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Oly RC for street photography ?
Old 01-08-2007   #1
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Oly RC for street photography ?

In my quest for a pair of cameras (ISO 100~200 + ISO 800~1600), at the cheapo end of the line-up, I have arrived (as perhaps expected) to the QL GIII, and the OLY SP.

The GIII only slight problem for me is that is has no way for quick exposure compensation, beyond pointing the camera to somewhere else and half tripping the shutter there, like some other cameras. The good point is that it is a shutter priority camera, which for my understanding of the street trade it is a big plus.

Some days ago a friend from the forum unveiled for me the use of the spot button of the SP for quick exposure compensation in Program mode. All fine and nice until I gave another look at the Program chart of the SP: The edge is given to smallest apperture and consequently slower speeds. In the orange side of the viewfinder EV scale you will be shooting at 1/15 ! So my tonge fell to the ground again.

Yet perhaps by chance I gave another look to my Oly RC, and discovered a couple of useful features for quick exposure compensation vis a vis both the SP and the GIII.

As we all know at the RC viewfinder we have both f/stops and shutter speeds scales. Now if I half depress the trigger, fixing the camera "auto" reading, it is possible to rotate the on top speed wheel, for exposure compensation. By half depressing the trigger the camera will freeze the f/stop but still allows moving the speed wheel, and the change will even be noticed at the viewfinder speed scale!

WARNING: I have no idea if this kind of manipulation may harm the camera

How do I half depress the trigger and move the wheel while holding the trigger ? By doing something like the 'Contax gripping'. My longest finger will be dedicated to the trigger, my thumb and index to the wheel.

But that's not the only way to compensate exposure in "auto". Playing further with the camera I noticed that while holding it towards the subject, with two of my left hand fingers I can easily move the ASA tooth weel around the lens. To my bigger surprise I noticed I am not touching the lens and this manipulation is still possible to do with a hood attached. Of course this ASA exposure compensation should be done prior to depressing the trigger.

Now, not everything is honey with the RC too. I find two drawbaks. The lightest, I mean the one that perhaps I can live with is the f/2.8 aperture. Ok,let it be...

The second, on the contrary, a street shooter hardly may reach peace with: the yellow patch. Not only much dimmer than in my SP and GIII, but significantly small by itself. You awake in the morning, point the camera, and start fishing for where the hell the yellow patch has gone. In contrast, if you exercise beforehand several times against different backgrounds, you get some idea where to find it. But still a very unsatisfactory one.

So this evening, as soon as I get back home, will try two proceedings to see if the yellow patch can be improved. First I will "agressively" clean it. I mean using alcohol and frictioning the cotton pad more than gently. Life or death.

WARINING: This aggressive approach to cleaning the beamsplitter is regarded by many as extremely harmful or dangerous at least

In case I either damage the beamsplitter, or do not achieve justifiable improvement, I will try to replace the beamsplitter for another from a stucked GSN camera. Wish me good luck.

Cheers,
Ruben

Last edited by ruben : 01-08-2007 at 05:21.
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Old 01-08-2007   #2
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The QL glll 1.7 and 1.9 is fully manuel, for quick compensation move apeture up or down one stop.
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Old 01-08-2007   #3
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Hi Jody,
I cannot follow you. Let's suppose you started by metering your subject in Auto, and the GIII gives you f/8 at 1/60. Could you give me your step by step proceeding for compensating this exposure, whithout changing the "Auto" setting ?
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Old 01-08-2007   #4
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I'm sorry I am talking totally manuel here. I use sunny 16 and adjust from there. If I use a meter it is handheld so I get a reading and adjust. I dont use on auto and misread that part of your post.
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Old 01-08-2007   #5
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Trust your eyes and brain my friend. The camera is there to service you. In most situations you can just take a reading in auto and use that reading with the camera in manual. You can adjust to any small changes in light by estimating any compensation on your own. After a while your eyes will be able to set your shutter speed and aperture. It is much easier than some of the methods that you describe above. Just practice. Look at the light, estimate exposure and then check with a meter. If you practice like this eventually you will get pretty accurate and film has a wide latitude to work with.

Even with its light RF patch the Oly RC makes a nice street camera. It is almost totally silent and very small and unobtrusive.
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Last edited by Chuck A : 01-08-2007 at 06:28.
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Old 01-08-2007   #6
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Ruben: I'm sure Jody will reply, but it sounds to me like he is recommending manual exposure, not auto.

The comments by me and others in a previous thread about the SP and using the spot meter to determine exposure compensation presumed (at least on my part,) using the camera in manual exposure mode. To me, this makes the most sense for street shooting when you are trying to be precise about exposure. Which brings me to another point and a question ...

You seem to be set on using any of these cameras in AE mode. My question is, "Why?". Once you make some quick meter readings in a given street environment, it is not likely that you will have to change very much or very often. If you are using negative film, (which is usually the case in street shooting) you have a fair amount of latitude. Only when the light changes a lot or you move to a different location do you have to change.

I use the SP (or an LC, etc.,) as a shutter preffered camera in these situations: Read EV, set shutter speed, adjust aperture as required. Only when I need to change DOF do I change aperture other than to compensate for change in light.

EDIT: Yes, what others have said; trust yourself. You will learn light, grasshopper.
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Last edited by Trius : 01-08-2007 at 06:28.
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Old 01-08-2007   #7
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Ruben, it might be worth noting that most of the preeminent street shooters simply prefocused their cameras using hyperfocal distance and set exposure based on experience or a simple meter reading. In fact, automation of any sort wasn't an option for anyone until, what, the 1970s?

Then, they watched and shot. Many of them used the VF only when they had time.

IOW, manual focus, manual exposure and maximum concentration on the image itself.

FWIW/ScottGee1
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Old 01-08-2007   #8
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Hi Folks,
Thank you very much for addressing my issues with such a symphaty. If you do not run short of time, let me tell a not short but true story.

Until some years ago, I did run a commercial B&W darkroom from a separate part of my home. Since in Jerusalem there are many overseas photographers, but no decent B&W darkroom, I had the luck to meet those working with B&W. Among them there was Esayas Baitel, a great French street photographer (actually born in Sweden, but living in France for life).
Esayas brought me a tremendous amound of already processed negatives, from which he requested me to make a lot of small proofs, 6x9 cm. From after the begining, it became clear for both of us, that I am not standing to the pace he expected. So I phoned to the most prominent local photographers I knew, to ask how could I possible speed up the work, and got a lot of different answers, including a donation of an old but great exposure meter for prints. It didn't help much, no one had a good answer to my problem.
Therefore at my next meeting with Esayas, I apologized and recommended another lab, which Esayas categorically rejected ("To them I will not even let to touch my negatives"). So what can I possible do ? I asked Esayas. He thought for some moments, looked straight to my eyes and told me: "Guess !". (i.e. take each neg frame against light and guess its enlarger exposure.)
At the beggining I tought Esayas went nuts. By my desperation for having a great photographer (and a great human being BTW) and not being able to help was so great, that at some point I went nuts too and decided to try his advice. It worked. It took some time but it worked. I begun to learn guessing the time and aperture for his 6x9cm prints. I didn't became a first rate magician, but I could speed up the job.
Where Esayas took the idea from ? I am not sure but I would guess he took it from his old-timer printer in Paris.

I look at that portrait of Robert Capa (at WWII, if I am not wrong), holding a Kiev (a Contax in fact, but I say Kiev for the connotation), and understand he couldn't but know how to evaluate light as a natural instinct. But in order to grow that instinct you must shoot a lot. Here the big problem for me. I cannot shoot daily. Nor at the same hours when I can, nor at the same environment. Hence I have to meter exposure.

Why AE instead of manual metering by the camera or handheld meter. No question here. Whenever possible handheld meter is my first choice. Then camera manual metering.

But some of the street situations are totally unexpected and you must act quickly, or don't alert your subject. It happens even with street cats.

What I can state on my behalf is that after metering, either AE or manual, I do have orientation for a reasonable compensation. Then AE + compensation is not that bad for me. And AE + FAST compensation, even better.

I submit you these thoughts, for further discussion. If you disagree, kindly put it again at the thread.

Cheers,
Ruben

Last edited by ruben : 01-08-2007 at 08:12.
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Old 01-08-2007   #9
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Well, as for using AE given your current needs, I would say make some readings (whether with the RC or SP or other), decide on a compensation amount (1/2 stop, 1 stop, etc.) that will work 80-90% of the time, dial that in to the ASA setting, and just shoot away.

Oh, and as for the SP having it's program skewed such that a shutter speed as low as 1/15 could be invoked, you will probably find that with most "non-professional" AE cameras. With the SP I am able to hand hold at lower speeds than the RC (at least so far), or the XA, etc. I have gone as low as 1/4s with "acceptable" results, but of course 1/8 and 1/15 are better.

I still believe that of the Olympus that I have used, the SP is the best shooter for the street, though I admit the RC in auto could be very good; I just haven't done that yet as mine needs some care.
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Old 01-13-2007   #10
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Speaking of the Oly RC, I just found the proper sized polarizer for mine. Been looking for awhile now.

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Old 01-14-2007   #11
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well ruben did you already clean your viewfinder? I recieved a RC a few month ago, stated defect (self timer was stuck) and payed 2.50€ Seals were worn of and the right top was bent down, but that was no problem to repair, so the camera is now in perfect working condition.

I also was thinking that the patch was rather dim, so I also cleaned it with IPA, didn't help that much. I asked at Kyphoto if there's a possibility to get a brighter patch. Well one of them suggested to put a sunglass in front of the vf, and the result was really impressive. I don't have a proper sized glass I could put constantly in front of the viewfinder. I'm also not quite sure, wether this is an effect from the toned glass or the polarizing attribute of the glass. Anybody has some information regarding this?
So it might be worth a try finding a plane glass which could be mounted in front of the viewfinder. Of course a toned glass reduces the brightness of the whole viewfinder, but with f2.8 you normaly don't shoot in low light, so for outdoor streetshooting that might work.
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Old 01-14-2007   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archie
well ruben did you already clean your viewfinder? I recieved a RC a few month ago, stated defect (self timer was stuck) and payed 2.50€ Seals were worn of and the right top was bent down, but that was no problem to repair, so the camera is now in perfect working condition.

I also was thinking that the patch was rather dim, so I also cleaned it with IPA, didn't help that much. I asked at Kyphoto if there's a possibility to get a brighter patch. Well one of them suggested to put a sunglass in front of the vf, and the result was really impressive. I don't have a proper sized glass I could put constantly in front of the viewfinder. I'm also not quite sure, wether this is an effect from the toned glass or the polarizing attribute of the glass. Anybody has some information regarding this?
So it might be worth a try finding a plane glass which could be mounted in front of the viewfinder. Of course a toned glass reduces the brightness of the whole viewfinder, but with f2.8 you normaly don't shoot in low light, so for outdoor streetshooting that might work.


Hi Archie,
For improving any yellow patch kindly take note of the following thread:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...236#post462236

Now concerning the RC yellow patch I have two RCs. One of them with a bright yellow patch. I think the RC deserves serious attention for many highly good features. Somewhere in the forum it has been recommended for street photography. But I must say the potential problem if find is the small size of its yellow patch. This may slow the photographer. Nevertheless it is worth a trial.

Right now I am giving a try to the Yashica Electro.

Cheers,
Ruben

Last edited by ruben : 01-14-2007 at 02:20.
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Old 01-14-2007   #13
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thanks ruben,

I tried the trick from rick with a black pen, it worked really great, it might not be the perfect way and the most beautiful one but it works.

regards
archie
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Old 01-14-2007   #14
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If you like the feel and results of the 35RC, seek a 35ec or 35ec2. They can often be had almost for free.
They use the same lens, but have no rangefinder, only a pointer in the bright viewfinder for icons- A bust, a torso, a group, some mountains..
The RC has exposure lock as you push the shutter release, a feature missing on the EC, but what the ec does have is the asa dial right under your right thumb, so you can pre-compensate before raising the camera to your eye..
ALso the EC is a bit smaller than the RC, with a roller for the advance instead of a lever.
The only drawback is the batteries are no longer made and require some brainpower to work around.. A process that is well documented by now on the internet I would think.
Since I have rigged my EC to work, I seldom use my RC, since i seem to get more in-focus shots by using the scale than I did with the RF.
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