The iconic Leica camera, often cloned and duplicated by many, the Russians with their Fed line, and the Japanese by Canon, Nikon, and Yashica. Wait, Yashica? Meet the Yashica YF, a camera that I didn’t even know existed until fellow photographer and friend James Lee showed it off. The YF, based on the Nicca 3L, which Yashica bought up the whole company, is a wonderful combination of the Barnack Leicas and the M-Series. Combined in such a way to produced a spectacular camera that shows off exactly how a rangefinder of the era should look and behave. Big thanks to James Lee for loaning outRead More →

As someone who learned photography on a rangefinder, I have a soft spot for the style of camera. And as a student of history, being able to shoot on a camera made by the oldest photography companies in the world (sort of) is even better. Taking both these facts, the Bessa R2M is a joy of a camera. Joy in the sense that it is a very accessible camera, pretty much if you can shoot any film camera you can use this one, and without the gnashing of teeth that might come with a German rangefinder camera. Now as you may (or may not) knowRead More →

Before the infamous red-dot there were the Barnack Leica’s. These compact rangefinders were designed by Barnack to take motion picture (35mm) film so that he could carry them around without giving him trouble with his asthma. The Leica III was the companies World War 2 camera and was the direct competitor to the Zeiss Ikon Contax line (which is why the Contax IIIa was featured earlier this month). I do like this camera but it really is one I like to hate so I don’t want to get rid of it really, it’s an excellent camera mostly due to the lens and it is smallRead More →

There have been many photographers of fame that have inspired me, people like Ansel Adams to really pay attention to the details, be precise and to think first then take the photo. Stanley Kubrick for his composition and then there’s Robert Capa. Capa was the delfacto combat photographer of World War 2 in Fortress Europe, and after reading his WW2 book, Slightly Out of Focus I wanted to put together a historic impression of a WW2 combat photographer. And while many cameras of the era are in the realm of the collector and in poor functionality I wanted to go with something newer or similar.Read More →

Playing along the same lines of the fixed lens camera rangefinders of the 1960s and 70s the Olympus 35 SP is one of the top models that you can get from that era, I’d actually rank it equal with the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. And the best part as many people go for the Cannonet line of cameras, the 35 SP again like the 7s is more of an underdog camera and like many Olympus cameras has gained somewhat of a cult following. But what made the camera stand out among it’s peers that a dual metering system that had both a center weighted and anRead More →

Probably the most powerful pocket camera I’ve ever used, the Olympus XA brings the power of the rangefinder, aperture priority and stunning optics into something that can fit in almost every pocket. I’ve used a couple cameras from the XA line in the past, the terribly restrictive XA1 (don’t let the 1 fool you, the 1 came later than the XA and was pretty darn limited), along with the wide angle XA4, but the XA is truly where Olympus made something that was nothing short of magic. The Dirt Make: Olympus Model: XA Type: Rangefinder Format: 35mm, 35x24mm Lens: Fixed, Olympus F.Zuiko 1:2.8 f=35mm YearRead More →

The Hi-Matic 7s, where to start on this sweet fixed lens rangefinder. It truely is the underdog when it comes to the rangefinder explosion of the 1960s and today is barely seen with everyone clamoring for Yashica Electros, Canonet QL17 GIIIs, and Olympus 35SP, and while these are all great cameras the Hi-Matic 7s is a true sleeper. The slightly upgraded version of the Hi-Matic 7 (the second camera in the Hi-Matic line) features the same meter as Minolta’s SrT line of single lens reflex cameras, a hotshoe, and the Safe Loading System (SLS). This also happens to be the very first camera that IRead More →

A favoured camera of the street photography group, the rangefinder, is one of those niche cameras that is often associated with brands like Leica. However while none of us have a Leica to present this episode we have some fine (cheaper) alternatives to the Leica that are sure to get your attention. The main feature of the rangefinder is that the viewfinder is often off-set from the taking lens, and uses a super-imposed image that you ‘line up’ to get the focus. However, composing takes a bit of work. The first rangefinders were produced by Kodak back in 1916, but really got popular in 1925Read More →

Sometimes you just look up and see your first camera sitting there, the lens still shining as if new, and it begs you to be used. Well that happened recently, my very first camera, religated to my third shelf (were I place seldom used cameras, ones that work but have something off with them, or just cannot get the film anymore…), the Minolta Hi-Matic 7s, a five dollar garage sale find. All mechanical, the battery for the light meter long dead, but everything still works. So I dicided to take it out for a trip. Because I can. Minolta Hi-Matic 7s – Rokkor-PF 45mm 1:1.7Read More →