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Sunday, 03 June 2018

Comments

"perseverating"? OK. So you suggest that using an RF camera, such as the Leica, would be instructive to ones photographic education. In short is that not saying that using a Leica would make one a better photographer? Up to a point, I guess, but then I am always still learning. That is what digital photography brings to the equation. The ability to immediately review the result and make the appropriate changes, if necessary. With only a basic education in "photography", if any at all, the trial and error education usually leads to improved results. Even with smart phones one quickly learns what will work and what doesn't. A perseverating education in photography.

One more disadvantage - there is no warning if the lens cap is left on.

Mike,

Your stated advantage of being able to see beyond the frame lines is only an advantage for those who find it so. For at least one of us, the image is framed at the point beyond which no more of it can be seen.....done. But to then be made to take into account those frame lines, and to deduct (approximately!) everything seen beyond them, is a disruptive bit of visual math that just slows things down.

To be fair, I think that point must be included in both columns.

Bob

Why specifically a Leica rangefinder? I mean, sure, it's the most famous and probably in many ways the best camera of that type; but you don't have to spend thousands on a Leica system to gain experience with the advantages and disadvantages you cite. I have a set of old Konica fixed-lens rangefinders from the 1940s and '50s (Konica I, II, and III) which are charming cameras in their own right and can be found in the used market today at very modest prices. I see a few on eBay at the moment for less than $100.

"....—you're seeing with your eye as if through a windowpane, rather than looking at any sort of aerial image or electronic viewing screen" – Mike

Hmmm, did you mean optical, perhaps? I took the meaning of an aerial image to be an one from the perspective of being very high up and looking down on the subject or field of view, e.g. from a B24 Liberator, RQ-4A Global Hawk, the Goodyear blimp, top of the Golden Gate Bridge, etc.

Regarding the "coincident rangefinder patches are sometimes easier to focus...."

I looked through the rangefinder of a Leica III last month at the local camera show, and....it was awful. Whoa! You can't see sh*t through those, particularly indoors. Clearly the much bigger viewfinder from the Leica M3 onwards was a major improvement.

I still really, really like window finders, and as embodied on the Fujifilm X100-series, you can also tell when you left the lens cap on. :-)

A wireframe finder and a Kalart focospot on a Graphic would be even better by these metrics.

I once rigged up a laser pointer and a RF camera to work like that, but sadly the red spots freak people out.

Frankly I think that the obsession with view finders is inversely proportional to an obsession with using a camera as a tool to see or "remember"* what you couldn't see without it, which is to me the whole point of photography.

*in quotes because it's sort of the opposite of remembering as well as being a superset of remembering.

I love my car's manual transmission but I never want to go back to a rangefinder camera.

The danger of chimping with the digital review method is twofold; firstly you may lose your lessons/recordings in how you got to the shot you wanted, if you are a serial deleter. But also that tiny screen encourages you to give up early, when there could be a better shot just a few more adjustments/captures away. When you're not sure, you make sure.

While I have some ability to envisage things I have not tried, all the descriptions of the pros and cons just went over my head until I bought a rangefinder (well, a Fuji X100s) and experienced it. Four years later I understand it.

I agree with your comments regarding education. (rangefinder and film) but there is a cheaper alternative—a used Leica and a handheld light meter. This way, the student, using a handheld light meter would also learn about exposure. These days its just too easy to rely on the camera's autoexposure.

More disadvantages:
Usekess for macro or close up work
Color filter effects are even more difficult to evaluate
And double down on the lens usage limitations
Richard Newman

Of the three primary means of framing an image now current -- rangefinder, SLR, and EVF -- the one that gives the most "immersive" experience (as it's nowadays called), and the most immediacy, is definitely the rangefinder. It's always been my contention that with an SLR you are somewhat abstracted from the scene you are shooting, mostly because you have that camera in front of your face (and you're abstracted even further if using a zoom lens because then you can radically change the angle of view at will without moving a step), but also because of all the automated readouts happening in the viewfinder (metering and so on). An EVF takes this abstraction from the scene and increases it by several orders of magnitude. Now you're not looking at the scene at all, but at a simulacrum of the scene. It's like doing photography via closed circuit TV, albeit a hi-def, hi-res one.

For photography, immersion and immediacy are where it's at. Sure, you can make do with less of it, or even none. Given the right equipment -- a robot camera, let's say, and an extremely low latency internet connection -- you could make photos of a scene that's on the other side of the globe from you, and in virtually real time. But for best results, and a much higher "hit rate", immersion and immediacy are what you want -- photographing the scene you're in, rather than photographing at the scene while at a remove from it.

All things being equal, then, and of equal expense, the rangefinder wins it, at least in my view. But, alas, all things are not equal, as we know, and definitely not of equal expense.

A few years ago I came into a bit of money. Not a lot, but enough so that I could buy pretty much any kit I wanted (PhaseOne IQ3 excepted) without feeling the pinch. I thought about Leica, but in the end decided on Fuji. One of my friends happened to be the local Leica rep. He'd been the rep for about 25 years and was the personification of Leica Camera. In fact, a lot of people knew him as "Mister Leica". When I related my decision to him, he asked, "Why not Leica?" And that's when, for the first time, I said aloud what I'd been thinking, "I'm not sure it's good value for money." I felt like a promising young preist who'd just told the Pope there's no God. But when the money was about to hit the countertop and it came time to decide on working tools that would be the most reliable, result in the least frustration, and actually be worth their asking price, Fujifilm seemed a far better choice.

What I'd really have preferred is a couple of R-D1's with an up-to-date sensor. Somebody should buy the rights to the R-D1 and make that camera. A lot of photographers covet an updated R-D1, but in the absence of one we're trying to like EVF, or using DSLR's, or selling a kidney to buy Leica when there are, overall, better, more reliable cameras available for a great deal less. I actually like composing on a screen, but that's a completely different kind of photography, and for that I have a Ricoh GR. I'd still like a good rangefinder for all the advantages it confers.

You’ve captured why I love RF viewing, especially with a Leica M. It’s easy for me to enjoy the advantages while dealing with or avoiding the disadvantages through lens choice, subject matter and experience.

Leica also helps compensate with some offsetting features such as frame lines that shift to accommodate parallax, lenses that have distance markings for DOF, electronically lit frame lines with color options (starting with the M 240), etc. And there are the Tri- Elmars (TE): 28-35-50 MATE (moderate angle); and 16-18-21 WATE (wide angle). The latter operates as a true zoom, although one needs an accessory VF, even if not using intermediate focal lengths.

It’s also a bit of a myth that the RF can only be calibrated for a single lens. Leica independently calibrates the camera and lenses, each to a standard, which now requires closer tolerances in the digital world. If the user experiences a problem, Leica Service asks the customer to send in the body and the lenses for calibration, but this is because they prefer to check everything rather than rely on user opinion and to avoid multiple servicing.

Re: The Lenscap Problem. Many years ago when I was doing my mandatory time as a sales clerk in a camera store we had a procedure whenever we sold a rangefinder camera/lens. We would open the box on the counter in front of the customer, remove the lens cap and, with a flourish, toss it in the trash can. Then we'd sell them a clear filter to protect the lens.

Alfred Korzybski famously said "the map is not the territory" and, less famously, "the word is not the thing"

Paraphrasing, "Words are not the experience"

Your lists are long, and I agree with many points - BUT -all those words are completely unrelated to the actual experience of using a rangefinder. I dislike using rangefinders. I have looked through a few, hoping the experience will improve, but it never did. I used an Olympus XA for some time in spite of that deficiency for its other unique qualities, but never liked the RF.

In other news, you have got an item in the wrong list.

"Prime lenses of moderate focal length make the most sense; you're not tempted [able] to use zoom lenses or telephoto lenses longer than about 135mm, and you're discouraged from doing closeups."

This is a major disadvantage, where I am. \;~)>

My Gestalt and yours differ. Dealing with those overlapping bits distances me from the world. Then again, all those bits of tech info in the VF? I just don't notice them, I see past them, to the occasional detriment of the results, but like having them there when I do want to know.

BTW, it seems to me that using an LCD panel clearly shows the relationship between what is in the frame and the larger world. I use that a lot when working with a tripod. Hand held, I generally prefer the EVF.

Although I loved using Leicas, I was never that great at focusing with the rangefinder patch. Outside in bright light, no problem--set f/8 or so and zone focus. Depth of field carried me through okay. Indoors when maximum aperture was needed, my focusing was slow or it was off. And many times focus was both slow and off. With SLRs, I was much faster and more precise since the whole screen was usable for focusing. Those were the days when my eyes were much younger.

Today, manual focusing is frustrating for me. Luckily, Fuji makes a couple of really nice viewfinder cameras with OVFs that autofocus (The XPro and X100 series cameras). For my purposes, they're more practical than rangefinders while handling a lot like the Leicas I used to love using. Plus, as long as you're using only the OVF section of the Fuji finder, you get to enjoy quite a few of the rangefinder advantages and disadvantages.

Although my first experience of a real camera did not involve me actually using it, the rangefinder design imprinted itself on my nine-year-old mind as being what a real camera should look like - my Dad owned one, and that was enough.

But I always preferred the square edged types rather that rounded Leica look. Don't know why, but I guess it didn't look like a Konika S3. My early experience in camera clubs as a young enthusiast also rather put me off Leica owners, though I realise that it's unfair to generalise.

I never used an RF film camera - by the time I was old enough to buy a real camera, they were either out of production or very expensive. My used and reconditioned AE-1P was a cheap but honest workhorse with a good 50 1.8, but I always regarded SLRs as ungainly and loud.

Fuji managed to recreate all the advantages of a true rangefinder without (as far as I can see) any or the drawbacks. The frame-lines can zoom, the parallax is quite accurate, it can use tele lenses, and you can get a hybrid optical/EVF view for focus confirmation.

It also looks - to me - like a real camera. Without all the lumps and bumps, it slides easily in and out of a camera bag, the VF in the corner allows me to use both eyes for composition and it gives me plenty of nose-room.

So, as a mirrorless fan, where RF/SLR is a mere styling affectation, I see more advantages in the RF format in general, and Fuji's in particular.

Being a simple minded soul I divide photography into two types. The BLINK and The STARE.

A stare photograph records predominantly static things, often in great detail. Carl Weese when recording The Pike drive in or Bon Air Motel, used a large format camera on a tripod.
http://www.carlweese.com/DI.html

The Pike’s blank screens, redundant signs and abandoned structures, allowed Carl time to move around to select what he judged to the ‘best’ position for the tripod mounted camera. Additionally, the camera movements allow, if necessary, the plane of focus to be moved or verticals to be corrected, the lens image circle permitting. Eight by ten film is expensive and the equipment bulky and heavy. Consequently, with time available to stare, move and carefully judge the framing, a limited number of exposures get made or are necessary. A second, five or even longer, usually make scant difference, often being the duration of the exposure.

In contrast, the exposure duration of a blink photograph is a specific and necessarily precise fraction of second. A time period too short for human perception. Anyone who photographs random movements, such as people interacting seldom sees what the camera records. If perceived, it is likely the moment is gone. History that can no longer be photographed.
http://pro.magnumphotos.com/Asset/-2S5RYDI063YA.html

Josef Koudelka with his 25mm lens on clunky 35mm SLR, didn’t see what the camera recorded, though for sure he anticipated and understood the possibilities of the situation. For a start, the rising mirror blacked out the viewfinder at the moment of exposure. Only later, when looking at his contact sheet could he decide if his instinctual understanding of the situations potential had paid off. Interestingly, part of the strength of Koudelka’s book ‘Gypsies’ is how it shows his ability to make both Blink and Stare photographs with the same hand-held camera, in less than ideal circumstances.
http://pro.magnumphotos.com/Asset/-2S5RYDRJXGW.html

I started with 35mm SLR cameras. But never liked the dark tunnel viewfinder, with its shallow maximum aperture take on the world. Then a friend, (thanks Ian) lent me his little fixed lens rangefinder camera. A clear glass viewfinder, interrupted only by the rangefinder patch and floating frame lines. A view from near to far, with the bonus of being able to see what was happening outside the picture area. Plus, a nice angle of view from the 42mm lens. Immediately, the pictures got better and easier to make.

This led to a second hand Leica M4-2, with four lenses. Sold the 90mm very quickly. The 28mm hung around until recently, despite very little use. Later came an M6, again used.

This was dropped when climbing over a metal fence. Starting its descent about eight feet above ground it bounced off a steel post, landing lens down on a metal drain cover. A gouge out of the body’s leatherette covering but otherwise fine. The 35mm Summicron was not so happy, with the front pushed in at an angle. A call to Malcolm Taylor, who made ‘kicking the tyres comments’ warning that a new focusing unit might be needed. It wasn’t and the lens is still going strong, with all its optical strengths and weaknesses intact.

The SLRs ability to handle any focal length or even zoom lenses is of no value to me. Two lenses is pushing to the limit, with the 35mm and 50mm lenses being all I can effectively handle. Extreme focal lengths, or worse, zoom lenses, guarantee confusion. What I want from any camera is transparency in use.

With BLINK photographs, speed is everything. A tabbed Leica lens, with only a minimum of practice is already focussed when the camera has reached eyelevel. (Leica selling a 50mm Summicron without a focussing tab was madness.) Knowing precisely when the shutter will fire aids anticipation, as does the short delay. An angled re wind crank, though more liable to damage is also a necessity. Don’t care about either the frame-line selector lever or the M4’s self timer.

By using simple and reliable tools, which also include an XPan (with a cable tie focussing tab) and a 5x4 on a tripod, I am free to concentrate on making photographs. In the same way the simplicity of the potter’s wheel aids the ceramicist to make vessels, or the four strings of a violin, when used well can produce great music.

My sustained interest in a photograph is as a physical object. Be it a print or sequenced in a book. Making me more of an outlier is that also, at least in my own photography, I am only interested in black and white and the greys between. (I consider this commitment to B & W to be neither arbitrary nor capricious, though clarifying this is beyond the scope of the comment.)

The life of the average screen displayed photograph makes that of a mayfly seem like eternity. Also, most such pictures, irrespective of genre, like an individual fly in a swarm, seem pretty much indistinguishable from any other in the cloud, while receiving as little attention.

Consequently, I make prints and inflict them on others. Sometimes their own portrait, or of someone in their family – (leading to the rabbit hole of a photograph of someone holding their own photographic portrait). Often just a photograph which may interest them. Sometimes, many times, these prints disappear without trace. Others though, stick around. Pinned to display boards. Attached by a magnet to a fridge door. Hidden in boxes and scrapbooks. Carefully framed even. Demonstrating the German saying that translates as, paper is patient.

A month or so back at a motorway service station, I noticed a stranger and his partner peering quizzically at me. Someone not seen for seventeen years. Both of us older, while he was hiding behind a beard. After the updates he was quick to say, “We’ve still got your photographs.” A degree of stickiness, lacking with the same images on a screen.

On a narrow wall at home are two framed 8x10 platinum palladium contact prints. Carl Weese’s The Pike drive in and the Bon Air Motel, from a TOP print sale. Due to the width of the space, they are hung one above the other. Often ignored. However, sometimes I’ll look again at the one at eye level and see something new or anew. Then I swop their positions and they continue to wait patiently for someone’s attention.

I will take this opportunity to lob a mild curse in Carl’s direction. I am partway through acquiring a 10x8 camera. Partway? A couple of suitable lenses and a handful of film holders. All that’s missing is the bit connecting them. Once sorted, more and different prints, though I won’t be going as far as friends Terry and Tom. Meanwhile, one or both M Leicas continue as reliable tools.

https://evans-hulf.pixelrights.com/

http://www.terryhulf.com/

I take my Leica's out for a walk a few times a year. It's kind of like going to the cemetery to visit old relatives. It's something you feel you should do and when you do your glad it's over.

But a whole roll of unexposed film looks so transparent that after developing it by yourself two of them you will never forget to pocket the lens cap as soon as you hold the camera and put it back as soon as you place it somewhere else.

Well some people ride horses, play vinyl records through valve (tube) amps, use large format cameras etc etc. The great thing is to have the choice, although the ordinary person has to win the lottery to be able to own a new Leica. The latter is the thing about Leicas that I don't get. It used to be the same with Hasselblads. The Bronica was a better camera for less money.

Learning to shoot with just one lens "..so you learn how each lens sees.." ..to me, that's like restricting yourself to just lower-case, or TO JUST CAPITALS, or to wrtng wtht vwls, or to writing prose, but no poetry, or vice versa. Why do it?

Why deprive yourself ..I mn wh dprv yrslf.. just to learn what one particular lens ..or just one set of letters ..maybe just the second half the alphabet.. can do?

Why restrict yourself to using a 50mm lens, and not being able to take shots of what's across the road, except by - here comes that old patronising chestnut - "zooming with your feet"?

I want pictures to look how I want them to look. and not be hobbled by a single focal length ..or to have to carry three or four lenses, and to swap them around just to get the picture I want. That was in the 1970s. That's daft in this day and age.

I find that the pictures I like best I've shot - mainly - with a very wide zoom ..say 21-45-ish, or a 16-35mm. Having just a 21mm or a 16mm isn't always sufficient, and nor is using just a 35mm.

I do have manual focus rangefinders -and a huge assortment of lenses to go with them - but I use them only occasionally, just for nostalgia's sake. Not using autofocus zooms is just silly - for me. And I was born in '47, and have been taking, developing and printing photos since 1954 ..when the M3 was born.

I have a digital rangefinder (..we-ell, two; Epson R-D1 and an M9, both interesting in their own way..) but they're simply for olde time's sake ..I take pictures with silent Sony A7 series cameras and Olympus micro-4/3s, plus a handful of teeny pocket compact cameras.

"..I've said in the past that it would be ideal for any photographer's education to shoot B&W film with a Leica rangefinder for a year, regardless of what he or she will go on to do or what techniques he or she will go on to use." ..But that's for making copies of the kind of photographer that perhaps YOU were, or are. Why should new photographers shoot in the way that YOU have done? Let them discover what THEY want to do with a camera ..why not insist that they shoot Daguerrotypes or wet-plate collodion for a year before they consider themselves 'photographers'?

How're we gonna get new ways of seeing the world if we insist on people using the old ways?

One more advantage, one more disadvantage:
Filters don't affect the viewfinder image. A yellow or red filter for bw will not make the viewfinder image darker/unnatural (I do understand that some people might see this as an advantage). This is of course also a major disadvantage: For polarizing or graduated filters.

Ah, and forgot: The viewfinder position for Rangefinders can be on the left side of the camera. This makes a bit more of the photographer visible behind the camera which might or might not make a difference to people on the other side of the camera. Only good if your right eye is the dominant one, of course.

To me this is the reason why I dislike the EVF in the middle mirrorless "SLR-like" camera gestalt, and would like to see more Fuji X-E3 or Sony 6000 lookalikes.

Mostly agree, though I'm not sure what you really mean about the view being "seductive" or why an aerial image is bad. The argument the other way, of course, is that in an SLR you see the actual image abstracted on a screen, much more like a final print on the wall.

Additional benefit about the viewfinder patch—that area where both light paths superimpose is the brightest area in the viewfinder, so you're focusing on the brightest image available.

Reminds me a little of this...
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_for_Creative_Anachronism

(Which is not to say I didn’t enjoy messing around with a Vito CLR once upon a time.)

My favourite viewfinder was a Kontur-style Kirn accessory finder. Shooting with both eyes open, with the framelines magically superimposed onto the world was liberating.

"This is why I've said in the past that it would be ideal for any photographer's education to shoot B&W film with a Leica rangefinder for a year",

Perhaps but in this contemporary state of the craft it is a very poor way to learn the craft from the beginning. Both the Rangefinder and film are special aspects of what we do. Experience with them is best when fundamental skills are already in place.

I can hear the hue and cry now; " Whatdyamean? Thats how I learned." Yeah, me too. But we had no choice in the 70s. Further, many of us are self-starters, self-taught, use discipline as needed, and bring considerable skills to the learning process.

As an educator I am too aware of how special and uncommon those things are. The attrition rate in our basic film classes is over 67% compared to our entry-level Digital class which can lose 15-30%.

However, I could take this to our more advanced classes and, even those who never shot film, would nail the fundamentals of film in no time. Toss in a Leica MX, and you are off to the races.

That said, after a while they would tire of the tedium, the volumes of time and special dark-needs of the process. But, there will be one or two who might catch the bug and find the right support situation.

"Window to the world" is the only one I care about. It's how I "see" when I out a camera to my eye. I presently don't have a Leica or other rangefinder - I just stick an OVF on my Rx1, or my Merrills - I'm happy to guess the auto focus point, or zone focus, or guess focus, if needed. Sure, I may miss a few shots (or even many shots) but so what? Film my have been cheap, but digital is free. Of course, I could perfectly compose and expose and focus every time using an evf; but if I can't identify an image I want to make before tripping the shutter, what's the point?


Why not an optical finder on a DSLR for some of the advantages--namely fast framing/know what is coming into the FOV?

I use a 35 mm Voigtlander finder on one of my Pentax DSLRs, and a zone focussed wide angle lens for theatre photography. It keeps me in touch with "the moment."

One more advantage ,for an old Leica. If you carry it with a wrist strap it would make a hell of a blackjack we’re you to get mugged and you probably will be able to take the perps picture as he lays unconscious at your feet. All theoretical of course

Dick,

"One more disadvantage - there is no warning if the lens cap is left on."
Actually there is a warning as I think you will have an under-exposure warning in the viewfinder of a digital M.

BUT:

The solution is never put a lens cap on an RF.

Jack

Take it from Thorsten Overgaard.


http://overgaard.dk/Leica-M10-digital-rangefinder-camera-page-04-Sexy-Stuff-for-the-Leica-M.html

"The Things You Don't Need for your Leica M

You don't need lens caps

With a rangefinder you may easily forget to remove the lens cap. But moreover, the lens don't really need all that protection unless you throw it in a bag full of coins and keys. And that would in any case ruin the paint on the barrel.
The way most of us carry lenses, is in a soft compartment in a bag, or on a camera around the neck. In those instances, the lens does not need a lens cap.
It is quite unpractical to have to keep an eye on a lens cap when you want to take a photo. Did you take it off? Where do you put it while you take the photo, and did you remember to put it on again or did you forget it on the table?"

Wow! From your last three posts about Leica and rangefinders I cam certainly see how polarizing the subject is whenever the name "Leica" comes up. Don't seem to be much middle ground and it's hard to balance on a knife edge.

Mike, I reread your 2009 essay about improving your photography by using black and white film in a Leica with ONE lens for a year. Excellent. I see so many digital pictures that look like the guy behind the viewfinder said, "Wow, I have this great new X to 10x zoom lens. I will take 12 pictures of the same thing at different zoom lengths; that will show I am a creative photographer." I differ slightly with your admonition that the education camera must be a Leica. There are still plenty of great mid-level Japanese rangefinder cameras from the 1960s and 1970s for sale on the big auction site at reasonable price. As long as you had a model with manual aperture and shutter speed, one of them would be fine for the year with black and white.

David Bennett's comment hit the nail on the head. It's in the using, not the listing of pros and cons, even the gestalt pros and cons, that they make sense at all. And to some even then they don't.

The price gives both sides far to much to lose in this debate. If you don't have one and concede that rangefinders are fantastic, you're faced with the compulsion to get one or the pain of not affording to. If you have one and concede that they're antiquated trinkets, you admit some kind of logical lapse. I bet if they were the price of a Holga the heat would go out the window.

Safer see the other side as the fools they are.

The only people I can't relate to are the ones who keep one to use on occasion. They're horrible occasional cameras — being so expensive and needing practice to stay dialled into.

Another benefit that was, sort of, mentioned in disadvantages. Rangefinders can be a lot brighter than slr viewfinders. Leica's are bright. Some others have probably a lot of untreated glass in the finder so they can be a bit darker. But seldom as dark as an slr with a 2.8 or slower lens on.
And the finder is as bright with a slow lens as with a 'lux.

I neither know much or care much about Leicas, but two of my favourite cameras, the Cosina Voigtländer Bessa III 667, and the Hasselbad XPan both have accurate frame rangefinders and neither feel obsolete or overpriced. I also know of no TTL focussing direct alternative for either...

I certainly didn’t buy them because they are RF cameras. They just happened to be so, and in both cases it makes sense.

My M3 is my favorite camera hands down. M6 comes second and then all the rest, including my Pentax LX for macro. I love my current camera, an XPRO-2, the closest thing to a rangefinder for me.

Terry Letton: You’re right. Abbas once repeled a couple of burglars hitting them with his M2 in Mexico City.

Rangefinders are often superior to any sort of mirror or EVF for the simple reason that you can see outside the frame when the camera is in the taking position, allowing you to reframe as needed and anticipate action coming into the frame.

Regarding focusing, for me, my Nikon D810 is much slower. It's kind of humorous that people think that focusing a rangefinder is some horrible imposition but don't mind poking at their d-pad to select a focus point - which is much slower than a rf patch.

If you have a tabbed lens you sort of get a feel for where each distance lies so you can prefocus before you bring the camera up to your eye. And of course, nothing is faster than zone focusing which the dof markings provided on rangefinder lenses make simple. These are, sadly, as rare as unobtainium on most lenses made today.

If your are shooting birds or basketballs clearly a rangefinder is not the right tool, but otherwise it's a simple and elegant solution. The oldest fork dates to about 2400BC and its design works just as well today.

There's also the problem of the way people "see," and rangefinders don't work very well for people who naturally see "long." The wide-angle world looks odd to me, and the sweet spot for Leicas is 35-50, IMHO. I've had two Leicas, and I did like being able to see outside the frame lines, and I'm kind of intrigued by Fuji's hybrid rangefinder, though I've never used one.

My OCD is getting the OCD from just reading this list of "advantages."

I haven't seen the best reason mentioned, the ability to use non-retro focus wide-angle lenses. See for example the Mamiya 43 mm. Enough said.

If you want the purely mechanical rangefinder experience without the pesky problem of paying for actual quality, find a Fed or Zorki Russian copy of a Leica screw-mount body. They don’t have to be that terrible, but they often are. I have several, each time thinking I’d finally found one that would focus accurately or not leak light. They often worked fine, except when they didn’t. I’ve toyed with the notion of finding a Summicron to put on the Fed 5 to see if it would spontaneously combust out of a mixture of shame and outrage.

Let's see, an Olympus Air A01 M4/3 camera module (just over $200 on keh.com) with your iPhone 7+ and a hood (Hoodman Drone Hood at Adorama) and some tripod brackets made in the workshop would closely approximate a M4/3 view camera for cheap. I think that was what Oly had in mind, but not many people picked up on it.
All this discussion of history reminds me why I quit film in 2001 forever. It was a week-long trip to the Galapagos with a Nikon. After a few days of visiting islands, I had to start buying up film from others on the trip because I had shot the 16 rolls (2 per day, I figured) I had brought with me. And my back and shoulder were sore from carrying the heavy Nikon and a couple of zooms while hiking over the islands. When I got home, I think it cost me over $300 to develop the film and weeks to scan it on a so-so scanner of the era to post on my website. (http://jimhayes.com/galap/index.htm) Thus began my obsession with keeping up with digital technology.

If I get my Fuji X100T (more than 50% likely) I wonder if I will just

1) stick with the fixed lens or cave in and buy the WA and ‘Tele’ adapters
2) just use the optical finder and forgo the EVF

#1 is likely I’ll just stick with the 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens; 27mm would be better

#2 most probably stick with the OVF, though I haven’t seen the 100T’s EVF

FWIW, unlike Bob I like that one can see outside the frame lines. Especially when photographing in busy locations (i .e., street photography) I can tell when someone or something is about to intrude on a composition. Anticipation is key.

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