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Film - Digital

What is a range finder?


Range Finder Cameras

A range finder is a viewing device in a direct vision view finder camera that allows the photographer to focus the camera accurately at a certain point.

On the front of the camera there are two optical windows a short distance apart. The first window is the main viewfinder, while the second creates a ghost image of the central part of the same scene in the first view finder.


If the object is out of focus the ghost image appears of the side of the main image in the view finder. By turning the focus ring on the lens the ghost image will move across and when the two are aligned then the object is in focus.

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These cameras provide a bright consistent view of the subject and operate very quietly. They are small, light and easy to use in crowded situations. They do however suffer from Parallax error, lens attachments are more complex and expensive. The lens cap can be left on while taking the photograph inadvertently. French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson used a camera like this for almost all his images. Bresson was responsible for the philosophy of the 'decisive moment'.





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