LittleMan TPF Noob!

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    Also, since the lens is so close to the film, it makes for an extremely sharp photo.
     
  5. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Generally speaking there is almost nothing electronic about an older one. The exception being the types like my petri 7s that has a salentium(sp) cell light meter. Doesnt have or need a battery for anything at all.

    there were really a sept along the route to where we are today. They are rare because people disposed of them for newer ones with whiz bang even back then. I know I did.
     
  6. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, true of wide angle lenses because there was no need to put retrofocus into the lens designs. The retrofocus is necessary to keep the back of the lens away from the swinging mirror on an SLR. The Leica wide angles made back in the 1920's and '30's are simply amazing. They are even well color correct even though color film hadn't been invented yet. The designers didn't know they were color correcting the design. They were just making good designs.
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    You should be able to find something like a Canon Canonette for not too much money.
     
  8. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have seen a Rangefinder forum similar to this one and the rangefinders make for some pretty good pictures. I wouldn't mind trying one out if it wasn't for the cost. I'll look for the Canon. There are some Russian ones on e-bay. Are they junk???
    Cosmo
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    If you are willing to spend more and are interested in Medium Format, the Koni Omega Rapid is a cool camera to try out. It's pretty bulky, but takes great shots.
     
  10. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you want to try a rangefinder for not too much money, you could also have a look at Yashicas electro 35 GT/GS and GTN/GSN . They were built to last and have a very good 45mm f1.7 fixed lens and take very good pictures.
     
  11. mysteryscribe

    mysteryscribe TPF Noob!

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    Generally speaking the russians are not junk.... History lesson follows disregard..

    Leica camera company is and was in germany pre world war two and was the premier camera company of the day... After the war the russians disassembled the leica plant put it on railroad cars and took it back to russia. they took the plans, the machinery, and more than a few leica techs back to the mother land. Before long they were cranking out leica type cameras. It is hard to tell them apart by looks but there is a big difference in the quality control I'm told.

    I have had a half dozen over the last ten years. I'm down to one now. I shot it several times and fine that the mechanics are a bit rough by modern standards but the glass is excellent. Buying anything on ebay is a crap shoot, but every russian camera I bought from russian worked just as advertised. Of coruse I kept the wrong one, but that was my fault.

    I highly recommend the feds I didnt try the conni knick off though. And they have interchangeable lenses.
     
  12. ThomThomsk

    ThomThomsk TPF Noob!

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    Excellent suggestion, if you can find a good one. Beware what I think Yashica fans call the "pad of death", which is a rubber pad which perishes with age and needs to be replaced, and the obselete battery, which means you need to buy or make an adapter so you can use a modern battery.

    I bought one from eBay ("Near mint! No fungus!" was it hell...) which I sent back. I bought a new Voigtlander R2a instead (which I love), but there are plenty of other Japanese rangefinders of the same era that are worth a look - the Canonets and many of the Olympuses are highly regarded.

    Thom
     

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