The Phoblographer’s Guide to Affordable Film Rangefinder Cameras

Check them out: forum after forum will be plagued by people asking for affordable rangefinder cameras. Indeed, these cameras have always been surrounded in a certain mystique and many are curious about and yearn for the simplicity that comes with shooting one. Personally, I trained myself on a Leica CL, and the skills and style I developed during that period have stuck with me even into my DSLR shooting and now mirrorless shooting styles. In fact, they’ve even become apparent in my use of strobes.

In the end, once you train yourself or learn how to use a rangefinder, you’ll develop a special courage and learn new skills that will teach you to only become a better photographer. If you don’t want to break the bank while doing so, here are a list of affordable rangefinders to keep your eyes out for.

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Review: Leica X2

Not long ago, Leica announced their brand new X2 camera. As an update to the X1, it gives consumers an optional electronic viewfinder, a modest megapixel bump, higher ISO capabilities, and a newly designed pop-up flash. As is Leica’s mentality and corporate philosophy, all upgrades were very minimal and the entire package still emphasizes simplicity.

Holding true to Leica’s branding, this camera will also set your checking account back a bit.

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Fujifilm Wants You to Put A Ring on Before Your Leica Lenses and X Pro 1 Mate

Though this has been shown off before, Fujifilm is now coming out to everyone about their Leica M to X Mount adapter. Being officially announced today, it seems to be very much alike to other adapters. I’d go even as far to say that this looks like the Dot Line adapter that I use for Micro Four Thirds.

The design consists of an aluminum mount for the body, stainless steel for the lens, and an aluminum central tube. All in all, the adapter from Fuji will maintain the 27.8mm needed to be from the sensor. With firmware 1.10, the adapter will also recognize the lens mounted and transmit necessary information to the camera. That means that the framelines you see in the viewfinder will correspond to the lens used. It will also transmit distortion control information, vignetting correction and color shading correction.

You can expect it in June for $199.99.

Review: Leica 35mm f2 Summicron Adapted to Micro Four Thirds

Adapted lenses often make up the camera bag of many mirrorless camera users. In particular, old rangefinder lenses tend to be popular because of the small size coupled with excellent image quality. When one thinks of a rangefinder, one also often thinks of Leica. Indeed, the company has manufactured lenses for years and many of their lenses are available second hand on eBay at quite an affordable price.

Keeping in mind the fact that a Micro Four Thirds camera has a 2x crop factor, I’ve recently decided to try our various wide angle lenses from Leica. Though the 35mm is more semi-wide, their Summicron lens (f2) has been touted as being really quite excellent.

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Review: Billingham F-Stop f1.4 Camera Bag

Ask almost any well-seasoned camera lover who Billingham is and most will tell you about how nice but pricey their bags are. In having this bag for the few weeks I’ve had most of my other professional photographer friends just come off as plain jealous. I can just see why. Known to some as the Rolls Royce of camera bags, Billingham makes some of the more classic looking bags in the business.

But, how was it like to use in real life you ask?

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Hands On: Using The Zeiss 50mm Planar ZM On Micro Four Thirds

Olympus E-P1 + Zeiss Planar 50/2 ZM

Being a user of both the Micro Four Thirds and Leica M system, it was evident for me to try out my well-proven M-glass also on my Micro Four Thirds bodies. Due to their very short flange-back-distance (i.e. distance between lens mount and sensor), Micro Four Thirds cameras can mount pretty much every lens ever desgined for film and digital—be it minute 16mm cine lenses or huge and chunky 6×9 medium format lenses. With the help of an appropriate adapter, any lens that can be focused manually can be put to work on an MFT body. So, besides getting an adapter to use the lenses of my old Pentax ME film camera, I also got one for my Leica M lenses. Unfortunately, however, the very cheap execution of the model I bought prevents focusing any lens to infinity…so, until I get hold of a proper adapter, all I can do with my M glass at the moment are close-ups. There is one lens in my setup, however, that lends itself exceptionally well at this: the 50mm f/2 Zeiss Planar ZM.

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SLR Magic: Why Leica Might Have To Pull Their Socks Up

The new SLR Magic 50mm T0.95

Those who have been closely following the announcements on the regular rumors channels in recent months might be aware that a Hong Kong based lens developer called “SLR Magic”, so far best known for their cheap and cheerful “toy lenses” for Micro Four Thirds, is about to introduce a new über-fast 50mm lens for Leica M mount. And from the looks of it, this lens could mean serious competition for Leica’s world-class low-light lens, the highly-regarded and insanely pricey Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95.

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Fiscal Reports: Leica Going Uphill, Olympus Going Downhill

The planned new Leica production facility in Wetzlar, Germany

While Leica Camera AG reports a sales high of € 81.9 million (US-$ 108m) for the third quarter of the ongoing fiscal year, Olympus reports a loss of an estimated ¥ 32 bn. (US-$ 412m) until the end of the fiscal year in March. Where Leica experiences an ongoing streak of success, Olympus suffers a continuing streak of bad luck that shows no sign of breaking off. And while the past fiscal year has been extremely fortunate for Leica, it was extremely unfortunate for Olympus. Read more after the jump.

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The Tiniest M-Mount Lens Ever Looks Like a Body Cap



MS Optical, a Japanese one-man business best known for their lens conversions, are about to introduce what is probably the tiniest lens ever made for Leica M-mount: the Super Triplet Perar 28mm f4. Successor to the very popular and critically acclaimed Super Triplet Perar 35mm f3.5, the new Perar 4/28 manages to beat its already minute predecessor in terms of size and weight. Coming in at only 45 g (1.58 oz), the lens is based on a triplet design comprising only three lens elements. To make the optical formula even more compact, the lens’ aperture is placed before the front element. More details after the jump.

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A Second Chance with the Leica M9 (and 50mm and 35mm Summilux Lenses)

Though I’ve reviewed the Leica M9 and M9-P before, I only recently had the pleasure of trying the Leica 50mm f1.4 Summilux and Leica 35mm f1.4 Summilux on the new digital bodies in real world use and street photography (I’ve used the former with a film body before). As readers of this site may know, I like the cameras; but have a major problem with their metering methods. Additionally, I tend to liken the images from the camera to chrome film in that one needs to nail the exposure perfectly and there isn’t a tremendous amount of versatility in the post-production process, though there is some.

So with all that aside, how do the lenses perform on the camera body?

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Review: Leica V-LUX 3 (Panasonic FZ-150)

When Leica announced their new V-LUX 3 (or VLUX3) digital camera, I had thought to myself that the camera perhaps incorporates all of the standard changes that their Panasonic clones have. For those of you that are confused, when Leica clones a Panasonic camera (in this case, the Panasonic FZ-150), they usually update the firmware, menu system and lens coatings to differentiate it a bit. Otherwise though, the camera functions and acts the same. This time around though, there seems to be absolutely no change except for the outside cosmetic appearance.

So does this superzoom camera meet your standards?

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The Leica X1 from a Foodie’s Perspective

Leica is a company I have a great respect for, especially because of the Leica M9. So when I got the offer to take the Leica X1 out for a spin, I immediately said yes. The X1’s APS-C size sensor, like the one in my Nikon D90, really grabbed my attention. Since we already reviewed the X1 once here, I chose to use it for something near and dear to me, food and coffee photography. This would be a pleasant change from shooting with DSLR’s like the Nikon D90 and the Canon 7D, which I was using at the time.

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Hands On: Sony NEX 7

“If you can’t afford a Leica, this is the one to get.” Those are the words of the Sony Rep that demoed the NEX-7 to me. The other day, I finally got my hands on the extremely coveted Sony NEX-7 (or NEX7 and NEX 7). Though the reviews have already started to come out, I’m still waiting for my units to give them a full run through. However, this camera seemed extremely impressive during the brief time I spent with it as did the 24mm f1.8 lens.

Note that these were pre-production models though.

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Photo Samples: Ricoh GXR with Leica M-Mount A12 Photographs Hurricane Irene’s Effects

This posting is literally just an image dump. I’ve had the Ricoh GXRwith A12unit to mount Leica M mount lenses on for a little bit, and now that Hurricane Irene seems to have died down in Queens, NY I took it out for a bit of a spin. These images are largely unedited with the exception of resizing for the web. The entire gallery is after the jump. A full series of reviews is coming soon.

Hat tip to Gabe Biderman for the Leica lens loaners.

Do you have any crazy stories to share from Hurricane Irene? Or photos to show? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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Review: Leica M9-P

Though the differences from its predecessor are extremely minor, something compelled me to review the Leica M9-P(or M9P, M-9P as the interwebs call it). Perhaps it’s the recent reawakened love of street photography from inspirations like Eric Kim or my co-worker Brian who runs La Pura Vida. Either way though, the timeless classic ended up in my hands. I’ve previously reviewed the Leica M9 and the Leica M7: both of which I felt were excellent image capturing devices. However, I’m a slightly older, much more experienced photographer than I was before. Is the M9-P a work of art or is it just an expensive doorstop?

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Field Review: Leica X1 (Day 1)

When it comes to cameras, digital or film, there are a few brands that are more than just a name; they are more of a religion amongst their followers. For many, Leica is one of those brands. Their customers will drop more money on a small kit than many people will spend on their car, which is astounding to me – someone who doesn’t own anything with that revered red dot. So what does a complete Leica virgin think of one of their newer offerings, the Leica X1? Let’s find out.

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