Seems like famous photographer use rangefinders?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Henrik Björklund, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. Henrik Björklund

    Henrik Björklund TPF Noob!

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    Hi!

    Im new here on the forum, and there is something I thought about.

    Seems like most well known and legendary photographers use rangefinders. Like meyerowitz, bresson, eugene smith to name a few.. Its not very often I see them use slr cameras?

    Im a big fan of cameras like The Nikon F3 myself.
    Thanks!

    Im from Sweden.. Sorry for the misspellings. Hah


     
  2. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Hello and welcome......
     
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  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I suspect that it has a more to do with the fact that at their time, rangefinders were among the best compact cameras available than with anything else.
     
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  4. Soocom1

    Soocom1 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Unlike the garbage produced today for the masses, the old rangefinder cameras were engineered to highly specific specifications.
    Alot of it was based on the concept of "scientific application of the photographic art."
    (This was a term I was taught back in the late 1970's).

    The rangefinder was specific for that very reason.
    To gauge the range and make a clean image.
    This is why they were the masters of their art.


    Today its no thought autofocus.
     
  5. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Many used whatever tools worked for them, and most did change depending on the time period if warranted.
    I would say that I only changed cameras because of a specific change in the type of photographs ... otherwise I would have stuck to one film camera system for a long time.
     
  6. limr

    limr Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A good bulk of Gerda Taro's work was shot with a Rolleiflex.
     
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  7. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    By 1970 ,The single-lens Reflex had pretty much taken over. The rangefinder camera had one decade in which it reigned supreme.

    By 1969, the Nikon F system had reduced the Leica strangehold quite substantially. By 1979 Nikon and Canon F-series single lens reflex cameras had eroded Leica's position to almost zero. It is not coincidental that both Canon and Nikon entered the camera business with 35 mm Rangefinder systems, but both companies fairly quickly transitioned to reflex style.

    The rangefinder style of camera is only good with wide-angle to short telephoto lenses. The reflex camera has many advantages. And it is these advantages that made the rangefinder style of camera give way rather quickly.

    I am sure you are aware that in many fields, the view camera reigned supreme, and still has a place. The rangefinder style 35mm camera was the best tool from roughly 1930 to 1959 if a person wanted a small, 35 mm camera, that was highly portable. For photojournalism/ reportage small and light cameras have long held sway.

    I think a better title for your thread might be " It seems famous photographers used to use rangefinders before they were eclipsed by more modern camera developments". As I said, by 1969 Leica's formerly top position in the fields of journalism and reportage had been badly eroded, and by 1979, the Leica had been supplanted in 98% of cases by less-costly Canon and Nikon SLRs.

    In the field of advertising photography, the Hasselblad 500-series camera had a long and distinguished run. One of the world's most prolific album photographers shot almost 1000 album covers with the square format Hasselblad. The idea that famous photographers use rangefinders is roughly 70 years out of date.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2020
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  9. cgw

    cgw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    They did till something better came along. Interesting how Nikon's place and reputation in the market was bolstered by conflict photography. The Korean War and access to Japan greatly aided Nikon's rise as Western photojournalists took a liking to their rangefinder system. Likewise, the spread of war coverage in S.E. Asia beginning in the mid-60s put a Nikon F in the hands of many. The gaping exit wound on Taizo Ichinose's Nikon F body shows how close the SLR got to the action:

    Requiem - The Camera of Taizo Ichinose
     
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  10. IanG

    IanG No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you went through a list of well known"famous" photographers you'll find all types if film cameras being used from large format field camera, MF TLRs and SLRs, and then 35mm SLRs and Range-finders.

    It depends who and what genre you look at.

    Ian
     
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