Question for rangefinder users

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Patrick L., Sep 10, 2004.

  1. Patrick L.

    Patrick L. Guest

    How slow of a shutter speed have you been able to use without a tripod or
    monopod, and still get a viable shot? (Doesn't have to be razor sharp,
    just usable).

    Are there any samples on the net?

    Patrick L., Sep 10, 2004
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  2. Patrick L.

    Patrick L. Guest

    This is for weddiing ceremonies, where people are fairly stationary (except
    for the procession, and I will be using flash for that), where flash is not
    allowed after the ceremony begins.

    I am asking this because I would like not to use a tripod, since they are a
    PITA, in my opinion. I just bought a Canonet G III 17, which as the
    F/1.7 40mm lens. Also nice is that it has a leaf shutter, very quiet, I'm
    told. I can use it for outdoor fill flash with wide apertures, as well.

    and I'm hoping I can handhold this baby at 1/30 or 1/15 sec, this will
    allow me to shoot in low light situations (on primarily stationary subjects,
    which is all I really need it for).

    I can't see spending thousands on a Leica when I need this camera for a very
    specific application, and so, I'm hoping the $175 Canonet will serve this

    I was using my Olympus E1 on a tripod, but moving around the church with a
    tripod is such a drag.

    Patrick L., Sep 10, 2004
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  3. Patrick L.

    ColynG© Guest

    I've handheld shots at 1/30th with good results. I've even gotten
    acceptable (but very few) at 1/15th.

    Colyn Goodson
    ColynG©, Sep 10, 2004
  4. Patrick L.

    Peter Irwin Guest

    If I'm well rested, 1/10th second with a Kiev rangefinder.
    On a camera with modern speeds: 1/16th. with 50mm lens.

    On candid shots taken with available light, subject motion
    is nearly always a bigger problem than camera shake if you
    have steady hands. Holding a camera really still while
    pressing the shutter release is an art you can learn. I was
    really rotten at it when I first got back into photography
    three years ago. I practiced a lot and got quite a bit better.

    Pictures of landscapes, room interiors and other inanimate
    things look bad when they are even slightly unsharp while
    pictures of people don't seem to be as critical especially
    if the major source of unsharpness is their own motion.

    If you are taking interior shots where tripods are not
    allowed, you can often get away with holding a mini-tripod
    against a wall.

    Peter Irwin, Sep 10, 2004
  5. Patrick L.

    Chris Brown Guest

    I've had *sharp* A4 results from 1/30 with a 35mm lens on a rangefinder.
    That's only one or two frame I've tried that with. Can get consistently
    sharp results with a 90mm lens and 1/60. Much better than I can with an SLR.
    Chris Brown, Sep 10, 2004
  6. Patrick L.

    Roger Guest

    For dependably reliable results, the rough rule for me is one
    shutter-speed slower than 1/focal-length. So for a 35mm lens that's
    about 1/15 second. That's about one stop faster than I can do with a
    SLR. The caveats are that the subject and background are stationery. I
    do have to control my breathing, use my forehead for support and often
    try to lean against something solid. My coffee/caffeine intake and
    degree of jet lag also figures into the equation. It also means
    sometimes using the self timer as a shutter release. That was possible
    on my M3 but not on my M6. I do use that often on my Contax T3 and it
    makes a big difference.

    Of course that all depends on your and my definition of acceptable.
    For me it's no noticeable motion in 4x6 prints. I've done shots down
    to 1/8 second when I've just needed the shot, but then quite often the
    lighting is flat, the focus is marginal just because of the low light
    levels and there typically is motion blur in the background and
    subject. May depend on subject motion, camera motion or both.

    It's really good to baseline your expectations by taking a tripod out
    sometime and just seeing what the world looks like at speeds between 1
    second and 1/60 second. Subject blur becomes very noticeable at about
    1/30 second - especially hand motions and worse head motions.

    My favorite accessory is a bogen table top tripod that I use pressed
    against the wall for night shots, etc.

    Roger, Sep 10, 2004
  7. Patrick L.

    Bandicoot Guest

    I'd be very surprised if you can't do acceptable shots at 1/30s - if
    necessary, practice. 1/60s or even 1/125s is certainly a better 'target'
    speed to eliminate (more or less) visible shake, but 1/30s should look fine,
    especially at the sort of maximum enlargements wedding pic.s will see.

    I reckon on 1/30s being no problem, especially with a rangefinder with leaf
    shutter. 1/15s is usually OK, and so is 1/8s if I am careful and not
    looking for much enlargement - no, I don't choose to do it, but if it is
    that or no shot, I shoot away and know most of them will be fine.

    Bandicoot, Sep 11, 2004
  8. Patrick L.

    Peter Irwin Guest

    Weddings are funny things. I'd want to make sure that everyone
    involved was reasonable before going near a wedding with a
    I've got a Konica Auto S2, which is probably not wildly unlike
    your camera. It is pretty quiet, and it is possible to get
    decently sharp pictures at 1/15th of a second. You will need
    to practice in order to get good at holding the camera
    really still. One big advantage of a rangefinder is that
    you can see through the viewfinder during the exposure and
    know whether or not you have a sharp picture.

    There are two major types of camera shake. One is caused by
    moving the camera when you press the shutter release, the
    other is general unsteadiness. You can do quite a bit of
    practicing without film in the camera. Look through the viewfinder
    while releasing the shutter. It helps if you can line up a small
    mark on the wall with the edge of the rangefinder patch: it should
    be easy to spot a very small amount of camera movement. When you
    can release the shutter without the slightest visible movement
    of the mark on the wall seen through the viewfinder, you are
    ready to practice with film.

    General unsteadiness is reduced by bracing the camera against
    your face and bracing your arms against your body. It can help
    to hold your elbows against your chest. If you can lean your
    body against a chair, a wall or a pillar, that can help too.

    The church may be darker than you think. If you can practice
    in the church where the wedding will be held, you can get a
    really good idea what is required and how fast a film you will
    The Canonet should be fine. $175 seems like a lot to pay. For that kind
    of money I would want someone to have done a really superb CLA on it.

    Peter Irwin, Sep 11, 2004
  9. Patrick L.

    Bandicoot Guest

    Good advice!
    I have one of those too, and it is very good. I also have the tiny Minox
    tripod: this comes apart and, with its included cable release, packs down to
    little more than the size of a fountain pen. It is expensive, but does mean
    I can have a tripod with me just about all the time - it struggles with the
    weight of an SLR (when the Manfrotto/Bogen one is better) but is fine with
    my rangefinders. Very useful.

    The Really Right Stuff BTT bracket is a useful add-on for taking verticals
    with either of these.

    Bandicoot, Sep 11, 2004
  10. If you can sit down, press your stomach against the edge of the table, rest
    your elbows on the table, and press the camera against your forehead, then
    you might even be able to get away with a tenth of a second or slower......
    William Graham, Sep 11, 2004
  11. Patrick L.

    columbotrek Guest

    columbotrek, Sep 11, 2004
  12. Patrick L.

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I have been able to do 1/2 second shots without too much trouble. With an
    SLR, the slowest usable hand held shots have been 1/4 second. Bracing the
    camera on one plane of direction has allowed down to one second with either
    type of camera, though I either prefire the mirror, or use mirror lock-up on
    an SLR. These are not architecture shots, rather people or urban images.
    I have quite a few slow shutter shots on my web site (Portfolio area
    mostly), and a few on other sites like <>. The
    best thing I can tell you is that you need to be very relaxed, and very
    loose to accomplish those shots. Too much coffee or stress leading into a
    shoot, and forget anything below 1/30 second. It also takes quite a bit of
    practice, and some technique.

    I usually only do vertical shots at really slow shutter speeds, since those
    allow for this unusual bracing method that I have developed. I am able to
    brace the camera on my forehead, though I am not sure this would work for a
    right eye dominant photographer.

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    <> Updated!
    Gordon Moat, Sep 11, 2004
  13. Patrick L.

    Gordon Moat Guest

    You should be able to get away with 1/8 second on some shots. Another trick is
    to go to one second and pan, though maybe only a few of those shots might turn
    Actually, there is a slow shutter advantage with the leaf shutter over using
    the Leica. The Leica focal plane shutter might actually be more likely to cause
    movement than a leaf shutter rangefinder, though it does depend upon the
    photographer, and the technique used.
    Have you tried a mini pod, or a clamp pod?


    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    <> Updated!
    Gordon Moat, Sep 11, 2004
  14. Patrick L.

    Patrick L. Guest

    I like that Santa Barbara Mission shot. I couldn't get that kind of
    dynamic range with my digital. I spent quite a few years of my youth in
    Santa Barbara.

    Patrick L., Sep 11, 2004
  15. Patrick L.

    Bob Hickey Guest

    When I did weddings, I did everything possible to add weight. Very heavy
    flash and the heaviest monopod Bogen made. A leaf shutter is your best
    friend. Shooting inside with no monopod, w/ a slow portrait film and the
    shutter at 1/125 or 1/250, the available lite image won't come out at all,
    just the flash image. Shooting outdoors, the monopod steadied it. Just
    don't fall into the fast film trap, or you'll start to get double images.
    Just make sure you bracket a test roll, as many flashes are over-rated. What
    ever you do, don't use the meter. If you set the flash @ ASA 100 and it says
    up to 20 ft @ f5.6; that's it, leave it at 5.6. And don't focus on the fly.
    Focus on the door and tell the couples to stand there. If you don't move,
    every shot will be framed the same, one couple at a time. If you get a
    yellow magic marker, and scribble all over the flash lens, they'll come out
    warmer and not so "flash blue". Good luck.
    Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Sep 11, 2004
  16. Patrick L.

    S Lee Guest

    Patrick L. choreographed a chorus line of high-kicking electrons to spell
    Does no tripod or monopod include no bracing whatsoever? In any case, I've
    worked on my shooting with three or four pounds of SLR gear and a short
    lens and can get that down to about 1/10th sec with some consistency as
    long as I've not had *too* much caffeine. With point and shoots and small
    digitals, which are as close to a traditional rangefinder that I've got,
    about the same times, though usually I'll try to brace myself against
    something with those.
    S Lee, Sep 11, 2004
  17. Patrick L.

    ericm1600 Guest

    1/4s with a 35mm lens when I was sitting extremely still with my elbows
    braced on my knees. But I took several shots. Out of 6 or 7, one was
    acceptable. Not sharp by any definition of the word.
    ericm1600, Sep 11, 2004
  18. If you use a neck strap and hold the camera with the strap taut
    and the camera at chest level instead of eye level you may be able
    to get 1/4 sec. You would need to focus and frame first, and leave
    a little space around the subject for misdirecting the camera.
    A pocket size tripod leaning against the back of a pew or even against
    a column will do wonders.
    Robert Feinman, Sep 11, 2004
  19. Patrick L.

    Bandicoot Guest

    Or a Klingon...

    Bandicoot, Sep 11, 2004
  20. Patrick L.

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Why do I get the impression that you use the Vulcan Death Grip on your


    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    <> Updated!
    Gordon Moat, Sep 12, 2004
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