The rangefinder camera is a camera that has incorporated the so-called rangefinder in order to be able to focus and improve the quality of the photo.
The rangefinder works by collimating the angle of the optical prism and the focus group of the lens.
Looking in the viewfinder you can see the figure shot in duplicate, by adjusting the focus the two images move closer or further away until they overlap. In this way, I will be able to have a better quality photo.
Best Rangefinder Cameras
Rangefinder cameras have a special place among mirrorless cameras, and many street photographers want to use these very light and quiet cameras. They are compact and take good pictures. This article will help you choose the best rangefinder camera for you.
In general, all cameras fall into two big categories: DSLR cameras and mirrorless cameras. But what is a rangefinder camera? This type belongs to the mirrorless camera group. Rangefinder cameras appeared long before SLR cameras. Their design and basic shooting functions have remained virtually unchanged since their introduction. For photographers who practice street photography rangefinder cameras are simply indispensable. The rangefinder focusing mechanism makes this camera most suitable for outdoor photography. Of course, you don’t need a rangefinder camera to be a good outdoor photographer.
Rangefinder cameras don’t have a reflector on the body as DSLRs do. Also, the viewfinder is on the side of the camera. Digital SLR cameras, on the other hand, have the viewfinder on top. When you take pictures with a rangefinder camera, you use the viewfinder instead of looking through the lens. Therefore, you can’t tell which subject is in focus and which is out of focus. In fact, this is the main difference between a rangefinder camera and a DSLR.
Best Rangefinder Cameras | Comparison Table 2022
Top Quality | 5 Star Pick | Great Prices
|Leica M3 Double Stroke Body Only||Leica||Check Price|
|Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens | Built-in Wi-Fi | 24.1 MP CMOS Sensor | DIGIC 4+ Image Processor and Full HD Videos||Canon||Check Price|
|Camera ZORKI-4 Vintage USSR Film Camera with Lens Jupiter-8 2/50 Lens Silver||ZORKI-4||Check Price|
|YASHICA MF-2 Super 35mm Film Camera with 38mm f/3.8 Lens by Kokoti (Black)||Yashica||Check Price|
|Minolta HI-Matic E Camera Rokkor-QF 1.7 40mm Lens||Minolta||Check Price|
|MINOLTA CLE 35mm Rangefinder Camera for Leica M mount||Minolta||Check Price|
|Canon Canonet QL17 GIII||Canon||Check Price|
|OLYMPUS XA 35MM RANGEFINDER FILM CAMERA WORKING WITH MANUAL, FLASH AND CASE||Olympus||Check Price|
|Leica MP 10301 35mm Rangefinder Camera with 0.72x Viewfinder (Silver)||Leica||Check Price|
Best Rangefinder Cameras | 2022 Products Overview
Rangefinder cameras: what they are and how they work
Rangefinder cameras are very particular because of their optical viewfinder, which is very different from that of a classic reflex. The latter, in fact, allows you to see what is being framed through the images that pass through the lens and are reflected by a mirror directly in the viewfinder. The rangefinder, on the other hand, is a somewhat more complex system to explain: two images are visible inside the viewfinder of a rangefinder camera.
By adjusting the focus, the two images move away or get closer, when they are perfectly superimposed it means that the focus is precise. It may seem like a complicated enough process, but it is easier done than said.
The operation of the rangefinder takes place through two holes placed on the camera body installed at a fixed distance from each other. One hole is the viewfinder from which the photographer controls the scene, which is always positioned to the left of the camera body, while the second is positioned almost at the opposite end. Inside the latter, there is a prism that reflects the image on the viewfinder through a semi-transparent mirror.
By adjusting the focus of the lens, the prism is rotated, so as to move the two images captured by the two holes. When the two images are perfectly superimposed, the position of the prism indicates the distance to the subject on a well-defined scale, so the focus will be precise.
Factors to consider while choosing The Best Rangefinder Cameras in 2022 | Ultimate Guide
The lens is the most important aspect of any camera. However, rangefinder cameras differ from conventional cameras in that they require special lenses. Wide-angle and lens size should be considered when choosing a rangefinder camera.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of the camera are decisive for the compactness and portability of a rangefinder camera. It is best not to purchase a large rangefinder camera as it will be difficult to carry around. A compact, lightweight camera is ideal.
Silent shutter and autofocus
Traditionally, rangefinder cameras have been considered quiet. However, some are older or used and still produce noise. The noise usually comes from the shutter and autofocus. The noise can be quite annoying and should be checked properly.
You should consider a rangefinder with a wide range of compatibility, as a variety of lenses can be connected. Some cameras also support adapters and connectors to extend lens compatibility.
The budget is important.
Budget is important when purchasing a rangefinder camera. Most of them are classics and are several years old. This means that they are more expensive today. Before making an expensive choice, you need to consider your budget.
Advantages of Rangefinder Cameras
Each camera has advantages and disadvantages over the other options, so let’s start with the advantages.
Size and weight
The main advantage that sets rangefinder cameras apart from SLR cameras is their smaller and lighter body. This is mainly due to the fact that there are no prisms, swivel mirrors, focusing screens, or other things that weigh down the body of an SLR. In addition, SLR bodies are generally larger due to their style. Besides, even the lenses of rangefinder models are much smaller and lighter than those of SLRs. They are small in comparison, and for that reason, they have a lot of fans.
Rangefinder cameras generally have better image quality and sharper images because they do not have extra components such as a swivel mirror or large lenses that move the lens away from the sensor. For example, the wide-angle lens of a rangefinder camera can be designed so that the rear element is very close to the screen due to its small size and light weight. As a result, rangefinder cameras have less distortion and their lenses have less distortion.
In addition, the swiveling mirror in an SLR camera causes some vibration or blurring, but in a rangefinder camera, this is not a concern at all. With an SLR, you can see clearly at 1/30 to 1/8 speed, and the vibrating mirror causes blurred pictures even if you use a tripod. Mirror lock eliminates this problem, but it is not always feasible, so rangefinders are better at this. Rangefinders also offer more accurate focusing with both standard and wide-angle lenses.
Outstanding Wide-Angle Lenses
Wide-angle lenses are popular with SLR cameras and are quite good, but distortion is still noticeable. However, with rangefinder cameras, you can get wide lenses, ultra-wide lenses, and even ultra-ultra-wide lenses without any problems. The most popular rangefinder lens is the 12mm ultra-wide full-size lens, which has no distortion. On top of that, they are very inexpensive and perform better for the price than more expensive SLR lenses.
Quiet operating noise
Another important feature of this camera is that it is very quiet in operation because it does not use a tilt mirror for SLR lenses. This makes them popular with street photographers, who usually only hear the click of the shutter.
Shoot with both eyes open.
This is perhaps the most interesting aspect of rangefinder cameras. Combined with a full-size viewfinder, you can use both eyes to focus, compose, and shoot since the camera body does not cover the other eye. However, this may vary depending on the model you purchase.
Disadvantages of rangefinder cameras
You never know what you are getting
This is the biggest disadvantage of rangefinder cameras, and to be honest, it can be quite annoying. This is because you are looking at things from a different perspective, and things may not be in focus, but this is only apparent when you print the image. This may not be a problem if you are shooting at normal distances, but if you are using a long lens or a macro lens, you end up with a darker image, which is quite annoying. Some models don’t allow for the depth of field, but some photographers prefer that.
Large lenses block the view.
As the title says, if the lens is larger than average, the angle of the lens blocks the view of the viewfinder, which is quite annoying. Some lenses have cut-outs to alleviate this problem, but overall it is quite annoying.
Lack of versatility
I should mention that rangefinder cameras are not versatile at all. While they can be used to capture a variety of scenes and moods, SLR cameras, especially the more recent models, are not versatile. For example, these cameras do not come with telephoto lenses, and zoom is quite rare. If you want a multifunctional camera, you should look elsewhere.
The biggest drawback of rangefinder cameras, in my opinion, is the frequent need for delicate maintenance that only a professional can do properly. The rangefinder is a complex and fragile mechanism that can only be handled by skilled hands. This is no ordinary oil change, but a process that requires precision and a lot of knowledge. It may indeed be tedious.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are rangefinder cameras really worth it?
A. Rangefinder cameras have many advantages over SLR cameras, but they also have their limitations. They are easy to focus on, have a quiet shutter and AF sound, and are lightweight and compact. It also has interesting features.
Q. What will be the best rangefinder camera in 2022?
A. In our opinion, the Contax G2 camera is the best of them all. It has many innovations, such as noiseless autofocus. In addition, it is widely compatible with a variety of excellent lenses.
Q. Do rangefinder cameras have a built-in flash?
A. Most rangefinder cameras do not have a built-in flash, but the shutter and flash can be synchronized. Many are also equipped with a hot shoe for connecting an external flash. Some rangefinder cameras have a built-in flash.
Q. Are rangefinder cameras difficult to use?
A. Compared to modern digital SLR cameras, rangefinder cameras may seem difficult to use because everything is mechanical and manual. However, compared to SLR cameras, they are smaller, more compact, focus better, and have a more impressive design.
Q. Are rangefinder cameras expensive?
A. Rangefinder cameras are not all that expensive. Cameras that were a big hit when they were first released and used mainly by professionals are now expensive due to supply and demand. They are treasures of the current photographic industry and therefore expensive.
There is a lot of information on this issue, and you may feel that using a rangefinder camera is difficult. But in fact, it is very simple to use.
The most difficult part of using a rangefinder camera is that you have to change your way of thinking about photography.
We hope this article will answer your questions and give rangefinders a try. Let us know your experience in the comments.