Does anyone have a rangefinder camera? What are their advantages and disadvantages? Leica has come out with a new version, M9, and I'm very interested in one but need more feedback. They cost a very large chunk of change.
I use rangefinders quite alot - but film versions only (1 leica, 2 canons, and a few sundries)
General RF advantages:
Smaller form factor.
Easier (more accurate/faster) manual focusing - especially in low light.
Sharper and smaller optics - especially wide angles - since the optics do not have to be adjusted to clear an SLR mirror.
No moving mirror makes hand holding longer exposures more feasible
Different way of framing the scene - more involved in the subject and moment, but less precise composition
General RF disadvantages:
Not as useful for telephoto lenses since the viewfinder doesn't zoom in (135mm is the longest useable on most RFs)
Not as useful for very close focus - parallax errors especially problematic
The only current digital option is the M9/M8.2 (so very expensive). The older RD-1s had a crop sensor, and is no longer supported.
Less precise compositions
Very wide angle lenses (21mm or wider) require external viewfinders