With the proliferation of digital SLR’s on the market over the last decade, it comes as no surprise to see the digital rangefinder following suit. Epson has started the trend with the R-D1 which works well with a wide range of M and L mount rangefinder lenses. Leica has managed to take control of this upscale market over the last few years with its Digital M-series.
The M8 and R-D1 are expensive compared to the digital SLRs on the market right now. They don’t have a few of the standard features as live preview, movie recording, and face detection. Many pros and advanced amateurs are grateful for that because they don’t want the camera’s technology to get in the way of their photographic style or techniques.
There are only a few brands digital rangefinders around but the ones that are here are very good at what they do best. Thousands of great RF cameras and lenses were manufactured by Konica, Minolta, Leica, Zeiss, Voightlander. Most of these RF cameras are still in usable condition over the decades. Many owners have heavy investment in very expensive lenses and want to get a digital camera to put them on.
The choices of players in the DRF market are meager. The prices are high and the pickings are slim in this market right now. Someday when digital R&D costs come down, there will be niche players in the photographic market again. But until then, get used to not having your needs fully met if you are a serious amateur or professional photographer looking for great balance between amenities and price in your digital rangefinder cameras.
If you’re looking to get a brand-new camera, you should know that both digital SLR’s and rangefinders are going to be costly. You can choose a lesser known brand for the body and put your money in the lenses. This is one option many budding photographers have considered because all the major camera manufacturers pride themselves in the quality of their lenses.
Pros and amateurs with a collection of M-mount lenses would be very happy with a really good digital camera body in a mid range price that allowed them to use their lens collection. There already are a few rangefinder digital cameras being manufactured today in a few high and mid range price ranges. Manufacturers such as Voigtandor, Canon or Leica are promoting the format again. A lot of factors surface when choosing a camera for your overall use; format and function does matter along with price.
These companies should be given serious consideration if you’re thinking buying a DRF this year. Rangefinder digital cameras are topping out on the resolution and beginning to focus more on ease of use and memory management.
The hunger for digital is still growing strong. Many young people who have started by taking pictures with their phones have graduated to more detailed and precise photographic tools. Having access to a few good rangefinder digital cameras will only help improve their art.