The Human Rangefinder

This instructive video provides a useful technique for making your very own, personalized rangefinder for the purposes of better focus accuracy with camera systems like a Rollei 35 and 35 S, Olympus XA 2, 3 and 4 as well as the LOMO LCA and Diana + camera systems… basically if you have to scale-focus your camera then this video is for you!


Human Rangefinder Card Generator

I would again to thank Thomas Achtemichuk for making this very cool photographic tool available! 

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

24 thoughts on “The Human Rangefinder

  1. That is amazing Stephen. Thank you!

    Years ago I used a Rollei 35 quite extensively and soon got used to guessing quite accurately…in metres.
    Now I’m using an old folder marked only in feet, it’s completely thrown me off.

    I’m sure this card methode will help me, thanks again!


  2. This video was just what I needed. I have never been good at estimating distances, so I made a card this afternoon. After extensive testing, involving both my wife, kids and dog, I can now say that it is surprisingly accurate.
    So thank you Thomas and Stephen, all my Diana shots will be in focus from now on.. 😉

  3. Hi. Just got a struck of genius here that I needed to share with the rest of tha humanity out there: you could somehow mark the rangefinder scale on the camera itself instead of a card! Silly, huh?

    1. Had the same idea and printed on a removable mailing label the scale and attached it the back top of my camera… won’t work on all cameras but a great idea for some!


  4. This is really cool idea! I’m totally gonna tattoo this rangefinder-scale on my finger! Then, when confronted by an autofocusing dslr geek, I can just raise my hand and read from my finger “your subject is nine-and-a-half feet away, do you really need autofocus to know that?” After that, I pull up my sleeve and tell him the exposure value from my (also)tattooed exposure guide in my arm.

    Then all women in vicinity realizes my photographic superpowers and I get laid. really.

  5. Very helpful ideas here.

    I have been playing around with a Holga 135BC and the thing I struggle with most is making sure things are in focus… while some distances are easy to estimate and reasonably simple to guess at, others are really challenging. I think this exercise might be the direction I need to try next. Thanks!


  6. Great tip, I will try it. Sometimes it’s not easy to estimate distance with my R35, mostly when it’s close and at wide apertures.

    Would you mind to share your exposure guide and DOF table?
    I find your “combined tool” very clever and useful.


  7. Super stuff..I believe it was a chap named Martin Tai who’s method inspired Thomas’ program..Your final solution would be good for my newly acquired Rollei35se. Thank you 🙂

  8. one weakness I see, though I may be wrong. your arm have to be totally straight, and 90 degrees. if your arms go left or right a bit, the distances are all wrong. how do we deal with that?

    1. Small distance errors are covered by depth of field— this technique is not perfect for F/1 but something like F4 or or 5.6 should be pretty much spot on…

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