View Full Version : Shooting Portraits with an RF?
I've a Kiev-4AM that i've been shooting alot of landscapes
with since i got it about a month ago. But i've yet to shoot
portraits or anything closer than 30 or 40 feet away. I realize
there is an issue with rangefinders when it comes to close ups
because of the focussing method. Does anyone have any experience
with shooting portraits? And if so is there any general tips for correction
of focus when shooting a subject within a 10 ft range?
PS; i posted here once before with a question concerning rewind capabilities
but never had a chance to reply to the helpful responses. Thanks!
I think that some lens/camera combinations can have alignment problems, you may have seen threads on the subject in this forum. For myself, I've taken some good images at distances around 1 to 2m. I guess that things become more critical as you open the lens up.
Some would suggest that you set the camera up with a ground glass screen and see what you get, but why not fire a few off first? Try a few test shots.
with a j-8 on a zorki
Check out the recent 'Portrait' themes in the Critique forum.
Sphinx, just do it! I've shot an rf for years and though portraits are not my forte, I can easily shoot from a few feet away.
A few examples:
And so on.
It's really not very difficult. :)
I quite like using a RF for informal up close portraits. For some reason, the person being photographed seem to be less intimidated by a RF camera. At least this has been my impression/experience. (Maybe it's all in my head, and believing this makes me feel more confident which the subject picks up on and puts them more at ease, who knows.)
Here are some of mine:
Like Frank said subjects tend to keep their natural expression when confronting with a RF. For your kiev, a clean and correctly collimated jupiter 9 would be a perfect match for wonderful portraits.
I really depends what type of portrait you want to shoot. Every format is more conducive to certain styles than others, RF is good for more candid portraits Medium format instantly makes a portrait more formal, SLR's are very flexible and can be 'OK' for almost any style. The only caveat I'd have with FSU cameras is that they do not always operate accurately...
As stated above, there are no grave problems with portraits made using an RF. At most one might say that the nature of the camera and the widespread use of a 35 or 40mm lens as "normal" means a tendency towards "enviromental" portraits, but that's not holy writ and you can always crop the negative. This picture of mine was taken with a Kiev like yours - http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=34804&ppuser=2846
Working from a slight distance also does much to overcome parallax problems, although a test roll of a balloon with a face drawn on it will soon put you right about that :)
Beautiful portrait Jocko.
Can't say I've ever had any problems shooting close pictures. The issue appears to be more so when you start getting 3 or so foot and closer. Some rangefinder bodies have parrallax correction depending on the focusing distance and the focal length. I've succesffully shot close images down to 1.5 foot (tho only 2ft was rangefinder-coupled on the 21/4). The Lens I've shot on my Canon P are Voigtlander 21mm f/4 Color Skopar, Jupiter-12 35mm f/2.8, Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5, Canon 50mm f/1.8, Jupiter-11 135mm f/4, and I don't think I've had a problem with any of them getting close ( with the exception of the J-11 I have not fully tested that one yet)
And if I can get stuff at 3 to 4 foot just fine, then I Think portrait is going to be perfectly fine ( As it should be for most rangefinders ). if it is not, then theres a good possibility that the rangefinder is mis-aligned. I would think that the russian/ukrain bodies/lens would be fine for portraits as well, but just might in some possibilities require re-calibrating the rangefinder for a new lens combination.
I think as you get closer without parrallax compensation, its best to assume that the subject is going to be moving further to the top-left of the viewfinder than you expect (ie: you got their eye in the top left, but when you get too close, the eye is actually above the top-left) so best to kind of frame with some margin to get it within the true range. I like the sugestion above about getting kind of a ballon and checking distance with that. Tho I think maybe it would be better if you had a small little ground glass and taped it to the back of the shutter area on bulb mode with the door open ( provided its a flip open back) and went back and forth seeing how it looks at various focus distance.
The Kiev's focus is actually extremely accurate down to its 3-foot/.9 meter focus minimum. It has the widest baselength of any consumer RF camera, and its glass prism construction means it doesn't fall out of adjustment (except in extreme situations that are likely to damage the camera). Also, the 85mm/2 Jupiter lens was designed for this camera and tends to be must more accurately constructed in the Contax/Kiev mount than in the Leica mount.
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