A Little Retro Detour Through RF Land

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by penfan2010, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. penfan2010

    penfan2010 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 12, 2010
    NJ, USA
    I have not been contributing as much to the :43: forum in the last few months in part because of work but also because I have spent some time on the rangefinderforum site. I was never really a heavy RF shooter since I worried about getting my M3 stolen while walking around with it.
    But because I spent time re-reading all my photo books on the great photographers who shot primarily with RFs, I got inspired to go back to basics. I also wanted my older boy to have a stronger foundation on the fundamentals of photography; he's progressing as a photographer but the old school part of me wanted him to know what it meant to read the light around him and then physically set an aperture and a shutter speed based on his best guesstimate of the exposure. I found good reviews for the Olympus 35 SP and Canon QL17 and got one each off eBay in excellent condition for our birthdays (we share a birthday, 30 years apart).


    I have since been doing quite a bit of street shooting on weekends, by myself and with my son, happily experimenting with the "Sunny 16" exposure guide of yore (I don't have a battery for my Oly light meter; my son's Canon has a working light meter, but I insist he does not use the "A" setting). It took a bit to get back in the groove of shooting with an RF patch and setting all the dials manually, but, just like riding a bike, it all came back. My son has been having a blast as well (he uses the Canon), and he realizes now that not all cameras have AF, that using the same ISO film over and over again improves his ability to guesstimate the exposure without a light meter, the utility of the "foot zoom" on his fixed focal length RF (a gorgeous 40mm F1.7), and that, yes, you have to wind the film advance lever to get to the next shot! :smile: As a side benefit, all his friends think he's really cool for shooting so "retro".

    Sample photos from my temporary "detour" away from :43: below:

    From the Canon QL17 with a tack sharp, contrasty 40mm 1.7:

    Old Kharman Ghia under repair in a local auto shop

    Church Spire

    Bike and Ball


    And from the Oly 35SP, with the equally amazing 42mm 1.7--oddly enough, seems a little softer than the Canon despite all the reviews to the contrary (maybe I still haven't gotten the RF alignment 100% right):

    Boy and Blackberry

    110 42nd

    Library Steps

    Jersey Shore

    Grand Central - cheated on this in post because the 35 SP is heavier than my E-PL1 and doesn't have IBIS, so got a bit of camera shake at 1/15 :redface:

    Love the color quality and "bokeh" on this one---my son shot wide open in a great English pub in NYC, after a great morning of street shooting.

    I loved this meandering exercise, it's awakened and engaged unused parts of my photographic mind. The Oly 35 SP is now my regular second body to my E-PL1, and I've taken my old Zorki 1e off the shelf and have run a test roll through it as well to get it going--with a separate finder for focusing and composing, that one is even more of a challenge to use. But, hey, HCB got good pics with a similarly designed Leica II, so it will just take practice, practice, practice.
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  2. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Nice post penfan, brings back happy memories of my Leica M3 days, sadly not one that I can get down from the shelf and dust off, although I still do have a Mamiya Press RF, if only I could build up my strength.

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