What Is the Difference Between Rangefinder and SLR?

Over the years, cameras have been used in every aspect of our lives. They capture images that create and preserve memories of historical and sentimental value. Each photo captured tells a tale of time and place, making us remember a well-loved past. The importance of cameras, such as the rangefinder and SLR, is not in the device itself but in what it produces.

Wondering what is the difference between rangefinder and SLR?

Read on for a detailed insight.

What Is a Rangefinder?

If you are a fan of cameras, you have probably heard about the rangefinder cameras. They are cameras made with a focusing mechanism, which allows you to calculate the subject’s distance and capture photographs that are in sharp focus. The rangefinder is mostly used by land surveyors when mapping out land, and nature lovers. It is also used in the army for different field works.

In spite of their low profile looks, these cameras have advantages over a number of others out there. You probably know it can be quite a hefty investment when buying a rangefinder camera. And you can easily be discouraged, but I strongly suggest not to go for something cheap. While that may sound like something that is a bit more consumerist in opinion, I think that paying the extra money for a good, clean rangefinder or a bigger camera with a brighter rangefinder is worth every extra cent.


● Body size/weight
● Discreetness
● No mirror blackout, mirror sound, mirror induced vibrations
● Shorter registration distance: smaller/ lighter lenses
● Ease of both-eye-open photography and awareness


● Lack of autofocus (though some have contrast-detection autofocus)
● Parallax effect, pronounced at close distances
● Switching viewfinder
● No depth-of-field preview, exact framing, and other WYSIWYG( what you see is what you get) things.

rangefinder versus SLR

What Is SLR?

SLR, or single-lens reflex, cameras are the most popular cameras today. They enable a photographer to view through the lens and see exactly what will be captured.


● through-the-lens viewing
● Focus anywhere in the flame, anytime
● They are great macro
● Have fisheye lenses


● Inferior optics
● Inferior image quality
● Poor manual focus accuracy
● Poor autofocus accuracy
● It is too big and too heavy
● Too many junk settings
● Poor to no focus in dim light
● Too many batteries

What Is the Difference Between Rangefinders and SLRs?

Rangefinders are usually large images with smaller frames inside while SLRs are images surrounded by black. Rangefinders are completely different from SLRs, just as girls are to boys, or trucks are to trains. They are completely different from each other. These are some of the things that each kind of camera either excels or fails in.

Rangefinders are less automated, and, therefore, they are easier to set and use. On the other hand, SLRs tend to have more automation, at the price of not being able to figure out how to use them. Additionally, rangefinders offer a better range of the lenses we actually need, while SLRs offer a range of unclear lenses.

A rangefinder has some kind of contraption to measure the distance of a subject and then set the focus to the distance, while SLR uses direct observation through the lens( either with phase-detect autofocus or manual focusing screen) to set the focus.

Which Camera Is the Best Option?

I would go for a rangefinder since they are mirrorless, more compact, and have a quieter shutter. Not to forget it is easier to carry about while taking photos around you in your travels.

Rangefinders also make you think and shoot in a totally different way. You essentially stop your lens down and focus away to a certain distance. Your lens will tell you just how much of that scene is in focus.

I won’t discredit those that like the SLRs cameras since they are ideal for fast-moving things like kids, sports, and actions.

Final Thoughts

Whether you use a rangefinder or SLR cameras, the fact is you would want to capture memories of the past and be able to bring them into the present. Based on the above review, you will not only have good photos but also have memories that you can share with the future generation by reliving past moments.