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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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I wish I'd had a camera with me...
Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
Roger Hicks
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I wish I'd had a camera with me...

...at the reception given by our new deputé (M.P.) Or rather, I wish I'd had a camera that took sharp pictures. This one didn't.

Who else thinks it's a lousy idea to carry a second-string camera just to save a few ounces?

Cheers (for a given value of cheers),

R.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
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Buy a Ricoh GR
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
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I had this in cycles. I would have camera I'm comfortable with. To me it is film Leica or FED-2. But then I switch to something more reasonable as "camera to have with me". And I'm getting skunked or I'm not satisfied with what I'm getting even if it is sharp. And then I switch back to Leica or FED-2. And then again, why I'm taking everywhere my precious? Switching to something cheap or(and) auto, the moment arise and I'm skunked, not satisfied again.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
Brian Atherton
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Rather engaging image, Roger, and you're in good company.

According to some here, sharpness is a bourgeois
concept.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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Nowadays with the phone I am well served. I use it as a visual journal and it prints nicely up to 8x10 (or larger but shows some artifact). The fact that a thin slab packs so many devices that would startle the 1990s self is astounding.


I do have dilemmas about Digital m43 vs 35mm vs Medium format, about packing and shooting. That is for deliberate photography however.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #6
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stompyq View Post
Buy a Ricoh GR
Why?

At the end of the piece I say that I can't see much point in spending more money on a camera which certainly won't deliver better results than the proper cameras I already own.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #7
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
I had this in cycles. I would have camera I'm comfortable with. To me it is film Leica or FED-2. But then I switch to something more reasonable as "camera to have with me". And I'm getting skunked or I'm not satisfied with what I'm getting even if it is sharp. And then I switch back to Leica or FED-2. And then again, why I'm taking everywhere my precious? Switching to something cheap or(and) auto, the moment arise and I'm skunked, not satisfied again.
Similar here. I hadn't tried it for years, but I remember it from long ago. But I'd used a couple of cheap, pocketable digis (property of a deceased friend) so I bought a new battery for my own cheap, pocketable digi. Never again!That's why I'll stick with decent cameras from now on.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Why?

At the end of the piece I say that I can't see much point in spending more money on a camera which certainly won't deliver better results than the proper cameras I already own.

Cheers,

R.
Because you weren't the operator of the camera right? And this was a focus situation? If it was AF, most likely the person making the photo would have done better? Perhaps we are misunderstanding the point.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
Arbitrarium
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What's it focused on? A mote of dust in the foreground?

Yeah probably better off handing someone a manual camera that you've already set exposure and zone focus for. Then they just press a button.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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It's a small camera that can be taken anywhere. It can also be set on full auto quickly so that when you do hand it over to someone, they can just point it at you and click the shutter

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Why?

At the end of the piece I say that I can't see much point in spending more money on a camera which certainly won't deliver better results than the proper cameras I already own.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arbitrarium View Post
What's it focused on? A mote of dust in the foreground?

Yeah probably better off handing someone a manual camera that you've already set exposure and zone focus for. Then they just press a button.
This is very much my feeling. Auto-anything is likely to screw up more often than the approach you describe -- and using the cameras I already own is a lot cheaper too. As for "go anywhere", I'm not so old and feeble that I can't carry a Leica or even a Nikon Df. At least, not yet.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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One of the nice things about it being winter in the south right now is that I usually wear a jacket when I leave home. And that means I have my folding Voigtländer Vitessa with me in a jacket pocket. I do use it at other times of the year, but it frequently gets a start in jacket months, because it's compact, quirky, beautiful, and its Ultron 50mm f/2 lens is so good. Any other time I'll have something handy, often my Contax and 50mm collapsible Sonnar.
Cheers,
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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I agree what in OP situation the mobile phone is the best solution these days if no serious camera present. But the "I wish I'd had a camera with me" sometimes is not as simple as picture of three persons staying still under good light in comfy weather....

How many times I pull mobile phone out to find it shutting down on me because they made it sissy and it shuts itself if it is too cold for it (Like -5C). I still could take picture, all I have do is to take off my hat, put phone on my head and wear hat for few minutes. This dinky IPhone 5C is turning back on after it.

AF? Will it focus on the car glass or on my object in five meters away. AE? Will it measure bright or dark, but not where my object it...
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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Sounds like there has been a lot of your problem going around. Maybe something in the air?

A while back I decided I had to stop carrying my Super Press 23 due to back problems. Same for my entire Fujica ST901 kit. I tried carrying a camera and at most one lens, but it didn't feel the same. Nor the XA, nice as it is.

Ironically, I don't so much mind carrying my old Sony 6 meg digital zoom. Nor a Mimiya Six although it is pushing for weight.

If you find a cure sir, please pass it on.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
..Who else thinks it's a lousy idea to carry a second-string camera just to save a few ounces?...
I´d like to contradict in the guess that the unsharp picture is the result from buying a cheap camera, Roger.

Accordding to the EXIF Data, the picture is carrying, focus was set to infinity.
There is no hint if that camera was switched to manual focus or if it was just a autofocus failure.
Guessing that another camera would have done better is same as asking a glass sphere here.

User setting of cameras date was "Zeitpunkt Aufnahme: 13.09.2023 22:15:35" which suggests that the confrontation
user-camera was not very intensive at all
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #16
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Iphone is always with me, but in 90% of situations I have a film camera with me. When I go "light", it' Contax T2. Not exatly a pocket size, but works for me.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #17
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I don't differentiate between good cameras and what I take with me. If I'm going to bother carrying a camera, and, as my wife points out, I always do, it will be manual focus, film, and with a couple of lenses. It doesn't have to be heavy - a IIIa with wide Elmar, normal Summar, and 90 Elmar doesn't weight much. Old as that set is, it can still do super work. As to 'one camera, one lens,' I've tried it and don't like it much.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #18
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Good little article Roger. I'm pretty certain many of us have very similar experiences.

It is easy to forget that much of our photographic prowess (such as it may be) is often the direct result of how familiar we are with our equipment.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #19
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This summer, I took with me only M 4/3 with one lens (twice). I did not feel that I was creating a "sharpness problem" or that images would come out as being inferior. I wanted to go light. I guess, it depends what kind of priorities you set. I used what I already had at home.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pioneer View Post
Good little article Roger. I'm pretty certain many of us have very similar experiences.

It is easy to forget that much of our photographic prowess (such as it may be) is often the direct result of how familiar we are with our equipment.
Totally agree about that Pioneer. Knowing a camera tricks and strong points really help one to get the most of it.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #21
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Such a common problem here.

One little problem I have: Someone always generously offers to take a photo of [me and wife, my dinner group including me, etc.] and I happen to have my Leica M(3-9). It is extremely rare to encounter someone who has any inkling how to use my camera. I stopped trying to explain the rangefinder at all, but they always complain about the weird area in the viewfinder. They invariably change the focus. They often try to tap the screen on the back (when its the M9) to take the photo instead of using that archaic button on top. ......but its not nice to decline the generous offer. So, I point out the shutter button and ask them not to move the lens, and don't worry about the blurry spot in the viewfinder. Occasionally I get a sharp image.

I'd seriously consider a tiny digital compact with decent lens to keep on hand for such situations. I have yet to get one. Back during the film era, I often had a small auto P+S that fit the need. Often the Olympus XA. I'd set focus (scale) and hand it over.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #22
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Once I was in a Restaurant (a good one because of my birthday to celebrate) I had with me my Rollei 35 (it was because a thread here about that camera!). The waiter saw the camera and said "Beautiful camera, may I take a photo of you both?" of course I agreed and set properlyy the camera, F3,5 (wide open) , 1/30 of second and appropriate distance in order to be sure of focusing. But ...he didn't like they framing at the distance I had set, went two meter away and took the photo, which of course was out of focus!
But we kept it as special memory of the moment...things happen, don't worry, be happy

robert
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #23
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Exactly, Robert! Be happy
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #24
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For situations like this, I usually resort to my phone.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #25
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"Good Camera"- M262 with 4 lenses.

Camera that saves a few ounces- M262 with one lens.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #26
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregm61 View Post
"Good Camera"- M262 with 4 lenses.

Camera that saves a few ounces- M262 with one lens.
Exactly!

Cheers,

R.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #27
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A camera phone wouldn't create a hash like that ... I suggest crushing the thing!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Who else thinks it's a lousy idea to carry a second-string camera just to save a few ounces?
I think it is a lousy idea; however, based on the specifications, the 8MP Leica Minox DC-8111 does not look like a second-string camera.

I do not understand why it did not produce a better image than what you posted. I have used a 2MP point & shoot that took better images.

Have you had time to figure out exactly what went wrong?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #29
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I wish I'd been carrying a camera with me pretty much whenever I am not carrying a camera. "Which" camera is not so relevant, I don't own any "bad" cameras. But some are faster and easier to use than others. If I am out to do what I think of as an assignment, my D700 is my usual choice. If I am out shooting for pleasure, I love to carry my MP, or another film camera. If I am just going out the door, I grab the X100t, which sits on a table by the door. If I'm out cycling, I make do with my phone.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #30
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If your "first string" camera is inconvenient to carry it will stay home.
A camera left at home simply cannot get the shot when you're out.

There are plenty of good truly pocketable cameras.
Look here: http://www.subclub.org/

Chris
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #31
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A zorki 1 with collapsible lens can go anywhere I do. I don't so much as walk my son to the bus without it.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
This is very much my feeling. Auto-anything is likely to screw up more often than the approach you describe -- and using the cameras I already own is a lot cheaper too.
If this was the case, more iPhone photos would look like the one in the post. . True about cost though.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #33
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Quote:
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For situations like this, I usually resort to my phone.
I agree. You can also use the phone with a beer in your other hand!
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #34
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iPhone face detection would have nailed it every single time. Then again this seems like some rant about auto-everything cameras or some other point poorly made.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #35
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I hate the handling when shooting with smartphones, so I solved the problem with a Contax T3 bought last year, the camera is always with me as it fits even the smallest shirt or jeans pocket, most of the times its ready to shoot in my hand.

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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #36
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I do it all the time; almost every day. But my Rollei is just too big and difficult. I use a 35RC or a small SLR. Best yet is when I have my Bessa R loaded.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #37
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Quote:
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so I solved the problem with a Contax T3 bought last year
Good choice. Were the prices any reasonable last year?
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #38
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Seems like two separate "issues" here, Roger.
1) is carrying a good camera--that would be, a camera you know and can rely on.
2) the skill, or not, of the random person you hand that camera to. Or, perhaps, the ability of that person to take direction: in similar situations, I will ask the person to stay where they are, then focus on them and set exposure, and then I move to them, hand the camera off and return to where I was.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #39
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Quote:
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iPhone face detection would have nailed it every single time. Then again this seems like some rant about auto-everything cameras or some other point poorly made.
No, it's a "rant" against those who think that the solution is always to buy their way out of problems -- with an iPhone or a Ricoh or whatever -- instead of making sensible use of what they already have.

It's also a somewhat self-deprecating "rant" against myself for being so stupid as to use that camera for something important: not life-or-death important, or Pulitzer Prize important, but important enough that that I'd have liked a nice, sharp happy-snap.

And it's about something that has happened to many people; something that will make them smile ruefully, and (with any luck) something that will make others think before the make the same stupid mistake.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #40
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In response to the suggestion of a Ricoh GR:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Why?

At the end of the piece I say that I can't see much point in spending more money on a camera which certainly won't deliver better results than the proper cameras I already own.

Cheers,

R.
You might be surprised by the Ricoh GR. Besides, you spent nothing on that little Minox and you got nothing in return.

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