Tip: How to Focus Quickly On A Rangefinder

Years ago when I first started using a Rangefinder camera, I would constantly fumble with which direction to move the focus ring to line up my patch. Since my brain wasn’t used to manually focusing I would miss a lot of shots. At some point I got fed up and primarily zone focused for a while since I was shooting in broad daylight. F/8 on a 28mm and everything is in focus. This works great on wide angle lenses but doesn’t work so well with 50mm lenses and above. I then started playing with moving the focus ring to the minimum focusing distance on the lens and moving the ring to the right to get my shot. I found this worked very well but for my style of shooting, but still took to long. I then flipped it and started moving the ring to Infinity and pulling the ring to the left to get my shot. For some reason this worked way better for me since I don’t shoot subjects incredibly close to camera.

About a year ago I saw this video with Ralph Gibson and at the 7:00 mark he discusses his technique on shooting with a Rangefinder, and low and behold he came to the same conclusion, albeit probably decades ago.

So Tip #1. If you shoot your subjects close to the lens try setting the focus ring to minimum focusing distance and focus from there.

If you shoot your subjects medium-wide to far try setting the focusing ring to infinity and focus from there.

Hope this is helpful and feel free to let me know how you focus on your Rangefinder.


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