35mm Slide loupes / viewers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by c.w., Jan 6, 2010.

  1. c.w.

    c.w. Member

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    Now that the boxes of slides are starting to stack up, I'm starting to think it might be a good idea to get a loupe or a viewer or to look at them. I don't really think I want to deal with a projector though.

    I've been looking at this Peak 8x loupe and was sort of wondering if it was any good at all. As long as it's not absolutely terrible it's good enough for me. Right now all I have is a Hakuba 15x cheapie that i use to check focus and such, but I haven't got anything that has coverage of the whole slide.

    Then i was looking around and saw this slide viewer and wondered it that might be a good option since it has a built in light source and everything.

    So i was just wondering if anyone had one of those and had an opinion on them or any such stuff. Thanks.
     
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I had one of those years ago, and soon became dissatisfied with it. It is tedious to insert one slide at a time, and squint at the miserably small window. I much prefer a projector. Keep yours eyes open for one of the type that were used in jewelery shops as sales aids, that are self contained, and look like television sets. Bottom line, IMHO, save your money for something else.

    Rick
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'd skip the plastic slide viewer. These are usually of poor optical quality. I'd also avoid the cheap one-piece Agfa-type 8x plastic loupes (labs often have these attached by a string to the light tables). Peak makes loupes and magnifiers at a range of price points and quality levels, and some are better than others.

    Look for something focusable, and it's nice to have the option of a clear or opaque base for use either with prints or with negs or transparencies. If you can test them out, look at something like a sheet of graph paper and see if the lines look straight and square through the loupe.

    The Schneider 4X is something of a standard, and the current model has noticeably less distortion than older ones. The Rodenstock 4X and Pentax 5.5X are also well regarded. A loupe of around 4X is what most people would use to view a whole 35mm slide.

    An 8x or 10x or even a stronger loupe is handy for looking at details in a slide or negative to determine enlargability. As with 4x loupes, you get what you pay for.

    If you spend a lot of time looking at slides or negs on a light table, it's worth investing in a Schneider or Rodenstock or one of the higher end Peaks. A 4x loupe with low distortion will show you more about a slide than an 8x loupe with a lot of distortion.
     
  4. Joachim_I

    Joachim_I Member

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    I started with a Nikon loupe which is very similar (identical?) to the Peak loupe you mentioned. I don't use it anymore (for viewing slides, I still use it to focus a view camera). I found that 8x is too much magnification for viewing slides. It is fine to check sharpness only but too much for general viewing. I probably looked through almost every loupe on the market when I was searching for an alternative. The most convincing loupe turned out to be the Rodenstock 6x aspheric loupe. It has superb optics (vastly superior to Nikon's), a very practical magnification and a very large circle of view which makes it also convenient for medium format slides. With the Nikon/Peak type of loupes you have to position the loupe very carefully over the mounted slides because their field of view exactly corresponds to the size of the slide. A larger circle of view is much more convenient and allows for faster use. This is where the Rodenstock outperforms every other loupe with a similar magnification (like Schneider and Leica). I could not be happier with mine. You should add a good light box. Having said all that, nothing beats a well projected slide!
     
  5. Shawn Rahman

    Shawn Rahman Subscriber

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    Excellent choice - I think looking through a good loupe at a well-exposed slide on a lightbox is one of the great aesthetic pleasures in all of photography.

    When I bought my loupe a number of years ago, I was going to buy the Peak 8x, but recall that 8x didn't provide coverage of the whole slide. I really liked it, but settled on a Schneider 4x loupe that I payed WAY too much for (it was around $90 when I bought it). Now it is $120. Ridiculously priced for what it is, but I love it:

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/214579-REG/Schneider_08_034558_4x_Magnifier.html

    Have you compared the slide coverage between 4x and 8x?
     
  6. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I've had a Schneider 6x6 loupe for a number of years to look at 6x6 negatives. It comes with a couple of attachments. One of which will let it fit as a view finder on a Hasselblad. It was costly but of excellent quality. Your lightbox should have 5500k bulbs. I also have a Schneider 8x for more detail. But dare I say it here --- you could also scan them and see them enlarged on a moniter.
     
  7. c.w.

    c.w. Member

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    Ok, so the viewer thing is a no-go. Good to know.

    So, from what I gather I should probably look for a 4x. There's a more expensive peak 4x model - if anyone has any experience with it i'd appreciate your insights. I'm not so sure about spending $150+ on a really nice Schnider or Rodenstock that I'm not sure I would use enough to get my money's worth.

    Unfortunately, I live about 6 hours from a real camera store so I can't really give anything a try before ordering. I do have a scanner, so it's not like I can't look at my slides at all, I was just thinking it would be nice to have a way to look through the pile of slides without waiting ages for the thing to go through it's noisy dance.
     
  8. ken472

    ken472 Member

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    Just use a old Nikon 50mm lens inverted-It's the old fashioned way to do it.
     
  9. c.w.

    c.w. Member

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    I tried that with a zuiko 50mm f1.8 - besides not having enough coverage, the aperture lever keeps poking me in the eye.
     
  10. Pylon757

    Pylon757 Member

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    I use a 40mm lens salvaged from a broken Canonet QL17 and works quite well.
     
  11. AlexG

    AlexG Member

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    I've got one of those Peak 8x loupes and 2 Pana Vue viewers.

    The peak thing is fine and it does its ob...the only problem are the slightly soft edges and you might have a hard time noticing if the focus is sharp if it is ever-so-slightly off.

    The Pana View things are good to use as a portable lightbox in the field, but thats about it. It's very tedious to put one slide at a time.


    Alex
     
  12. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Plastic loupés are just absolutely awful (not particularly good for eyes, either).
    My Ilfochrome printer uses a focus-scope for examining trannies.

    A 4x loupé is too shallow to critically discern detail. Go for 8x to 10x.
    A Nikon 8x aspherical loupé has done the job for me for about 20 years I think; no idea where I brought it from but possibly overseas. It's all glass and no chromatic aberration during viewing. Schneider makes some truly excellent loupés but they are mega-expensive ... around $500 for an 8-10x, still, they are the bees-knees in build and viewing quality.

    If you have defective eyesight, a loupé with dioptric correction may be useful.
     
  13. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    c.w.
    We know you're six hours from a camera store, but in what directioin? IE:where are you?
    Take a look at the auction site or craigslist