Leicaflex Standard - what do you see in viewfinder?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Trask, Mar 6, 2009.

  1. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,369
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I know this will be hard to do but...I keep reading how the view through the original Leicaflex Standard is very unlike what we see through a "normal" SLR viewfinder because the screens are different. I read that you can't focus on the screen but only with the focusing device in the center of the screen, but I find that hard to imagine --how could you see the image but not be able to focus on it? I hope to actually get a chance to look through one in a couple of weeks, but until then, can anyone take a shot at a word description of what is seen?
     
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Essentially, the screen image is always in focus (apart from the focussing device).

    This makes for a very bright and rangefinder-like viewing experience, but with obvious limitations on focussing and visual depth-of-field estimation.

    Similar screens are the Nikon G (or H?) type screens and those on Voigtländer Bessamatics.
     
  3. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

    Messages:
    920
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Nova Scotia
    And also the Zeiss Contaflexes and Contarexes
     
  4. walter23

    walter23 Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Location:
    Victoria BC
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Sounds like the Lubitel TLR. Most of the viewfinder is just a bright lens (ie, your eye manages focus) with only a central patch that actually works like a focus screen.

    Remember that when you're looking at a normal viewfinder of a modern SLR you're looking at the image projected onto the opposite side of a semi-transparent screen. Same with a view camera and a lot of TLRs - there's an actual flat surface at the same place as the film (or same distance) on which the image is projected... and you're just looking at this projection onto this screen from behind.

    If you remove that and replace the screen with some kind of optical assembly (like the eyepiece on a microscope or telescope I guess) your eye does the focusing so focusing the lens doesn't have an obvious effect.

    I guess the leica is like this but with a small patch in the center for focus. I've never seen one.
     
  5. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,369
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I think I might like an SLR that reminds me of an RF viewing experience. I used (and still have) many SLRs over the past 35 years, but got into RF cameras substantially about 6 years ago, and now I prefer the RF view. I'll have to track down a Standard. Of course it doesn't have TTL metering and I don't think many of the later two- or three-cam Leica R lens will work on the Standard. Just what I need, to start another camera system requiring a whole new set of lenses.....
     
  6. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    AFAIK All the lenses which fit the SL should also fit the standard.

    Those which don't fit are mostly newer wides and zooms (15mm, 19mm version II, 24mm, 35mm 1.4 and so on...)

    Most of the 2/3 cam lenses should work.
     
  7. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,369
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Well, let me answer my own question, just for the record. Went to a camera show the other day and had a chance to look through a Leicaflex Standard. It had a short telephoto mounted, I believe. The image was very bright, and it's true that the portions of the image that fell outside the focusing spot (microprism) did not seem to go in and out of focus as I racked focus. BUT -- the focusing spot was very definite in its response. That is to say, I was never in doubt as to whether I was properly focused or not, as I can sometimes find the case with other microprism focusing spots. I can't say to what degree this impression may have been reinforced by the shallower DOF in a short telephoto. I came away with a very positive impression of the camera -- now if only Leica SLR lenses didn't cost so much.
     
  8. gmanp

    gmanp Member

    Messages:
    6
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The next in line Leica SLR, the SL, is probably the easiest SLR to focus ever made.
    You can focus using the entire screen and it is very bright.
     
  9. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, used Leica lenses aren't *that* expensive and the 1 & 2 cam lenses can even be had cheaply (at least by Leica standards).

    On that vein, I'm selling a 2-cam Elmarit 90mm f/2.8 in Europe... :rolleyes:
     
  10. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I had a Leicaflex standard when they were current cameras. Yes the image with Leica lenses is very bright. I believe it is what is called an "aerial image" type of viewfinder. With cheaper non-Leica zoom lens I had, a Soligor 100-200 (I think) the focus patch in the middle was dark, it didn't work hardly at all, so the Focus patch only works with lenses of "certain" maximum apertures, probably wider than f4.5.