Leica IIIC 35mm Rangefinder Camera Body, Chome
A 35mm rangefinder camera is a camera that has no pentaprism for focus and aiming. This type primarily has interchangeable lenses. The image size created on film is 24 x 36mm.
The viewfinder can be two viewing windows and one focus window depending on the model. Focus is achieved by turning the focus ring on the lens and matching up two images. The viewing window is a fixed view, usually based on the normal 50mm range lens. As new models were added over time this window might have 3 or 4 “bright line” indicators visible. The lines will show the approximate area to be taken with a particular lens. Some have slight wide-angle lenses and telephoto and others may be normal to telephoto. Very early cameras did not have any focusing or lines for viewing. There were separate viewfinders that were attached to the camera shoe mount that gave you this viewing information or the focus depending on the one used.
Rangefinder style 35mm cameras a great advantage in size. They were very portable and they were very quiet when taking a photo. This allowed for easier candid photos. In the 1950s many of the most famous photos were taken by photographers that used rangefinder cameras. The later models had the capability of adding a motor winder to the camera. Later models also added internal light meters which earlier had to be separate also.
Shutters are basically the same as on 35mm SLR camera and could be cloth or metal. Flash sync was at a particular shutter speed or lower for electronic flash. There was the possibility of full sync with flashbulbs. This was possible because the bulb light stayed on longer than electronic flash.
There were many lens options, but they were not used much for extreme telephoto. Many of the lenses were interchangeable between manufacturers. The two most used mounts were 39mm screw mount and M42 Bayonet. Nikon and Contax had lenses that were specifically made for their cameras, but also had some for other models.
|Film Type||35mm roll|
|Focus Type||Manual focus (only)|
|Lens Mount||M39 - Leica Screw|