Rangefinder Camera

Rangefinder cameras are wonderful film cameras that can produce quality photos with a unique method. A unique method that makes using them different from any other camera, including modern cameras such as DSLRs. It takes some skill and time with a rangefinder camera in order to be able to use one masterfully.

Why A Rangefinder Camera is Different?

How To Use A Rangefinder Camera

Image by Alex Borland | Public Domain

One of the first things that most people notice about rangefinder cameras is that the viewfinders are designed to be used with both eyes open instead of just one. Viewing your image with both eyes allows for a lot of benefits such as brighter images, more viewing range, and better positioning of the camera. The viewfinder is just the start though.

Traditional rangefinder cameras are works of film art. Unlike mass-produced digital cameras or even mass-produced DSLRs, rangefinder cameras are all invented then crafted with great care to detail. They are often considered works of art. Models are well thought through and have unique features. That also often leads to each model having its own unique quirks. Quirky cameras are often what allow artists to create masterpieces.

Function wise a rangefinder camera works by having a rangefinder display in a viewfinder that does not look through the lens like most cameras do. The rangefinder display in the viewer shows you what objects the camera’s lens are able to see. As you focus the lens, the image becomes clearer and you are able to determine the distance that the subject is from the camera.

This is a very simple explanation of a complex process. A person who is very technical and well-skilled with cameras might be able to figure out the basics of a rangefinder camera and produce great photos. It doesn’t mean that they will have a mastery of that camera any time soon. So how do you use one of these cameras? Let’s take a look.

How To Shoot With A Rangefinder Camera?

Shooting with a rangefinder camera in some ways similar to shooting with a traditional camera. If you have mastered those skills, you are already aware of some of the basics. Converting those skills to snapping shots with a rangefinder camera is half the work, the rest is made up of a set of specific skills that are best learned through practice. We will cover each of those skills here.

Shooting With Both Eyes, Not One

One of the first things that you need to learn to do is shoot with both of your eyes open. At first, this may sound easy but in practice, it can be much more difficult than it sounds. Doing other activities that are normally associated with one eye being closed such as shooting, will help with this but the only way to truly master the concept is through trial and error.

It is not necessary to shoot with both eyes all the time when using a rangefinder but it will get you much higher quality photos as you get a better view and are able to see more and through that better aim the camera.

After mastering the use of shooting with both eyes open some professionals like to split their eyes into different purposes. For example, one eye might be for putting the image together while the other is used to observe what is around and make sure that nothing is going to ruin the shot.

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