Sunday, March 4, 2012

Zorki Rangefinder

I just want to emphasize again how important the Zorki Rangefinder was to me, with this collection from my Flickr Set. This camera was old, it was made in Russia, it was missing the takeup spool, and sometimes the higher shutter speeds didn't work. But there was something about this camera that simply made great pictures- even while I was a complete neophyte- this camera was somehow helping me. I sold it simply because I didn't want to be shooting film anymore. I'm not regretting my decision to not shoot film - I'm just regretting that nobody seems to be able to make a digital camera that will take photos that look like this, (aside perhaps from the Leica M9). It must be the Rangefinder design, because I continued on with film for awhile using a Zenit-11, a Canon T-50, a Practika MTL and a Pentax MV, all of which were SLR's of course, and most of which provided my collection of M42 and PK Mount lenses which I still use on my Canon 40D and 400D.  But none of these SLR cameras, film or digital, is giving me quite what I was accomplishing with this wonderful old Zorki-4.

My belief is that the Rangefinder's internal design, coupled with the unique qualities of the Jupiter LTM lenses was the real magic at work here. In a Rangefinder camera, the relationship between the back of the lens and the image plane is different than that of an SLR, which cannot be helped because of the extra space needed for the SLR's mirror assembly. The resulting design compromise of SLR lenses is explained here:

I think I'm hopefully showing how much of a compromise this really is.

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