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  1. #1
    snegron's Avatar
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    F3HP Viewfinders vs. Other Nikons

    This may sound somewhat trivial, but I noticed that when looking through the viewfinder of an F3HP it seems as though I am looking through a wide angle lens. I compared it to other Nikons without the HP viewfinder using the same lens, and it appeared that the F3HP had a bit of a wide angle effect. Am I imagining this, or is this part of the design? I have been using the F3 for years and I never really noticed this until recently.

    Disclaimer for those of you who usually jump on the opportunity to bash me for anything I post here: This post is meant for curiosity satisfaction only. I am simply inquiring about the effect of the HP viewfinders vs. regular finders. I know and fully understand that the above mentioned difference in viewfinders will not have any negative effect on my images, and I am fully aware that I "just need to out and shoot and stop worrying about the little things", so thank you in advance for sparing us the over obvious condescending observations.

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    declark's Avatar
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    Just a few days ago I compared back and forth between an FE2 and F3HP using the same lens and there is a noticeable difference. You are right, there does appear to be a bit of a wide angle affect, I believe it does have a bit of a negative magnification built in as part of it's ability to show 100% of the view. The F3HP does show a bit more of the view than the FE2, and to me seemed a bit brighter.

  3. #3
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    Snegron,

    From the Nikon Compendium:

    "For those photographers who wear glasses seeing into the extreme corners of the image area in the viewfinder is often a problem since they cannot position their eye close enough to the eyepiece. Normal viewfinders are designed for an eye relief distance of about 15mm between the eyepiece and eye. As this distance increases the corners of the finder image begin to be obscured. In order to solve this problem Nikon developed a special viewfinder for the F3, the High-eyepoint (HP) finder, which has an eye relief distance of 25mm allowing a complete view of the finder image that suffices for most glass wearers.

    "The HP viewfinder, known as the DE-3, turns a normal F3 into an F3 HP increasing the camera's weight from 700 to 745 grams. It is not just those with glasses who have come to apperciate the F3 HP, photographers with normal vision can benefit from the more comfortable viewing afforded by this finder, so much so that in the latter years of its production the F3 was invariably delivered as the HP version."

    Perhaps they accomplished the effect with a bit of wide-angling?

  4. #4
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by declark View Post
    Just a few days ago I compared back and forth between an FE2 and F3HP using the same lens and there is a noticeable difference. You are right, there does appear to be a bit of a wide angle affect, I believe it does have a bit of a negative magnification built in as part of it's ability to show 100% of the view. The F3HP does show a bit more of the view than the FE2, and to me seemed a bit brighter.
    I also noticed as you mentioned that while the image was brighter, it also appeared a tad bit more foggy than when looking through the viewfinder of an F2A or FM2. I wonder if this is due to the design of the actual mirror itself (with the tiny, microscopic holes that permit light to go through the mirror onto the metering cells)?

  5. #5
    Sparky's Avatar
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    It's only a wideangle effect when you consider that, yes - you ARE seeing a wider angle of view - when compared to an FE2 which is fairly constrictive. The difference is nearly as much as a 24mm vs 28mm lens. You're just seeing the full angle that the lens offers. It is not technically possible for the prism system and associated optics to give you a wider angle of view than the film sees. Otherwise you'd have a focus error. Make notes for one of your next shots -as to exactly what's included/not included through the finder. The film should show you exactly that.

  6. #6
    roteague's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that professional level Nikons (F2 to F6) all show 100% of the image in the viewfinder. Consumer Nikons don't (it is only around 90% if I remember correctly). This means the viewfinders for this camera tend to be bigger than the consumer cameras.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
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    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  7. #7
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    Keep in mind that professional level Nikons (F2 to F6) all show 100% of the image in the viewfinder. Consumer Nikons don't (it is only around 90% if I remember correctly). This means the viewfinders for this camera tend to be bigger than the consumer cameras.
    True. But I also noticed the difference between the F3 and F2A (the F2 with a DP-11 finder) using the same lens.

  8. #8
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    It's only a wideangle effect when you consider that, yes - you ARE seeing a wider angle of view - when compared to an FE2 which is fairly constrictive. The difference is nearly as much as a 24mm vs 28mm lens. You're just seeing the full angle that the lens offers. It is not technically possible for the prism system and associated optics to give you a wider angle of view than the film sees. Otherwise you'd have a focus error. Make notes for one of your next shots -as to exactly what's included/not included through the finder. The film should show you exactly that.
    I wonder if the field of view is affected when using a wide angle lens then? For example, when I use a 24mm lens I will notice a bit of distortion in the image (wide angle effect). Will I see this effect increased through an HP finder vs. a regular finder? If so, then it won't be possible to obtain a truely accurate view of an image (what it will look like on print) when using a wide angle lens with an F3HP. In other words, the only way to know for sure what the image is going to look like with a wide angle lens while using an F3HP is after the image is printed.

    Intersting theory especially because in all the years I have used an F3HP, the widest lens I have used has been a 35mm lens! For the most part the lenses I have used with the F3 have been a 35mm, a 50mm and a 105mm. Only recently (last year) did I purchase a 24mm lens, but I have mostly used it with an old F with Ftn Photomic head.

  9. #9
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    I have to be honest, I was so intrigued by this I checked out my F3HP.

    I had a 50mm mounted on it (i.e. "normal" lens) and did not see any wide angling at the edges.

    I then mounted a 28mm on it. Still do not see any "wide angling" at the edges.

    But I must say, I was reminded of how wide open the F3HP viewfinder is versus my F5/F100 gear.

  10. #10
    snegron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    Snegron,

    From the Nikon Compendium:

    "For those photographers who wear glasses seeing into the extreme corners of the image area in the viewfinder is often a problem since they cannot position their eye close enough to the eyepiece. Normal viewfinders are designed for an eye relief distance of about 15mm between the eyepiece and eye. As this distance increases the corners of the finder image begin to be obscured. In order to solve this problem Nikon developed a special viewfinder for the F3, the High-eyepoint (HP) finder, which has an eye relief distance of 25mm allowing a complete view of the finder image that suffices for most glass wearers.

    "The HP viewfinder, known as the DE-3, turns a normal F3 into an F3 HP increasing the camera's weight from 700 to 745 grams. It is not just those with glasses who have come to apperciate the F3 HP, photographers with normal vision can benefit from the more comfortable viewing afforded by this finder, so much so that in the latter years of its production the F3 was invariably delivered as the HP version."

    Perhaps they accomplished the effect with a bit of wide-angling?
    Very valid point!

    I just tried an experiment. I have a regular F3 and an F3HP and two 105mm lenses. I attached the lenses on both bodies and looked through both viewfinders at the same time. I did not see any difference in the angle of view. However, I attached one of the 105mm lenses on my F body with standard prism and the difference was very apparant! The view through the F3HP appears to be more of a wide angle.

    Then, this was somewhat surprising, I looked through the viewfinder of the F with 105mm lens and the F3 (non-HP)with 105mm lens. Even the F3 "standard non HP" prism has a wide angle effect. Not as pronounced as with the HP, but it still has a wide angle effect.

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