Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica

Started Aug 18, 2013 | Discussions
treepop
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Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
Aug 18, 2013

Curious if this exists. I love the idea of a nice compact full frame camera with minimal size. However, I'm not willing to drop leica type doe for it.

Thanks.
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Prime85
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

SONY will have the FF NEX out soon.  Not a real rangefinder.  But the body style is similar.

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nelsonal
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In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

Use a Voigtlander Bessa and scan the film.  There aren't many rangefinders, with any sensor size.

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Ed B
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

treepop wrote:

Curious if this exists. I love the idea of a nice compact full frame camera with minimal size. However, I'm not willing to drop leica type doe for it.

Thanks.
--
never stop learning

Everyone is different and I happen to be a person who doesn't like rangefinder cameras.

Back in the 60s and 70s they were great cameras but today they would have to be considered a niche camera. Contrary to all the hype, they just aren't a good choice for most people.

You're right that Leica is currently making about the only digital rangefinders and they are extremely expensive, especially when you consider that less expensive systems will out perform them in most ways. Leica lenses are excellent, manual focus lenses, but are also out of most people's price range.

About the only, small, full frame camera that's available right now is the Sony RX1 and it's price is also higher than most people want to pay for a small camera without a viewfinder.

I've often asked myself why so many amateur photographers are so enamored with full frame cameras.

In a practical sense, and for normal use, they aren't really any better than a good camera/lens with an APS size sensor.

I can only think of a couple of situations in the last 10 years where a full frame camera might have served me better than APS-C and people who talk about background blur and all that other "junk", may not know how to use their DSLR or don't own the right lens.

There are exceptions to every rule and some people do need a full frame sensor but most of us snap shooters who aren't doing a horrendous amount of cropping, or selling our pictures to National Geographic, would be smarter to stick with APS-C.

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JoePhoto
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to Ed B, Aug 18, 2013

A (true) rangefinder (type) camera would be the BEST choice for many, and maybe even "most".

Compared to SLR's the original (film) rangefinders were:

Lighter / smaller
Quieter
No shutter lag
Brighter viewfinder (with about 130% coverage)
No "blackout" during exposure
Faster flash-sync speed
Easier to use with "some" filters.

All of these contributed to "better" images.

The main advantages of the SLR was the ability to use "extreme" WA or TELE and the use of "some" filters. (But remember some were easier to use on rangefinders.)

I had many SLR's, but MADE MORE MONEY with my rangefinders, (a lot more money).

NOW .... digital has convoluted things a bit.

But all digitals still have the "blackout" which was one of my major advantages of rangefinder-type. (Albeit the new ability to instantly review-images is nice.)
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s majesk
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Not FF But
In reply to JoePhoto, Aug 18, 2013

Do Yourself a favour and test drive a Fuji X100s

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

The rangefinder 'experience' is one that I find very pleasing.

Shutter speed dial.

Aperture selection on the lens.

Focus ring.

Bingo.

Nothing beats it for me.

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Ed B
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to JoePhoto, Aug 18, 2013

JoePhoto wrote:

A (true) rangefinder (type) camera would be the BEST choice for many, and maybe even "most".

Compared to SLR's the original (film) rangefinders were:

Lighter / smaller
Quieter
No shutter lag
Brighter viewfinder (with about 130% coverage)
No "blackout" during exposure
Faster flash-sync speed
Easier to use with "some" filters.

All of these contributed to "better" images.

The main advantages of the SLR was the ability to use "extreme" WA or TELE and the use of "some" filters. (But remember some were easier to use on rangefinders.)

I had many SLR's, but MADE MORE MONEY with my rangefinders, (a lot more money).

NOW .... digital has convoluted things a bit.

But all digitals still have the "blackout" which was one of my major advantages of rangefinder-type. (Albeit the new ability to instantly review-images is nice.)
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Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto

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Spoken like a true lover of rangefinders

You bring up some very good points but I don't know if you're right about them possibly being the best cameras for most people, especially when you consider the mindset of younger consumers.

For a person who shoots prime lenses and wants manual focus only (gone are the days of the Contax auto focus system) the Leica would be good but, currently, it's about the only choice in digital and has to be considered a niche product.

I do agree that the older 35mm range finders had many good qualities.

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Leonard Migliore
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That's not a rangefinder experience
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 18, 2013

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

The rangefinder 'experience' is one that I find very pleasing.

Shutter speed dial.

Aperture selection on the lens.

Focus ring.

Bingo.

Nothing beats it for me.

My Nikon FE2 has all of that.

I did like film rangefinders like the Nikon SP and the Canon 7 but that was because they were small, quiet and had spectacularly good viewfinders. All you can get today is quiet.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: That's not a rangefinder experience
In reply to Leonard Migliore, Aug 18, 2013

Leonard Migliore wrote:

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

The rangefinder 'experience' is one that I find very pleasing.

Shutter speed dial.

Aperture selection on the lens.

Focus ring.

Bingo.

Nothing beats it for me.

My Nikon FE2 has all of that.

I did like film rangefinders like the Nikon SP and the Canon 7 but that was because they were small, quiet and had spectacularly good viewfinders. All you can get today is quiet.

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yardcoyote
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 18, 2013

My manual film SLRs had those same features/ operational qualities,  and I would like to work that way again. If I could find a large sensor digital camera with a good lens or lenses and manual controls as you describe, I wouldn't care whether it looked like an SLR, a rangefinder,  or a Kodak Brownie.

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T3
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to JoePhoto, Aug 18, 2013

JoePhoto wrote:

A (true) rangefinder (type) camera would be the BEST choice for many, and maybe even "most".

Compared to SLR's the original (film) rangefinders were:

Lighter / smaller
Quieter
No shutter lag
Brighter viewfinder (with about 130% coverage)
No "blackout" during exposure
Faster flash-sync speed
Easier to use with "some" filters.

All of these contributed to "better" images.

The main advantages of the SLR was the ability to use "extreme" WA or TELE and the use of "some" filters. (But remember some were easier to use on rangefinders.)

I had many SLR's, but MADE MORE MONEY with my rangefinders, (a lot more money).

NOW .... digital has convoluted things a bit.

But all digitals still have the "blackout" which was one of my major advantages of rangefinder-type. (Albeit the new ability to instantly review-images is nice.)
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Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto

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Rangefinders have (functionally) inferior viewfinders. Yes, they are big and bright, but they don't offer TTL viewing, don't work with zooms, can't do depth-of-field preview, and are terrible for longer and very wide focal lengths. Oh, and have you ever tried using a graduated neutral density filter on a rangefinder? Believe it or not, a lot of us like to see what our lenses are seeing.

As far as viewfinder blackout goes...uh..you blink your eyes, don't you? The average human eye blink is 100-400 milliseconds. The viewfinder blackout for a few higher-end Canon 35mm film SLRs where...EOS 1V : 87 ms, EOS 3 : 105 ms...EOS 1N : 140 ms.

Photographers overwhelmingly chose the SLR form factor over the rangefinder form factor for a lot of good reasons.  And, arguably, far more "better" images have been shot with SLRs than rangefinders.

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T3
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to Cailean Gallimore, Aug 18, 2013

Cailean Gallimore wrote:

The rangefinder 'experience' is one that I find very pleasing.

Shutter speed dial.

Aperture selection on the lens.

Focus ring.

Bingo.

Nothing beats it for me.

All of these things can be find out any ol' manual film SLR, too.  Shutter speed dial?  Check.  Focus ring?  Got it.  Aperture ring on the lens?  Check.  But unlike a rangefinder, you actually get to see through the lens on an SLR (TTL viewing).

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T3
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

treepop wrote:

Curious if this exists. I love the idea of a nice compact full frame camera with minimal size. However, I'm not willing to drop leica type doe for it.

Thanks.
--
never stop learning

We'll eventually have full frame mirrorless cameras, but they probably won't be true "rangefinders" because rangefinders don't offer through-the-lens viewing (at least not if you are using the rangefinder's eyepiece viewfinder), are mechanically complex and delicate (which adds to their cost), and the mechanical rangefinder mechanism sitting atop the camera body obviously adds to the size/height of the camera body, which would of course add to the camera body's size.

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Cailean Gallimore
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

Sure, but I grew up in a house full of Leicas, so rangefinders are full of nice associations for me

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RedFox88
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to treepop, Aug 18, 2013

You are looking for a camera not a "solution".  I see this stated often and shake my head every time when someone is looking for a "... solution".

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Artichoke
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rangefinders
In reply to T3, Aug 19, 2013

T3 wrote:

Rangefinders have (functionally) inferior viewfinders. Yes, they are big and bright, but they don't offer TTL viewing, don't work with zooms, can't do depth-of-field preview, and are terrible for longer and very wide focal lengths. Oh, and have you ever tried using a graduated neutral density filter on a rangefinder? Believe it or not, a lot of us like to see what our lenses are seeing

don't do tele or macro & you are also correct about DOF previews, though most rangefinder lenses have DOF scales built in to help with this

I strongly disagree with your comment on wide focal lengths being "terrible" with a rangefinder

wide angle photography is a strength of rangefinders & many outstanding extreme wide angle lenses are available for the M mount ...these are generally much smaller than their SLR equivalents & of high quality

the rangefinder's greatest advantage comes from being able to see beyond the frame being captured which helps enormously with composition

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GodSpeaks
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to Ed B, Aug 19, 2013

Ed B wrote:

Everyone is different and I happen to be a person who doesn't like rangefinder cameras.

Back in the 60s and 70s they were great cameras but today they would have to be considered a niche camera. Contrary to all the hype, they just aren't a good choice for most people.

That is a very broad and sweeping statement, and completely wrong.  What you ment to say is that they are not a good choice for YOU.

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bosjohn
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to JoePhoto, Aug 19, 2013

JoePhoto wrote:

A (true) rangefinder (type) camera would be the BEST choice for many, and maybe even "most".

Compared to SLR's the original (film) rangefinders were:

Lighter / smaller
Quieter
No shutter lag
Brighter viewfinder (with about 130% coverage)
No "blackout" during exposure
Faster flash-sync speed

flash synch is dependent on the curtain speed not the what kind of view finder. All focal plane shutters are or were limited to a flash synch speed which was the fastest speed obtainable with the second curtain not starting before the first curtain cleared the film. leaf shutters on the other hand could synch at any shutter speed they were capable of attaining.

Easier to use with "some" filters.

you may be right but I have never found a filter to be easier or harder to use but in the slr it sure looked red using the red filter.

All of these contributed to "better" images.

The main advantages of the SLR was the ability to use "extreme" WA or TELE and the use of "some" filters. (But remember some were easier to use on rangefinders.)

I disagree, the main advantage of the slr is to use very long lenses easlly and to do close up and micro and macro photography easily. Extreme wide angle is just as easy with a range finder.

I had many SLR's, but MADE MORE MONEY with my rangefinders, (a lot more money).

NOW .... digital has convoluted things a bit.

But all digitals still have the "blackout" which was one of my major advantages of rangefinder-type. (Albeit the new ability to instantly review-images is nice.)
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Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK --- and FORGET to START Again ??? )

aside from the above mentioned black out, the philosophical differences between range finder and slr camera usage is how our work flow progresses. In the slr your image is surrounded by black and your forced or lead into composing your pic in camera which works spectacularly well. In the range finder the work flow is you see the pic in your mind and compose before the camera comes to your eye and spend very little time adjusting the framing before shooting which works spectacularly well.

I love both.

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T3
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Re: Full frame rangefinder solutions. Not leica
In reply to GodSpeaks, Aug 19, 2013

GodSpeaks wrote:

Ed B wrote:

Everyone is different and I happen to be a person who doesn't like rangefinder cameras.

Back in the 60s and 70s they were great cameras but today they would have to be considered a niche camera. Contrary to all the hype, they just aren't a good choice for most people.

That is a very broad and sweeping statement, and completely wrong. What you ment to say is that they are not a good choice for YOU.

I think he has history on his side. History has shown that, when it came down to choosing a rangefinder vs an SLR, "most people" overwhelmingly chose SLRs. Why? Because SLRs proved to be a better choice for most people. And I think that's even truer in today's day and age, when people *expect* to see in their viewfinder an image that is actually coming through their lens. Additionally, "most people" expect a modern camera to be able to do autofocus...which a rangefinder can't do. Plus, "most people" expect to at least have the option to use a zoom lens on their camera...which a rangefinder can't do either. Also, "most people" expect to see the image frame filling their viewfinder, enlarged and magnified by the lens focal length they've chosen...which a rangefinder can't do. With longer focal lengths, you get frame lines that outline a tiny box that might only take up a small fraction of the viewfinder. So, given the limitations of a rangefinder, and put up against what "most people" expect from a camera these days, I think Ed B is right on the money when he says, "they just aren't a good choice for most people." Sure, that may be a "broad and sweeping statement", but it's certainly not "completely wrong." Broad and sweeping statements can be generally true.

Over the years, rangefinders have been brought to the brink of extinction because they really aren't a good choice for most people.  They are very much a niche camera, just as Ed B has said.

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