Leica Technique -- both eyes open?

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by GeorgeDexter, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

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    Does anyone out there use Leica or other brand rangefinders with both eyes open? I've been reading about this technique and am feeling handicapped by not being able to utilize it. I am left eye dominant; I view and compose through the viewfinder with my left eye. This puts my right eye directly behind my thumb on a Leica, and I usually close it, since it's nearly useless in that position. I've tried looking through the rangefinder with my right eye and keeping my left eye open to see the surrounding environment, but it gives me a raging headache after 30 seconds, and I can barely focus. My left-eye dominance has never bothered me before, but for the first time I'm seeing it as a handicap. :sad: Do most right-eye dominant people keep both eyes open during shooting?
     
  2. getalifeagain

    getalifeagain Member

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    I do not keep both eyes open during shooting.
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I trend to switch eyes but never noticed a difference :D I think I squint with my other eye, ie close it slightly by not fully.

    Ian
     
  4. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Try to look on left eye in viewfinder when you turn leica for 90 degrees (like when shooting portraits). Do you get headache?
    I am left eye dominant also :smile: Anyhow I think this is very good and relaxing only when you have 1:1 viewfinder, like in some new bessa.
     
  5. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I frequently shoot my Leicas with both eyes open, but not always.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    This may not be relevant as I don't use a Leica but I do have an Agfa Isolette 1 which is a rangefinder of sorts as well as a Pentax SLR and while I have tried switching eyes for the viewfinder, I find that I cannot somehow get the same view with my non dominant eye. It won't quite behave as I need it to! Definitely feels uncomfortable and a strain.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    I am right eye dominant, so these cameras were built to fit me. I leave both eyes open with my Bessa R3A and with 1:1 hot shoe finders all the time. I used an M3 for a bit with both eyes open, not much of a stretch at 0.91 magnification in the finder. However, it becomes more difficult to work with both eyes open as the viewfinder magnification drops, and I think it would be very difficult to use low magnification finders with a non-dominant eye. I haven't ever had occasion to try that.

    I'm more likely to take candid people shots with a 1:1 finder and both eyes open because I feel a lot more like I'm there with the group, and not a voyeur hiding behind a camera.

    Perhaps a 1:1 hot shoe finder and a Leicavit/trigger winder would help with a dominant left eye. The finder gets both eyes above the camera body and the winder means you're not racheting the advance lever through your right eye.

    A C/V Bessa T and trigger winder would be the least expensive way to try out this setup and see if it works for you.

    Lee
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I use Leicas, and any other camera with both eyes open. Probably a habit from an old science instructor who used to yell at us and call us idiots for closing one eye to look through a microscope.
     
  9. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    You mean, from way back in pre-history when Leeuwenhoek ground microscopes with only monocular eyepieces?

    :smile:
     
  10. Thomas Wilson

    Thomas Wilson Member

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    I shoot clay pigeons with both eyes open, but not film.

    The change in perspective between the viewfinder-eye and my other eye makes me dizzy as hell.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    unless there is ground glass
    1 eye is shut
     
  12. driver8

    driver8 Member

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    As a former amateur astronomer I developed a habit to keep both eyes open because having one eye shut you seriously loose in visual acuity of the open eye. The expuanation, if I get it right, is that our brain, being accustomed to recognise things in stereo vision, looses some vital information about the relative position and dimensions of objects in case if it's received in mono. For this reason the stereo vision seriously strengthens visual brightness of objects and eye's resolving power (the things seen in stereo look brighter and sharper) what is crucial in observation astronomy. I read somewhere that stereo vision boosts visual brightness up 20 percent. I don't think it's that important in photography. It also can add to the explanation of why viewfinders are now nearly eliminated from consumer-market products.
     
  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    If only Mr. Nicholson had just told us that instead of telling us we looked like idiots! Makes perfect sense.

    Photographing definitely is harder for me if I close my non-viewfinder eye, however. Not sure why.
     
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  15. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I used to work with both eyes open when shooting football games from the field. I only do it occasionally now. It's really useful to know when 3 250 pound guys are about to mow you down. This wasn't with a Leica, but a Nikon SLR.

    It does help anytime you are trying to follow action.
     
  16. GJA

    GJA Member

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    I had never really noticed this before, but I went and got my SLR (but it should be the same with any camera) and i have the same problem as the OP. I cant keep both eyes open, especially when using my right to look through the finder. As driver noted, you lose a lot of brightness, but i also noticed that with both eyes open the finder seems much dimmer too (and I have a very bright one with a fast lens).
     
  17. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    I have an old Albada finder for 50mm lenses that's wonderful to use with both eyes open, great for following action. The image is life-size.
     
  18. mablo

    mablo Member

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    Using 1:1 viewfinder definitely helps when shooting both eyes open. One more reason to use my Canon P. However, I find it sometimes hard to focus my right eye to the #¤%&%! rangefinder patch and I need to squint my left eye a little.
     
  19. jpberger

    jpberger Member

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    I'm right eye dominant, but I'm able to shoot left eyed without much trouble (I'm somewhat ambidextrous too.) Closing one eye can while shootingbecome fatiguing and I find that one advantage of left eye shooting is that I can keep the right eye open even though it is blocked by the camera body. This works well for getting the most out of low magnification viewfinders.
     
  20. Ross Chambers

    Ross Chambers Member

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    I'm trying to get the hang of this technique. With a Cosina Voigtlander Bessa it has delightful moments when the bright frame of the viewfinder floats on a wide field of vision beyond the frame, quite magical. However I'm left eye dominent (lousy right eye) and the camera does get a little in the way, except in portrait format. As well this model Bessa didn't have 1:1 framing, as the later models do.

    My Voigtlander Prominent, despite the viewfinder being sort of left eye favourable, catches out both left and right eye preferences, and this is not enhanced by the period qualities of the optics of the viewfinder.

    My moments of floating a frame over the world and choosing what part of it to capture (please excuse that digital expression!) are so pleasing that I do persist in attempting to get it together.

    Regards - Ross
     
  21. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    it is a mind over matter thing dont close either eye and they will both remain open...
    repeat.
    If you have a M3, Canon P or VI, then the difference in magnification is barely perceptible unless you look for it.
    But I'm ok with a Contax II or M2, indeed you can see more clearly without the viewfinder artifice.

    Noel
     
  22. Peter Markowski

    Peter Markowski Member

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    I focus with my right eye (left shut) BUT I open both eyes when shooting. My left eye tends to address or engage the people or person, trying not give the feeling of being caught with the camera between us. Also, if I'm focused and framed but waiting to see what is changing in the shot, I scan outside of my frame with my left eye (admittedly seeing mostly the outside left of my frame).
     
  23. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

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    Thanks all for your replies. I'm not feeling quite so handicapped, now that I know that I'm not the only one that closes one eye while shooting. I'd like to keep both eyes open, and I may try it, but it won't do me much good with my right eye behind the advance lever. I can shoot with my right eye if I keep my left eye closed, but that defeats the purpose, so I think I'll just keep shooting with my left eye and not worry about it.
     
  24. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    Other cameras with 1:1 viewfinder -- Nikon S2, Konica IIIa (with parallax adjustment). Also, you could try a Kontur finder -- you look with one eye and because the Kontur only shows an outline on a black field, effectively with both eyes open you see your subject with a box around it. Interesting. I'm left eye dominant too -- funny how tough it is to switch to right eye.
     
  25. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I use a CV Bessa R3M with a 1:1 finder. I keep both eyes open. I wasn't aware this was a 'Leica' technique, I just thought it was a rangefinder technique.
     
  26. David William White

    David William White Member

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    Both eyes open, but just with my rangefinder, and just when street shooting.

    Secret weapon: I bought a Bessa R3A a year ago. From my research & to my knowledge, it is the only rangefinder that has a 1:1 viewfinder, meaning the view through the viewfinder is exactly the same as real life. With both eyes open I have all of my peripheral vision, so I see the things my camera is *not* pointing at, and as I pan to capture interesting things, the 1:1 viewfinder doesn't throw me off balance or make me dizzy. All I see are the framelines suspended in space, and the focus patch in the middle. It's really quite something.

    It was something of a revelation to me after shooting with SLR's trying to cover events and/or keeping one eye out for 'undesirables' heading in my direction, if you know what I mean.