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  1. #21

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    Perhaps the OP should try an eye patch.

  2. #22
    keithwms's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    People talk as if using a rangefinder allows you to be more aware of the world outside the frame, so I always assumed rangefinder viewfinders were like looking through a window with some framelines. But I was reading today that Leica (and most rangefinder) viewfinders are not actually 100% magnification. This totally burst my bubble since I felt this kind of composing freedom would be the total point of using a rangefinder, aside from easier low-light focus, compactness, and quietness.

    Now that I don't want a Leica on account of the viewfinders not actually being 1:1 like I always thought they were, what should I be looking for? I hear that the Canon P and Bessa R3m have 1:1 finders. Any others?
    The 100% / both eyes open business is only part of the consideration. It is unfortunate that these are the main issues that are discussed when someone considers an RF; most of us who shoot RFs routinely do so for entirely different reasons. For one thing, the whole 3D way that you compose with an RF is fundamentally different... even if you're not using a 100% VF or if you don't prefer to shoot with both eyes open.

    The view through RF is an unlensed 3D view, very similar to what we see directly with our eyes. No DOF preview. This drives some people nuts, while others (myself included) consider it actually beneficial. I really like the idea that nothing... not even the camera's lens... comes between me and the subject. It'd just like looking directly at the scene. I really like to consider a scene throughly before ever holding up a camera.

    Another benefit of the non-TTL view of an RF is that the VF is always bright, which is a really important thing for available light work. Yes there are plenty of superfast SLR lenses, but to see the whole scene in the same way that our eyes see it- everything equally in focus and thus with nothing emphasized by lensing- you have to stop way down and then the VF becomes dark.

    The flip side of this is that you have to imagine the DOF when you use an RF. You can judge it by scale as well, but some people never get past that and would much rather be pressing a DOF preview button on their SLR. For some things like macro, I prefer that mode as well, but for landscape, street, scenic, documentary type stuff, I simply have no need for DOF preview. And the mirror, the associated body bulk, and other SLR gadgetry is just stuff coming between me and my subject.

    Being able to see beyond the framelines is usually very beneficial to me. I usually have the composition firmly in mind before lifting the camera, but still, being able to see around the composition is helpful to me, for fine tuning. It's a bit like holding an empty frame up to the scene. I like it. Feels very natural to me.

    Overall, I do believe that shooting with an RF is a totally different experience than I get with any other type of camera. I'd recommend it highly to anyone who's not done it yet. It will present you with new challenges and limitations and also many new capabilities. If you step back from your current methods and really think about what it means to compose, I think you will find an RF to be a real lesson teacher. N.b. you can learn similar lessons with an SLR, e.g. by using a sports finder or by forgoing your VF altogether, but that's just part of it. RF focusing is totally different from TTL focusing.... but long before that, the way of composing and seeing is totally different. You simply have to proceed with the faith that what an RF can teach you is worth knowing.

    Incidentally, I now rarely use 35mm RFs, all I have now is some XAs and such. These days, I am using 6x6cm RFs and a crown graphic now and then. I do see a definite difference between my output with those and my SLR output. It's really not so much about pros and cons, it's about totally different ways of seeing. Sometimes for me, it is about equipment bulk- my mamiya 6es are teeny tiny for what they give. But more importantly, I turn to them because of how unencumbered they make me feel.
    Last edited by keithwms; 05-19-2010 at 11:29 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  3. #23
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    If your goal is to shoot with both eyes open,
    so that the framelines seem to float in the
    field before you, there is another approach
    that satisfies your requirements, better than
    any other yet mentioned: Get an LTM Leica
    -- a IIIa for example -- and a viewfinder to
    fit in the accessory shoe for the FL you desire.
    The Leitz viewfinders are brilliant and not too
    expensive (the SBOOI is the 5cm finder, but
    they are available in many FLs), and Voigtlander
    makes very good finders for very little money.
    The Leica screwmounts are jewels of cameras,
    inexpensive, small, all mechanical, no batteries
    -- joys to use and own. And with the viewfinder
    perched on top, it is easy to shoot with both
    eyes open, with floating framelines.

    The downsides: You have to focus through the
    rangefinder window (or zone focus), and you
    have to correct for parallax up close. The Leitz
    finder has a second frameline to account for
    parallax so it's not a big deal, but you have to
    remember it when shooting close.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Barnack.jpg  

  4. #24

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    RF Viewfinders.

    I also wanted a Leica - probably an M6 - but the price and crowded framelines plus focal lengths I never use put me off.

    I bought a Bessa R3A with the Nokton 1.4/40 and enjoy the 1:1 viewfinder very much. I can use it in manual mode too but AE is very convenient in some situations. I have a 2.5/50 and a 2.5/75 that I also can use with the standard R3A viewfinder. I don't have or use a 90mm FL lens.

    But eventually I drifted towards the "wide side" and ended up with a 15/4.5, a 25/4 and a 35/2.5. I had accessory viewfinders for the 15 and the 25 and that worked well for a while but eventually I had the opportunity to buy a mint R4A body which has framelines for 21/25/28/35/50. It too can be used in manual mode if I wish. I still need the accessory viewfinder for the 15 (both cameras) and also one for the 75 if I use it on the R4A. The 50mm framelines are small on the R4A and I'd normally use the R3A if I wanted this lens, but the others are fine and I find I use the 25mm lens a lot when travelling.

    So now I have a compact and lightweight kit that has the two bodies (backup too) and a range of viewfinder options and lenses that covers just about everything I want to do except macro and telephoto. I keep the Nikkormat for that!

  5. #25
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    Why is a 1:1 VF even important? With anything other than a 50mm lens on a 135 format SLR, the VF isn't even close to accurate magnification-wise. I highly suggest you borrow an M6 and shoot with it for a week or so. Then come back and lend us your revised thoughts.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  6. #26
    David William White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    Why is a 1:1 VF even important? With anything other than a 50mm lens on a 135 format SLR, the VF isn't even close to accurate magnification-wise. I highly suggest you borrow an M6 and shoot with it for a week or so. Then come back and lend us your revised thoughts.
    With a 1:1 there is no magnification of the viewfinder: It's like looking through a straight window, or with both eyes open, like looking without a camera in front of you obscuring your vision. Panning with magnification then seems 'unnatural'. It's sort of something you have to experience to get. Every SLR user I've shown this to has the same epiphany.

    But I agree the viewfinder magnification is not the only thing to consider, and as I said earlier, the visual effect only works from 40mm up. So if you want to shoot wider, then this requirement needs to get tossed.
    Considerably AWOL at the present time...

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  7. #27
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    With anything other than a 50mm lens on a 135 format SLR, the VF isn't even close to accurate magnification-wise.
    Exactly. That's why I thought rangefinders would be better, because I thought ALL of them had 1:1 viewfinders, just with superimposed framelines. This sounded really nice to me, but then I found out most of them have reducing magnification on the viewfinders so you can use wide lenses and still see the framelines.

    I bought a Canonet and although I like the camera itself, the .6 viewfinder is too squinty for me to use with both eyes open. I feel like I might as well be using an SLR with a 40mm lens, then at least it's WYSIWYG as far as composing.

    I'm thinking an R3a or R3m would be best for me, I'm just torn between the R3a whose automatic mode might come in really handy (for the wife etc) versus the R3m that needs no batteries. Maybe I'm a sloppy composer, but it seems like it would be doable to use wider lenses and just still use the 1:1 VF, knowing that you have a lot more around the edges. And there is always an accesory finder.
    f/22 and be there.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterSense View Post
    Exactly. That's why I thought rangefinders would be better, because I thought ALL of them had 1:1 viewfinders, just with superimposed framelines. This sounded really nice to me, but then I found out most of them have reducing magnification on the viewfinders so you can use wide lenses and still see the framelines.

    I bought a Canonet and although I like the camera itself, the .6 viewfinder is too squinty for me to use with both eyes open. I feel like I might as well be using an SLR with a 40mm lens, then at least it's WYSIWYG as far as composing.
    Why go against the grain here? Just focus with one eye closed and create photographs like the rest of us. This cyborg like invisible camera over the eye idea is not practical and inherently limiting.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  9. #29

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    Well, if you're really fixated on the idea of 1:1 viewing on all focal lengths (within reason) try using one of these. <http://www.ikodot.com/takealook.html>

  10. #30
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    Why go against the grain here? Just focus with one eye closed and create photographs like the rest of us.
    That's probably what I'll do. But I'll be doing it with the SLRs that I already have, rather than buying a rangefinder to do the same thing.
    f/22 and be there.

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