Why did most war photographers during 1960s-1990s carry an SLR and a Rangefinder?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by PGraham3, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. mdarnton

    mdarnton Member

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    I was a news photographer in the 70s. Most of the time I carried a Leica with a 50 or 85, and an Olympus with a 21. That covered most of what I needed to do. The reason for the 21/SLR combo was accuracy in framing near things against far is more touchy and the SLR gives the real story, and because the Leica with an accessory finder wasn't that fast, anyway. I had a lot of other lenses, but rarely used them because changing lenses took too much time.
     
  2. Ces1um

    Ces1um Member
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    unless you're using them to hit the enemy!
     
  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member
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    What he said.^^
     
  4. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Was the dollar worth "peanuts" after Jimmy, then? :D Sorry couldn't resist

    pentaxuser
     
  5. John Koehrer

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    Most of the pics tend to show this combination Tele & WA on the respective camera(SLR/RF)
     
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    PGraham3

    PGraham3 Subscriber
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    Wow! Awesome! Thank you for sharing your observations and experience. Very very helpful.
    -Paul
     
  7. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member
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    I have M3 made in earlier fifties. It shows signs of use, it has original C seal, still works.
    And here is Winogrand's M4 which served another two owners after him:
    https://www.cameraquest.com/LeicaM4G.htm

    Also, no Nikkor, Leica lens needed for 10x15cm. FSU lens will do. I have Ukranian Helios 81H which is superior to any Nikkor 50mm SLR lens made in film era, on larger prints.
    And comfortability of any SLR rig is kind of joke to me... :smile:
     
  8. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member
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    You haven't used many 50mm Nikkors have you?
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber
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    About 45 years ago I did a quick, but critical, test on three dozen current lenses for 35mm cameras. Three slightly outperformed any Nikkor 50mm. They were the 45mm G-N Nikkor pancake lens, the highly regarded Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5, and the Leitz Elmar 50mm f/2.8. Also superior was the 50mm f/2.8 EL-Nikkor. The difference between these four and the other 50mm Nikkor and Leitz lenses wouldn't be noticed in most photography. The test was done at about 1/20 magnification. This may have slanted the results in favor of the Micro-Nikkor and the EL-Nikkor.
     
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    PGraham3

    PGraham3 Subscriber
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    Interesting, Jim. I have a GN Auto Nikkor-C 45mm f2.8 lens that I got AI’d for my Nikon F3. I haven’t used it much at all, and when I did get images back, I didn’t recall them being better than Nikkor-S 50mm f2 or Nikkor-H 50mm f1.4, and no way better than the Nikon Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S. However, as you mentioned, it wouldn’t be noticed in most photography. Nevertheless, your message has encouraged me to give GN another go around.
    -Paul
     
  11. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Member
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    I use a lot my El-Nikkor 50 2.8. :smile: I like Nikkor 50 1.4 RF version.
    For we rest on SLRs we have talk on rangefinder.ru recently. I was not the only one, nor was I first one to draw similar conclusion about Nikkor SLR lenses.
     
  12. chip j

    chip j Subscriber
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    I was a US Army Still Photographer during the 1966 thru 1968 years, stationed in Germany. Yes, the "Nam photographers used Leicas for WA shots & the Fs for telephoto. BUT, back then, there wasn't much difference between the 2 systems as far as focal lengths go--there were no 24mms or 20mms that had Reflex viewing. I went from Nikon to Leica simply because Leicas were more "fondable". All @ low Canadian PX prices, of course, and it was 4 Marks to the Dollar in Germany at that time! (Although a member of our 7th Army Photo Platoon did get a 24mm 2.8 Nikkor in late 1968, just before my service time was over).
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  13. AgX

    AgX Member

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    You can mount on an SLR a wide-angle lens and prefocus it too. Only difference I see is that with an SLR body and lens are more heavy and bulky.
     
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  15. Paul Howell

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    I remember lusting after a SP with motor drive. A new photographer Chris Robson worked for the LA Herald Examiner, he was what was called a scab, the paper was on strike and he was a replacement worker. He had a F and SP, both with motor drives the F, standard unmetered prism viewfinder or a sports finder. By the time I was making money the SP had gotten so expensive that they were out of my budget.
     
  16. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I do not remember the Pentax Spotmatic SP being that expensive ... or did you mean the Nikon SP rangefinder?
     
  17. Paul Howell

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    As the post was concerning rangefinders and SLR I did not make myself clear. Nikon SP. Pentax Spots were very good, at the time I had a Konica T and a Spot, still have the Spotmatic, The Nikon SP when released was in most regards the most advanced Rangefinder of the day.
     
  18. In that time frame there were debates in the photography magazines about screw thread mounts versus bayonet mounts for both range finder and single lens reflex. Screw thread mounts allowed a wider selection of lenses and were slower to change. Bayonet mounts were faster to change and securely latched into place.
     
  19. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I bought my first 35mm SLR toward the tail end of those debates. Those debates helped me decide on a Miranda Sensorex because it had a screw thread mount and a bayonet mount.

    Nice concept but lousy camera.
     
  20. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber
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    Yes, indeed. I bought a Miranda in 1966 as an upgrade from a Pracktica FX3. After several minor problems, I sold it with full disclosures of its faults for a fraction of the original cost. At least its three Soligar lenses performed well. The Nikon F kit that replaced it was a much better bargain.
     
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