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08-21-2016, 07:55 AM   #1
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Hotshoe Rangefinder?

Just wondering if I do need something like this. I use MF lenses on MILC bodies and am planning to use it on a film SLR, any suggestions?

Sincerely

08-21-2016, 08:09 AM   #2
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No need for a rangefinder on an SLR. The viewfinder is for focusing and the Sears camera you recently purchased has both microprism and split-image rangefinders built into the focus screen.


Steve
08-21-2016, 08:16 AM   #3
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Your question brings back many memories. Can you even find one today? They were useful in the days when cameras did not have built-in rangefinders or, in the case of SLRs, focusing screens (on some of the early SLRs the viewfinder was good only for framing the shot). I cannot see where they would have any value today unless you have a camera with no built-in ability to focus, either on a rear screen or through a viewfinder of some sort.
08-21-2016, 08:18 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpk Quote
Your question brings back many memories. Can you even find one today? They were useful in the days when cameras did not have built-in rangefinders or, in the case of SLRs, focusing screens (on some of the early SLRs the viewfinder was good only for framing the shot). I cannot see where they would have any value today unless you have a camera with no built-in ability to focus, either on a rear screen or through a viewfinder of some sort.
There are quite some coldshoe ones on eBay for less than 50 bucks (incl shipping). I actually asked because I saw one in good condition on eBay.

---------- Post added 08-21-16 at 08:20 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by cpk Quote
Your question brings back many memories. Can you even find one today? They were useful in the days when cameras did not have built-in rangefinders or, in the case of SLRs, focusing screens (on some of the early SLRs the viewfinder was good only for framing the shot). I cannot see where they would have any value today unless you have a camera with no built-in ability to focus, either on a rear screen or through a viewfinder of some sort.
I do plan to use MILC or modern DSLR (deciding between a6000/K-01/K-S1) and I guess if I get a K-S1 a rangefinder might be useful as I almost exclusively use M42 and K mount MF lenses.

08-21-2016, 10:14 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
I do plan to use MILC or modern DSLR (deciding between a6000/K-01/K-S1) and I guess if I get a K-S1 a rangefinder might be useful as I almost exclusively use M42 and K mount MF lenses.
Now you have me confused. With a MILC (K-01 included), manual focus is usually done with the rear LCD. With all but the earliest SLRs (K-S1 included) you generally use the optical viewfinder. With many dSLRs, live view using the rear LCD is also an option. I regularly use magnified live view for critical manual focus with my K-3. With the above digital cameras, manual focus confirm in live view is also available.

FWIW, I would get a K-S2 over the K-S1. Prices are falling on that model and it was high value to begin with.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 08-21-2016 at 10:28 AM.
08-21-2016, 10:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpk Quote
Your question brings back many memories. Can you even find one today? They were useful in the days when cameras did not have built-in rangefinders or, in the case of SLRs, focusing screens (on some of the early SLRs the viewfinder was good only for framing the shot). I cannot see where they would have any value today unless you have a camera with no built-in ability to focus, either on a rear screen or through a viewfinder of some sort.
Auxiliary rangefinders are plentiful on the used market and are popular with users of vintage scale focus cameras, but I don't believe any have been for sale new for many years. Thanks for mentioning early SLRs that were useless for focusing. They did exist, though I cannot bring any particular model to mind.


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08-21-2016, 11:46 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
There are quite some coldshoe ones on eBay for less than 50 bucks (incl shipping). I actually asked because I saw one in good condition on eBay.
Never thought of eBay. Last time I felt the need for one was back in 1976 for a Minox 35. Couldn't find one in the stores and eBay didn't exist back then. They are a bit of a pain to use because you have to transfer the rangefinder reading to the camera lens manually.

Another issue would be accuracy. I don't recall being able to calibrate them.

08-22-2016, 11:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Now you have me confused. With a MILC (K-01 included), manual focus is usually done with the rear LCD. With all but the earliest SLRs (K-S1 included) you generally use the optical viewfinder. With many dSLRs, live view using the rear LCD is also an option. I regularly use magnified live view for critical manual focus with my K-3. With the above digital cameras, manual focus confirm in live view is also available.

FWIW, I would get a K-S2 over the K-S1. Prices are falling on that model and it was high value to begin with.


Steve
I mean for K-S1/2 the rangefinder might be useful as AFAIK I can't get a split focus screen for it.

Last edited by butangmucat; 08-22-2016 at 11:00 PM. Reason: Remove Tapatalk Signature.
08-23-2016, 07:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by butangmucat Quote
I mean for K-S1/2 the rangefinder might be useful as AFAIK I can't get a split focus screen for it.
They use the same screen as other recent Pentax APS-C models.


Steve
08-23-2016, 05:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by cpk Quote
Never thought of eBay. Last time I felt the need for one was back in 1976 for a Minox 35. Couldn't find one in the stores and eBay didn't exist back then. They are a bit of a pain to use because you have to transfer the rangefinder reading to the camera lens manually.

Another issue would be accuracy. I don't recall being able to calibrate them.
Calibration is typically done via a small knob in the middle of the main wheel -- you point the range finder at something at infinity, set the main wheel to infinity and then adjust the tiny center knob until primary and secondary images line up. I've never seen a calibration for the span of the scale so if the internal prism/mirror movement mechanism has some wear or corrosion, the rangefinder might be off even if it's been calibrated for infinity.

But the bigger accuracy issue in that a lot of lenses (especially zooms) don't have accurate focus scales.

BTW, a rangefinder can come in handy in the studio -- measuring the distances from lights to subjects to manage total or relative light levels.
08-23-2016, 06:10 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
BTW, a rangefinder can come in handy in the studio -- measuring the distances from lights to subjects to manage total or relative light levels.


People doing focus pull for cine work also find them useful.


Steve
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