Hi, Gareth -
Originally Posted by gareth harper
I don't fancy the type of finder that mounts on the top plate either. One option is that you can just learn to estimate for wider shots.
No rangefinder camera - Voigtlander or otherwise - is available with interchangeable finders, although I must say that it strikes me as a good idea. I know that Nikon had something like this on its 1950s' rangefinders, but I don't think that it offered anything as wide as 25/25.
The best solution IMHO is to get a camera with a viewfinder that includes 28 mm frame lines. Since you are not interested in a Leica, there are two other alternatives. The first is a Konica Hexar RFwhich sold for about 4 years (1999 - 2004) before it was discontinued, but which you can still find new if you dig hard enough. They are also available second hand. The other is a Zeiss Ikon, built by Cosina in partnership with Carl Zeiss AG. Cosina is the manufacturer of the Voigtlander Bessa series of rangefinder cameras. It is a brand new camera, scheduled to be released in June.
Rangefinder cameras provide frame lines for composing your picture in the viewfinder. These are "parallax corrected," which means that these frame lines shift slightly as you focus the camera to adjust for your point of view depending on whether your subject is close or far away.
What some people, who disdain auxiliary viewfinders, do is that they use the full view of the finder for lenses the next standard focal length wider than the widest frame lines in the camera's viewfinder. The full view typically approximates this next widest focal length. The full view of the finder on the Voigtlander Bessa R2A, for example, which provides 35/50/75/90 frame lines, approximates the field of view of a 28 mm lens. The viewfinder on the new Zeiss Ikon is said to approximate the field of view of a 24/25 mm lens. The only drawback to this is that there is no parallax correction for shots where the subject is at a closer distance, so you have to learn to estimate. My guess is the parallax corrected 28 mm frame lines would be of some help doing this.
Here are some other websites for rangefinder camera information: