There is something to be said about objects that can make you remember the style and grace of years past. Modern cameras can have a very utilitarian, sterile look and feel to them, and while they’re practical and function well, they just don’t make you feel the magic of photography like older cameras can. Thankfully camera manufacturers know that there are photographers out there that want both gorgeous aesthetics, and stellar performance, and that’s where Rangefinder style cameras come in to play.
Rangefinder cameras are absolutely timeless. They were firm favorites with many photographers back in the 60’s and 70’s for good reason. They offered a unique way for photographers to measure the distance to their subject so that they could ensure their photos would be sharp and in focus, and they looked absolutely beautiful. While times have changed, and technology has evolved, the classic Rangefinder look and feel is still hard to beat.
Modern Rangefinder style cameras offer all of the latest and greatest in the world of technology, but they can still help you remember times when cameras were beautifully designed and made. Here’s a look at four modern Rangefinder cameras that are stuffed to the gills with tech, yet will make you weak at the knees thanks to their beautiful designs.
The Fujifilm X100F is a mighty powerful, feature dense Rangefinder style camera that will delight both retro lovers and photography enthusiasts everywhere. This camera is perfect for those who want the stellar performance of the X-T2 in a body that is small enough to slip in your pocket. With a lens that can produce razor sharp images, and a gorgeous design, the X100F may be one of the best Rangefinder cameras.
In our review we said:
“With the same 24MP X Trans Sensor at the heart of the company’s two flagship cameras, and that retro-gorgeous camera body that makes lots of photographers weak in the knees, the Fujifilm X100F will undoubtedly sell well–and it deserves to.”
The retro Rangefinder design of the X100F is timeless, and there is no doubt that this will delight those who love this style of camera. As you would expect from Fujifilm, the overall build quality of the X100F is excellent. It is lacking weather sealing, but overall this camera feels wonderful in the hand.
The Fujifilm X100F is capable of producing really beautiful images thanks to the tried and tested, fixed 23mm f2 lens. There are 325 autofocus points, and the more than capable prime lens focuses very fast in good and low light scenarios. Excellent detailed shots up to ISO 6400 are achievable thanks to the 24.3 Megapixel X-Trans APS-C sensor (which is the same sensor found in the X-T2). It’s incredibly easy to use thanks to the myriad of physical dials on top of the camera, and the well placed buttons on the back of the body. The three-inch LCD display, and the hybrid electronic and optical viewfinder are both very high in quality and add even more to an already impressive camera.
Fujifilm’s film simulations can also be used with this camera which can bring back even more feelings of nostalgia. You’ll also find Wi-Fi, HD video, an eight frames per second burst mode, a built-in three stop ND filter, a digital teleconverter, and outstanding battery life. The X100F is a true pocket powerhouse that will not leave you wanting more.
The X100f’s Rangefinder design, it’s small, easy to manage size and weight, and its performance make this a great option when you want to hit the streets, or for when you need to travel light. When it comes to Rangefinder cameras, the X100F hits the sweet spot.
Buy now ($1,199): Amazon
Fujifilm X100F Image Samples
Pro Tip: No matter how careful you are with your camera it’s bound to get dirty. Keep a basic camera cleaning kit in your camera bag so that when your camera needs a quick clean you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips.
Olympus Pen F
The timeless design of the Olympus Pen F, along with its overall performance makes it one of our favorites here at The Phoblographer. This Micro Four Thirds camera feels amazing in the hands, has a 20.3 Megapixel sensor, and delivers images that are the most film-like we have seen. This is a special camera indeed.
In our review we said:
“This camera has all the knobs, dials, buttons, and more in just the right places. Everything is designed to look very analog and Olympus did a fantastic job of embracing the aesthetics. The only camera that comes close here is the Fujifilm X Pro 2; but its ergonomics aren’t overall as great as this.”
The Olympus Pen F features a 20.3 Megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor, and it’s capable of producing some truly gorgeous images. We were blown away with how incredible JPEGS looked straight from the camera, and the easy to switch to black and white mode made us very happy.
The Pen F features a fast autofocusing system that has 81 autofocus points, five axis in-body image stabilization, Wi-Fi, a 10 frame per second burst mode, a 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder, 80 Megapixel high res feature in RAW, a 50 Megapixel high resolution option for JPEGS, multiple buttons for customization, and a flip out style LCD.
The Olympus Pen F may be a small camera but it packs a mighty punch. Images that come from this camera are truly something to behold, even up to ISO 6400. Pair this camera up with a lens like the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm and you’ll be in photography heaven. The in-body image stabilization works amazingly well and is good for an extra five stops which makes shooting in low light situations a breeze. Everything about this Rangefinder camera oozes quality. The build quality is amazing (though we wish is was weather sealed), and it feels wonderful in the hands thanks to the thoughtful layout of the controls.
We think this might just be the perfect camera for street photography. The Olympus Pen F is truly one of the finest modern takes on Rangefinder cameras. You owe it to yourself to take a closer look at it.
Buy now ($999): Amazon
Olympus Pen F Image Samples
Pro Tip: Rangefinder cameras may be small enough to fit in your pocket, but you still need to have a quality camera strap. This Inspire in Time leather camera strap will not only make carrying your camera easier, it will look good with the gorgeous retro look of your camera too.
When it comes to Rangefinder cameras, the Sony a6500 is one you cannot afford to overlook. It’s small, powerful, and has more tech than you can shake a stick at. The a6500 boasts one of the fastest autofocusing systems around, five axis in-body stabilization, and a 24.3 Megapixel APS-C sensor. It’s a pocket powerhouse, and marries retro design with excellent build quality and modern technology perfectly.
In our review we said:
“Sony states that this camera has moisture and dust resistance. Of any of the Mirrorless camera’s on the market, the a6000 series have always felt the most hearty. Indeed, this proved to be true when I took the camera out into the snow for shooting time. It shrugged off the snow with ease.”
The a6500 boasts 425 autofocus points, a flip-out touchscreen, plenty of buttons that can be customized to your liking, and decent overall battery life (about 350 images per charge). Image quality is beyond great, and it can produce both outstanding JPEGS and very versatile RAW files. If you really want a powerful camera for street photography or documentary work, pair this camera up with the Sony 20mm f2.8 prime lens, (which will be a 30mm equivalent) and you’ll have a camera that can fit in your pocket and can go everywhere with you.
Dig a little deeper and you will find built-in Wi-Fi, outstanding 4K video performance, a sharp electronic viewfinder, excellent tracking abilities, an 11 frames per second burst mode, and face and eye autofocus. This camera is great for many genres of photography; from street to sports, and landscapes to portraits.
If you like the idea of buying into the Sony ecosystem the A6500 will serve you very well. It’s one of the best Rangefinder cameras out thanks to just how much tech has been crammed into the small, weather sealed body, and its minimalist design.
Buy now ($1,098): Amazon
Sony A6500 Image Samples
Pro Tip: Make sure you never run out of storage space by keeping extra SD cards in your camera bag or pocket. SD cards can fail too, and you don’t want to be caught our when that happens. This Samsung EVO SD card is very affordable, fast, and reliable.
Fujifilm X Pro 2
Another Fujfilm camera that makes the list is the X-Pro 2. This Rangefinder camera is every bit as amazing as the X100F. It’s slightly larger, uses the same outstanding 24.3 Megapixel X-Trans sensor, produces gorgeous images, and is easy on the eyes thanks to its beautiful design. The big news here is that unlike the X100F, the X-Pro 2 is an ILC which means you have access to the amazing library of Fujifilms prime lenses.
In our review we said:
“Indeed, the JPEG quality from the X Pro 2 is easily the best out there. Considering the Velvia, Classic Chrome, Acros and Astia renderings you’ll have no problems shooting in JPEG and being happy with them if you’re an enthusiast that doesn’t want to spend any time in post.”
The X Pro-2 is a stunner of a camera. As you would expect from a Fujifilm camera the build quality is top notch. The magnesium alloy camera body feels solid and sturdy, it’s weather sealed so you can shoot to your hearts content in the elements, and it feels nice in the hands thanks to the design of the grip. The 24.3 Megapixel X-Trans sensor is a stunner, and it’s easily capable of producing some of the best images you will see from APS-C based cameras. Colors are fantastic, the Fujifilm film simulations are gorgeous, and high ISO performance is fantastic too.
The X Pro-2 has built in Wi-Fi, features a fast autofocusing system with 273 autofocus points, a max shutter speed of 1/32,000, dual SD cards slots, a hybrid electronic and optical viewfinder, an eight frames per second burst mode, and eye and face auto focus. Put the Fujifilm 35mm f2 lens on this camera and you will have a camera that will produce results that will leave you speechless, not to mention a camera that looks incredible too.
If the Fujifilm ecosystem appeals to you and you want a Rangefinder camera, the X Pro-2 should not be ignored. It’s excellent performance, great build quality, and the access it has to some of the best prime lenses you can get really makes this one of the best Rangefinder cameras available today
Buy now ($1,499): Amazon
Fujifilm X Pro-2 Image Samples