Shooting street photography with a Leica produces what I call “the rangefinder effect”. While people in the streets have a tendency to find it disturbing having a big ass DSLR pointed at their faces, their reaction is definitely quite different when they see the casually wandering photographer working the manual focus and the aperture ring of an almost anachronistic looking small black camera.
Obviously, shooting with other retro looking cameras like the Olympus PEN-F or the Fuji X100F is also much less intimidating than using a big DSLR with a huge lens attached. But those cams use autofocus and thus the process is often reduced to a simple point and shoot. The point and shoot approach would also work on a rangefinder using zone focusing (the systematic pre-focusing of a lens at specific distance and aperture to achieve a sharp image), but to get the hang of using a rangefinder I mostly take the time to set up the shots individually. Which, as totally unusual these days, draws curiosity and often a (probably pitiful) smile, the rangefinder effect. Especially when you are close to your subjects, what you have to be when you shoot street photography using a 35mm lens.
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I’ve been thinking about adding a smaller camera to my collection. Mostly for weight reduction so that I’d carry one more often. 🙂
Do it, Amy! I feel liberated just grabbing my Leica with the 35mm prime. Nothing to think about, easy to carry. Right now I can’t touch my Olympus and my gazillion Oly lenses 🙂
That makes me smile – I can imagine the amusement, like you’ve shown here, at seeing you work the focus ring.
Thanks, Lynn 🙂
What lenses do you use, then? I have an OMD Em1, but most of my lenses are autofocus….
This was shot with a Summicron 35mm F/2! All Leica M-lenses are fully manual. Marcus
Ah, I see!
Sometimes i miss shooting with a rangefinder. But overall i think i’m much happier shooting with a LCD screen on my fuji. It draws much less attention and instead of looking straight at the subject, i look at the screen so i avoid any kind of judgement that i might receive… It’s not perfect but it works for me.
It’s a nice candid shot Marcus! Cheers
Thanks, Yuri, and thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. The Leica M (Type 240) is the first that came with Live view, so there are other options if needed 😉 Marcus
I have still not shot with a Leica yet, and what you say is true about big dslrs.
The feeling of handling a Leica is amazing, Zeno. So is the image quality. I’m still getting my feet wet with this amazing cam. Marcus
A fun shot to observe. The subjects seem very mellow and happy. Judging by how little wine is left in their glasses makes it easy to understand why…
🙂 nice observation, hadn’t thought of that! Marcus