How to Use a Rangefinder Camera For the Best Results

Fact: If you think you know how to use a rangefinder, you’re probably using a rangefinder camera completely wrong–or at least inefficiently. Lots of photographers think they can’t be faster than autofocus lenses on cameras, but the truth is, in the hands of a photographer that knows what they’re doing, they can actually be faster.

Our tutorial videos featured today talk mostly about how to do this with a rangefinder camera, but you should know this is also possible with DSLRs and most autofocus lenses. However, autofocus lenses have a shorter focus throw that makes them faster to focus. Manual focus lenses have a longer focus throw that allows the photographer to be more precise when focusing with them – essentially they have to.

Autofocus, despite how far it’s come in its advancements, isn’t always still the most accurate or best thing to use for street photography and sometimes even for weddings in really low light.

Essentially, what we’re trying to do here is increase your hit rate and therefore also increase the number of images you’ll be happy with. If you know and understand how to use a rangefinder then you’ll see how efficient it can be.

You see, the secret to this is a little thing called zone focusing and street photographers have known about it for a while. Zone focusing basically will allow you to walk up to a subject, automatically have them in focus, shoot, and move on.

Isn’t that the dream of every street photographer?

That isn’t always totally possible with manual focus. Trust me, you’ll miss. The camera will miss. The lens will miss. And you may not always have the composition that you want. With zone focusing though, you just need to see the composition, bring the camera up to your eye, and shoot.

We hope that these videos help. Please also be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel and let us know how we can improve and what content you’d love to see in the comments.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.