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  1. #1

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    Leica LTM viewfinder and collapsibles

    Are you Leica LTM users (IIIf/IIIc/etc.) comfortable using your Leica's without an auxillary viewfinder?

    I love my M3 and my DR Cron but this combination isn't really THAT compact and so I'm debating on trying a IIIf/IIIc with a collapsible Summicron (or Summitar) or maybe just getting a collapsible and sticking it on my M. My concern with the IIIf/IIIc is that the viewfinder is too poor and sticking an auxiliary viewfinder will be self defeating.

    I'm not interested in much anything else.
    -IIIg's seem to be bulkier and more expensive than IIIc/IIIf's...I might as well stay with an M
    -CL's and most things more modern (e.g. Bessa) seem to not be as durable.
    -I don't like most P&S's because I want to be able to focus and I prefer all-mechanical bodies anyways.

    I have a Rollei 35 and a Kodak Retina but I can't focus accurately enough with the former and the later isn't that ergonomic.

  2. #2

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    From my limited experience, the viewfinder isn't all that terrible. Definitely usable.

  3. #3
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    I used 3 IIIF , 1 IIIC and they were the most excellent viewfinders and fastest focusing and damn sharp. Never vibrates and when you hold one , it stays definetely horizontal. Years later I bought a Leica Minizoom and its viewfinder is 40 years more modern but terrible. I dont know how but you will see that viewfinder will increase your photographs quality. Beware from russian ones , its very hard to focus.

    Dont buy a Leica without touching and checking it. Or buy from somewhere with background.

  4. #4
    JLP
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    It depends, if you don't wear glasses the viewfinder in a IIIf is fine, no need for an external viewfinder.
    I do wear glasses now and found it to difficult to frame a shot without an external so I have an SBOOI on one of my two IIIf's. The SBOOI is still pretty small so even if it ads a little to the size it is still a very compact camera.
    _______________
    Jan Pedersen
    http://janlpedersen.com

  5. #5

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    Yes I'm comfortable using my IIIf without an auxiliary viewfinder, particularly if I am using the Summitar; the in-built viewfinder window is fixed at the 50mm field of view (as you probably know) and it's quite usable. As a 'viewfinder' the built in is nothing like that on my M4 (and no doubt miles away from your M3!).

    But, the focussing window is magnified and it is easier to quickly reach accurate focus. When I am in a hurry I just focus on the object of interest and shoot, without delaying to move my eye to the viewfinder window. It works fine.

    I hear what you say about compactness. I love the IIIf and just the Summitar for that. And despite owning and using (a lot) the D600, Fuji X100s, FM3a, Leica M4 and Hexar AF (I must be mad - now that I have listed them this has gotta stop!) it is the IIIf I love taking out and running a roll.

    As advised above, get a good one.

  6. #6
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    The rangefinders are excellent and very easy to focus with, the viewfinder is quite tiny but certainly ok if you are not one who is concerned with perfect framing. My Leica II is almost perfect for daylight work, and it is very compact and very reliable. My favorite way to pack this camera is in my shirt pocket and any external viewfinder gets in the way.

    Like anything else you do in life, using the built-in viewfinder really does get easier the more you use it.

  7. #7

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    thanks, this sounds like a camera outfit that I outta try.

    I don't wear glasses and so eye relief isn't really a huge concern.

  8. #8
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    As you probably know the II has shutter speeds from 1/500s through 1/20s. The III added some slow speeds down to 1 second using a dial on the front of the camera. The IIIa added 1/1000s to the upper end. All three of these cameras, and the IIIb I believe, are the same size. All the pre-war versions are nice. The IIIc came out with a stiffer body and it is probably the one I see recommended most often. It is nice, but unless you start using the faster and larger 90mm and 135mm lenses I think that the earlier versions are plenty strong enough. Just my opinion of course, there are some who feel all LTMs are best left to the collectors and the M series better for users.

  9. #9
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    You may also want to consider one of the Barnack copies from Canon. My IVSB is only a few mm taller than my Leica IIIF, but I prefer the finder arrangement as it has a combined VF/RF with switchable magnification for 50, 100 and 135 mm lenses. The finder on the Canon is a bit dimmer, but the RF accuracy is very good. The build quality feels just as solid as my IIIF, but it's about 50g heavier, if that's a major concern for you. With a collapsible 50 it's a nice compact package.

    I recently had a CLA and curtain replacement by Youxin Ye, and he said he considers these Canons just as well-built and reliable as the Leicas. As a shooter, you may want to avoid bodies earlier than 1949, when the IIB came out, but in 1954 Canon greatly improved the VF with the IVSB2, followed by the IIS2, IID2 and IIF2. Cameraquest has some information on these at http://www.cameraquest.com/crf2f2.htm and the Canon Camera Museum also has a listing of all models at http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/c...1933-1955.html

    Good Luck!

  10. #10

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    If you put hoods on most lenses for Barnack Leicas they will intrude variable distances into the lower right corner of the viewfinder image. A small auxiliary finder does not add that much bulk to the camera, and it gets around that problem.

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