Prisms and Winders: Are they worthy?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by PamelaHL, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. PamelaHL

    PamelaHL Member

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    I'm considering purchasing a MF 6x6 (Hasselblad 503CW). The one that I rented last weekend had a prism and a winder with it. Although that made it more like the 35mm to which I am accustomed, I am wondering whether their utility is worth the extra bulk, fiddling, funds, etc.

    Do you use a prism finder or a winder? Do you find it worthwhile?

    Again, I deeply appreciate your taking the time and energy to respond!
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    Pam,
    are you doing weddings or something else that requires auto film advance? If not, don't waste the money. The winder is expensive and bulky.

    As for finders, I have the PM45 and never use it. I mostly use the waist level. Maybe because that is how I learned to see with this camera. But I would start off with the bare minimums first. Then buy as you need.

    Good luck,
    david
     
  3. harveyje

    harveyje Subscriber

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    I use both a prism and the WL finder. The prism is nice but not necessary if you can learn to accommodate the laterally reversed image. I actually use the WL finder most of the time as I usually use a tripod or monopod. The winder would be nice to have but, again, is not necessary as you will be most likely working at a slower pace. If you decide on either be sure to check ebay and other used sources for less expenditure.

    Others may have different opinions. It really depends on what you want to do with the camera.
     
  4. fingel

    fingel Member

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    I have used both, but don't have either. I have always found it easier for the way I work to use the waist-level finder and no winder. The reversed image doesn't bother me, I guess I am just used to it.
     
  5. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Pamela, I use a waist level 90% of the time on my 645, though I do have a prism finder - no winder. The question I would ask myself, if I were in your shoes, compared to the cost of said finder and winder, could I get another lens or how much film,paper,developer could I buy. The winder and prism will not make your images any better, they could make it easier to take, but balance it with what you need now. Don't forget, there is still a large supply of equipment out there so pace yourself.

    Just my 2 cents...
     
  6. eric

    eric Member

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    I have a prism but I think its more of a hassle. I find that I can compose better without it because one uses BOTH eyes for composition with WL. And that gives you (to me at least) better visual perspective that ONE eye that has limited depth perception. I like it taking the time with the WL as well.
     
  7. PamelaHL

    PamelaHL Member

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    Thank you for your responses.

    I plan to use the MF for shooting images that express my connection with the subject in a more profound way. Subjects will include nature, adults, children, etc. I do not plan to shoot in rapid succession with the MF. I will save these exposures for thought-out ideas that I'd like to translate into images.

    You make great points about the utility of each. I appreciate your thoughtful responses and look forward to hearing more.

    Thanks much.
     
  8. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    no winder and no prism for me. adds to much weight.
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I have a couple of Hasselblads and use the 45 angle finder exclusively and have for many years. I don't like backwards images and I like the detail that you see with a darkened finder.( no light seeping in). I like the fact that it is faster and easier to focus if you need to do that.

    I have a 500 CM and a ELM which is the motor drive. I use the motordrive the most and for the main reason that you can use a 25 foot cable release to release the shutter. Great for shooting kids. While the camera is behind me on the tripod I can move in and move out and tickle or play and jump back and trip the shutter electronically.

    I also used to use the 25 foot cable release when I shot weddings. I used the CM hand held with a flash on it and placed the ELM in the balcony and hung the cable release over and down to the floor below. I could shoot hand held in the aisle as well as from above at the same time.

    So my recommendation is forget the motor drive for now but get the 45 degree angle finder. The learning curve will be less as it will seem more like your 35mm.


    Michael McBlane
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    I don't use a winder. I use the WLF and a "chimney" magnifiying finder for nature photography. For people shots I use a Kiev 45 degree prism finder (no meter). It fits the Hassy perfectly, is a good performer and costs less than $100. new.
     
  11. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Pamela, given that you're going to be photographing people, you will find yourself shooting in rapid succession at times, even if you don't plan to. You just will. You tend to shoot unposed, from what I've seen, and you don't want to miss a moment because you couldn't catch it fast enough. I don't think a winder is necessary (it's pretty fast to manually advance it). But you might consider a prism. I've gotten used to the waist-level finder, but it's quite tough to track at first, and remains hard for me to focus well. I do like that the waist-level finder keeps the camera away from my face, but I'm going to have to go to a prism very shortly.
     
  12. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Back in the days when I had an RZ 67 I used it with both the prism and waist level finder. I much prefered the prism, not because of the reversed image with the waist level, but because it made it much easier for me to keep the camera level. Maybe, as some people pointed out, it's what you're used to. I never got used to the waist level finder.
     
  13. Gramayr

    Gramayr Member

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    I prefer to use a prism finder (PME) as it has a built in EV meter, I used to have a separate meter, but that got nicked along with my old CX and everything with it.
    I bought a 503CW Millenium, standard lens and a PME meter prism (which all fit in a Lowepro TZ1 toploader perfectly) I find this setup very easy to use.
    My eyesight isn't that good so I would have to use the pop up magnifier in the hood a lot to focus. I don't think I've used the hood since I bought the camera.
    Now I use the hood to veiw my slides in a lightbox (a perfect lupe for 6x6)
    Its all a matter of personal taste in the end.

    Rhys.
     
  14. Ka

    Ka Member

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    45 angle finder, definitely. With the waist-level, my hair would get in the way of the lens, I would get blasted headaches from my head being bent over all the while, and the reversal thing is just irritating when composing. KEH has fair prices, and they are so knowledgeable, helpful and kindly.