View Full Version : Rangefinders and viewfinder only cameras?

08-27-2004, 12:57
I was wondering if the Agfa Record III Billy 6x9 camera with an uncoupled rangefinder qualifies as a rangefinder for this forum.

and the no rangefinder, viewfinder only, Zeiss Ikon Contina II (rigid not the folder), which I use sometimes with an auxiliary rangefinder in the cold shoe, then transfer the distance to the lens manually.

That is what I do with the Record III, use the built in uncoupled rangefinder to determine distance, transfer manually that distance setting to the lens barrel focus ring -- or just use a hyperfocal setting if I am shooting in an f11 or f16 situation.

Would photos taken with these cameras qualify as appropriate for the gallery here?


08-27-2004, 13:21

back alley
08-27-2004, 13:44
what he said!


08-27-2004, 23:09
Hmm, I thought I'd posted a response.... Just to mention the concept of "Direct View" cameras per Roger Hicks & Frances Schultz's book Rangefinders. They figure Rangefinders are a subset of the Direct View category, in which viewfinders provide a view of the subject directly rather than by imaging it on a ground glass.

This "direct view" type of camera is often (loosely) called rangefinder even in the absense of an actual RF mechanism. I sort of assumed that this Forum was open to any Direct View camera...

So then does the current Alpa camera, favored by both Roger and Frances, qualify? Like the Voigtlander Bessa-L it doesn't even have a built-in viewfinder, just an accessory VF that slides into the accessory shoe.

I'd say Yes, as it simply uses an interchangeable direct-view viewfinder!

I think auto-focus direct-view cameras fit here too, like the Contax G2 & G3. Non-reflex direct-view digital cameras might be pushing the category to or over its limits.

While I think the optical viewfinder defines the way of working that is essentially "rangefinder" in character, it seems most digicam users choose to view not through the viewfinder but with the LCD. This gives a non-direct view of the scene, imaged by the sensor electronically, and through the lens with depth-of-field like an SLR.

I've been trying to use my Canon G3 with the optical viewfinder as much as possible. It just isn't possible for closeups of course, and at other times it's a pain because the VF is so very small. And the LCD is also a pain, as I really need a magnifying glass to see it clearly.

08-28-2004, 04:45
Thanks for all the feedback.

I have used a Canon G1 and G2 and have used the optical viewfinder. I have also used once in a great while, the manual focus function which involves the LCD. My assumption about the Canon digicams is that they are designed primarily if not almost exclusively for LCD use, and they get used that way 98 per cent of the time. I have used the optical viewfinder to squeeze out a few more shots when a battery warning light came on in the LCD display.

The compactness of the Agfa Record III and the large negative 6x9 is very appealing. The limited viewfinder window and trying to get 6x9 prints done locally are not. Still I expect to use the camera more this fall when the leaves turn.