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Author Topic: Fuji X-Pro 1  (Read 10358 times)
dreed
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« on: March 09, 2012, 06:44:45 PM »
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In Nick's article, he says:

"Rangefinder cameras might be early 20th century technology, but this is a very 21st century baby."

I disagree.

If I look at the top of the camera, I see shutter speed in fixed fractions or multiples of a second and exposure compensation from -2 to +2 in thirds. There is nothing more 20th century than having to shoot based on someone else's idea of how fast you can move the shutter or under/over expose a photograph.

The offered speed steps do not allow for accurate selection of a shutter speed for proper exposure unless you're in a studio and have complete control over lighting.

The concept of a "standard set of shutter speeds" needs to be thrown out or at the very least, be augmented with much more flexibility than is available today so that it is possible to get closer to obtaining a 100% correct exposure or using "expose to the right" more accurately than is possible today.

Whilst the limited number of shutter speeds may tickle the fancy of various photographers that have grown up with cameras ("ooh, look, a shutter speed dial just like how I remember they used to be...") that were limited in this way, it is really an out dated concept that no longer serves the interest of photographers looking to get the best out of a scene.
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michael
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 06:49:47 PM »
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Help me understand, please.

You're saying that you need exposure compensation finer than 1/3 stop increments? You're saying that having shutter speeds in 1 EV increments is a problem?

Can you explain how this would limit your photography, and also how you would implement and take advantage of something better?

Michael
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 07:03:52 PM »
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In Nick's article, he says:

"Rangefinder cameras might be early 20th century technology, but this is a very 21st century baby."

Am I the only one who cringes when he calls this a "range finder?"  Over and over again. 
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dreed
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2012, 09:09:31 PM »
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Help me understand, please.

You're saying that you need exposure compensation finer than 1/3 stop increments?
You're saying that having shutter speeds in 1 EV increments is a problem?

Can you explain how this would limit your photography, and also how you would implement and take advantage of something better?

The problem as it affects me...

The problem that I've observed is that when trying to ETR accurately, even when using 1/3s, is that there's one step that's quite away from the right edge of the histogram and the next step results in highlights being blown out. There is no middle step which allows me to get closer. This of course depends on the scene and the light as sometimes the steps are small enough that I can get reasonably close but just as often I cannot.

The problem in general...

The problem for real life is that the light from the sun does not arrive through the atmosphere in 1/3 stop increments, it is a continuous scale from really bright sunlight in the middle of summer to the dark of night in the middle of winter. A correct exposure is relative as to what is required to expose 18% grey "correctly" using the available shutter speeds and aperture. Thus whilst the "correct exposure" might be 1/250 or 1/125, it is not likely to be the correct shutter speed for 18% grey but is rather the best approximation of what's required to achieve that. Whilst the use of thirds allows the camera to get closer to being correct, if the correct shutter speed was actually 1/170 then the camera will likely select 1/160. So even if I take away ETR, the fact that the sun is continuously variable rather than providing light in fixed fractions and that we're forced to use specific fractions means that it is highly unlikely that an outdoors shot is ever 100% correctly exposed.

... for those that work in studios where light can be 100% controlled, these problems do not exist (well, as long as your light meter tells you that something is 100% correctly lit rather than rounding up/down.)

How I would fix the problem...

Fixing the problem requires a completely new approach to the use of both the shutter and aperture for photography. 50 years ago, we were much more limited in scope with what could be done. Today, cameras are aware of what lens is attached and what their capabilities are so we can redefine how we take a photograph. Today cameras are computers, not just a box with buttons, levers, somewhere to put film and attach glass.

In the first instance, being able to select the exposure of a photograph in distance from the right of the histogram should be possible. Thus I should be able to say "take a photograph that provides maximal exposure" (no blown highlights) in fully automatic mode and in shutter/aperture priority modes, remove a degree of freedom or two. Now it may be that there are a few specular highlights that the photographer is uninterested in, so clearly forcing the photographer to stay at or under that limit is not enough flexibility.

With a touch screen LCD on a camera, I should be able to look at a live mode photograph and drag the histogram with my fingers (or buttons) to where I want a particular crest to be and for the camera to decide what shutter speed is required to put it there. If the camera needs to use 1/178 or 1/93 to create the required histogram then that is the camera's problem, not mine. Personally, I see this as being useful to the entire spectrum of photographers.

What I'm looking for is a file of picture data that gives me a histogram of a particular shape and the camera should be doing what it can to enable me to do that rather than limit me.

In the second instance, if I'm just after a correct 18% grey then a "correct exposure" should use whatever shutter speed (and/or aperture) is required for that rather than just one of a handful. The most important step here is to allow a full spectrum of both shutter speed and aperture, so that I can have 1/193 at f/4.85 if that's what delivers a correct exposure for 18% grey, resulting in all of the model on the beach wearing a swimsuit being in focus and correctly exposed.

The above isn't to say that being able to set aperture and shutter speeds should disappear but rather that it is no longer good enough to only allowed setting those in fixed, discrete intervals and that it is an aspect of early film photography that by itself is past its use by date.

Cameras are no longer dumb. They've got small computers in them. It's been cute pretending that they've only been able to do one thing (write sensor data to a file) but it is time to move on. There's so much more potential waiting to be tapped.

As an example of more potential, there are often parameters that I may choose to fix, such as aperture for depth of field or shutter speed to control motion blur of either the subject or camera. Now that cameras have computers in them and know what lens is attached, the camera should report the aperture with something more meaningful such as "focus range 5' to infinity" or 'focus range 3.25" to 3.26"'. Some lenses have a distance scale on them but not all and simply put, if the looking at the lens can tell me that, why can't the camera's live view display? For cameras that have live view and/or electronic view finders, it should be possible to have the camera determine what the "freeze motion" shutter speed is without needing the operator to guess if it is 1/250, 1/500 or 1/2000.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2012, 11:35:43 PM by dreed » Logged
Michael LS
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 10:28:40 PM »
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Meanwhile, in other news, I much agree with Mr. Devlin- this is one sweet camera. The samples I've downloaded from the Fuji website seem to have a beautiful "look" and palette all their own. The random array sensor, no AA filter, and excellent glass are quite a combo. This, plus the other features are nearly enough to make me change my D800e pre-order to the Fuji, and have $1500 left over for lenses! Anyway, not gonna happen, as I also already have a newer aps-c camera, but I'll be looking forward to reading ongoing reviews of the Fuji, and admiring its "cool factor".
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 11:20:22 PM »
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Am I the only one who cringes when he calls this a "range finder?"  Over and over again. 
I admit I was puzzled when he started talking about AF and EVF.  To me rangefinder means manual focus with overlapping images in the middle of an optical viewfinder.  Certainly it "looks" like a rangefinder, but does it actually focus like one?

But then I decided perhaps it was more about how the viewfinder operated, not in regards to focusing but in regards to framing like a traditional rangefinder viewfinder.
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Steve Weldon
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 11:47:30 PM »
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I admit I was puzzled when he started talking about AF and EVF.  To me rangefinder means manual focus with overlapping images in the middle of an optical viewfinder.  Certainly it "looks" like a rangefinder, but does it actually focus like one?

But then I decided perhaps it was more about how the viewfinder operated, not in regards to focusing but in regards to framing like a traditional rangefinder viewfinder.
I agree there are similarities in look and a tiny bit in function, but there are such similarities to a point and shoot and mirrorless models as well.  Range finders have been defined for a very long time and this camera, as much as I like it (and my x100) is not a range finder.  A range finder is as you describe.  It has a "range finder" integral to the design of the camera which works on this principal.   We really must resist categorizing cameras by look and not function.  There are too many who read this who will just take it as gospel that it's a range finder.

On the other hand I'm open to learn, perhaps I'm not seeing something.

Personally I don't think the viewfinder frames like a range finder in OVF/EVF or live view.. but I see where the illuminated framing lines in the OVF are "kinda sorta in a totally new technological way" like a range finder.  Pretty low bar to categorize a camera if you ask me.

I think this is an exciting camera.   I'll admit to not finding enough to the newly announced DSLR's to replace my current models, but the Xpro1 is different.. I've enjoyed the x100 so much I don't see myself passing up this camera. 
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thewanderer
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 11:54:27 PM »
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beautiful woman, almost toooo much detail!!!

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KLaban
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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2012, 02:31:21 AM »
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Given that the author is an M9 user I'd be very interested to hear his opinion on the X-Pro1 manual focus capabilities and perhaps eventually his experience with Leica M lenses on the Fuji.

I know of many who are interested in using the X-Pro1 with Leica and other M fit glass and/or as a back-up body.

Thanks

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Dave Millier
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« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2012, 07:24:43 AM »
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"Am I the only one who cringes when he calls this a "range finder?"  Over and over again. "


It's all arguing semantics really and will probably confirm to michael exactly what he thinks about internet forums ;-) but here goes anyway...

... a "rangefinder" is presumably any device that allows you to determine the distance to something. So whether that be achieved by parallax, by sonar, radar, contrast detection or a measuring tape, it's still pretty much rangefinding.  I've always been happy to think of the Contax G cameras as rangefinders even though they use an AF system rather than optical parallax methods, but that's just me. On the whole I agree it can be confusing for techies when people use very specific terms in a looser sense. So, yes, let's not call the Fuji a rangefinder, let's give it a more accurate name. How about:

"a direct view, optical tunnel viewfinder cameras, with switchable LCD information overlays and switchable alternative EVF option that focuses automatically using an electronic rangefinding system with the option of manual focus by eye using a magnified EVF view".

There you go, much better than "rangefinder" which should be reserved for Leica, Zorki and FED. Confusion all cleared up ;-)

D
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 07:30:35 AM by Dave Millier » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2012, 08:36:36 AM »
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@Dreed:  I had the same initial reaction as Michael: 'this is interesting but I don't quite get what he means'.  What is it about 1/98.5th of a second that's so missing from this guy's life?  Wink

Your longer post really clarified it: just like us, you lament the inability to get *every last damn drop of photons* into the sensor WITHOUT burning out a single important pixel, and wonder why the hell cameras can't do this. You, like me, find full 1/3rd stop increments too crude, at least based upon the readout we get on the instantly generated in-camera histogram.

We are totally on the same page on this one. 

This is why I wrote that "ETTR" mode would be one of the most important advances we could get on cameras (for our purposes landscape shooters).

The cruder answer, though, I believe is that the in-camera generated histograms are actually not a whole lot more accurate in their display of burn-out than 1/3rd stop increments. They are based on jpegs and are conservatively biased.They cause us to leave light 'on the table' with every shot anyway. 

Most cameras already have continuously variable electronic shutters, the fail-point on this is colour-specific, pixel-level metering, or something like that - whatever it is that keeps anyone from building an ETTR-enabled camera.

We'll both be at the front of the line for that one!

@Klaban: yeah, I'm really interested in trying it with Leica glass too, but based on what I've seen of the manual focusing on EVF cameras, I am not optimistic that this will be useful for anything but certain landscape work. 

Sean Reid has pointed out to me that, in fact, one CANNOT move the focus-point around in the OVF. What is being displayed on the overlay is the point on the screen (approximately) which will be brought up as an enlarged view on the EVF is you depress a particular button.  This 'zoom-in' focus assist will be useful, but it's more limited than what I got the impression the camera could do.

I will write a longer clarification of this in my next installment. (this limitation makes sense when the impact of paralax with the OVF is taken into account)

The X-Pro1 also does not have focus-peaking. Focus peaking is a really annoying way to focus, imho, but it works.  The raison-d'etre of the X-Pro 1 is that it autofocuses.   I suspect the camera's use with Leica
glass will be limited to tripod-based scenics, using liveview.  That said, I suspect that the image quality will be phenomenal, since one's only using the sweet-spot of the already super-sweet Leica glass, and without an AA filter.  It will make us all wish the M10 will scale a sensor of this quality out to FF size (ie: 35-40MP) to really USE the Leica glass.

 
@Steve (etc). I'm profoundly amused by the rage provoked by my calling this a rangefinder camera. Sean Reid called me to set me straight on this already.  Yes, I know it does not possess a rangefinder mechanism.  I will talk about this interesting (but ultimately pointless) semantic debate in my next installment. The main reason I resist caving in and calling it something else is that RF has come to mean more than 'a camera which focuses through image triangulation'. There's only one production digital camera left that does that, the Leica.  There will likely be no more.  But the term persists. Manual rangefinding was invented as a way to focus back when there was nothing better. While I love RF cameras, it is not for the way they focus. It is for their size, shape, sound and view-finding way of seeing the subject.   

To me, continuing to use the term "rangefinder" to describe cameras which have all of those attributes, save-and-except for the eponymous, and deeply annoying, method of focusing, is logically consistent and communicationally effective.  But I remain open to the opposite view...

Cheers,

- N.   


     
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2012, 09:40:07 AM »
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I was going to write approximately what Nick just wrote about the definition of rangefinder. In the debates on the Leica forum L-Camera, I've argued that some form of focus confirmation would be extremely welcome with 90 and 135mm M lenses, but the purists argue that if we had it, it really wouldn't then be a rangefinder...or it would be a degraded one. That's fine with me; I'd take a degraded rangefinder kind of experience if I could get it. I'd take an m4/3 with a 150% view if I could get it...you know, a rangefinder-like deal where you could see around the edges of a window that defines the image. That more defines a rangefinder experience to me than the split image.

Where I differ with Nick is in his expectations of IQ, either in the expected M10 or really, any other camera now. I think somebody good in Lightroom could take any top-end camera and make prints that are pretty indistinguishable from each other at anything but the largest sizes. I don't think there's gong to be any magic in the Fuji, or the M10, or the D800...I think now it's going to be a matter of sorting individual preferences in matters of handling, weight, viewfinder, etc., but IQ is going to be high all across the spectrum.

JC 
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2012, 09:59:36 AM »
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Whilst the limited number of shutter speeds may tickle the fancy of various photographers that have grown up with cameras ("ooh, look, a shutter speed dial just like how I remember they used to be...") that were limited in this way, it is really an out dated concept that no longer serves the interest of photographers looking to get the best out of a scene.

It is called "significant figures." Your stress on your idea of perfection has nothing to do with the reality of there issue. You don't use micron scales to design houses for a good reason. Your technical-only approach to photography is not really valid.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2012, 10:14:35 AM »
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This rangefinder definition is a one of those things folks like to talk about. In photography (this is not just about finding distance) is defined as a parallax method separate from the imaging optics that determine how far a subject is away from the camera. This can be MF or AF--the Contax G series and Hexar AF use such an AF system. And the system does not have to be coupled to the rangefinder system--"coupled rangefinder" is what a Leica is. The Leica actually has a combination viewfinder and rangefinder.

Unfortunately, and especially in the internet age, folks like to throw around terms without a clear understanding of their meaning. They also invent them. What normally happens is we get a common term and a technical terms--"theory" is one such term with two definitions. Calling the X-Pro1 a rangefinder is just saying because it looks like a rangefinder it is one. (At least it is not that new silly term used for the Nex 7, "rangefinder style.") Nick can use any term he likes, I will know what he is talking about regardless. Professionally, I have no problem separating what people mean and the words they choose to use. I don't really expect reviews on Luminous Landscape to use correct technical nomenclature, nor do I care.
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dreed
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« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2012, 10:14:53 AM »
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@Dreed:  I had the same initial reaction as Michael: 'this is interesting but I don't quite get what he means'.  What is it about 1/98.5th of a second that's so missing from this guy's life?  Wink

Your longer post really clarified it: just like us, you lament the inability to get *every last damn drop of photons* into the sensor WITHOUT burning out a single important pixel, and wonder why the hell cameras can't do this. You, like me, find full 1/3rd stop increments too crude, at least based upon the readout we get on the instantly generated in-camera histogram.

We are totally on the same page on this one.  

This is why I wrote that "ETTR" mode would be one of the most important advances we could get on cameras (for our purposes landscape shooters).

The cruder answer, though, I believe is that the in-camera generated histograms are actually not a whole lot more accurate in their display of burn-out than 1/3rd stop increments. They are based on jpegs and are conservatively biased.They cause us to leave light 'on the table' with every shot anyway.  

Most cameras already have continuously variable electronic shutters, the fail-point on this is colour-specific, pixel-level metering, or something like that - whatever it is that keeps anyone from building an ETTR-enabled camera.

Indeed and this is the most frustrating part of looking at current digital cameras - knowing that the camera hardware can do more but that it is simply limited by their software!

I wonder sometimes that if camera manufacturers could be more open with the software and allow plugins to be loaded then problems like this could be solved by 3rd party software. This would allow the camera manufacturers to deliver standard cameras that operated like people expected but allow those seeking to get more out of their camera to do so. That would be another step in recognising that the camera is now well beyond being just a light box like it was in the 20th century.

Thinking about this from a different angle, maybe it can be solved now for cameras that allow remote shutter activation via cable. The problem that we have today is that the shutter activation with those devices is currently driven by humans. Why couldn't the cabled remote allow me to dial in how long to keep the circuit closed in tenths (or some other scale that changes logarithmeticaly), thus giving us finer control over the length of time that the shutter is open? A manufacturer that approached this problem with a well designed device could have one "knob" to set shutter speed and have a set of adapters that you attached to the cable for connecting to the camera like universal power supplies do for laptops, etc. (Some part of me wonders if I should have tried to design and build such a device using VC money rather than post the idea in a public internet forum.)

It is called "significant figures." Your stress on your idea of perfection has nothing to do with the reality of there issue. You don't use micron scales to design houses for a good reason. Your technical-only approach to photography is not really valid.

I understand what you're saying but the problem is that the offered resolution in shutter speed and aperture is no longer sufficient. That is, there are fractional values between what is offered that would be of benefit. This can easily be observed in difference between the presentation of histograms of successive photos taken only 1/3 EV apart.

----------------

An addendum to this is that in all my internet searching I've failed to find a proper reference to when, where and who made the agreement on the current fractions used for shutter speed and aperture size measure. Does anyone know if this was just a gentleman's agreement between various companies at the time or is there an actual camera standard, such as an ISO or IEEE document, that defines this?
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 10:39:10 AM by dreed » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2012, 10:42:09 AM »
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...but the problem is that the offered resolution in shutter speed and aperture is no longer sufficient...

In your opinion. And yet, great, well-exposed photography is being done all the time.
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« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2012, 04:06:24 PM »
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@Klaban: yeah, I'm really interested in trying it with Leica glass too, but based on what I've seen of the manual focusing on EVF cameras, I am not optimistic that this will be useful for anything but certain landscape work. 

Sean Reid has pointed out to me that, in fact, one CANNOT move the focus-point around in the OVF. What is being displayed on the overlay is the point on the screen (approximately) which will be brought up as an enlarged view on the EVF is you depress a particular button.  This 'zoom-in' focus assist will be useful, but it's more limited than what I got the impression the camera could do.

I will write a longer clarification of this in my next installment. (this limitation makes sense when the impact of paralax with the OVF is taken into account)

The X-Pro1 also does not have focus-peaking. Focus peaking is a really annoying way to focus, imho, but it works.  The raison-d'etre of the X-Pro 1 is that it autofocuses.   I suspect the camera's use with Leica glass will be limited to tripod-based scenics, using liveview.  That said, I suspect that the image quality will be phenomenal, since one's only using the sweet-spot of the already super-sweet Leica glass, and without an AA filter.  It will make us all wish the M10 will scale a sensor of this quality out to FF size (ie: 35-40MP) to really USE the Leica glass.

Many thanks, I look forward to further instalments.
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2012, 04:17:36 PM »
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Am I the only one who cringes when he calls this a "range finder?"  Over and over again.  
That made me cringe too, over and over.  "Rangefinder" and "RF" have a clear and accepted meaning.  Redefining a word just because you want to doesn't make any sense to me.  There are very few true rangefinder cameras around, so we're just going to expand that term to describe other attributes?  That's a bit like expanding the term "citrus" to include bananas, or expanding the term "cotton" to include polyester.  Let's please call a thing what it is, not what something else is.

Not having a rangefinder doesn't make it a bad camera.  Far from it.  Skipping the rangefinder mechanism is what allows autofocus and accurate framing with a wide range of lenses.  Not having a rangefinder is an important selling point for this camera, because in at least one important way it is BETTER than a rangefinder:  it has autofocus. Smiley  And it has a hybrid viewfinder, which no rangefinder camera offers.  Not having a rangefinder is part of the reason this camera exists, and it is one reason why many photographers will buy it, especially photographers who, because of eyesight or other reasons, would not get along with a rangefinder.
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michael
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2012, 04:23:33 PM »
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Language is malleable and the meaning of words change over time.

We speak of "dialing" a phone, yet when was the last time that any of us saw an actual dial on a telephone.

Michael

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."
Through the Looking Glass.
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2012, 04:28:31 PM »
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It is called "significant figures." Your stress on your idea of perfection has nothing to do with the reality of there issue. You don't use micron scales to design houses for a good reason. Your technical-only approach to photography is not really valid.
Well said.  This quest for some imaginary perfect exposure reveals a misunderstanding of exposure.  The correct exposure is the one that feels right; no further precision is needed.  Now I need to go adjust the temperature by a few hundredths of a degree. Wink.
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