Rangefinder camera

As camera and lens technology developed and wide aperture lenses became more common, rangefinder cameras were introduced to make focussing more precise. Early rangefinders had two separate viewfinder windows, one of which is linked to the focusing mechanisms and moved right or left as the focusing ring is turned. The two separate images are brought together on a ground glass viewing screen. When vertical lines in the object being photographed meet exactly in the combined image, the object is in focus. A normal composition viewfinder is also provided. Later the viewfinder and rangefinder were combined. Many rangefinder cameras had interchangeable lenses, each lens requiring its own range- and viewfinder linkages. Rangefinder cameras were produced in half- and full-frame 35 mm and rollfim (medium format). The first rangefinders, sometimes called "telemeters", appeared in the twentieth century; the first rangefinder camera to be marketed was the 3A Kodak Autographic Special of 1916; the rangefinder was coupled. Not itself a rangefinder camera, the Leica I of 1925 had popularized the use of accessory rangefinders. The Leica II and Zeiss Contax I, both of 1932, were great successes as 35mm rangefinder cameras, while on the Leica Standard, also introduced in 1932, the rangefinder was omitted. The Contax II (1936) integrated the rangefinder in the center of the viewfinder. 1957Ц60 Kodak Retina IIIC Rangefinder cameras were common from the 1930s to the 1970s, but the more advanced models lost ground to single-lens reflex (SLR) cameras. Rangefinder cameras have been made in all sizes and all film formats over the years, from 35mm through medium format (rollfilm) to large-format press cameras. Until the mid-1950s most were generally fitted to more expensive models of cameras. Folding bellows rollfilm cameras, such as the Balda Super Baldax or Mess Baldix, the Kodak Retina II, IIa, IIc, IIIc, and IIIC cameras and the Hans Porst Hapo 66e (a cheaper version of the B

lda Mess Baldix), were often fitted with rangefinders. Leica M7 rangefinder The best-known rangefinder cameras take 35mm film, use focal plane shutters, and have interchangeable lenses. These are Leica screwmount (also known as M39) cameras developed for lens manufacturer Ernst Leitz Wetzlar by Oskar Barnack (which gave rise to very many imitations and derivatives), Contax cameras manufactured for Carl Zeiss Optics by camera subsidiary Zeiss-Ikon and, after Germany's defeat in World War II, produced again and then developed as the Ukrainian Kiev), Nikon S-series cameras from 1951 to 1962 (with design inspired by the Contax and function by the Leica), and Leica M-series cameras. Contax II Nikon SP and S3 cameras The Nikon rangefinder cameras were "discovered" in 1950 by Life magazine photographer David Douglas Duncan, who covered the Korean War.[1] Canon manufactured several models from the 1930s until the 1960s; models from 1946 onwards were more or less compatible with the Leica thread mount. (From late 1951 they were completely compatible; the 7 and 7s had a bayonet mount for the 50 mm f/0.95 lens in addition to the thread mount for other lenses.) Launched in 1940, The Kodak 35 Rangefinder was the first 35 mm camera made by the Eastman Kodak Company. Other such cameras include the Casca (Steinheil, West Germany, 1948), Detrola 400 (USA, 1940Ц41), Ektra (Kodak, USA, 1941Ц8), Foca (OPL, France, 1947Ц63), Foton (Bell & Howell, USA, 1948), Opema II (Meopta, Czechoslovakia, 1955Ц60), Perfex (USA, 1938Ц49), Robot Royal (Robot-Berning, West Germany, 1955Ц76), and Witness (Ilford, Britain, 1953). Among the longer lasting marques, all but the Leica M succumbed in the marketplace to pressure from SLRs. The most recent in the M-series are the M7, the first of the series to feature automatic exposure and an electronic shutter; and the all-mechanical MP, an updated M6 with an M3-style rewind knob; and since 2006, the Leica M series of digital rangefinders.