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Thread: Why not a rangefinder?

  1. #11

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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobab View Post
    I'll be happy with a 4x5
    There are Polaroid conversions.

  2. #12

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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Bobab started this discussion by writing:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobab View Post
    what I know so far is that I would like some level of portability and some ability to use longer lenses (probably nothing over 300, but ...) and also 6x6 backs if possible.
    Since then it has wandered all over the place. TLRs and LF SLRs have come up.

    OP, be aware that LF TLRs and SLRs accept only limited ranges of focal lengths. If you want even a 300 most of them are out.

    6x6 backs? 6x7 and 6x9 are also possible.

    As has already been mentioned several times, technical cameras will do what you need. Be aware, however, that using movements when shooting handheld is very difficult. If you want everything, you will certainly get disappointment.

  3. #13
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Yes it has Dan, he wants...
    sin eater

  4. #14
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    I started view camera photography with a medium format (6x9cm) Horseman technical rangefinder camera. I choose Horseman over Linhof due to price and availability. When I got mine, it was easy to get all the components for the entire system without much difficulty. That means the whole set of 8 lenses and matching rangefinder cams and multiple film backs.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #15

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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobab View Post
    Hi. I am looking to get into LF photography - almost certainly 4x5. I prefer shooting people (wouldn't say portraits) than landscapes or architecture.
    Buy yourself a Crown Graphic. You can use the rangefinder for the included 135mm lens. It's a great focal length for shooting people (not portraits). You can also use a 90mm or a 210mm with it without the rangefinder.

    If you want more versatility, add a cheap monorail for that 300mm lens or if you decide you occasionally need movements. If you buy Sinar then there are inexpensive reduction boards that will convert the Sinar camera to accept Graphic boards so all your lenses will fit each camera.

  6. #16
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Not so easy to find it all now

    Maybe Kumar can find a kit

    I had a heck of a time finding the special Horseman Cable release, but never found a complete OE Horseman VHR flash handle, so I use something else

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    I started view camera photography with a medium format (6x9cm) Horseman technical rangefinder camera. I choose Horseman over Linhof due to price and availability. When I got mine, it was easy to get all the components for the entire system without much difficulty. That means the whole set of 8 lenses and matching rangefinder cams and multiple film backs.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    sin eater

  7. #17

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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobab View Post
    In my dreams. But yes. Though, wouldn't mind mixing in posed pictures too. Is that the camera for me? Should I forget the likes of the Chamonix and the Sinar?
    Want to be able to shoot handheld or not?

  8. #18
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobab View Post
    What I don't understand is why people don't think that a rangefinder is a big deal for LF photography. Is the ability to continue to focus or adjust framing after you have insert the film not important or do rangefinders / viewfinders just not work that well with LF cameras/photography. Isn't it a problem if your model or whatever you are shooting moves slightly and you lose focus?
    What view cameras give you that smaller formats don't is the bellows between the lens plane and the film plane. So you can move the lens separately from the film, utilizing what are generally called "movements" of the camera. Which drives rangefinder systems insane. Since many (most?) LFers consider movements to be a highly desirable feature, many (most?) are willing to live without rangefinding. But that doesn't mean that you should.

    You can certainly get a rangefinder system on an LF camera if you want one. They have been made. The Graflex company made several which were widely respected; the Speed Graphic was perhaps the ultimate LF rangefinder and a favorite with press photographers all over the world for decades. Wista made at least one, the Wista Technical 45RF, IIRC. Buschman Pressman Model D. Linhof Master Technika. Graflex also made the Crown Graphics. There are doubtless a number of others. So it's not like you can't get them.

    If you want to use an LF rangefinder, go for it.

    As to shooting models with LF, people were successfully making photographs of people with LF for many years without needing rangefinding. Look up the Hollywood work of George Hurrell. Or the great portraits of Yusef Karsh. These guys mostly worked in 10x8, did not need a rangefinder, and produced exquisite work.

    It all depends on how you like to work, and finding a workflow with which you are comfortable so that you can concentrate on the art and not worry so much about the tools you use to produce the art.

    Bruce Watson

  9. #19

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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobab View Post
    Hi. I am looking to get into LF photography - almost certainly 4x5. I prefer shooting people (wouldn't say portraits) than landscapes or architecture. I find all the options out there confusing, but what I know so far is that I would like some level of portability and some ability to use longer lenses (probably nothing over 300, but ...) and also 6x6 backs if possible.

    What I don't understand is why people don't think that a rangefinder is a big deal for LF photography. Is the ability to continue to focus or adjust framing after you have insert the film not important or do rangefinders / viewfinders just not work that well with LF cameras/photography. Isn't it a problem if your model or whatever you are shooting moves slightly and you lose focus?
    You can find reducing backs to use with press cameras. In actual use a dedicated 120 format camera is much easier to deal with. Pentax 6x7, Mamiya 6x7, 2 1/4 square, Hasselblad, Rollei, Yashica and so many others available, rangefinder and SLR types both.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  10. #20
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Why not a rangefinder?

    I know someone who does street work with an 8x10 box camera fitted with a fixed wide angle lens and wire sports finder, and no groundglass or rangefinder at all. It competently provides what he wants, but doesn't do anything I'd personally want in large format. I also know people who bought into the whole nine yards of the Technika 4x5 system, used that same system for decades, but used the rangefinder itself only once or twice in their entire career. Once they learned view camera movements, they used it as a view camera rather than a press camera. My older brother did hand-hold a Technika w/rangefinder quite a bit, as well as on a tripod; but that was half a century ago when sheet film was comparatively affordable. The Horseman FA is basically a scaled down Technika with less bellows draw. Just depends on if you're actually going to handhold a big camera much, or just revert right back to the convenience of medium format for that kind of application.

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