As a rangefinder camera buff, I’m constantly searching the classifieds in local newspapers and online. As a collector as well as a photographer, part of the fun comes from contributing my observations and even my pet peeve’s to the general discussion. Every so often I will head to the Internet chat rooms or forums to read or even write rangefinder camera reviews.
Although many of these tend to be camera aficionados stretching their egos a bit, there are usually quite a lot of good information to be gleaned from members with a lot of experience in both photography and valuation of vintage cameras.
If you happen to have a desire to find out whether the 1958 Nikon S. rangefinder your uncle left you is worth anything there is usually quite a lot of detailed information from reviews available. If you’re in the market for vintage cameras, using many of the rangefinder camera reviews to determine what would be appropriate for your needs.
When buying a new camera, I will usually start by reviewing the official website to get the specs and then move on to search for review articles on the blogs that I trust as well as user generated forums. Sometimes you might find a few reviews that are actually PR pieces but generally you can count on material that is consistent with good photographic principles.
Reviews and articles may get a lot of responses both pro and con. For instance the Nikon rangefinder camera series has been around since the 50s; there are those who absolutely love these cameras and others who are passionate to a fault about its main rival Leica. Rangefinder camera reviews on forums will bring the most responses while those on article directories usually go unchallenged.
The most useful reviews will cover the brand of camera, a brief description of its history and then focus specifically on the pros and cons. They will make a clear distinction between the features of the product and their opinions of its capabilities. You’ll be able to easily identify the commercial reviews because they will tend to contain a lot more technical specifications and a lot less observations from practical experience.
If you’re the type of person that likes to read the technical specs, definitely stop over at the various camera websites and download the PDF documents. If you’re the type of person that simply wants a general opinion on a specific piece of machinery, camera lens or accessory, rangefinder camera reviews can help a lot.
When the Leica M8 came out, the buzz about its capabilities appeared all over the internet. Most of the information was actually speculation with a few insiders who actually got to play with the camera. I prefer to wait until new equipment has been sold for a while before sinking into the reviews. You’re more likely to get the honest appraisal versus the professional review at that point. There’s nothing wrong with a little industry punditry but I prefer the “man in the street” perspective.