Leica Rangefinder System. Rediscovering photography

M240

Regular
Sep 30, 2014
USA (Indiana)
My first rangefinder camera was the Hasselblad XPAN v.1. When the XPAN II was released, I upgraded to that camera, which I still have, in addition to my Leica M240 and M4-P.

There is just something about rangefinder photography. SLR photography seems robotic (auto focus, auto everything) when compared to the rangefinder experience. When I shoot with a rangefinder, it seems that I am more engaged in the process of image making. It is a much more enjoyable process (for me, at least).
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
i have an old kodak retina reflex iv slr with split screen manual focus. its not really much different from the 'rangefinder' experience i had with the retina iii, cl, cle, bessa etc.

imo, what IS way way different is the 1:1 vf in the epson rd1. i just got one a few months ago and i am always juiced to use it. the 1:1 should stand for 'one photographer is one with the scene'.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
Of course with the Retina IV the viewfinder blacked out after the exposure until after you wound it. The mechanism was not as reliable as the IIIS. One of the very few systems that could use the same lens with an SLR and a Rangefinder camera. I use a Retina Reflex-S and a IIIS.
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
yeah but you cant see the exposure settings in the retina iii/ S vfs, and that turned out to be more important to me than the 'blackout', esp with the advance lever being on the bottom plate, i didnt have to take my eye off the scene.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
I used Reflex-IV for years, until it locked up on me. Had it repaired once, got another few years out of it. The advance lever cocks the shutter and raises the mirror, to puts a lot more stress on the rack than does the IIIS. I have a Reflex-III as well. The prisms tend to desilver; I replaced the prism in the Reflex-S with one from a Minolta XG-1, it is much brighter than the originals. It was a perfect fit, which was pure luck. I have ~20 Kodak Retinas going back to the 1930s. Bought out a box of Retina parts from a repair shop that was going out, learned some simple repairs. I bought a Deckel-F adapter to use the Retina-S lenses on the Df.


Schneider Xenon 50/1.9, wide-open.

Gunston Hall, Halloween by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Not too many rangefinder lenses can be used on a DSLR.

85/4 Tele-Arton on the IIIS,

Tele-Arton 85/4, on the IIIS by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Tele-Arton 85/4, on the IIIS by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

The 90/4 Tele-Arton on the Df,

90/4 Tele-Arton by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr



These lenses used to go super-cheap. These three lenses ran me a total of $80. I put together the IIIS with 28/4, 35/2.8, 50/1.9, 85/4, and 135/4 for under $300.


The Nikon rangefinder from the S2 and up have 1x finders, as does the Canon P and Canon VI. It is nice to shoot "both eyes open". I use a 1.25x finder with the Leica digitals to get "close" to the M3 with it's 0.92x. The Kodak Signet 80 of 1957 also has a 1x finder, and has interchangeable lenses. Styling like a '57 Chevy.
 

rbelyell

All-Pro
May 14, 2013
NY Mtns
great stuff brian! i love those S-K lenses with kodak elite chrome. i'll have to dig up some shots, but theyre a match made in heaven, i assure you. the colors POP, POP, POP! an extremely under-rated system, one honestly cannot do better for the $. i'd put the 35 and the 85 lenses up against pretty much anything, just love 'em. also used 'em on my m4/3 ep2 for years. that sensor ate those lenses up and spit out some beaut-imous images.

i'd love to see your Df results. i was disappointed when years ago i used the S-Ks on the FF 5d, tbh.
 

BrianS

Legend
Jul 7, 2010
I'll put up a thread on S-Mount lenses on the Df. I've also used an old "K1" extension ring for the 90/4 Tele-Arton to bring the focus closer, gets a decent range for portraits. Someway- I will come across a suitable focus mount to convert one of the Tele-Arton to Leica mount.
 

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