Best Rangefinder Cameras (2021) – Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated December 22, 2021

You will find two types of cameras in the market today: DSLRs and the Mirrorless cameras. Rangefinder cameras fall under the latter. 

This article will examine what sets rangefinder cameras apart from others and list down the best ones available today.

So, without any further ado, let’s begin!

Comparison of the Best Rangefinder Cameras

  • Has a motorized advance and rewind
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.2 x 1.8"
  • Shutter Speed: 1/6000th to 16 Seconds + Bulb with flash sync at 1/200th second
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  • Vintage USSR film camera
  • Product features INDUSTAR lens
  • Shutter Speed: 1-1/1000 +B
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  • Best Rangefinder Camera for the Money
  • Dimensions: 13 x 8.5 x 7 cm
  • Shutter Speed: 10 to 300, with "I" and "B" switch
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  • Best Rangefinder Film Camera
  • Dimensions: 2.52 x 7.17 x 4.8"
  • Shutter Speed: 1/500s seconds
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  • Best Compact Rangefinder Camera
  • Dimensions: 120 x 75 x 60 mm
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4 sec. to 1/500 sec
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What is a Rangefinder Camera? 

The name rangefinder has been coined for these cameras since they come equipped with dual image ranging technology. With such cameras, you can turn the camera ring and mesh two pictures into superimposition with great focus.  

Moreover, you do not need to look into the lens. You can focus on your subject via the window located at the top right side of the camera, just like a disposable one. This window also allows more light to pass in to make the picture appear clearer and brighter, which in turn results in clear images.

How Does a Rangefinder Camera Work?

A rangefinder camera comes with a built-in viewfinder on its front side and a second rangefinder window on the side. It also comes equipped with an optical system that is used to focus the camera and is separate from the imaging lens. 

On the right side of this viewfinder’s window is a small second window which sits on top of the moveable mirror used to reflect the second picture to the viewfinder, and moves when the focusing ring is adjusted.

When Would I Use a Rangefinder Camera?

There are several uses of a rangefinder camera, but it depends on the reason you need if for. Here are some uses when you would need such a camera:


If you’re looking for a high-quality camera that produces excellent and clear images but is also compact and lightweight, then a rangefinder camera is a great option. It is also better than SLRs in image quality and renders beautiful pictures.

Street Photography

Since these cameras are lightweight and are good at focusing on subjects, the camera is perfect for street photography, such as shooting architectural landscapes. The lens of a rangefinder is also one of the best in the world, making the shots more stellar.

For Quieter Operation

If you want a camera that operates smoothly without any noise, investing in a rangefinder can be beneficial as they do not have mirrors that flip, so there is no shutter sound. They are also more forgiving than SLRs when working with lower shutter speeds.

Key Terms to Know 

To help compare products in this review, we have included a few key specifications for each. Here is a quick summary of what they mean:

  • Dimensions: Length, width, height, and weight of the camera.

  • Shutter Speed: A measurement of how long the shutter is open, allowing light into the camera as a picture is taken.

  • Aperture(s): The opening that allows light into the lens and is expressed as f/ followed by a number. This is spoken as “f-stop”. Smaller aperture numbers allow more light and larger aperture numbers allow less light.

  • Lens: The type and/or size of the camera’s lens.

  • Focusing Distance: The shortest distance from your subject to the focus plane. 

Review of the Best Rangefinder Cameras

Now that we’ve got the introduction of the rangefinder cameras down, let’s take a look at the reviews of some of the best ones you can get your hands on:

Best Overall:
Contax G2 Camera Body

G2 Camera Body


  • High-quality image rendering
  • Well-designed aesthetic camera 
  • Comes with an electronic focusing
  • Lightweight and easy to travel with
  • Strong and durable exterior for harsh weather conditions


  • Constantly need to buy film
  • Expensive as compared to other models

What Recent Buyers Report

The G2 is the new upgraded version of the G1 and comes with many improvements in its build and performance, which is why everyone loves it. Moreover, it is travel-friendly, lightweight, and easy to carry around. The design is pretty durable as well, and it takes high-quality images. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Aside from the high technology features embedded in this camera, the style and aesthetics of the Contax G2 are pretty remarkable. It truly fashions a strong titanium body with an impressive finish, and it comes with lenses and other accessories. It is also very solidly built and comes with controls that are user-friendly and smooth.

The top of this camera features a bunch of buttons as it contains most of the features. Firstly, you will find an ISO button which is used alongside the focusing wheel for overriding the DX speed, a motor drive mode dial, manual ISO speed, low battery warning, and many other impressive features and functions.

Bottom Line

The G2 Contax camera is one of the best rangefinder cameras out there. It might be expensive, but the price is worth it because it has some of the greatest features you’d ever want in a camera. 

Product Specs


5.5 x 3.2 x 1.8"

Shutter Speed:

1/6000th to 16 Seconds + Bulb with flash sync at 1/200th second

Focusing Distance:

EV 3-19 @ ISO 100 with all lenses

Camera ZORKI-4K

Camera ZORKI-4K Vintage USSR Film Camera With Lens INDUSTAR 50mm/3.5 Lens Silver


  • Viewfinder is super bright
  • Framing the composition is easy
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Designed with the highest quality materials
  • Workmanship of this camera is absolutely spectacular


  • Lenses do not come with click stops
  • Controls and buttons are not very smooth

What Recent Buyers Report

While learning how to use this camera can be a delirious task, it is quite a treat once you get a hold of the controls and functions of it. Its features and design date back to a long time, and the design and aesthetic appeal of this camera can make any photographer envious.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This camera was designed way ahead of its time. The quality of the images you get with it is very impressive, and if you’re looking for a camera that is more entry-level when it comes to rangefinders, this one can be a teaching lesson, especially for beginners.

Moreover, the camera is very budget-friendly, so if you want something that does not break the bank, you should seriously consider this model. Apart from that, the physical exterior is super appealing and aesthetic as well. Once you get the hang of its controls, it’s an impressive piece of equipment.

Bottom Line

The ZORKI-4K is one of the most aesthetically pleasing rangefinder cameras that you can find. It is not only aesthetically appealing, but it has great performance and takes high-quality images too. If you are new to rangefinder photography, this camera is highly recommended.

Product Specs

Shutter Speed:

1-1/1000 +B


f/2 to f/22


Jupiter-8 2/50

Best Rangefinder Camera for the Money:
Vintage Argus C3

Vintage Argus C3 35mm Rangefinder Brick Camera


  • High-quality pictures and shots
  • Durable and sturdy to last a long time
  • Vintage-looking and aesthetically pleasing
  • Creates a better learning experience for beginners
  • Brick-film camera which produces stunning images


  • Heavy camera body

What Recent Buyers Report

The Argus C3 is known as ‘the Brick’ by many camera enthusiasts. The front part of the camera is filled with different controls, which makes it look like a scientific tool, but it is aesthetically pleasing to many users. It is vintage and takes decent-quality images, which is why most camera lovers love it.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a manual rangefinder camera that is specifically created to focus on high distances such as 3ft and upwards. The lens on this camera is also interchangeable, which adds to its attractive features. The frame counter is equipped with a unique system that comes with a numbered dial.

Due to its inexpensiveness and the durability of its body, this vintage camera has managed to overcome most of its competitors over the years. Over this time, it has managed to retain its shape and classiness with a few modifications here and there, and it is safe to say that this is one of the most stunning 35mm rangefinder cameras out there.

Bottom Line

If you’re on the hunt for a cheap camera that does not compromise on quality, this aesthetic one by Argus is the one you’re looking for. With its impeccable build and attractive features, it will not let you down.

Product Specs


13 x 8.5 x 7 cm

Shutter Speed:

10 to 300, with "I" and "B" switch




50mm f/3.5 Argus Coated Cintar

Best Digital Rangefinder Camera:
Leica M10-P

Leica M10-P Digital Rangefinder Camera 20021 (Black Chrome)


  • High magnification of the viewfinder
  • Slim body design with sleek controls
  • Equipped with a rear LCD which is a touchscreen
  • 24 megapixels full-frame camera with CMOS sensor
  • Comes with a built-in level gauge for perfect compositions 


  • Some customers feel as if the camera is not worth the hefty price tag

What Recent Buyers Report

Users who are Leica enthusiasts will definitely enjoy this camera as it is packed with stunning features and high-end technology. It has an LCD screen that better manages the setting. Moreover, its sleek design and smooth controls will amplify your photography experience, making every photoshoot a dream-come-true.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Known for its sleek design and simple exterior, the Leica M10-P is a rangefinder camera that packs a punch. It has one of the quietest shutters that you will find in any other film camera and is also equipped with a 24-Megapixel full-frame sensor for high-quality, enhanced images.

Furthermore, the LCD at the back of the camera is a touchscreen and features gorilla glass to protect it against any scratches, dust, or microbes. The top and the bottom plates are designed with heavy-duty brass and chassis to ensure its durability and longevity throughout the years.

Bottom Line

Got the budget and the enthusiasm for a collector Leica film camera? The M-10P by Leica is the one that you need in order to fully become a Leica enthusiast. With its stunning features and capabilities, every picture will bring out the best in the scene.

Product Specs


9 x 9 x 8.5"

Shutter Speed:

6 seconds through 1/4,000-second

Best Rangefinder Film Camera:
MiNT InstantKon RF70

MiNT InstantKon RF70 Instant Film Rangefinder Camera


  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Bokeh rendering is soft and beautiful
  • Quality of the lens is stunning and high-tech
  • Fully manual Instax wide camera with all the controls
  • Comfortable to hold and use because of smooth controls


  • Not weather-sealed
  • Flash audio port requires the filter system

What Recent Buyers Report

Wide-format instant photography is loved by many photography enthusiasts, which is exactly why many people have preferred this model. The auto-mode of this camera is quite impressive, and the light is ambient. It is also super flexible and easy to use and is known for taking stunning shots.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The lightweight design and easy-to-use camera have won the hearts of many photographers around the world. Its impeccable features and quality make it a strong contender amongst the many other rangefinder cameras out there.

Moreover, it has its own manual controls so you can fix the settings according to the type of photography you are interested in. The bokeh rendering is also soft and hazy, which results in beautiful images. The lens is also sharp when it is stopped down, and it comes with a built-in flash as well.

Bottom Line

Looking for a worthy investment to put all your money in? The MiNT InstantKon RF70 Instant film camera is here to satisfy all your photographic needs. With its stellar imagery and fine controls, it will definitely leave you stunned.

Product Specs


2.52 x 7.17 x 4.8"

Shutter Speed:

1/500s seconds




3-element, aspherical glass lenses, f=93mm

Focusing Distance:

75cm - ∞

Best Compact Rangefinder Camera:
Canon Canonet QL17 GIII

Canon Canonet QL17 GIII


  • Durable quality and sturdy design
  • Comes with a 45mm high-speed lens
  • Lightweight and compact for traveling
  • Superb-quality photos with clarity and sharpness
  • Equipped with automatic exposure for sharp images


  • Original batteries for this model are no longer available

What Recent Buyers Report

The Canon Canonet QL 17 is easily one of the most in-demand rangefinder film cameras out there. It is compact and lightweight and is equipped with a fixed lens. It is easy to use, renders crystal-clear imagery, and is loved by many photography enthusiasts around the world.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Canonet GIII is a mechanical camera designed with spectacular features to give you some of the best photos you’ll ever take on a film camera. It also comes with a self-timer and has a bulb-mode for extra light in low-light conditions. It operates quietly without making any shutter sounds and has great compatibility with an external flash.

Even though the batteries that were originally designed for this camera aren’t available in the market anymore, several alternatives are available and work more proficiently on the unit. It also comes with many frame guides equipped with parallel compensation.

Bottom Line

Traveling with a heavy camera can always be a pain. This is why the Canon QL17 is here to quell all your issues and provide you with a lightweight, compact solution that is exceptional in design as well as performance.

Product Specs


120 x 75 x 60 mm

Shutter Speed:

1/4 sec. to 1/500 sec


40mm f/1.7

Focusing Distance:

40/1.7 focusing to 2.6 feet

Pros and Cons of a Rangefinder Camera

A rangefinder camera can provide you with a lot of advantages over a regular DSLR, but there are a few cons as well. Let’s go over the two aspects of a rangefinder camera:


Here are some of the advantages of using a rangefinder camera: 

Weight and Size

One of the bigger advantages of using a rangefinder camera over a normal DSLR is that the former's the size and weight are much smaller and lighter. This makes it compact and easy to use around, and it is also super travel-friendly.

Quality of Images

The image quality of rangefinders is better in general as they take sharper photos, and you can even utilize the impressive wide-angle lenses of this camera as they are smaller and lighter and deliver less distortion.

Silent Shutters

Rangefinder cameras have a quieter and smoother operation because they do not contain reflex flipping mirrors, which can be cumbersome.


Along with the benefits, there are also some cons attached to getting a rangefinder. These include:

Not Versatile

Rangefinders cannot be used for every kind of photography. This is one thing that makes DSLRs more superior as they carry more features and functionality.


As rangefinder cameras are lighter and more compact, they need to be held with more care.

Rangefinder Camera Tips

There are a few tips that can help you take better photos if you’re new at using rangefinders. In order to take clearer and sharper images with your new rangefinder camera, here are some tips to help you out:

Understand the Lens

Every lens has its benefits and its downfalls. In order to understand your camera better, you must understand how to operate your lens. Check how it reacts under specific light conditions and plays around with different settings to get the best one for your photography style.


You need to get to know your camera's timing and lag system. Once you understand how the shutter works and how to maneuver the settings according to the scene, it will be easier to take in-the-moment pictures.

Check the Calibration

Checking the rangefinder’s calibration is another important factor that will help your camera focus on the subject better, depending on the distance. You could calibrate the camera's body to match your lenses so that it’s easier for you to focus on your subject.

Rangefinder Camera vs. DSLR - Comparison Overview 

There are several differences between a rangefinder and a DSLR, mainly in the technology that is used to manufacture them. Let’s go over some of the differences and then touch upon the similarities as well. 


There are quite a few differences between a DSLR and a Rangefinder camera. Here are some of them:


SLR cameras have a series of mirrors through which the photographer can compose and focus on the subject. However, rangefinders do not have a mirror, which makes them quieter, but it also means that they are less versatile.


Rangefinder cameras have a larger viewfinder as compared to SLRs, which helps them provide a greater and in-depth field of vision and helps in focusing on the subject better.


Rangefinders take more time for the user to get comfortable with as they are unique. They are more compact and lightweight as compared to heavy SLRs.


Now let’s take a look at some of the similarities between the two:


Aesthetic-wise, a lot of SLR manufacturers copy the same design and compactness that a rangefinder camera offers, so they have the same retro look and vintage appeal.

How to Use a Rangefinder Camera

If you’re a beginner and want to get started with a rangefinder camera, here is how you can use it to capture some of the most amazing shots. 

In order to understand how shooting with a rangefinder camera works, you need to familiarize yourself with the zone focusing system. You need to step your lens down, focus a distance away from the subject, and then shoot.

  1. Look inside the lens first for the depth of field scale.

  2. Then, look at the aperture and stop it down to focus it to a certain distance away.

  3. Look at what the aperture says in terms of the line and then line it up according to the subject. 

  4. Finally, click on the shutter to take the picture and voila! There you go.

These are quite simple steps, but in order to fully understand the meaning behind these steps and get the settings right, you can look at the video below, which will give you a better explanation of how to take the right pictures using a rangefinder camera:


Hopefully, this article provided you with some guidance and tips to get the best rangefinder camera and how to use it. Getting one can be difficult, especially if you’re a beginner, so make sure you complete your research before purchasing one. Good luck shooting!

People Also Ask

There are several concerns and queries that people have when buying a rangefinder, so in case the information mentioned above not enough, you can go over these frequently asked question and answers to get your ambiguities and concerns cleared out:

Why Are Rangefinder Cameras Better?

Rangefinder cameras are better as they guarantee better image quality with sharpness and crystal clear clarity. Moreover, they provide less distortion than SLR cameras, which makes them more efficient. They are also slimmer, lighter, and more compact as compared to an SLR or DSLR camera.

How Do You Shoot With a Rangefinder Camera?

In order to understand how to shoot a photo using a rangefinder camera, here’s what you must do:

  1. Look inside the lens first for the depth of field scale.

  2. Then, look at the aperture and stop it down to focus it to a certain distance away.

  3. Look at what the aperture says in terms of the line and then line it up according to the subject. 

  4. Finally, click on the shutter to take the picture.

Make sure you are comfortable with the buttons and controls and have familiarized yourself with its settings before you attempt to shoot.

Why Are Rangefinder Cameras So Expensive?

These cameras are expensive because they have a high demand and a very short supply. They are used by professionals who want to carry something durable and long-lasting. Leica cameras, for example, are extremely well designed and truly pass the test of time.

Can You Attach a Rangefinder Camera to Your Weapon?

Yes, you can attach the rangefinder to the weapon easily with scopes. Rangefinders are also attached to guns for military purposes.

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