Are Rangefinders Dead?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by marc_bergman|1, Aug 4, 2018.

  1. Marc, again thanks for these posts and your web site - a great resource.

    Even the great 60's RF cameras could not stop the SLR tide. Several of them are shown in the picture of the article. Wish that the older Leica prices had kept down!

    I got something from Sherman's column this time. Critical frequency for contrast in lenses is about 30 lines per mm.

    The article on mirror lenses using excentric aperture disks was very interesting; I might yet try this. Had to be Keppler.

    Special mention for the Soviet article on their problems. Wish someone that was in the USSR at the time could comment!
  2. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I wouldn't ever buy a rangefinder, even if I were a billionaire and could afford a Leica.
  3. Love those Isolettes in your post Bill, especially with their colorful bellows. They were always one of my favorite folders. Even the bottom line Agnar triplet is capable of taking wonderful shots, and the polished aluminum finish on these cameras is prettier to me than the somewhat gaudy Zeiss folders. The Agfas had iffy bellows on many of their models, but their folding lens/strut assembly was one of the sturdiest in the business. My preference was for the Agfas that had no rangefinder because they were such simple cameras. Just guesstimate the distance, stop it down and shoot.

    Is there a reason you don't like the rangefinder cameras Vincent? They can be quite small and light, but I agree, nothing beats seeing the image come into focus on a SLR. You just have to be OK with carrying a larger, heavier and often noisier camera.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  4. Thanks for the compliment Steve. The Isolettes (all models) were built like tanks (for a folder) but the weak point in design was the bellows. Agfa use some sort of synthetic material (read "Plastic" !") & over time light leaks in the bellows were like the night sky. Also, the lubricating grease turned into crayon. . hence their world renown "Green Grease" name. All my Isolettes & several 6x9's were CLA'd & bellows replaceed by Jurgen Krackel of Certo6 fame. My Iso's have the Apotar lenses because I wanted a 10 sec shutter timer which only the Prontor shutter assembly has. I use the Iso 2 for scenic or tripod work and the range finder equipped (uncoupled) Iso 3 when "faster" work requires mostly hand held operation. Great cameras which can fit into my back pocket !. Aloha from the Mainland, Bill
  5. Nothing beats seeing the whole scene unfold itself beyond the edges of the photographic frame when looking through a viewfinder and thus be able to adapt and compose accordingly. You only need to see the image come into focus when you're looking at the print as long as you know the subject you're focusing on when taking the picture (which can be done significantly faster with rangefinders).
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2018
  6. I wish the article had gone into more detail in terms of sales. I could understand 35mm RFs with interchangeable lenses declining in sales as the SLR era took off but look at how many fixed-focal length 35mm RFs were sold from 1960-1990. It must be millions.

Share This Page