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Top or Side Rangefinders

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Which Rangefinder Do You Prefer?
Top Rangefinder
 18%  [ 3 ]
Side Rangefinder
 81%  [ 13 ]
Total Votes : 16

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Ronrut B

Joined: 24 Aug 2010
Posts: 35
Location: Arkansas

PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:25 pm    Post subject: Top or Side Rangefinders Reply with quote

I was wondering..... What are the disadvantages and advantages of the top and side mounted rangefinders? Also which would you rather prefer? Please answer that question in the poll. Thanks a bunch!
Ronrut B
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Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3321
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hugo Meyer Side Rangefinder- made for one focal length lens only, adjustable for the production variance of the focal length it is made for.

Kalart Side Rangefinder-Adjustable for a wide range of focal lengths but can only be adjusted for 1 focal length at a time.

A distance scale for each lens to be used can be attached to the camera and the focused distance from the one matching the lens the rangefinder is adjusted for can be transfered to the one for the lens in use.

Top or Graphic Rangefinder-Requires a cam cut to match the measured focal length of each lens. One distance scale can be used for all lens. All focal length lens usable on the camera can have a cam made for them allowing rangefinder focusing for all lens to be used.
The best camera ever made is the one that YOU enjoy using and produces the image quality that satifies YOU.
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Joined: 30 Oct 2010
Posts: 102

PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advantages for me of a top mounted rangefinder is that's what I'm used to. Starting with 35mm RF cameras then later SLR's with a split image center in their screen, I became mentally proficient with merging two images in the horizontal axis.

Along comes this 2x3 Century Graphic with a side mount rangefinder for a very low price. I liked the images it made but couldn't get used to merging images moving in the vertical axis. I was used to finding a vertical "line" in the subject to focus on.

My full frame DSLR's got autofocusing via light sensors. But it's got visual indications in the viewfinder showing an arrowhead to the left or right of the "focused" dot showing me which way to turn the lens focus ring at its top to get perfect focus on the subject. This is another version of a rangefinder atop a camera. It fits my phyche very well indeed.

Now my big "gun" is a Super Speed Graphic. It's top mount rangefinder is easy for me to use.

Bottom line is, they both work well once set up to do so for a given lens, but some camera designs make the use of multiple lenses easier than others. They're another compromise we get to deal with.
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Joined: 02 Jul 2009
Posts: 38
Location: St. Johns, Oregon

PostPosted: Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't had access to a top-mounted camera, yet, so I don't have an opinion on this. I like, I guess, the more compact appearance of the RF on the top. I have a side mounted RF and it really does just hang like an after-thought, but the idea that I don't need a specific cam for a specific lens is very attractive.
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Joined: 28 Oct 2009
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I personally enjoy and use the side RF unit.
however, I fnd the top mounted version to be slightly nicer.
1: the side version needs a focuspot. the top version has a built in light.
2: they both need adjusting. and both need to be adjusted when you change lenses.
3: for a lens change, the top rf just gets a new cam in it. nothing else.
4: the mechanism for the top rf is a metal plunger tube tin that is much more durable than the lever in the side rf.

both work fine. oh, and the top rf has integrated the top viewfinder into it, and is a more comfortable use of the rf. unless you buy a focuscope, that is. trust me, ramming your face into the camera trying to see the little image is not fun.
Lack of funds is a blessing, not a curse. Nothing encourages creative thinking like having no money.
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Sirius Glass

Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Posts: 151
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a side mounted range finder because that is what Bert recommended.

I do find that I often rotate the camera so that the range finder is on the top while I am focusing. Why? You will be glad that you asked. I find that I can balance the camera better during focusing. That is it. Moving the images vertically or horizontally do not make a difference to me.

Nothing beats a good piece of glass.
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