A digital rangefinder please!!!

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by dayton_p._strickland|1, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. After using digital cameras now for a couple of years I have just one request of the camera makers of the world — PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, will someone make a manual focus rangefinder digital camera?! PLEASE! It doesn't have to be Leica, although Leica-like quality would be nice. It doesn't have to use existing lenses. It does have to have the kind of digital quality image a Nikon D100 can produce. It does have to be manual focus and of course it has to be a rangefinder. I mean, really, how hard can that be? Also, I don't even care if it has a screen to see the images. I want to be able to have the things that digital cameras offer the best of — changing ISO/ASA in midstream, using compact flash cards instead of film which is prone to dust and scratches and going out of date or being screwed up during processing. All I'm asking for is a completely manual digital rangefinder camera. If it has to have a fixed 35/2 lens I could even live with that for now. Thanks — and get with it pronto! NOTE: Attached photo is straight from the camera (D100 with 180/2.8 lens), shot under auditorium stage lights at 1,600 ISO.
  2. I'm sure the Japanese will come up with one soon. In fact they'll probably come up with a digital version of the Hexar RF, whereupon Leica will backspin their "it's impossible" mantra, their loyal zealots on this forum and elsewhere on the net will swear Leica never said "it's impossible" and crucify me for pointing out they did say so...and the M7D will come along in about a year...with less megapixels than the current state-of-the-art. So just be patient and save your pennies.
  3. Of course a 180/2.8 has never been in anyones rangefinder line-up. Film does have advantages, being analog. 50 years from now people will still be able to figure out how to "retrieve" the image, and hardware/software won't be an impossible problem. In the meantime you can scan your negatives. Changing ISO midstream? I just keep shooting 400 unless the light is really bad, then start another roll. No big deal. Keep dreaming.
  4. Jay, I think what Leica is saying is that they can't make the present lenses work with the presently available sensors. When a sensor comes along that can accept sufficiently divergent rays, maybe it will be a new ball game. It could be, of course, that the Japanese will have first access to the improved sensors, since they will probably have invented them! That would put Leica in the back seat once again, which I'm sure is what you're thinking.
  5. Guys it's easy to make a lens work with divergent rays. First take a photo of a uniform light (sky out of focus) this gives you light as a function of sensor position, since the light is uniform, you know what the corners should be, adjust accordingly in software reshoot, and verify. Yes you will need to do this for every lens. It however is a doable engineering task, is it economically and commercially viable, I leave that question to others on this forum.

  6. >Of course a 180/2.8 has never been in anyones rangefinder line-up

    What about the Olympia Sonnar? Yeah it needed the Flektoscop but the 'scope needed the Contax too (pun intended.)

  7. Remember Leica said that AE was impossible without significantly altering the design and size of the M body, then along came the Hexar RF and showed them up. Even Erwin's valiant attempt at sabotaging the Hexar's success by creating the back-focus scandal did not prevent people from buying them and have only Konica's marketing people to thank for being even greedier and more self-defeating than Leica's, by going along with the gag in the hopes people would buy Konica lenses. I wouldn't expect the "Japanese Digital M" manufacturer to shoot themselves in the foot that way. A digital M Leica or back is "impossible" because Leica can still make an enormous (for the camera industry) profit simply facelifting the M6. When they've milked that cash cow dry, then *if* they're still in business, the digital M will suddenly appear at a Photokina.
  8. Actually it could be done (almost) right away - the manufacturer can just go to Kodak/Sinar for the sensor technology. The Sinarback 54 has no problem dealing with the divergent rays from a Zeiss Biogon.
  9. I would love to see Canon making the next Powershot G a rangefinder. And while they're at it, lewt them design it like an good oldfashioned Canonet QL 17 :)
  10. "Of course a 180/2.8 has never been in anyones rangefinder line-up"

    As Andrew said, the 180mm Sonnar for the Contax. And there actually was a rangefinder version: it's illustrated on page 86 of Ivor Matanle's 'Collecting Classic Cameras', complete with an amazing viewfinder that looks like a not-so-miniature sniperscope. Stick it on a shoulder mount and you would *seriously* worry any passing policeman :)
  11. This rangefinder would be the quietest ever (no mirror), and it
    woul be possible to take photo with a minimum shaking (no
    moving parts !)
    ... well actually 100 % of the smal digital camera are already
    rangefinder... But as Dayton, I dream of a digital
    'hexar-bessa-M6' like...
  12. Hmmm, maybe Nikon can get some extra mileage from their investment in the S3 Millenium edition camera and put a digital back on it...

    I'd bet that someone probably already has a lens that goes over the CCD which corrects for the angle of incidence issue for something pretty close to full frame. But there's probably not enough money to be made in it.

    I wouldn't mind waiting longer for a digital RF - hopefully the next generation of sensors will have a wider dynamic range and be lower noise at higher ISO. Those are the main drawbacks I see with my digital equipment - blown out highlights happen a little too often with digital. Luckily, you can see the problem immediately and change exposure most of the time.
  13. If you make it, they will come ... The point and shoot digitals are NOT rangefinders. What makes a rangefinder is the mechanics of the focusing. I agree that a Canon G-5 would be a good jumping off place for such a rangefinder if they can solve some of the problems that didn't exist with the G-3. I used the photo taken with the 180/2.8 only as an example of the incredible lack of noise/grain at 1,600 and to show how you can get correct color under difficult lighting conditions. I wouldn't expect or probably need such a lens on my Leica-sized rangefinder. As a point of note, I have used the Canon G-2 extensively and currently own the Olympus C-5050 as my "back-up" digital camera. What I hate about these cameras is the autofocusing and the shutter lag time. Other than that I like them both quite well, except they are a wee bit on the wee side.
  14. I wonder if camera manufacturers actually read these forums. I certainly hope so, cause lots of good ideas appear here. Nikon would certainly learn of all the comments on what a D200 should be like. (My opinion: exactly the same, but with USB2 and Ai-compatibility)

    ON topic: what about a digital rangefinder, full frame, manual/automatic controls - with exchangeable M-mount lenses?
  15. I wonder if camera manufacturers actually read these forums.
    Based on Leica's having come out with the M7, then the MP, then the (planned) digital back for the R9, I think it's safe to say they do read, and take heed from, these forums. First we clamor for an electronic M - and get it; then, for an (black paint) M3 with a meter - ditto; then, a digital back for the M or the R - no problem. No problem, that is, until it's delivered (or announced). Then the crowd does a 180 - and if Solms is still reading, they must be scratching their heads (or pulling out their hair). You can satisfy some people some of the time - but there's no remedy for the angst of male middle age (well, there is - but she's expensive).
  16. Amen! I've hoping one of the major companies will make a *true* digital rangefinder, rather than the current mess of over-priced glorified point-and-shoot garbage. At least something that gives some real focus feedback and control. The only digicam I've really enjoyed using is the E-10, which has decent focus control and many non-LCD-menu controls. It's just a bit big and heavy. A real manual RF with a decent CCD and a small set of dedicated lenses would be fantastic. Low-light is still a challenge with digital though- too much noise.
  17. I agree with Jay in the most of his speech. Having seen some experiments mounting M
    lenses on a Canon DSLR (eeek) i want just that. I dont mind who makes the body, I just
    want to use my lenses and keep on going on the same way I ve done my photography up
    to now, with same feel. Obviously I look for high quality results in the sensor side, but who
    cares about the manufacturer if they do it right?

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