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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

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Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Old 04-23-2018   #1
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Rangefinder cameras dominated early 35mm photography. The first SLRs, cameras like the Exacta, didn’t have instant return mirrors or auto-diaphragms. They really didn’t offer any advantage over the reflex housings that allowed rangefinder cameras to use long lenses and macro lenses. That’s kind of changed - a lot. Instant return mirrors, auto diaphragms, TTL metering and auto exposure made the film SLR a much more universal tool. Those features were improved when the DSLR appeared. And for some time now, those photographers that think the DSLR has become too big for their purposes and in the past might have turned to the smaller rangefinder camera, have had mirrorless cameras to turn to. Small size, quiet operation, bright-line finders, features that defined the rangefinder as much as its rangefinder focusing, are now available elsewhere.

Are digital rangefinders, and that means Leicas, good cameras? Of course they are. But while used film rangefinders are affordable, the digital rangefinder is out of the price range of many young photographers, amateur or professional. By the time they can afford a digital Leica, they will probably be fixed into another system. I look at film Leicas that are over half a century old and still excellent working cameras. They make me wish that I wasn’t a working stiff that had to quickly transmit images to a client. I look at a digital Leica, and I know the body casting and the lenses are going to last forever. It’s just that in a field that is changing so rapidly I don’t know if lasting forever is a good thing.

I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?
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Old 04-23-2018   #2
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My guess would be that a majority of us here are not working photogs and are as much into the "craft" of photography as any of it. Like me, many are quite happily using equipment considerably older than 50 years. There are plenty of other latest greatest gear sites so I hope this remains a rangefinder site for awhile
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Old 04-23-2018   #3
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This forum has been morphing away from being "rangefinder exclusive" to something broader and less well-defined since forever, Bill. Most of the people on here seem to despise the only true rangefinder camera maker left nowadays.

I am sure that any digital M past the M9 will last a very long time. The M9 generation was the first "real" digital M and had some unforeseen problems, but those have been solved in subsequent models. Decades? Maybe even that; I mean my Olympus E-1 is past 15 years old now and still going strong, but I doubt that many people want to keep any modern camera for decades.

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Old 04-23-2018   #4
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You bring up a few issues that have concerned me for a number of years. I like my Leica ME, and I liked the Leica M8.2 I used to have, but they certainly weren't cost effective, not to mention the cost of Leica glass for those cameras. I've got over 100,000 actuations on my Nikon D4, and it's still roaring along (something I don't think I'll be able to say about any Leica digital M). With a Nikon Pro level 24-70 and 70-200, the total cost for camera and glass is about what a digital M and a couple of primes would run. And for what I do, the Nikon kit has it covered much more efficiently than the Leica kit would.

When I have time to slow down, the Leica kit is much more pleasurable to use (I find the older I get, the heavier the camera packages seem to be), but I doubt sincerely I'd be able to make deadlines just using it.

I've got a Canon 6D and a 24-70L lens that I've been using for local work lately. Both were bought refurbished directly from Canon, and the two together are considerably less than I paid for the ME body alone (no glass). So if I were a young person just starting out (oh, how I wish), it would be a no-brainer to go with the Canon system.

I love the way the Leica rangefinder works, and love to use them, but are the digital ones practical. For people on this forum, I guess they are. For the general public, not so sure.

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Old 04-23-2018   #5
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I still think it makes sense to purchase selectively, quality is still a factor for the majority of items in consideration of individual price point threshold. Chasing rainbows never made sense... why buy a corn dryer when a crib will do?

I can pick up a film RF or SLR and get good results from both and except for some operational details the overall experience and results are about the same.

I have given up my old film / early digital P&S, and Betamax gear but I can still shoot with a Canon 30D...

For the majority of photographers is the field really changing that rapidly?
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Old 04-23-2018   #6
lynnb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?
Certainly a broader focus on other camera types compared to what it was... and I'm a relative latecomer. However this is still a rangefinder forum, and its strength is the knowledge base of experienced users who generously share their collective wisdom and experience. I think that's RFF's great strength, and I believe that will continue to attract people who become interested in rangefinder cameras.

Mirrorless cameras are gaining an increasing share of an overall declining market (excluding cell phones), and with Canikon releasing major models within the next 12 months, I'd guess this forum will see members continuing to play in both sandpits.

Leica's new CL seems to be the future of affordable Leicas to me. I don't own one but I've played with a friend's, and it handled well, and costs much less than digital Ms. But it's not a rangefinder.

-----------
I'll add: people who take photos for a living mostly use DSLRs or mirrorless, for reasons others mentioned. In addition Nikon's CLS made things easy for using flash (and Canon appears to have caught up). Leica's digital technology lagged Canikon's, particularly with high ISO/low noise and colour science. So Leica has become sidelined, mostly for the more well-heeled amateurs, if buying new. The second hand market is a little different - there's a lot of choice for rangefinder enthusiasts, some very inexpensive, even for Leica - a IIIc and a few lenses doesn't cost much. However I wouldn't want to try to earn a living with one.
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Old 04-23-2018   #7
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"I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?"

That was the early years of the rangefinder forum, when we still discussed FSU cameras and questions on repairing them and hacking lenses to mount on other RF cameras and shared tips on Black and White film development.

Those years are long gone.
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Old 04-23-2018   #8
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Are we still RFF? Yes, we are. I'm not so sure if LUF is. Not by the amount of RF dedicated threads, but by the output. On RFF we have photography which I would define as RF photography. Which is done with something like GR II.
On LUF... I joined it in the hope to see more RF photography, but I'm very disappointed...

Eventually any OVF will be phased out by EVF.
First, it is dirt cheap to make EVF. Because no human factor is involved. No human factor - more profit to be made.
Second, it is that coming generation only knows. They grow into photography by taking images on mobile phones.

You will be very surprised how much and on that young ones are spending money.
1K$ winter jackets, every pair of shoes must be not less than 200$, 1K$ mobile phones, Uber instead of walking, numerios vacations, dining, take out food and so on. Did you check how much gaming gear cost?

Used digital rangefinders are available. And not only Leica. And those cameras will be just fine with 100$ lenses. Even M240 which is coming below 3K$ price tag for used, while still made.
I know young one with two M8 and young one with most expensive 50mm in M-mount.
I have seen thread on LUF about buying "Leica as old as me", it was about 18 YO Leica.

But RF, DSLR, MFT it doesn't matter. Photography is changing rapidly.
Here is the state of photography we get used to:


PS: something might be fishy with how this picture is shown. It was smugmugged.
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Old 04-23-2018   #9
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Well I know when I need to communicate with "smart" camera folks I come here. If I could afford it I would gladly use a digital rangefinder but even old 6mp ones go for just a bit to much for me. I have 2 film rf's, 1 slr, & 1 dslr...the rf's are fixed lens units which are great but boring. Now a M2 & M9 pair to go alongside the Df and F2 would only leave me wanting a big digital Pentax...haha Cool thing about RFF...one can talk about any of that here...usually with someone who knows what they are talking about.
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Old 04-24-2018   #10
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I came to RFF at the time I was still using film Leicas and, possibly, during my infatuation period with Kiev RFs. Soon after that I started using digital and eventually I stopped using and sold off the film cameras. Knowing I could not afford a digital Leica, I tried to find a Leica equivalent in digital. There was none. Today, still none. And digital Leicas cost even more today. As well, new film rangefinders are nonexistent now that Cosina's Voigtlander is gone. Thus it seems logical that rangefinder enthusiasts are buying and using older film Leicas and other old RFs. And we see a lot of posts today about film, older cameras of all configurations and about camera problems and repair. So I guess RFF continues to have a base in rangefinder users.

But RFF is not an exclusive club. Many of the rangefinder enthusiasts who shoot with film Leicas also shoot with Canon, Nikon and other brands of digital cameras--some professionally. Many of us no longer own rangefinder cameras at all. Some of us are using mirrorless cameras that approximate the experience of shooting with rangefinders while offering modern features we find essential today. It's a big club.

As for whether today's digital cameras might last "forever", I think it's a possibility. Electronic stuff seems to have become more reliable as long as you keep out moisture and give it power. The things that fail are often mechanical and these can still be repaired if someone has the technical ability to disassemble and reassemble these complicated devices. And digital cameras may be reaching a plateau of function. Manufacturers seem to be offering more and more features on their cameras while providing fewer improvements in actual picture-taking ability. I can see someone using a professional grade digital camera from 2018 in 2068 as long as batteries and cards are available. I'm just not sure anyone in 2068 will give a flip about using an antiquated device that produces something as useless as a picture. Who can say how the future will evolve.
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Old 04-24-2018   #11
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I've used and owned a number of digital EVF so-called rangefinders. All mirrorless Fuji's. The experience in shooting relative to a film RF is completely different. And as much as mirrorless is where I re-entered photography as a hobby and as wonderful as Fuji's are and can be, the complexity of the camera in digital is still very much a part of a mirrorless RF. By contrast, a lot of the complexity for a film RF begins after the shot in my mind: Development, Enlargement, and Printing (or if hybrid, scanning, post-processing and ink-printing). I believe the process is almost as different in how we think it through as much as the techniques differ... though there are many analogies between one and the other.

The question is probably less whether we're still a RF forum and more whether RF's have evolved or not, is the shooting experience of a RF with an EVF really different from a DSLR? Certainly the mystery of what you shot and the sense of relying on your instincts for composure and light management is lost to digital's instant access. I think also digital reduces the value of rugged reliability that Leica's were known and prized for because you know immediately whether you got the shot. But is this helpful or an impediment? Was it ever helpful? and was the RF a conscious design decision or just a step in a process of evolution that may have stopped for one company and one type of shooter? I don't think these things are as simple to resolve in our heads - and they are in our heads - as we'd like to think, and perhaps the whole is more akin to asking why Andre Segovia played so many scales on his guitar in "practice" when in fact he'd tell you "practice that isn't done with musicality is worthless." Ditto for photographic arts.
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Old 04-24-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
I've used and owned a number of digital EVF so-called rangefinders. All mirrorless Fuji's. The experience in shooting relative to a film RF is completely different. And as much as mirrorless is where I re-entered photography as a hobby and as wonderful as Fuji's are and can be, the complexity of the camera in digital is still very much a part of a mirrorless RF. By contrast, a lot of the complexity for a film RF begins after the shot in my mind: Development, Enlargement, and Printing (or if hybrid, scanning, post-processing and ink-printing). I believe the process is almost as different in how we think it through as much as the techniques differ... though there are many analogies between one and the other. ...
The film RF camera experience in a digital camera is best achieved by the Leica M-D typ 262. It's a true RF camera. There are literally no configuration options beyond setting the time and date, whether to use EV compensation (in aperture priority mode), and whether to use single, multiple, or self timer drive modes (colocated with the main power switch). A button allows you to view battery state and space remaining on your storage card. All other operations—setting ISO, shutter speed (or auto), aperture, focus, and releasing the shutter—are pretty close to identical to using a film M7 camera. The M-D only produces raw files, so all exposures must be processed to obtain a viewable image file. There is no LCD and are no in-camera image processing controls; there's not even a way to erase or format the storage card in-camera.

It's my favorite Leica M. For me, a perfect blend of the simplicity and durability that the film Ms embody coupled with the practical usability and low cost per exposure of making photographs with a digital camera. And essentially the film camera workflow transposed to an image processing workflow instead of having to drag out the chemistry and enlarger.

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Old 04-24-2018   #13
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"Are we still a rangefinder forum?"
Bill Pierce


I would certainly hope so, Bill. I just got my first real Leica rangefinder, after having messed around with a lot of FSU, and Leica copies. Though I've mostly been an SLR user over the years, I've always owned at least one rangefinder at any particular time except in the early days when I would trade in what I had for something else (I always kick myself for trading in a Vitessa L).

Coming here has informed me as to the variety of equipment available, and whether it is useful or not. The experience of many has created a place where it's okay to not be locked into one system or brand. Sure, there is something to be said about a site that only covers a particular style of photography in minute detail, but here we now have many forms of photography covered in detail, and that's what makes it so nice to visit with you all. Even the great TomA was not strictly a Leica rangefinder guy, though he certainly was an expert who related what he knew to other brands and types of gear.

I like that I can expand my knowledge base by visiting all the various sub-forums here, that I don't have to be pigeon holed into just the rangefinder group, or one particular brand for that matter. But those that have a particular style by using only one type or brand of camera should also be able to feel at home here. It's good that way.

Even if I were to ever give up all but one of my cameras, I'd like to think that RFF is the place to come to when I have a question, or need some inspiration.

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Old 04-24-2018   #14
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Quote:
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I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?


Sure we are, geeks and weenies are not so easily discouraged. When the last film maker turns off their lights, the fun will really begin here!
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Old 04-24-2018   #15
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This is where I come to revive my rangefinder batteries so to speak. So, for me it is still a rangefinder forum.

I am aware that a lot of the people here use other types of cameras, and discussions often include their experiences with the other cameras they own, but the rangefinder content is still dominant.

I am one of those fortunate enough to own a digital rangefinder. Though I prefer to work with film the ability to shoot digitally with a camera that is very similar to my film cameras is actually a great experience. I know that the digital rangefinders are very expensive, and it seems sometimes that the maintenance of them is even more expensive. Though that does bother me occasionally because they can appear to be a luxury item, and to some that is what they are, personally I realize that they are very unique in the world today. That alone makes them worth the extra cost to me.

I hope that Leica continues to make these cameras and I also hope that this forum continues to maintain that rangefinder perspective that makes it so valuable, and so different in our current world.
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Old 04-24-2018   #16
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I see a lot of overlap amongst the various forum sections; many people post on the rangefinder section as well as SLR, MF, etc as well as the film and darkroom sections, etc. This is a good thing I think. Its a rangefinder forum as well as a lot more. And in this age of many dying forums (replaced by a multitude of often redundant or competing Facebook groups), having this forum available to us (and still quite busy) is a very good thing.
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Old 04-24-2018   #17
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Old 04-24-2018   #18
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Yes and No.

RFF still has a lot of RF talk, and is still the largest topic as far as I see. But, RF is a niche, and for whatever reason (RF users also use other cameras?), RFF also seems to include other niche photography areas (like film, manual focus, medium format, etc) but not really large format, probably due to it's RF beginnings. Even those who are full modern digital, they are mostly the niche makers (Fuji) and the niche products (Df). There aren't a tonne of "Latest and Greatest full Canon kit" types for example.

I suppose it could be called "Medium and small format alternative photography forum"
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Old 04-27-2018   #19
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I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?
My sense is that the forum has evolved into a general photography forum.
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Old 04-27-2018   #20
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My sense is that the forum has evolved into a general photography forum.
I think that is accurate, but that RFF is a dominant type of camera. When RFF started, people would apologize if they posted photos from other than RF cameras. I think it is better the way it is now, but did enjoy the early forum.
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Old 04-27-2018   #21
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My sense is that the forum has evolved into a general photography forum.
I think the forum is just keeping up with the current world. In an earlier world where 35mm meant rangefinder or reflex, the rangefinder had a number of useful differences. It was smaller, quieter, no mirror shock at slow speeds, had a bright line finder that let you see outside of the frame and had good visibility in low light. Before autofocus or manual focus with magnification, the rangefinder provided superior focusing for wide angle lenses. But today’s other mirrorless camera provide many or all of those features. Thus, in the digital world, there are realistic alternatives to the rangefinder camera that may offer lower price and greater versatility along with many of the features that once made the Leica rangefinder unique .

When there was competition to Leica’s film rangefinders from Canon, Nikon, Kodak and a number of others, it was well regarded, but not the only camera that had its desirable qualities. Then the competition disappeared. Now in the digital world, it has reappeared, and once again Leica is no longer the one, the only. It's the one and only with an optical rangefinder, but not the one and only with many of the features that have made high quality "mirrorless" increasingly popular.
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Old 04-27-2018   #22
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Now in the digital world, it has reappeared, and once again Leica is no longer the one, the only. It's the one and only with an optical rangefinder, but not the one and only with many of the features that have made high quality "mirrorless" increasingly popular.
These are interesting questions which I also consider from time to time. My entrance into "serious" photography was through Fujifilm's mirrorless cameras, then to Sony's mirrorless, and now finally to Leica M. I also shoot and develop black and white film in 35mm and 2.25in, and occasionally 4x5.

The Fujifilm cameras are fun and capable, but something about the facade of being a rangefinder without really being one bothered me. In general, I don't like fake things. The Sonys are amazing cameras with mind blowing capabilities (e.g. Eye Focus, DR, etc.). But I just really didn't like using the Sonys. Photography is something I do for enjoyment. The Sonys make everything too easy, and as a result we see a homogenous output from them.

I enjoy using Leica Ms (both digital and film), to quote JFK, not because it is easy but because it is hard!

There is also a subtle but important difference between an EVF and an OVF. When we are using an EVF we essentially consent to an image presented to us by the computer. We say, "OK computer" and release the shutter. When we are using an OVF we must imagine the image first. I find this to be a much more engaging pastime than consenting to a pre-made image. There is more of me, the photographer, in the making of the photograph. This can only make me a better photographer.

Last edited by LCSmith : 04-27-2018 at 09:22. Reason: Correction of a Solecism
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Old 04-27-2018   #23
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But while used film rangefinders are affordable, the digital rangefinder is out of the price range of many young photographers, amateur or professional. By the time they can afford a digital Leica, they will probably be fixed into another system.
Many will be. But many people are open-minded enough to look for new (old) solutions and then decide to use what is actually the best fit for them. For some, it will be a digital rangefinder camera and they will then switch. Whether that is enough to sustain Leica or any other company remains to be seen. Leica of course has also buyers who are perhaps less interested in the usefulness of the tool.
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Old 04-27-2018   #24
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There is also a subtle but important difference between an EVF and an OVF. When we are using an EVF we essentially consent to an image presented to us by the computer. We say, "OK computer" and release the shutter. When we are using an OVF we must imagine the image first. I find this to be a much more engaging pastime than consenting to a pre-made image. There is more of me, the photographer, in the making of the photograph. This can only make me a better photographer.
I strongly disagree...

I've been an RFF member for 12 years (!), and joined because I used the world's first digital rangefinder - the Epson R-D1. I replaced the Epson with a Leica M8. I used a rangefinder for 6 years, until 2012 when I bought an SLR - a Nikon D800E.

All these these cameras had an OVF. My current camera is a Sony A7R II, with an EVF.

The Sony has transformed my photography: the EVF broadly shows what the sensor captures - exposure, white balance, blown highlights, flare...

With an OVF, not knowing exactly how the photo would turn out was stressful - and with LCDs not being rubbish in sunlight, sometimes I couldn't check images were OK until later, when I discovered problems... With an EVF, I can see what I'll get before even pressing shutter the button.

As for "pre-made" images: simply, "no"! I always imagine - previsualise - the image first. I don't even need to bring the camera to my eye. The EVF simply confirms my technical decisions, ensuring that the picture I had in my mind is created.

In short, the EVF makes me a better photographer than an OVF. Digital works similarly for me compared with film - as I can see results immediately, and either confirm I made the right decisions or make changes accordingly.

The forum has evolved similarly over the past decade: although RFF is a lot more popular now, it has, I suspect, proportionally fewer rangefinder users than when I joined; I also suspect that a lot of members use EVF mirrorless cameras - the modern equivalent of the OVF rangefinder. If Cartier-Bresson or Capa were born later and alive today, I expect they'd use EVF cameras.

What hasn't changed about the forum is the genuine interest in all areas of photography shown by its members - whether technical or philosophical or art historical or any other aspect.
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Old 04-27-2018   #25
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I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?
Yes, I think so. Most of us here at least have used rangefinders, and even if we do not now, we still respect them and love them.

It's just that for the photography I want to do, I find mirrorless to be better for my wants and needs. At least my mirrorless cameras are rangefinder shaped and feel like a rangefinder (X100F / X-Pro2). Mirrorless has opened up the forum to a new world... different bodies for those old lenses... you can't blame people for trying them out.
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Old 04-27-2018   #26
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I strongly disagree...

As for "pre-made" images: simply, "no"! I always imagine - previsualise - the image first. I don't even need to bring the camera to my eye. The EVF simply confirms my technical decisions, ensuring that the picture I had in my mind is created.
Thanks for taking time to reply and for articulating your disagreement so well. I suspect that the EVF has been a glorious revelation to you because you are already a good photographer. You use it simply to confirm a vision which you already had in your mind. I also used to own and use quite frequently a Sony A7RII. A miracle of a camera! I paired it mostly with the Zeiss 55 1.8. Wonderful combination, wonderful images. You can hop all around Manhattan with your finger on the eyefocus and pretend you are Bruce Gilden.

For my own growth as a photographer, using an optical viewfinder has demanded more out of me, has made me think more about my images before making them. That's why I like the OVF.

I should also note that my objection to the EVF is much more philosophical than practical. They're marvelous tools, to be sure; but also, in my opinion, they have the undesired effect of reducing aesthetic vision.
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Old 04-27-2018   #27
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I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?
I tend to take want I want from forums etc. and ignore the rest.

So for me, yes it is still a rangefinder forum. Maybe not for others.

The good thing is that there is sufficient diversity here to cater for (almost) everyone.

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Old 04-27-2018   #28
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For my own growth as a photographer, using an optical viewfinder has demanded more out of me, has made me think more about my images before making them. That's why I like the OVF.
I started photography with an SLR - the Canon 10D - but as I started to learn how to take photographs I began switching stuff off - programme mode became manual, multi-point focus became single point...

The Epson R-D1 was a revelation. I wasn't actually after a rangefinder: what attracted me was a review I found - which is still up after all these years (here). It gave it a 1 star rating out of 5, and began
Quote:
It’s a six megapixel camera with no autofocus, it only has center-weighted metering and either aperture priority auto or manual exposure. It has none of the usual handy features like auto-bracketing, continuous shooting or a movie mode … a digital camera designed to look, feel and operate like an old-fashioned 35mm rangefinder camera
and concluded:
Quote:
The only analogy I can think of would be stuffing a turbocharger into a wood-framed Morris Traveller
Another reviewer complained that
Quote:
it just takes pictures.
This sounded like my type of camera!

Using an all-manual OVF camera - and the Leica M8 after the Epson - taught me the essentials of a good photograph: framing, exposure, aperture, shutter speed and focus. No other distractions.

Even today, despite how much I like my new EVF, I still use my Sony like a manual camera. Manual mode, manual (Nikon AI) lenses, and apart from the aforementioned basic controls I mostly just use ISO and focus magnification in addition - I rarely even use the white balance button (my default is "sunny" outdoors - after all, we used that for film for decades!).
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Old 04-27-2018   #29
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I think the EVFs in my XE2 and XT2 are fine. The OVFs in my OMs are fine too. I also like the the ground glass on my Minolta Autocord and Technikardan 45. I just use them to compose the image and they seem to get the job done. No magic. One may have a preference, but none is going to improve your images over another. That's done between your ears.
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Old 04-28-2018   #30
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...

The Fujifilm cameras are fun and capable, but something about the facade of being a rangefinder without really being one bothered me. In general, I don't like fake things.
The ability to compose while considering what's outside the frame is not fake. The scene in the finder is analog.

Whether a camera uses a mechanical-optical RF mechanism or a Reverse Galilean viewfinder (FUJIFILM OVF) doesn't really matter. You can see outside the frame lines with both systems using analog optics. Likewise both systems compute frame line and parallax frame line correction estimates are computed. I don't see how electronic estimates should be called fake though.

FUJIFILM does offer a variety of optional focusing aids and one of these does simulate a spit-image display. FUJIFILM markets this optional an "Electronic Rangefinder". If you want to claim this is fake, that's up to you. However that's exactly what it is –*a computed focusing estimate displayed electronically.

BTW, it is possible to use a minimalistic OVF display for an uncluttered, distraction free view. But you do have to read the manual.
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Old 04-29-2018   #31
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Think of a Leica M as a very small yacht. At this point in history, a rangefinder camera is not that different from a sailboat. They are both old-fashioned tools that have been thoroughly outmoded by faster and more capable technologies. Nevertheless, the antique methods are still pleasurable and emotionally rewarding for some of us, so those who have the time and money to indulge in them are free to do so. There's nothing rational about it.
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Old 04-29-2018   #32
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Are digital rangefinders, and that means Leicas, good cameras? Of course they are. But while used film rangefinders are affordable, the digital rangefinder is out of the price range of many young photographers, amateur or professional.

I guess my question is this - are we still a rangefinder forum?
Even film Leica RFs are too expensive for many photographers, old or young.

I know many young photographers would simply bypass any RFs and just stick to SLR. The reasons are simply, because there are more things can go wrong with a RF, in a tedious way. And having a RF serviced costs quite some money, with the same money you could buy one of two quality SLR cameras in working condition, without sniping on eBay.

I think RFF is still a RF forum, but not a Leica forum anymore (if it was). We have some very knowledgeable persons who provide technical information on how to make crippled RFs back in action, we also have a few people who do DIY works on RFs. I would still show off the camera down here on RFF rather than any other forums :

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Old 04-29-2018   #33
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Even film Leica RFs are too expensive for many photographers, old or young.

I know many young photographers would simply bypass any RFs and just stick to SLR. The reasons are simply, because there are more things can go wrong with a RF, in a tedious way. And having a RF serviced costs quite some money, with the same money you could buy one of two quality SLR cameras in working condition, without sniping on eBay.

I think RFF is still a RF forum, but not a Leica forum anymore (if it was). We have some very knowledgeable persons who provide technical information on how to make crippled RFs back in action, we also have a few people who do DIY works on RFs. I would still show off the camera down here on RFF rather than any other forums :

That's a sexy XA3. I actually shot about a fourth of my last trip to Japan on an XA. Great companion camera to a fully grown camera.

As far as the forum is concerned, I'm not bothered. This place, to me, was always about more than just rangefinder cameras. It was and is also about what these cameras allow you to do and about reflecting on all sorts of questions relating to that, far fetched as they may seem. The fact that quite a few people of enormous talent and knowledge of all sorts have passed through here, broadening the forum's horizon on both photography and photographic gear tremendously, rangefinder or not, has nothing but contributed to the RFF's wealth and appeal.
Rangefinders and/or more exotic film cameras in general are what generally brings people here. The rest is what they make of it. Everyone is free to start a new rangefinder-related thread every day and they should if they have interesting things to tell, show or ask. Either way, when I feel like I have pictures that the RFF crowd should see, I will share them, whatever they were taken with.

Here's a dirty digital SLR picture of stuff.


and here's a picture of an M2 that lives with me but used to be Tom's, who certainly contributed to this forum more than most ever have or ever will, and who certainly wasn't worried about limiting the sharing of his passion to one kind of camera (he just rightly knew M2s were the best, so if you ask me, we might as well call this the M2 forum and you'll still be allowed to talk about M3s and 50mm lenses and all that nonsense).
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Old 04-29-2018   #34
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The ability to compose while considering what's outside the frame is not fake. The scene in the finder is analog.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. I think you may have misunderstood my meaning, which is no doubt my fault for poorly articulating it.

I have always marveled at the University of Michigan (a top university) and its proudly clinging to the moniker "the Harvard of the Mid-West". Despite the fact that Harvard is an elite school, why would anyone want to be the anyone else of anywhere? It's a subtle point, but an important one. You ought to be the best of what you do and who you are, not a derivative lackey. If I were designing things (and I don't), that would be my philosophy, at least. I wouldn't try to make things that looked like other things. I would make things that worked and looked exactly as they did, doing what they do.

Sony makes highly competent ugly cameras, but at least they don't try to make their cameras look like things they are not.

I realize it's a subtle point.

But the thing that really bothered me about the FUJIs (again, this bothered me, which means it probably didn't bother most people) was the pseudo focus ring and the pseudo aperture ring. It is a trick of the eye. Neither does any such thing.
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Old 04-29-2018   #35
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I think "rangefindering" has some special aspects in obtaining a picture.
Personal, subjective but the stuff that brought us here and that is still faszinating people.
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Old 04-29-2018   #36
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If “all” one is interested in, is really good still photography imaging, an MP240 or M262 will be perfectly acceptable for a long time. I have a beautiful 30x45 inch metal print from an M262 file last Fall that is just gorgeous.
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