Viewfinder accuracy

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cliveh, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I shoot with an M2 because the viewfinder reflects what I get. But what do APUG members think is the most accurate camera viewfinder in respect of what you get when pressing the shutter?
     
  2. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    Are you limiting to only rangefinder cameras? The M2 I assume you meant the Leica M2 which is a rangefinder and almost just about any SLR viewfinder is more accurate than that.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    No, I mean any camera, but can you explain why any SLR viewfinder is more accurate than that?
     
  4. PentaxBronica

    PentaxBronica Member

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    With the SLR you see what the frame of film will "see", through the same lens.

    This is surely a question of which camera has the largest viewfinder coverage? The Pentax MX has to be up there with 95%.
     
  5. edcculus

    edcculus Member

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    I'd venture to say any SLR with a DOF preview function will be the most accurate. Much more accurate than a rangefinder since you are veiwing through the same lens that exposes the film. You also get the ability to stop down the lens to "preview" the depth of field at whatever aperture you have chosen. At that point, its about finding one with the largest coverage like PentaxBroncia said.
     
  6. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    All SLR's with 100% viewfinder are most accurate as you can see corner to corner of what will exactly show up on film with any lens. Of these I know it included the Nikons F, F2, F3, Canons 1, 1V. There may be others. All other SLRs show a smaller percentage coverage that vary from model to model.

    In the Leica M2 manual page 9 the example shows what is visible in the rangefinder and you can see it is not exactly corner to corner accuracy as in the 100% viewfinder SLRs.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2013
  7. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    BTW, I have not tested a Leica M2 - or any other Leica for that matter, in terms of accuracy as I have the SLR's I have tested a few non-interchangeable lens RFs and a whole lot of other SLRs.

    How accurate have you tested the M2 as far as the viewfinder is concerned?
     
  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Accuracy is nice, but for most purposes, not terribly necessary.
    For example, if you shoot (and mount) transparencies most mounts cut off the frame edges so that there is not a white border when projected. Simularly, unless filed, most carriers intrude slightly, so even if the camera shows you 100%, you may not be easily able to get that onto a print.
     
  9. fstop

    fstop Member

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    A view camera is the only real accurate camera based on your question. A rangefinder can not be as accurate as an slr due to the offset of the view finder in relation to the film frame.
    If you were able to shoot macro with a rangefinder your could theoretically frame a subject but not capture it on film.
     
  10. Maris

    Maris Member

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    A curious consequence of the Leica camera having an imprecise viewfinder was the necessity of cropping Henri Cartier-Bresson's much acclaimed "Puddle Jumper". Cartier-Bresson shot verticals with the viewfinder to the right thus displacing the lens to the left. The Puddle Jumper negative was exposed through a gap in a fence. Cartier-Bresson plumb forgot to point the lens through the gap and not the viewfinder! Consequently the side of the negative was obscured by a paling in the fence Cartier-Bresson was shooting through. The imprecision of the Leica viewfinder and its uncertain framing stands in stark contrast to Cartier-Bresson's insistence on "no cropping". I believe the "no cropping" rule was about asserting power over control and ownership rather than aesthetics. Later generations of photographers can thank Henri-Cartier Bresson for that. Here's a link to the H.C-B blooper:
    http://lourceyphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/garebad.jpg
     
  11. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    I assume that the OP is talking about framing and not focus. The accuracy of the viewfinder of an SLR is determined by the size of the mirror. There are several competing problems here. If the mirror is designed to provide 100% coverage the inertia of the mirror becomes a problem. Camera shake also increases with mirror size. Most SLR's are therefore a compromize and provide less than 100% coverage. Rangefinders with frame lines actually show more than 100% coverage for most lenses. I think that most people do not really think that somewhat less than full coverage to be a problem.
     
  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Rangefinder parallax practically guarantees you are not getting what your framelines show.

    For example, subjects at infinity do not move when you focus closer. But the framelines (of a parallax-corrected rangefinder) do move. The framelines move to indicate boundaries of subject at the plane of focus.

    This problem only crops up if you are considering including a sliver of sky and mountaintop in your composition, then you should "remember" where the framelines were when the lens was set at infinity.

    I do this somewhat subconsciously when I shoot rangefinders and it's not as hard as it sounds.
     
  13. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I don't think it's about mirror size only, or even mainly. The increase in area, thus mass, of a mirror which reflects 95% of the frame area, to one which reflects 100% is slightly more than 5%. I think it's much more about precise alignment. If a viewfinder shows less than 100%, the viewfinder image can "float" within the actual frame, which is borne out by tests done on cameras with less than full coverage which often show the viewfinder image to not be centered. A 100% viewfinder must be very accurate to be useful, and that is harder to do and more expensive.
    Some quiet, low vibration cameras have nearly 100% viewfinder images. The OM-1 was one of the first to address mirror noise and vibration in a determined way, and its coverage is something like 97%.
     
  14. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    One extra thing also - different Leica M cameras have different accuracy, and it depends also from lens you use.

    M6 (0.72 vinder version) is very accurate on 50mm on close focus, but very wrong on infinity showing only around 85% of what you get on film. For 35mm lenses M6 is the best - biggest amount of viewfinder is in use, and very precise on close and infinity.

    M3 is very good on infinity, but on close focus you get less on film than in viewfinder.

    For other M bodies I can't say anything since I don't have them. I have made this conclusions by testing them in parallel with nikon F3 who is for me prefect accurate machine :smile:. Maybe someone else had made some testing for M2, M4? I guess M7 and MP are the same as my M6.