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Fotoman Professional
6-Aug-2013, 23:27
Just wanted get an understading of the level of interest in an optical rangefinder. We are in the process of detremining if there is still interst in this type of item. it is becoming more and more difficult to find decent optical rangefinders. We feel there may be a need for one. Please provide your comments and or suggestions.

Drew Bedo
7-Aug-2013, 05:19
Who/what is your target market? End users such as members of this forum or camera manufacturers? If your target maeket is DIY, you will be competing with whatever Polaroid 110 xx bodies are stil out there. If your product is for Speed Graphics, there may be an issue with reproducing the look of an OEM Kalart unit. The LF market is already a nitche in the overall photography world. RF-LF is a much smaller corner of that nitche in my view. And yet . . .

What I would love to have is something like a 4x5 RF camera derived from one of the Zeis-Agfa/Ansco-Besssa folders of the 30s & 40s with a paralax corrected range/view finder,(a 4x5 leica or Contax . . .Mamya 7?)

I don't think there is that large a market for an LF rangefinder though. If there was, someone would have done it . . .and designed a camera around it.

There are Polaroid conversions. Littman and Byron probably do the best job of re-manufacturing these 70 year old bodies, and they sell for thousands of dollars, but not enough demand for anyone to build a new designfrom scratch.

Steve Goldstein
7-Aug-2013, 07:05
Some fraction of the folks who've bought in to the Wanderlust enterprise may want rangefinders. That's over 1000 people total, with very roughly 75% choosing the 90mm version with the focusing helical. The 65mm version is fixed focus, so there's no need for a rangefinder. You'd face competition there from the Blix (? - not sure of the name, it's of Russian manufacture) that seems relatively available on eBay for fairly small money, plus all the other old rangefinders that have been made over the years. I really wonder whether your potential market is large enough to justify doing this.

That said, I purchased a new Fotoman rangefinder about the time they were being discontinued, and find it nicely made, bright, and accurate. I plan to use it on my own 90mm Wanderlust when it arrives.

David Aimone
7-Aug-2013, 07:41
I'd be interested if you could do it for a reasonable amount...

David A. Goldfarb
7-Aug-2013, 08:10
I have an old Widor rangefinder and have found it useful with various scale-focusing cameras over the years. Currently it lives on my Voigtlander Perkeo II, but I've also mounted it to a non-rangefinder Linhof Tech II, turning it into a very practical lightweight rangefinder press camera. I'd imagine that if more people knew that these were an option, there would be interest.

Oren Grad
7-Aug-2013, 08:39
At the risk of making the product slightly more complicated to manufacture and thus slightly more expensive, a useful feature would be the ability to adjust the position of the mounting foot to anywhere along the length of the body of the rangefinder and then lock it securely in place. The existing Fotoman rangefinder is an awkward fit to my Perkeo II - it obstructs access to the shutter release. But more generally, cameras have different control layouts along the top, and any fixed foot position is likely to run into trouble with some of them.

For those who aren't familiar, here's the existing product:

http://web.archive.org/web/20110819214858/http://fotomancamera.com/product/2006111020919RF-Lg.jpg

Fotoman Professional
7-Aug-2013, 18:32
Steve thank you I appreciate the lead.

Fotoman Professional
7-Aug-2013, 19:25
Thank you all for the immediate feedback

Collas
7-Aug-2013, 20:26
Are you talking about a rangefinder camera, or a stand-alone rangefinder for calculating distances?

Nick

Oren Grad
7-Aug-2013, 20:30
Are you talking about a rangefinder camera, or a stand-alone rangefinder for calculating distances?

Separate, camera-mountable rangefinder device for determining distances.

Fotoman Professional
7-Aug-2013, 22:59
That's correct, seperate, camera-mountable rangefinder device for determining distance otherwise known as an Auxiliary Optical Rangefinder
9985099851

Collas
8-Aug-2013, 04:26
Is that a prototype in the photo? I have a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder and it has an optical base of 5 cm.

Nick

hoffner
8-Aug-2013, 06:37
At the risk of making the product slightly more complicated to manufacture and thus slightly more expensive, a useful feature would be the ability to adjust the position of the mounting foot to anywhere along the length of the body of the rangefinder and then lock it securely in place. The existing Fotoman rangefinder is an awkward fit to my Perkeo II - it obstructs access to the shutter release. But more generally, cameras have different control layouts along the top, and any fixed foot position is likely to run into trouble with some of them.

For those who aren't familiar, here's the existing product:

http://web.archive.org/web/20110819214858/http://fotomancamera.com/product/2006111020919RF-Lg.jpg

I always wonder about people like you. Instead of complaining about how awkward it is to use your Fotoman rangefinder (obviously not made, for understandable reasons, to fit your Perkeo II camera) why don't you make your own DIY correction of the said piece? It is enough to unscrew the rangefinder's foot from its base, screw it to a base made by you and glue that base to the bottom of the Fotoman rangefinder at the exact spot that pleases you. How difficult can that be?

hoffner
8-Aug-2013, 06:42
Just wanted get an understading of the level of interest in an optical rangefinder. We are in the process of detremining if there is still interst in this type of item. it is becoming more and more difficult to find decent optical rangefinders. We feel there may be a need for one. Please provide your comments and or suggestions.

Dear Fotoman Professional,
if you produced the rangefinder I think most of the people who buy the old surviving stock on Ebay would go for your product instead. The old rangefinders, sometimes in pitiful conditions, sell for more than yours could cost. You could fill a niche if you don't think of enormous profits from it. Good advertising (forums like these) would be necessary though.

Oren Grad
8-Aug-2013, 08:32
Is that a prototype in the photo? I have a Zeiss Ikon rangefinder and it has an optical base of 5 cm.

That's the existing product that Fotoman sold in the past - many of us, self included, already own it. The OP is trying to decide whether to resume production, and if so whether to change the design in any way.

George Hart
8-Aug-2013, 12:32
Mine's great, easy to carry in the pocket, light, accurate. I would prefer to have one without the shoe attachment because I don't attach it to anywhere, and the shoe with its highly constrained edges just gets in the way.

David A. Goldfarb
8-Aug-2013, 17:01
One issue with the old ones is that they can be hard to calibrate. My Widor can be calibrated with two screws that are accessible with the rangefinder mounted on a camera, no disassembly required. That's a really good feature, if haven't already included it in yours.

Randy Moe
8-Aug-2013, 17:56
I think it can be bigger than most I have seen. I would prefer one that uses the average persons PD, or pupil distance. Mine is 64 mm, I have no idea what average is.

I really think the days of tiny film cameras and accessories are past.

Be bold, be big, stand out!

I'll buy one or 2.

Leonard Evens
8-Aug-2013, 18:08
At one point I was looking for an optical rangefinder to help me use DOF tables, but I found that I could buy a laser rangefinder for a not unreasonable price, so I did so. It meets my needs very well.

Randy Moe
8-Aug-2013, 18:11
I have never used one. Are they accurate from 5 to 25 feet? Is the laser visible or a danger to a subject's eyes?


At one point I was looking for an optical rangefinder to help me use DOF tables, but I found that I could buy a laser rangefinder for a not unreasonable price, so I did so. It meets my needs very well.

Jim Andrada
8-Aug-2013, 21:03
I've been thinking about one of the laser units as well - but would prefer an optical unit. Would also like to have one without the shoe attachment as I would hand hold it. Now the dirty (non-LF) secret - I want to use it with a 210 mm lens on a Mamiya 7. The 210 does not couple to the camera rangefinder so a separate rangefinder would be nice.

Leonard Evens
8-Aug-2013, 22:29
I have never used one. Are they accurate from 5 to 25 feet? Is the laser visible or a danger to a subject's eyes?

My laser rangefinder is certainly very accurate from 5 to 25 feet. The laser beam is not visible but you do see a dot where ti hits the object you are pointing it at. It would be foolhardy to point the beam directly in your or someone else's eye. But except for that, there should be no danger to anyone's eyes. According to Wikipedia, laser rangefinders are eye safe.

David A. Goldfarb
8-Aug-2013, 22:46
Photographic rangefinders are usually accurate to 3 feet. When I looked into laser rangefinders they tended not to be, but perhaps that's changed.

Oren Grad
8-Aug-2013, 23:49
Mine's great, easy to carry in the pocket, light, accurate. I would prefer to have one without the shoe attachment because I don't attach it to anywhere, and the shoe with its highly constrained edges just gets in the way.


Would also like to have one without the shoe attachment as I would hand hold it. Now the dirty (non-LF) secret - I want to use it with a 210 mm lens on a Mamiya 7.

And I'd like to use one on my various cameras that require different positioning of the foot.

So maybe a tweak of the older Fotoman design, with the same optical system within a plain body that can be stuffed into a pocket as is without snagging on anything but also snaps into a compact bracket with adjustable shoe position for on-camera mounting.

Drew Bedo
11-Aug-2013, 06:29
Fotoman Professional:

If you go ahead with this project, please consider designing in the capability for shining a light through the eyepiece to throw out two spots of light. In lower light situations, tyhe two spots will converge into one when the subject distance is measured.

In the old Kalart RF units, this was an add-on penlight. In later models of Graflex press cameras, trhis was a built-in capability. OK, and now will a Graphic expert please tell me exactly which models?

Modern technology such as LEDs and hearing aid batteries should make this an even more viable option. Such an option would allow you to design in the capability for for user adjustments of the unit.

Randy Moe
11-Aug-2013, 07:37
+1

Maybe just a high power LED flashlight like a Fenix E05 which is not much bigger than a AAA battery but lasts forever and is very bright.




Fotoman Professional:

If you go ahead with this project, please consider designing in the capability for shining a light through the eyepiece to throw out two spots of light. In lower light situations, tyhe two spots will converge into one when the subject distance is measured.

In the old Kalart RF units, this was an add-on penlight. In later models of Graflex press cameras, trhis was a built-in capability. OK, and now will a Graphic expert please tell me exactly which models?

Modern technology such as LEDs and hearing aid batteries should make this an even more viable option. Such an option would allow you to design in the capability for for user adjustments of the unit.

Jac@stafford.net
11-Aug-2013, 07:56
Fotoman Professional:

If you go ahead with this project, please consider designing in the capability for shining a light through the eyepiece to throw out two spots of light. In lower light situations, tyhe two spots will converge into one when the subject distance is measured.

In the old Kalart RF units, this was an add-on penlight. In later models of Graflex press cameras, trhis was a built-in capability. OK, and now will a Graphic expert please tell me exactly which models?

It was called a Focuspot (http://lommen9.home.xs4all.nl/kalart/page9.html). It fit on the top end of the rangefinder housing. Most Kalart rangefinders accepted it and most could be modified to accept it. Some Linhof Super Technikas accepted it, and amazingly there was one for the Rolleiflex 3.5 E TLR.

The Graflex Crown with the Rangelite is the model with the same kind of device built into the RF.

Bill Burk
11-Aug-2013, 10:24
Fotoman Professional:

If you go ahead with this project, please consider designing in the capability for shining a light through the eyepiece to throw out two spots of light. In lower light situations, tyhe two spots will converge into one when the subject distance is measured.

In the old Kalart RF units, this was an add-on penlight. In later models of Graflex press cameras, trhis was a built-in capability. OK, and now will a Graphic expert please tell me exactly which models?

Modern technology such as LEDs and hearing aid batteries should make this an even more viable option. Such an option would allow you to design in the capability for for user adjustments of the unit.

The Lithium button (pair of CR2032 for example) cells make a good power source for LED's and are readily available - a lightweight, compact, bright and long-lasting solution to an age-old problem. This would be brilliant!

cjheyliger
11-Aug-2013, 11:55
Would love to see something new come to the market. My Voigtlander rangefinder does the job, but the viewing area is very small and dim.

Jim Andrada
11-Aug-2013, 23:16
+1 on the Crown Graphic. Mine has the feature, although the alignment seems off a bit. I does light up when I push the magic red button though.

Fotoman Professional
19-Aug-2013, 20:02
Great comments everyone. We've received an overwhelming response in this forum and in other locations. We are happy to announce we will be preforming a production run in the next few weeks. However it will be for our previous style auxiliary rangefinder and your comments will go into subsequent versions.

Jim Andrada
19-Aug-2013, 21:52
Be sure to let us know the details when it is available.

Fotoman Professional
2-Dec-2013, 20:05
FYI

The Auxiliary Rangefinder is in, this is the ebay listing:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rangefinder-Fotoman-Rangefinder-For-professional-cameras-/190975158908?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c7701aa7c

DrTang
3-Dec-2013, 11:47
what would be cool


is a fixed rangefinder - one where the distance can be adjusted with a knob or screw from the outside

that can be used like a polaroid Big Shot finder

Drew Bedo
3-Dec-2013, 19:34
The Fotoman line is known as quality equipment. I am sure the current rangefinder is a great item too.

Yet, I am with Tang in wishing . . .

I wish for a "modern" 4x5 RF camera designed and built new from the ground up. a fold-out model like the old Polaroids or the classic Zies, Voightlander ond Agfa/Ansco folders with a Contax or Leica style coupled range finder..

How about a Mamya-7 in 4x5?

Just wishing . . .

richardman
3-Dec-2013, 20:12
How hard can it be :-) Sigh....

Yet another Kickstarter? I think the problem is the RF, if made from new, it's $$$.

This is why the Chamonix Saber is so appealing, but it has its limits.

BradS
3-Dec-2013, 21:42
I have one of the original Fotoman rangefinders and love it. I bought it with the Fotoman PS45. Sold the camera and kept the range finder. It is so handy with the old folders. Thanks Fotoman for bringing this handy accessory back at a nice price!

EdSawyer
4-Dec-2013, 12:55
Agreed,thanks for making this available again! What's the base length, btw? Looks like maybe 75mm ? Longer being better of course...

Fotoman Professional
5-Dec-2013, 02:17
Base Length is 62mm.

When ordering be sure to identify if you'ld like it in Feet (ARF-F) or Meters (ARF-M).

Randy Moe
5-Dec-2013, 15:02
Base length is total width or optic center to optic center?


Base Length is 62mm.

When ordering be sure to identify if you'ld like it in Feet (ARF-F) or Meters (ARF-M).

Oren Grad
5-Dec-2013, 19:32
Base length is total width or optic center to optic center?

I just measured a Fotoman RF obtained from the initial run during the Paul Droluk era - Mr Fotoman Professional will have to tell us whether the current run is to the same specs. The physical length of the body is about 63mm, but the distance between optical centers is more like 35mm. The magnification appears to be life size or very close to it, so the effective baselength is the full physical distance.

Fotoman Professional
6-Dec-2013, 01:54
I just measured a Fotoman RF obtained from the initial run during the Paul Droluk era - Mr Fotoman Professional will have to tell us whether the current run is to the same specs. The physical length of the body is about 63mm, but the distance between optical centers is more like 35mm. The magnification appears to be life size or very close to it, so the effective baselength is the full physical distance.

Please excuse my quick response yesterday. Yes, optical cnter to optical center is 35mm. Manufacturing was is to the same specs as the older versons.

rfesk
7-Dec-2013, 16:56
I thought I was fortunate to purchase an original model in feet. You are correct. It would be a big benefit to be able to move the foot around. The new Voigtlander shoe mount (and possibly now discontinued) light meter has that feature.

Neal Chaves
7-Dec-2013, 18:57
To use this accurately, one would have to have range scales on the camera for each lens with focus determined on the ground glass.

I would like a combined rangefinder-viewfinder with paralax correction and masks for 150mm and 210mm on 4X5 (300mm and 420mm on 8X10) so that I could pre-set the focus distance for frame-filling portraits like the Polaroid Big Shot or the modifications I have made to TRF Crown Graphic. With such a device, any field camera with a shoe on top could be a "Big Shot".

goamules
9-Dec-2013, 14:45
It looks like a new version of a 1950s Voigtlander external rangefinder. I got one for $3 at an estate sale this weekend. Looks like this one 321258382120.

Fotoman Professional
10-Dec-2013, 01:33
It looks like a new version of a 1950s Voigtlander external rangefinder. I got one for $3 at an estate sale this weekend. Looks like this one 321258382120.

Now that's a great find for $3. We improved the device by making the viewfinder larger, the image you see is brighter and you can calibrate ours.

Voightlander decided to cancel production of the item several years back and we saw a need for a simple easy to use device.

richardman
10-Dec-2013, 02:34
Now all Fotoman have to do is to makea RF coupled 4x5 camera :-)

Kerry L. Thalmann
18-Aug-2016, 17:15
Bumping an old thread...

Does anyone have a PDF of the calibration procedure for the Fotoman rangefinder, or better still, know of a link?

It used to be on the fotomancamera.com web site, but that web site is long gone.

Thanks,
Kerry

George Hart
19-Aug-2016, 00:00
Here it is

Kerry L. Thalmann
19-Aug-2016, 02:21
Here it is

Thanks!