Am I a Rangefinder Kinda Guy?

I decided to scratch my Leica-itch and get myself a 35mm rangefinder to see how I got on with it. (I know I am a Texas Leica owner but wanted something portable and 35mm)

I don’t have bottomless pockets so a Leica was out of the question. I wanted a camera with a light meter built in so opted for a Canon 7.

A top down view of my Canon 7 camera
My Canon 7

In order to finance the purchase I decided I didn’t need two “point and shoot” 35mm cameras so sold my Rollei 35 and the proceeds went towards the Canon.

The Canon 7 is a hefty little camera but a sturdy one.

Unusually the strap lugs are on the front of the camera (not the side) which means the camera faces upwards when you are carrying it – which is odd.

This wouldn’t be a problem except the lens glass is quite exposed so a lens cap is a must.

You can see the light meter on the top of the camera. It’s great to have one built it but I have to confess it’s not the easiest to read!

Coupled with the black and orange dot light selector, it can be confusing to use at first.

I got this model as it came with a great example of the 50mm 1.4 lens which is super sharp. It is much applauded as being as crisp (or crisper) than most Leica lenses from the same era.

It also meant I would own a lens with the M39 thread mount (if I were ever to move to a Leica rangefinder – yeah right!). I have got myself an adapter for my X-T4 and it works well with it.

The 50mm 1.4 lens

I took the camera out on my walks around the block but most of the days were not the brightest so most of the photos are flat.

I was going to wait to get the roll developed but decided to develop it myself over the Christmas break.

Don’t believe the use-by dates of film developer as my 18 month old (and open/used) bottle of Cinestill Df96 worked just fine. I had to agitate the film for 18 minutes but it worked well.

I think I must have either bunched the film together on the spool or not rinsed it properly when I developed the film as the photos have ended up with streaks across them.

I have already finished my second roll and will have that professionally developed to confirm it was my developing technique and not the camera which is at fault.

Some of the shots came out over exposed and I believe those were the ones where I decided to simply give it a go – this cost me quite a few frames.

The photos from Felixstowe when it was sunny have also come out a little over exposed so I have to either get better at reading the light meter or using the “bright” orange dot selector on the back of the camera when shooting in such bright sunlight.

Here are a selection of photos from this test roll

These photos are nothing to write home about but I can clearly see how sharp the lens is.

I can also see how close the f/1.4 is and that it’s not particularly forgiving. I think I may stop at f/2 to get as much of the photo in focus in the future.

Focus is an interesting point. It looks, for the most part, that I nailed the focus.

Either using the rangefinder or shooting from the hip.

This fact doesn’t make me a confident rangefinder shooter.

The viewfinder is really bright but I find it hard to line up the shots and find it even harder to use both eyes when shooting.

Maybe this wasn’t the right subject or use for the camera (but then what is?).

My second roll is also a combination of eye level shooting and shooting from the hip. I am really keen to see how they come out. I hope they work.

If the second (and third) rolls are a bit off putting then it might spell the end of my rangefinder shooting. We shall see.

If I can offer one piece of advice, if you lust after a Leica, get a cheaper rangefinder such as a Canon 7, an Olympus or anything else! Cut your teeth on that and move to the big expensive red dot when you are confident with the rangefinder way of shooting.

Here’s a closer look at a couple of the photos:

A photo of a fence shot at f/1.4 - you can see the very shallow area of focus in the middle of the shot
A photo of a fence shot at f/1.4 – you can see the very shallow area of focus in the middle of the shot
A photo of the bright winter sunlit beach.  A decent amount of contrast with the whole shot in focus.  Nice and sharp.
A photo of the bright winter sunlit beach. A decent amount of contrast with the whole shot in focus. Nice and sharp.
Caution - just look at the detail!  I think this was shot around f/8 at the minimum focussing distance.  Really happy with the detail and depth of field in this photo.
Caution – just look at the detail! I think this was shot around f/8 at the minimum focussing distance. Really happy with the detail and depth of field in this photo.

The photos are contratsy and sharp. I do like shooting Kosmo Foto 100 and am really happy I received a whole box of film from Santa this Christmas 🙂

Do you like these photos? What do you think about the clarity of the lens or my developing abilities? Let me know in the comments.

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