What's so funny about compact rangefinder cameras?

Somehow I feel the urge to tell the world about my reasons to use those peculiar little cameras. If you find this boring, it's perfectly ok, as like much of the stuff published on the WWW these are my unfiltered, unedited personal opinions.

First of all, I have to say that SLRs are OK. They really are. I keep on taking about 50% of my photographs with SLRs, and I doubt that I will ever stop doing so.

SLRs have the following principal advantages, as far as I am concerned:

So why worry about any other camera type, provided you're prepared to shell out €100 for a decent manual everything SLR with a normal lens?

The above mentioned advantages can be very important, or SLRs simply can be required, for special purposes or critical work like macrophotography or anything that involves focal lengths above 135mm, they are not indespensable for all other kinds of photography. Here some of the advantages rangefinder cameras have might be more important to you:

So what is for what? If you want to go wide, travel light and take it easy, go for an RF. If the thought of on single lens in the slightly-wide-to-normal range doesn't bother you, go for a compact RF. If you want long telephoto, macro and/or 100% accurate framing for slide shows, go for an SLR. If you want this plus AF and bells and whistles, go for an AF SLR.

If you can't decide, like me: try both, use both according to the situation, and never be angry you don't have your other camera with you.

I have to add something to the last paragraph, even if it has not much to do with the topic of this article: You can develop a certain nonchalance to photo equipment.
For the time being, I can (and usually do) leave the house (or hotel room, or whatever) with one camera and one lens. Be it a compact RF with 40 mm or an SLR with 135mm, I just take the pictures that fit the gear, and I seldom miss that big Tamrac case with gazillions of lenses and filters. It's sometimes nice to return the other day with another lens, but I can live without it. Call me mad. But I think this helps focusing (no pun intended) on taking pictures, not changing lenses.

jm2c

(You can actually have a bit of the best of both worlds with a TLR, but that's another story).

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Last modified March 16, 2010