View Full Version : Help me shoot my rangefinders!
New member here...I have a few rangefinders but do not really
use them...I know they can take great pix but I also have an
EOS system and shoot mostly with my widest lens 22-55 USM
and find it difficult to carry more non compatible cameras...
I shoot mostly slide film, landscapes, macro, etc.
I have a 50mm F1.8 too so all my rangefinders are duplicates
basically...talk me into shooting my rangefinders or tell me to
put them in someones hands that will use them!
I just have been collecting them on my mantle for a while....
Here is what I have now:
Yashica GSN (works great, I put new seals in it)
Yashica GT (needs minor work)
Yashica GSN (needs more work)
Olympus 35RC (mint, never shot it)
Polaroid 101 automatic (I fixed it and have shot it)
Here is what I have owned:
Vivitar 35es (years ago, did not know it was that good)
Yashica GTN (sold it, too perfect to shoot)
Yashica GSN (sold it, too perfect to shoot)
Olympus XA (sold it, never shot it, actually 2 of them)
Yashica 35CC (sold it, never shot it)
Several others, but cant recall them all..
Oh yeah I had a Agfa Record with Solinar lens(never shot it)
and an Agfa Isolette with apotar lens (Never shot it)
Oh yeah, got a full darkroom kit in boxes that I never use too!
I can only discuss the GSN because it's the only one I have.
I have a Nikon SLR, many primes from wide to tele, a Fuji S2 DSLR, a 'blad, 4x5 equip. and a few others. My wife and I shoot portraits in our studio and these are our tools.
I too was skeptical about using a glorified point and shoot RF from way back when until I forced myself to. I took a vacation and only brought my Contax IIa and my GSN due to space limitations.
I have to say, they made the trip fun. I wasn't worried about settings as much, so I focused more on compostition. I didn't have to keep a death grip on my backpack full of 3200.00 pixels and glass. I really enjoyed the freedom.
I didn't expect much as far as quality, boy I was suprised. The meter on the GSN was spot on. I carry that camera everywhere I go now.
Bottom line, they won't replace your SLR kit, but they might free you up to have a little more fun. Next time you go out, take one of yours with you and see what I mean.
BTW, If you going to sell any of your gear, post it here first, many people will be interested in some of it.
You have an Agfa Isolette and never shot it? Does it still work? Have you checked it lately? How about the Yashica family? :( Still talk to your Oly? What have these poor souls done to you to treat them like that? Ever wondered what an unused camera feels when it's left on the shelf and never looked back at? :rolleyes:
You should be ashamed of yourself, Rob... And all this long you've been frolicking with an SLR! Tsk, tsk... :mad:
Send me your stuff. :) I'll give them a good home and they all will get really fit and in shape with the shutter workout I'm known for! :p
(Of course, I was kidding all along, Rob! Welcome to the forum! ;))
rangefinders suck - sell me the oly 35rc!;)
but seriously folks...rf cameras are a completely different ball of wax. they handle, feel and make you work differently.
you can travel lighter and move more easily, feel less encumbered and work slower (or faster). you are less conspicuous. you look like a tourist instead of a 'photographer'. you are less of a target.
use hyperfocal distance and be aware of the light and work quicker.
i could go on...
btw, welcome to the forum, i think you may need us...:D
'talk me into shooting my rangefinders'
OK, here's an exercise.
Give your EOS away (or hide it for a while) and just walk round with your Yashica GSN or Olympus or whatever, but just one of them, and only use one roll of film. Don't take any pictures that you think someone else will like, or be impressed by. If something quietly says to you 'remember me', take one picture of it. Make sure that it is the right picture.
Oh, and one other thing. Get one of those stickers that are on bananas and put it onto your selected camera. There is no accessory that will improve your pictures more than a banana sticker will. I'm serious. I was taught that by Jock Sturges when I was his assistant many many moons ago and I'm happy to pass his great wisdom on.
Hey, you did ask.
Helen is right!
Umm...this might be a naive question or I'm just too new to RF.
Joe, what do you mean by shooting differently with RF? Honestly, I don't see the difference, apart from the viewfinders, between using a manual SLR (e.g. Pentax K1000) and a manual RF (e.g. M6 or R2). I pre-set exposure & focus with both, tweaking them later when about to shoot.
I'm not sure either how you can shoot faster with RF. With an EOS, just set to Av mode & partial metering, find mid-toned area in the frame, AE lock, use AF where you want to focus, recompose, and shoot. Takes less than 1/4 a sec with USM lenses. Tweaking exposure on RF takes longer than that for sure. Naturally faster when working with B&W or colour negs.
The only advantage of RF for me is the small size hence less conspicuous. Quietness...well my R2 is much noisier than my EOS30 but Leica is just out of reach, even second hand ones!
i'm with helen on this one.
one camera, one lens and one roll of film.
preset hyperfocal distance and meter.
shoot from the hip and it's quicker than the eos. i had one - i know.
corny as it sounds, let the camera become one with you, a natural extension. shoot without thinking. just look for the picture/composition.
maybe because they are generally smaller than an slr, with a 35 rf it soon becomes a part of the hand and the whole process starts to flow differently.
of course, i also feel this with my mamiya 6 so i know it must be something other than the size of the camera.
it's hard to explain but rf cameras seem more natural to me than slrs. i'm not knocking slr cams, lord knows i've owned quite a few - rfs are just different.
hope this helps more than confuses...
Originally posted by backalley photo
rangefinders suck - sell me the oly 35rc!;)
Hey, I want the RC!!!
I think all of us here have SLR systems so why don't you do one thing. The next time you are going out with your family or friends, someplace fun that you would have lugged around your EOS outfit, leave the SLR home but put that tiny little Oly in your pocket with a couple rolls of film and shoot away like a kid. If you are with children let them hold it (it goes for less than a $100 on ebay, why not) and look through the viewfinder. Set the exposure with lots of DOF, prefocus the lens and let them take a couple shots. When you sit down for lunch you won't have to worry about all the space it is taking up on your table. Send the film off to York Photo, $3.55 a roll for single 4x6 prints. A week later look over the prints and see what you think. There won't be any zoomed-in close ups, and you would have walked a little more to frame your shots, but I bet they are crisp and bright and you will see that little guy is well worth his weight in memories. Heck, you may even start rotating him into your routine every once and a while.
If not, have a tag sale. We will all come by to say hello.
Thanks for all the quick replies! I assure you no rangefinder of
mine has been harmed. I have fixed several of them.
They all get a thourough checkout and cleaning then they seem
to just go on display.
My Agfas had various problems like bad bellows and broken shutters so I did not use them. I did shoot the GSN after I repaired it and got some very nice pictures with it, sharp even to the edges, very colorful too.
My eyesite is not what it used to be so the rangefinders dont get the kind of use they should.
I forgot I had 2 broken Konica auto S2 and 2 broken Canonets
and a broken Yashica Lynx at one time.They are long gone...
The Oly 35RC sure is a bit smaller than the GSN, not sure how
the lenses compare. I bought it a tiny Sunpak bounce flash the
1600a to keep it company. It has a really bright viewfinder.
I even made it a tiny little lens shade that pushes on!
I was thinking of getting more 6x6 folders and look for them when
I can since that would be at least a different format to play with.
Then I would have to resurrect my darkroom I guess...
I do have a handheld meter to use. I see many GSNs for sale here
a Petri 7 shows up once in a while, I passed on a Minolta 9 last week on vacation since I knew nothing about those...darn it was
clean and in the case too...
Saw a Franka Solida(Tower 60) 6x6 rangefinder locally in the box with instructions for $45 too...Missed out on two Zeiss Ikon 6x6
rangefinders with Tessars that were priced a bit high I thought..
Guess someone thought different! Maybe I can use a rangefinder
for my black and white camera..If I could find a C41 B&W film that
can be printed by a one hour lab..Suggestions?
Rob, you may even condider the idea of enrolling into some kind of personal photo project, such as the PAW (photo-a-week), or some other that will make you USE your cameras.
Basically, the whole idea is to post at least a "good" picture once a week during the whole year. Of course you can shoot more, or less and do the photo-of-the-month, etc.
In fact there's no real need to post it, the key is to give yourself some discipline in order to have the need to shoot something on a regular basis. By doing that, you may find which kind of camera you find more suitable for your own personal project.
In my opinion, RFs make GREAT carry-all cameras to bring with you everyday, they use to be smaller than SLRs and a lot more unobstrusive. You can try that with your tiny RC and try for yourself :)
And welcome to the forum !
My best "kid" pictures are with the RF's. I have many SLR's, Nikon's, Konica's, Retina's, Argus/Cosina to choose from with lenses from 20mm to 1000mm. The RF's are more limited in lens selection; 35mm to 135mm. But I like the lower latency, less vibration, quiet operation, and lack of mirror black out. I can see the expression that goes onto film as the shutter snaps. No surprises when I get the roll back of what really happened when the mirror was up. I alternate between the Leica M3, Canon 7, Nikon S3, and Retina IIIS. I use older gear, from the 50's and '60s, and shoot mostly with 50mm to 135mm lenses.
One more thought; Interchangeable lens RF's offer flexibility over the fixed lens cameras. I just got my first roll back from a $35 Kiev 4a and was very pleased. It is a 1979 vintage with a 52mm F2 Jupiter-8. The shots were sharp, contrasty, well exposed, quite nice. The built-in-meter was accurate and the camera was light-tight. It was bought from a dealer in Russia who said it was the best he had seen in terms of operation. He was right on that, even though he thought it was a Kiev-3. If you get one, make sure it has been tested or that you can return it. I fitted a $30 EBAY find 135 F3.5 Tanar on it ("C"ontax version) after filing down the locking pin. There are slight differences in the physical mount between the Contax, Nikon, and Kiev.
Ok decided to take the lil Oly 35rc out for a spin. Got her loaded
with Kodak 100 print film, I have a tiny case that my OLY stylus
hides in, it holds 2 rolls of film a small camera and a tiny tripod
and slips on your belt...Will try to shoot a Shriners circus with
this camera this afternoon. Will have my EOS kit as well...
I have no way to digitally post the pix so I will just tell you all
how they came out. I can check for light leaks and exposure
accuracy...This one came with a still good Mercury battery in it..
Rob, when you take your roll of film in for processing, ask the lab to supply a CD of scans of the film. Costs a few $$ extra, but makes it pretty handy to share with others. We'd like to see your pics! :-)
Autofocus-autowind-autoexposure cameras makes us lazy photographers. And the gotta-have-it-now mindset of digital only further encourages that.
I noticed one guy on photo.net posted a note saying that he tested the Olympus E-1 camera at a race track (might have been two events) and took something like 2,400 photos. That almost becomes cinemaphotography.
I was reading a magazine article a couple of years ago about North Vietnam photographers during the war. Some were given just one roll of film for the entire war. Talking about making each frame count!
So I would encourage you to do as Helen says and minimize.
Rangefinder photography is different from SLR photography. I always get the feeling while using an SLR that it's like peering into a tunnel. With a rangefinder, I feel like I'm still part of the environment. That's been my experience.
Sometimes the isolation of the SLR is good. Other times, it's not what you want. That might explain why rangefinder cameras are very popular for street photography.
When I want to challenge myself and get my thinking back on track, I'll use a 6x9 camera with just one roll of film.
More info for anyone who cares. I did shoot both the EOS with
22-55mm USM and the Oly 35rc...Film is being processed now.
Most shots will be of an outdoor circus so bright colors, neon
and colored lights will be prominent...We shot until too dark
and then I used the EOS with built in flash, Forgot to try my
Sunpak on the 35rc...I did duplicate many shots on both cameras
so I can compare new technology to old technology. EOS had
slide film, 35rc had print film, both 100 speed. Things I did notice
that the viewfinder is really bright on the 35rc, but the focusing
patch is a bit dimmer than I like.
The EOS was a breeze to shoot.
even in the lowest of light the autofocus worked great. The
wide angle of 22mm is always amazing to me...Oh yeah my batteries on the Rebel TI started to go weak on me last night
this is after about 1 year of use maybe 30 rolls with lots of playing
with the AF and some flash use too. I find I have a small Tamrac bag I got to hold my Vivitar 283 holds a GSN in the big chamber
and the 35rc in the small chamber, so at least I can carry them
Picture results coming soon.
Ok the results of my film test are in..
This test was between my OLY 35RC 40mm F2.8 with Kodak
Gold 100 and my EOS Rebel TI with 22-55mm USM lens with
Kodak Elitechrome 100.. Shots taken at an outdoor circus with
lots of lights, wild colors, colorful people...All shots handheld.
We started shooting about 7pm and got some great light but
was fading fast...We shot until late dusk...Oh yeah I did shoot
some daylight shots with the OLY on Sunday afternoon...
First the OLY..nice, light, bright viewfinder. Daytime shots were perfect, great color and very sharp, when it got darker of course
it got harder for me to focus. Shots were well exposed and there
were no light leaks so the foam is still pretty good.
If you compare this to other rangefinders I am sure it would hold its own very well.
I am sure some of you have this camera and know what it can do.
I was of course limited to the fixed length lens and that really cut
into what I could do with it. I mainly shoot slides and I have to
crop in camera since there are no prints usually..
The Rebel TI...That 22-55 lens was great for everything there.
Autofocus locked on even past sunset. Colors were bright and
punchy daytime and dusk...Got some great ones of kids in rides
spinning around with flash. I was able to get a shot near dark
of a large pyramid ride with the crescent moon and venus over
it with low clouds that looks great. Really surprising how slow
a shutter speed I can hold this at 22mm..
The Rebel is of course bulkier but weighs about the same as
the OLY! I can operate the shutter, Exp comp, aperature,
and zoom function(on the 22-55 only) with one hand...
My verdict is that the Rebel TI with this lens(I have sharper ones
I can use like the 50mm F1.8 and 100mm F2.8 USM) and
the ease of use (and my changing eyesight) will stay my favorite
setup for a long time...
So I think I will be moving out of the rangefinder collecting and
spending the money or more slide film and trips to use it on.
I anyone is interested in any of the RF cameras I have you
may contact me at Robmurr@aol.com...If no one is interested
I will put them on the big auction site. I am Robs-stuff on Ebay.
Thanks for the help!
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