Iconic Rangefinder Form

I have a penchant for cameras styled on the classic rangefinder cameras of the golden age of photography of the 1940's and 50's along with compact fast prime lenses.

There is a well known old saying that goes, "If it  looks like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck then - guess what? It is a ...?". Well if it looks like a rangefinder, has the layout of a rangefinder and sits in the hands like a rangefinder then it obviously is...? Well sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't!

So the camera directly above is the genuine article, a Leica M3 (from sometime in the 1950's) with a 50mm f2 standard lens attached. It is a fully manual, 35mm film camera, with a built in coupled rangefinder and takes a (limited) range of interchangeable prime lenses. The optical viewfinder is at the far left of the body and the match image rangefinder patches are contained within this viewfinder. Most of the major controls are to found on the top of the camera body with others on its front and the camera is mirrorless. The body is of all metal construction.


The camera on the very top is a modern Micro Four Thirds digital camera designed to reflect this iconic rangefinder form. Although it is fully electronic, it too is of all metal construction, can take a full range a prime lenses (though it takes zooms equally well too), is mirrorless, has most of its major photographic controls on the top or on the front of its body (plus a whole lot more of the digital control stuff on back too of course as we come to expect), has its viewfinder at the far left of the body (though in this case it is electronic reading directly off the image sensor).


The major differences are that it has no manual rangefinder (it uses an autofocus system driven off the image sensor), has in body image stabilisation, can do HD video, doesn't use film and is maybe 2/3 the size of the 35mm camera. However, in terms of looks, feel, handling and much of its operation it is very like a classic rangefinder camera - just way more modern, convenient, capable and efficient, as you would expect. It also can be driven off the touch screen on the back of the body like any other digital camera if you prefer or when needed. The very best of both worlds, old and new.

Then of course there is the more modern (2005) version of the traditional 35mm film rangefinder camera updated to include AE metering, classic simplicity.