Digital rangefinder for street photography.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by philipward, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. I am tired of the noise and attention my DSLR attracts while doing candid work.Any suggetions for a Digital
    rangefinder that will work in manual and aperture priority and produce quality work?.I cannot (will not)afford a Leica!
  2. You have 2 choices, the Leica M8/M8.2 or the Epson RD-1. There are no other digital rangefinders that I know of. There are lots of point and shoots like the Canon G9 that people claim are "like a rangefinder" but I tried it and didn't like it.
  3. the likes of canon g9 or my favourite, the ricoh gx100 are not rangefinders but i find they are ideal cameras for shooting in the street. they offer good raw capabilities with excellent lenses and a compact body that would not draw attention. however, they are autofocus point and shoot cameras which are a pain to manually focus if that is what you require. the small sensors would mean that anything above iso200 would show up digital noise in low light. if you accept them for what they are, both are cracking cameras.
  4. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I shoot with a DSLR on the street and don't attract attention. It's about how the photographer acts, not what the camera is. Especially on the street, where there is plenty of noise and plenty of other things going on.
  5. Canon G9.
  6. "It's about how the photographer acts, not what the camera is."
    I second this statement. And it goes double now that everyone and their brother has a DSLR these days. If I were looking for a "street" specific digital I would get a small crop-sensor DSLR and a few fast primes. If you need a rangefinder and it has to be digital, and you cannot buy a Leica, the Epson RD-1 is your only other choice. I wrote a review of the epson for, read it here.
  7. Wait for the Panasonic G1? Not a rangefinder but if you're looking to eliminate the sound of the mirror and shutter, and still have sensor larger than your typical point and shoot, perhaps this could be a solution?
  8. Canon G9 (or G10 when It is announced this week) or the very fine Canon XSi with the 35mm 2.0 lens that makes a small and high image quality dslr package that is probably smaller and lighter than the M8 and certainly cheaper (what I use on the street see the last half dozen or so images in my Chinatown portfolio on Best of luck. XSi 18-55mm IS kit lens. [​IMG]
  9. The new Lumix LX3 looks promising. 10MP, P,S,A,M and a Vario-Summicron. Small zoom ratio, but fast, f2 to 2.8 and wide, 24 to 60mm equiv. Plus, there's an available external 24mm viewfinder so you can turn the display off.
  10. forgot to mention....the LX3 has stabilization, goes to ISO 3200 (with what IQ we don't know yet) and shoots RAW

    A fast lens, high ISO (800?) and IS should make this a low light champ.
  11. I think a far bigger issue than shutter noise is whether you can frame the shot without having the camera held up
    to your eye. There are plenty of digital cameras with rotating LCDs; I've gotten many shots with my Sony R1 that
    I never would have gotten with an SLR or an eye-level rangefinder.
  12. I agree with Andy K. Canon G9. I even use it for videotaping my Leica Ms. Good luck.
  13. You might also consider one of the Ricoh compacts -- GX200 (w/ 24 - 72mm zoom equivalent) or GR-D II (fixed 28mm equivalent). There is also the Sigma DP1 -- more expensive, with a larger sensor (comparable to the crop sensor dslr's), and again a 28mm fixed lens.
    You refer to aperture priority. Other than the Sigma (larger sensor), the small sensor compacts share an important characteristic -- extensive depth of field at all apertures when shooting at wide angle.
    If you want wide angle shooting without extensive depth of field -- and I don't know that you do -- then I think the compact dslr's are your choice at this point. Those so-called "entry level" dlsr cameras from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus and Sony are all competitively priced and very good. Some may be quieter than others, but I haven't tested 'em for that. :)
  14. I left one out: Canon A650 (or upcoming replacement) with the same sensor as the G9, and the same lens, and the advantage of a pivot/swivel lcd, but no raw unless you go to a 3rd party download.
    Taken with an older Canon compact w/ pivot-swivel lcd -- a great thing to have in my opinion:
  15. I second this statement

    Me, too.

    The only thing that a compact offers is convenience of carry.

    It’s all about the photograph and the skills they bring to their craft.
  16. Just as an aside, when did "it's all about the photographer" become accepted, canonical dogma around here when someone asks what equipment to use? I see it over and over lately. Well, yes, it's not hard to conceive that you can get an image many different ways, some better, cheaper, and with less or more hassle than others, including a P&S, a DSLR, a film 35mm rangefinder, a film DSLR, a medium format camera, and a pinhole shoebox, and that someone who has more experience and/or talent is likely to produce a more interesting photo. But that still doesn't answer the question whether some types of equipment are better than others at capturing or allowing you to capture that interesting photo, does it? I would think it's obvious that the intended use of the final product, whether you want a print (large, small, or in-between), a web display, to place in a newspaper article or a double page spread, and even whether you intend to optically print, or to digitally print, dictates to a large extent the choice of equipment.
  17. well, point taken Andy. I've always found that the capacity to see beyond the framelines in the viewfinder has encouraged
    me to place those framelines with fluency and care, hopefully achieving compositionally stronger pictures on the street.
    The decisive moment crowd's historic preference for pictures a rangefinder does well, seems to me to bear this out. My
    Ricoh GRD is ridiculously stealthy, the Rolleiflex is quieter and I've rattled off using a dslr and noone has batted an eyelid.
    A good viewfinder with framelines, prime wide normal lens, autofocus and digital are my requirements. There's nothing out
    there yet, I'm waiting on micro four thirds to deliver. Thats me.
  18. I had an Epson R-D1s. It was fun. Now, I am looking at the Micro 4/3rds. They are not DSLRs nor range finder cameras.

    They are small (The Panasonic G1 has been announced), light weight, reasonably priced and revolutionary.

    Serious competition to all other cameras out there.
  19. That G1 from Panasonic looks very good indeed if what you want is a smallish camera for candids. There is supposed to be a
    20/1.7 pancake, equivalent to a 40mm in 135 format coming in early 2009. I've had an Olympus DSLR, the E-400 for a couple
    of years and it is plenty good enough to take street pictures I can print to 16x20. The Pany version is supposed to have the
    NMOS sensor and 12.7 MP. If the EVF is good it may be very fun. Personally I am in no hurry, enjoying film again, but the
    second or third micro 4/3 body may be in the horizon for me.
  20. jtk


    Leica IIIF.
  21. I can do street photos with just about any camera, but I do think which camera you use can affect the type of pictures
    you get to some extent. I use a number of approaches in photographing, depending on the mood I'm in, the specific
    environment, and what it is I'm after. One thing I don't think has been mentioned about somewhat large cameras like
    dslr's is that because they are relatively massive, there is a physical limitation to the speed at which you can place them
    in the exact position you want to photograph from. Their mass gives them a certain amount of inertia. They aren't
    particularly good cameras to point and shoot with, you tend to need to use the viewfinder, meaning your head is going to
    have to be behind the camera as part of the act of shooting. You can still do this quickly and with flexibility, moving your body as need be,
    bending or crouching, or whatever it takes.

    When you get to smaller and lighter cameras though, reactions can speed up. In my experience, I can definitely move a
    35mm rangefinder faster than a dslr, and the Champion in this ballgame is a point & shoot like the Ricoh GRD. The ergonomics on
    it are so good that it's easily operated with complete control with one hand, and it's so small and light that you can literally move it to the
    you want to shoot from in a fraction of a second. It can be used almost as a direct extension of your arm, wrist and
    hand. So if you are in a crowd of people say, and you anticipate that somebody is about to do something or some mini-event is
    about to take place, you can whip the camera to a precise position in space at the exact time the event takes place.
    And while you're not framing with a viewfinder, the framing can be quite spot on for what you were aiming for.

    If you use a dslr, the best thing is usually not to try to hide the fact you're photographing in any way, because people see
    the camera from a half block away. What I've found that works very well is to just hang out in one area and be out in the
    open. If you're just standing around and sharing the territory with people, they usually start to accept you
    fairly quickly because they don't feel threatened, and for the most part they'll let you go about
    business and even forget you're there.

    But if you do want stealth and quickness, I've never found anything better than the GRD.
  22. Especially on the street, where there is plenty of noise and plenty of other things going on.
    Depends on the street! Sometimes it's just you and the one guy you want to photograph.
  23. you could use a film rangefinder and have the film scanned.
  24. I used to do street photography with large SLRs such as a Canon F1 and even a few medium format bodies. I got good results
    with all of them but got much more consistent results once I bought my first rangefinder, a Minolta CLE. Choice of camera and
    lens is deeply personal and best left to shooting with a variety of good iron. Maybe you can try a smaller and simpler SLR with a
    more discreet shutter. Price seems to be important, so perhaps you should look into getting a quality used camera and gear. I
    played with an old Pentax Spotmatic the other day and nearly bought it because it was so basic and solid. Figure out what's
    most important to your shooting style and personal comfort.
  25. Personally I am in no hurry, enjoying film again, but the second or third micro 4/3 body may be in the horizon for me.
    I am also in no hurry, Andy. Since that format/mount is open to the 4/3rds participants, we can expect to see a variety of cams with various features/prices pretty soon. I realized that I am not good at scanning so, I have left small format film.
  26. I like the something with a with a flip-up LCD screen. You can shoot at waist level and they never know they have had their photo taken. I use a long-discontinued Olympus 5060.
  27. I like the Lumix DMC-LX2. Yes, noise can be an issue, but overall I'm pleased. The LX3 looks like it could be even better.

    That said, it hasn't replaced my (film) Leicas.

    My street mode for the LX2 is iso400, manual focus (you can zone focus), f5.6, and either manual or aperture-priority metering to set the shutter speed. f5.6 gives huge dof. I also like to shoot in B&W mode. Not because I use the jpg (I always process the raw files because of noise). But, in this mode, the jpg is B&W (and that's what you see on the back of the camera). The raw file is unaffected (obviously).

    I used it this way walking around Heidelberg a year ago, and had great fun. It's also very travel-friendly.

  28. i've seen some very nice street results with RFs...

    but i have to wonder if it's just the wrong *tool* for the *job*, mainly in terms of focus.

    but regardless, i get the sense that ppl who want to do the RF thing for street are trying to get the whole HCB mojo going but without the BW film.
  29. but regardless, i get the sense that ppl who want to do the RF thing for street are trying to get the whole HCB mojo going but without the BW film.
    I think this "HCB mojo" talk is only among a handful who do not not any better nor aware of any other.
  30. While I was out shooting today there was some street theater that attracted attention. I counted 2 video cams, 1 dslr, 1 digital p&s, 9 (at least) cellphone cams, 3 manual slrs w/ 50mm (students, I guess), and me with a IIIF.
  31. "There is also the Sigma DP1"

    I find the DP1 a very poor street shooter. It is like a pocket view camera. Very slow to operate, but gives magnificent image quality. It is by far the best pocket digicam for landscapes, but a poor choice for fast paced street shooting. It could do as a second camera for the occasional unmoving shot that can be contemplated well in advance.

    "But if you do want stealth and quickness, I've never found anything better than the GRD."

    Fully agree. If you can live without the zoom, and most street shooters do, then there really is nothing better among small sensor digicams.
  32. sweet shots Michael and Sanford. Hasn't this been hashed out several times in the last year, with pretty much the same responses. Again, I agree with Jeff, on the street, you can shoot all day with a huge SLR, I do it and I know several here that do it too.
  33. the last year? try the last 6 at least, since I've been here... "It's not the camera etc etc etc ad infinitum
  34. Great shot, Sanford.
  35. >>> Hasn't this been hashed out several times in the last year, with pretty much the same responses. Again, I agree with Jeff,
    on the street, you can shoot all day with a huge SLR, I do it and I know several here that do it too.

    Yeah. Amazingly, in spite of that, posts keep coming up that SP is about using a proper camera. Rather than starting with a vision.

    I suppose it will continue because some are looking for a solution that can be purchased (in the tradition that famous photographers
    decades ago used), rather than acquiring skills through practice.
  36. Thanks David, you've encouraged me to go shoot with that camera today.

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