What is a Rangefinder and Why Should You Care?

Voigtlander Bessa R2A Rangefinder Camera

For those of us who have awakened only to digital cameras and only vaguely remember that people used to shoot pictures using film, the rangefinder maybe a bit of a mystery. But for people steeped in the tradition, the rangefinder touches the soul.

There were no computers then, and most people used ‘instamatic’ cameras to shoot pictures on film and then those photos were printed on Kodak paper by a specialized developing shop. The more sophisticated photographic buffs shot with rangefinder cameras. Why, they even did their own developing and printing at times.

Today, there is a revival of sorts for the rangefinder. While digital SLRs sold millions of units last year, Leica and Voigtlander – who still make 35mm rangefinder cameras, thank goodness! – quietly sold an estimated 20,000 units to hobbyists and photographic connoisseurs. They will be joined by Zeiss this year to carry the torch for the rangefinder camera.

For a good read, breeze through the Rangefinder Revival article by Herbert Keppler; your photographer’s soul will appreciate it.

[Via: PopPhoto.com]

Chris Malinao

About Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.

Panta 120 Film Camera with Steinar 75mm f/2.9 V Lens c. 1950 picture
Panta 120 Film Camera with Steinar 75mm f/2.9 V Lens c. 1950
SUPER PARAGON 75-200MM F4.5 PMC II AUTO TELEPHOTO ZOOM CAMERA LENS (VINTAGE)  picture
SUPER PARAGON 75-200MM F4.5 PMC II AUTO TELEPHOTO ZOOM CAMERA LENS (VINTAGE)
Ilford Sportsman Camera with Dacora Dignar 45mm f/3.5 Lens c. 1957-67 picture
Ilford Sportsman Camera with Dacora Dignar 45mm f/3.5 Lens c. 1957-67
Ilford Sportsman Camera with Dacora Dignar 45mm f/2.8 Lens c. 1957-67 picture
Ilford Sportsman Camera with Dacora Dignar 45mm f/2.8 Lens c. 1957-67
Braun Paxina Camera 120 Film with Braun - Praxar 75mm f/3.5 Lens picture
Braun Paxina Camera 120 Film with Braun - Praxar 75mm f/3.5 Lens