Any 35mm Waist-Level-Finder users out there?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by holmburgers, Apr 1, 2010.

  1. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Lately I've been thinking about how nice it would be to have a WLF finder on my Canons (EF & AE-1P). I feel like it would allow a much more discrete way to take pictures of people. Indeed, I don't think anyone would realize you're taking a picture, they'd think instead that you're just admiring your camera. :wink:

    So does anyone on here find it an advantage? I think it could open up new realms of candid/street photography to SLR users who don't have the advantages inherent to a rangefinder.

    I'd also like to get a list of 35mm bodies that support WLF. I know the Nikon F does, the Canon F-1 and randomly, the Praktica FX's. (I happen to own a Praktika, currently not working, might have to fix it up just for the WLF)

    Also, has a *metering* waist level finder ever been manufactured? That would be awesome.

    CHEERS!
     
  2. mpirie

    mpirie Member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Newbury, Ber
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The Pentax LX as well as the Nikon F, F2, F3 and F4 could use WLF's, though I don't think any of them had metering in them.

    What about a right angle finder on a normal prism?

    Mike
     
  3. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ah, I just read about the Pentax LX on mir.com.

    Do the right angle finders allow you to see the imagine from waist level though, or do you have to put your eye up to it? That would be my main concern.
     
  4. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I remember rightly Miranda 35mm SLR s had metering interchangeable WLFs, but the problem to me with waist level finders unless you're Clark Kent is they are so small you can't see them without glueing your eye to the magnifier.
     
  5. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Both my pre-war Exakta and Exa have WLF's and are built like tanks and can take a Zeiss lens. Beautifully made cameras with a cult following.
     
  6. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Awesome, thnx guys. Any more out there?

    How about the Canon angle finders, do they allow you to see the image from a distance or do they require you put your eye up to it?
     
  7. rthomas

    rthomas Member

    Messages:
    1,177
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The Nikon F3's meter is in the body, as is the F4's spot meter (but not the center-weighted or matrix meters), so you can meter with a WL finder with these cameras.
     
  8. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

    Messages:
    311
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You are correct. I have a Miranda G with both the prism and WL finders. I rarely use the WLF for precisely the reason you mention-the ground glass is so small that I have to use the magnifier up really close to judge focus. It is handy for low angle shots or for when the camera is on a tripod. Unfortunately, to swap out the viewfinders, I have to first remove the clip-on light meter from the right-top of the camera, so it's a cumbersome process to change.

    That being said, for a street shooter (which I'm not), I would think that with a 28mm or a 35mm lens, you could just scale focus and use the WLF discretely to frame your shots.
     
  9. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Agreed on the 28mm & 35mm lens. But I'm more interested in 50mm and 85mm lenses. Like the other day, I was sitting in a coffee shop and the couple across the room was picture worthy. Would've been prime for some WLF action.

    And I don't really like zone focusing or guessing, especially in lower light levels where depth-of-field is so short.

    http://www.myphotoweb.com/Canon_camera/accessory_pages/pages/accessoires.htm

    This website says "...A2 and B are convenient Eyepiece attachments for viewing. They are used taking pictures from the waist level..."

    I'd like to know if the whole image is visible though and some personal experiences from people using these attachments. There's a similar thread "next door", I might go over there.
     
  10. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Exaktas have the best WLF I've seen in 35mm (apart from a few simplified later ones).
    With a massive condensor/magnifying element, they produce a much brighter and apparently bigger image than, say, a Nikon F with a WLF.
    Maybe one of the very few you could actually use at waist-level (at least for composing).

    Also the Rolleiflex SL 2000f/3003 cameras have a WLF finder (as well as a normal one), but again not as nice as the Exakta's.
    The main advantage in this case is to be able to switch form one finder type to the other in an instant.
     
  11. Barry06GT

    Barry06GT Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, Or
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    .
    .
    I have a blast shooting my BlackBird Fly! :D

    The BBF is a twin lens 35mm camera with options for masking.
    .
    .
     
  12. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2010
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,120
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not the ordinary angle finder you need to put your eye up to that, but with the Speed finder For the Canon F1 the whole image can be seen from 60mm away and it also rotates.http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/canonf1/operations/operate4.htm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2010
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Oh, well at which point I'd just get the WLF for an F1.

    Hmm, it appears as if I'm just gonna have to buy a cheapie to get this particular trait. Maybe I'll go with an Exakta and cross-justify the purchase with the fact that it's the camera used in Hitchcock's Rear Window... :wink:
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    15,220
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Another approach:

    Mamiya 645 Super or Pro or Pro Tl with a WLF, 55mm lens and 135 back.

    And as a bonus, you would get a medium format camera out of the deal :smile:
     
  17. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    now you're thinking!
     
  18. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

    Messages:
    1,255
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Florida
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Agreed.

    I had no idea it was used for that film. I will have to watch it again...... cool.
     
  19. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

    Messages:
    7,195
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    Midwest USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Back in the 80s, doing a lot of street photography, I used the WL finder on my Rollieflex quite a lot. With a wide angle lens and zone focusing it worked great at wast level.

    I also have a Praktica 35mm slr from the late 70s that just has the WL finder. I used that for a while in the 80s.
     
  20. lxdude

    lxdude Member

    Messages:
    6,922
    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2009
    Location:
    Redlands, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Pentax LX will meter with a WLF or no finder at all. So will the Nikon F3HP.

    As you already have Canons, why not look into getting an F-1? I haven't owned one myself, but as they all had metering in the body, I would expect metering would work with their WLF's.
     
  21. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

    Messages:
    443
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Location:
    Ventura, Cal
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The Minolta XK. Also called the X-1 and XM in different world markets. Many finder options for this camera, including a nice waist level finder.
    Take a look here for more info: http://www.rokkorfiles.com/XK.html

    One sweet rig! :D
    Jed
     
  22. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

    Messages:
    4,423
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I probably should just get an F-1. But as I just bought an EF (and it's awesome), I dunno. Kinda strapped for cash as well. BTW, I think that the metering is dependent on the various VF's, though I could be wrong.

    I have a Praktina FX that's kinda junky, but maybe I'll try my hand at repairing it & then I'd have what I'm looking for.

    ALSO, those Minolta's are gorgeous. I've never heard of them to be honest, however their prices are a bit rich for my blood. One pckg on eBay is going for upwards $600!

    But we're definitely compiling a great list here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2010
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,821
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I had a Practica FX back in the sixties with a waste level finder, it was so so. The image is going to be to small for focusing.

    What I normally do now, is make sure I am far enough away so pointing accuracy is not critical, scale focus, and shoot from the hip. Can even look the other way, and snap away. However, the noise from a SLR may give you away, a quiet RF or scale focus viewfinder camera is better.

    I also have a lens accessory that fits on the lens like a lens hood but instead, it contains a mirror and a hole in the side of the hood so its disguised as a lens but shoots sideways. I can take pictures while looking through the finder and appear to be taking a photo straight ahead when really taking it at 90 degrees.

    This fools everybody however, I would only use it if shooting from the hip was not good enough, like if using a telephoto. It works really great with a telephoto and the noise from a SLR doesn't matter because the subject thinks I am shooting in a different direction from them.
     
  24. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    673
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have worked just as you are thinking about with my Nikon F3. It's prism can be replaced with a waist level finder. But often I would just remove the prism and glance down into the camera. I used either my 24mm 2.8 or any of my 50mms (1.8 or 1.4). I would prefocus so that I would be free to take pictures when I wanted. Prefocus was possible, as I primarily used this for taking photos of people sitting opposite to me in the Moscow Metro and I knew the distance. It was pretty stealthy, but not completely so. But most were not offended by me anyway.

    A few examples:

    http://erikpetersson.livejournal.com/8167.html
    http://erikpetersson.livejournal.com/4872.html
    http://erikpetersson.livejournal.com/7652.html
     
  25. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you do go for an Exakta, go for a Varex (VX) or Varex IIA. The IIB (IIRC) has as simplified WLF and is often not as well made (though finders are interchangeable between all models).

    Also these are 50-60 year old cameras. Their main bugs tend to be pinholes in the shutter curtains. Make sure that one you're getting has healthy curtains (as well as everything else)! In other words, buy from a reputable source.

    Then pick up an Astro Berlin 400mm and you can re-enact Rear Window... :smile:
     
  26. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Exakta

    In the film (Rear Window), the name was covered with tape.

    The lens used is still a matter of debate: Apparently different lenses were used, one for the film and one for the still shots.

    Pieskar and Astro Berlin are the most quoted candidates.