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There's no 'Z' in Rangefinder


zeroseven

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I'm not getting the rangefinder thing. I have an MP that I bought to enable me to use a Noctilux.

 

I also have 35/50/90 summicron, all new, though these are never used.

 

Because photography is physically a 2 dimensional medium (X & Y axis)) the illusion of depth (Z axis) which is so vital to 'photography has to be engineered very carefully. With a rangefinder its impossible to control this accurately.

 

What am I missing? SLR's are so small these days there is no appreciable difference in size, yet you can benefit from what you see is what you get. The MP is more of a point and hope, it records whats in front of it yet lacks one of the most of the creative factors that turns a picture into a photograph

 

??

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I suspect that you are relatively new to photography? Sorry but I think from what you have said you simply lack experience / knowledge of how depth of field works in practice and more importantly, how your particluar lenses draw (you mention that they are mostly unused).

 

Yes an SLR will allow you to check DoF in the viewfinder and if that's something you need to help you then maybe an SLR is a better option for you - or an M9 so you can review the images on the LCD after each shot and learn how you go.

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Of course but that cant tell me (for example) at what point an out of focus face loses the eye definition, or how big out of focus highlights will render

 

experience will tell you.

besides finding it pretty strange to buy a MP just to be able to use a noctilux (more a prestige lens than a lens a serious photographer really will need), you could just get a canon body and a canon 85/1.2. that way you will have even less dof than with a noctilux.

correct me if i'm wrong but the effect should be pretty similar.

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experience will tell you.

besides finding it pretty strange to buy a MP just to be able to use a noctilux (more a prestige lens than a lens a serious photographer really will need), you could just get a canon body and a canon 85/1.2. that way you will have even less dof than with a noctilux.

correct me if i'm wrong but the effect should be pretty similar.

 

Or a Canon 50/1.0.

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Zeroseven, I think you've had some reasonable responses to your query. I would add just one more thing; previsualisation. You have to be able to prvisualise the result that you are going to get with a rangefinder - there is no DOF preview as there is on an SLR (unless you are using an M2 of course); you have to be able to do that in your head. There is no substitute for experience on this one, I'm afraid. Regards, Bill

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experience will tell you.

besides finding it pretty strange to buy a MP just to be able to use a noctilux (more a prestige lens than a lens a serious photographer really will need), you could just get a canon body and a canon 85/1.2. that way you will have even less dof than with a noctilux.

correct me if i'm wrong but the effect should be pretty similar.

 

Well it was the ultra narrow DoF of the Noctilux that attracted me to it, the MP was merely the vehicle that allowed me to use it. I'd say it was an EXTREMELY serious tool for a serious photographer, the low level performance for me is rather mute, but the shallow DoF is key. The bokeh sometimes works, sometimes its irritating. Using an 85mm would not be the same as using a 50mm. Of course its easy to narrow depth by going longer, the whole point of the Nocti is that it provides ultra narrow depth when you dont expect it.

 

I've had no other income since 1974 other than photography so I understand the concept of DoF, its my reason for trying to utilise it effectively and more relevant to my point, accurately

 

I fail to see what I can do on a range finder that I cannot do on an SLR (other than use a Noctilux!). I love the feel of the camera, but that doesn't give the photograph anything. Twenty years ago they were quieter than an SLR that may have been a valid reason. Maybe the M9 would be a compromise in that I can assess retrospectively, but as often as not the moment will be gone so to attempt an adjustment would in many cases not be possible. I've already decided to sell the Summicrons as I'll stick to SLR when not using the Noctilux

 

Unless there are advantages I'm missing ,,,,,,??

 

I'm all ears.

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I assume you have had experience with them but just not enjoyed the system. Perhaps you would be better just getting a 50 1.4 or 50 1.2 on your preferred SLR system.

 

As Steve has said, I too am curious as to why you made such a huge financial investment into the M system so early?

 

In response to answer your question on advantages (I would say many are in fact more accurately preferences) - focussing in low light / compactness of the system / viewfinder / lenses. That's not to say SLRs don't have their own set of advantages (many users on this forum use both).

 

Dan

Edited by andybarton
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Yes you can assess depth of field to a degree through an SLR viewfinder, but personally I often don't find it that helpful, simply because the image usually becomes so dark when using the stop-down preview lever. I didn't choose an SLR (or not choose a rangefinder) for that reason. I don't find the depth of field scale on the lens that useful either, mainly because the sharpness criterion on which it is based is nowhere near strngent enough for large(ish) prints - I go two stops smaller and use a tripod if needed. But assessing the appropriate degree of UNsharpness that you want is yet a different matter again! As has been said, it's something I think one has to learn by experience (indeed it's something I haven't properly yet learned myself). I think it actually has little to do with the rangefinder/SLR choice.

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friends -- don't feed.....

 

Absolutely assure you I'm on the level. I'm a cinematographer, based out of London. I have nothing to hide and no reason to troll your forum. I'm genuinely interested in why people prefer range finders. :confused:

 

I've also already explained why I "made such a huge financial investment into the M system so early", I wanted to utilise the characteristics of the Noctilux as there is no other lens like it. Its flaws are what makes its character, the Canon by comparison is rather ordinary. I've had the MP about 6 years I guess now, but use it only when I want a noctilux twist to spice up what would otherwise be an ordinary shot. The darkening of the image during preview on an SLR can be assessed before the shot is taken, it in no way impairs the shot due to a darkened VF nor is focussing in low levels any easier through a rangefinder. Ask any camera assistant who has to quickly grab eye focus on a moving subject when shooting at 500asa @T1.2 on Zeiss Master prime

 

I'm not looking for a fight, I merely feel it necessary to counter some of the arguments put forward if I disagree and i'm sorry you feel the need to defend your opinions with such a reaction. I wrongly thought you'd welcome the opportunity to discuss a very important aspect of photography, I see the word 'bokeh' appear more on this forum than any other, ironic then that you appear so casual about control of the bokeh

 

Feel free to close the thread if you see me as a troll

 

Thanks to those who took the trouble to offer a reasoned response

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Accepting your reality, I am amazed that you are not familiar with the basic theory of rangefinder vs SLR in terms of accuracy. Under 90 mm there is no way that an SLR can even begin to compete with an RF in accuracy - from 135 upwards it is the other way around.

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For me at least, the point of using a rangefinder is largely that I don't spend a great deal of time fiddling with focus and dof while shooting.

Most of the time, I shoot while walking, or while my subject is moving - often with preset focus and aperture and timing it for when the subject hits that distance.

I use the finder for framing and focus, and I rely on my experience with my lenses to gauge how the dof will come out given the subject distance and aperture. I really don't have time to piss around previewing dof, even with portraits I rarely ask a subject to sit still.

 

If you are looking for a camera to use relatively statically, spending the time to consider the dof and framing of a particular shot, well personally I feel the best camera I've ever used for that job was a Hasselblad. There's no doubt you can use a RF camera in a more static fashion, and many people make great images doing just that - however it's hard to argue that you are making use of the specific advantages of the camera itself.

 

My other reason for using a RF camera is that I can easily carry it around with me. I can fit the camera and 3 lenses into a small shoulder bag about the size of two hard cover books. I can't even fit a D700 with one lens into that bag :)

 

YMMV, and there certainly are people who choose the M for the lenses, but I choose it for the way it allows me to work, the lenses are secondary.

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