Waist level finders?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by marsbars, May 28, 2007.

  1. marsbars

    marsbars Member

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    I have a waist level finder that came with a F3 that I bought on ebay a few months back. Does anyone have one and actually use it? I have attached it a few times and looked through it and messed around with it and find it to be very aggravating to use. What is the best use for these or are they more a useless piece of gear?
     
  2. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    No, not useless, it's just a piece of equipment. When I got my Mamiya 645 that's all I had for years. I used it, got used to it and enjoyed it. I was manual and metering anyway.

    I have the F3hp and don't have a wlf for it. It might be a little too small for me. The high eyepoint view finder for the Nikon F3 is the best thing ever invented. You can see the entire field with eyeglasses. Try to find one if you can. So it's hp for F3 and wlf for Mamiya.

    I do have the meter finder for Mamiya also.

    Good luck,
    Curt
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I assume their main capacity is just what their English name suggests: gaining a perspective from waist level...

    Further they can be useful when placing the camera flat on the ground, on a wall etc.
    You could also use it with the camera held above your head to obtain greater height. But this depends whether you have got an optic on that finder where you have to bring your eye near to, or a groundglass which you could see from greater distance.

    My SLR has not got interchangeable finders; I use an attachable turnable 90° prism finder instead.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2007
  4. marsbars

    marsbars Member

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    I find it difficult to focus accurately with it. It does have magnifier to aid in focusing but one has to get your eye right down on it to use it effectively.
     
  5. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I have one for my F4S, though it doesn't get used too often. A few possibilities are low level shooting, or for copy work when the camera is pointed straight down on a stand. Another somewhat useful aspect is the built-in magnifier for getting a more critical focus, though I don't remember whether the F3 had that too.

    The big downside for me on the F4S is that the waist level finder only works with the spot metering. Mostly for me that means I prefer manually metering with my Sekonic, then setting the camera to that.

    The view is reversed left to right. This is something you either get use to, or never like at all. It would be very tough trying to follow motion with this.

    Ciao!

    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
     
  6. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    I prefer the WLF for my RB67 to the prism finder that I also have. With medium format my preference is wlf (Yashica A, Yashica C, and RB67).

    Mike
     
  7. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I find the waist level finder very useful when I have the camera attached to a copy stand or mounted on a telescope.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2007
  8. eric

    eric Member

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    I've used one on my F2 and 24mm and 35mm lenses. I use it with a little zone focus and off the hip shots.

    The good thing with the F3 and above, is the metering is in the body, not the head.
     
  9. elekm

    elekm Member

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    A waist level finder also is useful if you're using your camera to collimate a lens.
     
  10. filmbug

    filmbug Member

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    I get to look at the image with both eyes open when I am using a waist level finder. I have found composing an image this way is more comfortable than having to have one eye closed.

    I actually had an wlf when I had a F3. I got rid of them when I decided to only keep the mechanical Nikon models. I acquired a Mamiya M645 1000s recently and opted for the wlf for the same reason.
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I use mine all the time for copying. Of course 'waist level' is not too accurate: 'chest level' would be more like it.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  12. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I had a WLF, which I rarely used,for my long departed Nikon F. I have an F3 now, but no WLF. However, I do find it handy on the F models to remove the prism finder occasionally for low angle work. But, just for one or two shots remounting a WLF doesn't seem quite worth it. As others have said, they are handy for copy work or tabletop close ups where the camera is well below your standing eye level.
    If you are used to a prism and not used to a WLF, switching back and forth would be challenge.
     
  13. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    I can cast an old phoptograph on the scanner and let the machine to do all. Or I can use WLF with micro lens and start determining all by myself, "hand made" reproduction, it is feeling I am making something, and it is nice feeling. The same is in many other cases. I can live without WLF on my F3, but I will loose a lot in my heart. I just use it because I like it, it make me to to turn head back in the time when I used even and enlarger to make some reproductions. To me, WLF is just nice to have, not a must.

    www.Leica-R.com
     
  14. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I love a WF on a MF camera. On a tripod or handheld. I only use other kinds of finders when the WF wouldn't work. The big WF is a joy to use.

    OTOH with 35mm I'm not sure it would be big enough for me.
     
  15. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I had a similar finder back when I used Canon F-1 gear. I loved it.
     
  16. DBP

    DBP Member

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    It's very useful for low level shots, or other positions where getting behind the camera is not feasible. I also chatted once with a fellow who had used the one on his Nikon F to take pictures of the President from the back of a crowd by shooting with the camera upside down. I have done the same with a TLR at weddings.

    I also find I compose better with one, maybe it's a function of using both eyes.
     
  17. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I have the DW-3 WLF as well as the DW-4 (6 times magnification) full screen micro finder.

    I find the WLF is very useful for photographing a room with the camera back, up against a wall.

    It is terrific for close focusing in the field, as the pop-up magnifying glass allows extremely accurate focusing.

    In a crowd you can pop the WLF on, hold the camera above your head upside down, so to speak, and compose the picture then shoot. This works very well with a 24mm or wider lens attached, where focus isn't that critical. The pop up walls stop light falling onto the focusing screen allowing you to compose, At times I have just pulled the finder off, but with the WLF on, you can see the screen so much better.

    For copy work they are quite good, although the DW-4 is better.

    The WLF is the only accessory I always carry, apart from lenses.

    Mick.
     
  18. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Member

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    I use a WLF a lot with Medium Format, but with 35mm the ground glass screen is that much smaller so some of the attraction of the WLF is lost for me. However, I have one for my Pentax LX bodies and do use it, either for work with people when the camera is on a tripod and I want to maintain eye contact, or as a lightweight alternative for low level shooting.

    I don't use it for copy work - because the Pentax magnifying finder is better for that job, as it is also for low angle work or when angling a big lens upwards. I don't use it as my low angle solution either, if I don't mind the greater weight and bulk of the action finder instead. However, all these cases are only because the LX gives me another finder option that is even better than using the WLF, but if that was all I had (in addition to a pentaprism, that is) then certainly I would use it for those things too.

    No, it isn't an essential, but it is a useful thing, and you may find that you really like working with one.



    Peter
     
  19. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    I'm not familiar with Nikon's WLF but Canon's was the size of the entire GG and magnified. It felt huge.
     
  20. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I would like to draw your attention to the term waist level finder in its actual meaning (Roger, of course you may hold your camera a bit higher…), as this has only been scarcely hinted at here:
    I remember literature from the sixties where that perspective issue was marked as something differenciating 35mm SLRs from the MF TLRs.
    Is that different perspective (in general photography) an issue to you?
     
  21. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    But a 35mm is pretty small compared to even a 645 waist level.
     
  22. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    [QUOTE What is the best use for these or are they more a useless piece of gear?[/QUOTE]

    I suppose that a WLF of any format but especially 35mm is likely to let you get away with candid work more easily (not that I've tried). I have one on my Asahiflex, which I use occasionally when I need reminding why someone invented the pentaprism!!! ;-)

    Steve
     
  23. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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    True but as a practical matter the Canon finder isn't really used waist-level. It wasn't even called that. It pivoted for either horizontal or vertical shooting and I think it was called a Speed Finder. I found it most useful for low angle shooting or for situations where I had to stand next to, not behind the camera.
     
  24. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    I found an interesting use for a waist level finder. I sat down with my Yashica MAT-124G and took a candid picture while making it look like I was just fooling around with my camera and not actually taking picture. Worked like a charm.