What To Check On Buying Rangefinder Camera? – All You Need to Know

People often ask, what to check on buying rangefinder camera.

Let’s find out!

What to Check on Buying Rangefinder Camera?

Here are some things to check on buying a rangefinder camera.

1) What is the focal length of your lens?

2) How many megapixels does your camera have?

3) Does your camera has image stabilization?

4) Is there a viewfinder?

5) Can I change lenses?

6) What type of memory card do you recommend?

7) Do you offer warranty service?

8) Are there other accessories available?

9) What is the price?

How Much Does a Rangefinder Cost?

As with any other type of camera, you can find choices ranging from $5 to thousands of dollars. To narrow down the price range, you first need to decide whether you want a digital or a film camera.

Keep in mind that film rangefinders aren’t necessarily second-hand – there are some models still in production. This brings us to the next question you need to ask yourself – do you want a new rangefinder, or are you OK with a used one?

There aren’t many rangefinder cameras in production these days. So, if you want a new rangefinder camera – you’d better be prepared to be hit with a high price tag. Leica is one of the most expensive camera brands, after all.

If you want a new digital rangefinder camera, the Leica M10-R costs around $9.000. The Leica 10947 M (Type 262) is a more affordable one that costs about $6.000.

If you’re looking for new rangefinder film cameras, there’s the Leica M-A (Typ 127) for a bit more than $5.000. Also, check out the Leica MP 0.72 for a similar price tag.

Keep in mind that these are interchangeable lens rangefinder cameras, so you’ll have to add the cost of the lens. For example, Zeiss lenses with M-mount (compatible with the cameras I just mentioned) range from $1.000 to $6.000 depending on the focal length and aperture.

Fortunately, there are many more choices if you’re willing to buy second-hand from a retailer like

Recently discontinued models that were expensive as new will still cost a couple of thousand. However, you’ll also find some excellent cameras for a few hundred dollars – or some more basic, vintage ones for even less.

Why Are Rangefinder Cameras So Expensive?

Since there aren’t many brands and/or models of rangefinder cameras, their prices are high.

When there’s no competition, prices tend to rise. That’s not to say that the manufacturers are simply overpricing their rangefinder cameras. They are merely dependent on a supply and demand market.

If there aren’t many rangefinders on offer is also because there isn’t enough demand. Then, the production of these cameras can’t benefit from the mass production and its corresponding decrease in cost.

We can’t also disregard the fact that they are very well made – and quality comes with a price.

7 Recommended Rangefinder Cameras

Leica M10-R– it’s one of the only ones still in production, and it carries a 40MP sensor.

Fujifilm GF670– it’s a dual medium format foldable camera. It has an aperture-priority auto-exposure feature if you don’t want to go full manual and up to 3200 ISO. The lens is an 80mm f/3.5.

Leica M3– it was the first Leica to introduce the rangefinder and the viewfinder in one window. It’s also the main camera used by Henry Cartier Bresson, which allowed him to capture the ‘decisive moment’. It’s also been used by many other professional photographers throughout history.

Contax II– any of the Contax cameras are a great choice. However, this was the first-ever model to combine rangefinder and viewfinder in one window.

Olympus 35 RC– this is an excellent rangefinder for you to experiment with without spending too much money. Just by giving a quick look through eBay, I found some bidding starting at $35.00 – that’s including the lens.

Canon 7– it’s a fast, high-quality rangefinder that became a nitch camera at the time when SLRs were gaining ground. It has two switchable built-in meters.

Contax G2– this is the only or one of the only rangefinders with autofocus. It also has autoexposure, autoloading, and TTL metering. It’s also important that some fantastic lenses are available for this camera.

What To Check On Buying Rangefinder Camera?

What To Check On Buying Rangefinder Camera?


What is a rangefinder camera used for?

While you can use a rangefinder camera for any type of photography, they are mainly used for street photography and photojournalism. This is because rangefinders are smaller and quieter than DSLR and SLR cameras. Also because using the range-focusing method you don’t have to worry about missing the focus on a moving subject.

They’re also used for sports photography because there’s no blackout when you press the shutter. This is because there isn’t a flipping mirror. Also, you can see the action outside your frame so that you can press the shutter at the right time, and you can use range focusing to have tack-sharp subjects.

How does a rangefinder work?

Rangefinders have two windows, each one of which creates an image. The window on the side is the viewfinder where you compose your scene. The window on top of the lens collects the light and bounces it with a mirror, creating a second image.

You can move this second image with the focusing ring until both images match perfectly – that’s when you can take the shot.

For the rest, it works like any other camera. There’s an aperture that controls how much light comes in and a shutter speed that covers and exposes the film or the sensor.

Why is it called a rangefinder camera?

The name is quite literal. They are called this way because they have a rangefinder – which allows you to measure the distance to your subject and focus on it.

What is the difference between a rangefinder and a viewfinder?

A viewfinder is the part of the camera where you can see your subject to compose and focus your image. Both rangefinders and SLR cameras have a viewfinder, but the rangefinder’s viewfinder doesn’t show you precisely what the lens is seeing.

On the other hand, a rangefinder is a device that measures the distance between the image plane and the subject to achieve focus. This device is not found in other cameras.

What is the difference between an SLR and a rangefinder camera?

The main characteristic of an SLR (and a DSLR, for that matter) is the reflex system. This consists of a flipping mirror that bounces the light towards a pentaprism which then sends it to the viewfinder.

Rangefinder cameras don’t have this mirror, which means that you won’t see through the lens with the rangefinder viewfinders.

Another difference related to it is the size and weight. Since there’s no mirror inside, the rangefinders are more compact, weigh less, and are quieter.

Also, with an SLR camera is difficult to achieve focus in low light. There’s more light available in the viewfinder on a rangefinder, or you can use range focusing.

However, rangefinders are mechanical or almost fully mechanical. Instead, an SLR will give you more automatic shooting features, auto-focusing, video recording, etc.


We hope that this article was helpful. If you have any queries feel free to reach out in the comments section below.


  • Herman Riggs

    Herman is a writer, researcher, and product reviewer here at The Outdoor Stores. His knowledge and expertise in firearms are immense. He knows well which gun is suitable for which purpose and how to handle it correctly. You can benefit from his passion by reading his posts on this website.

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