The Rangefinder effect

What's up, shutterbug
1/350 sec | f/9.5 | ISO 1250 | 35mm

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.

If you are looking for tips and inspirations around photography, be sure to check out my free Learning Center.

Wish you a great Monday!

Marcus

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13 thoughts on “The Rangefinder effect

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  1. I’ve been thinking about adding a smaller camera to my collection. Mostly for weight reduction so that I’d carry one more often. 🙂

    1. 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 🙂

  2. 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

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