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Viewfinders and Glasses

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Since I currently have three mid-size MF systems in my home, I thought I'd compare their viewfinders from the PoV of a glasses wearer. This is, of course, only relevant to MY glasses, but the results are interesting, nevertheless.

You'll have to trust me on these images. I took notes as I was peering through the VF's, and then edited the images to match what I (think) I saw. In each image, I positioned my eye so that the entire left edge of the image was visible. The subject is, of course, irrelevant.

The Leica S is famous for its OVF, or "porthole", as some have called it. Indeed, with glasses, I could see almost the entire frame:



The X1D is more typical of all cameras, and it's why a good LCD is so important to my way of shooting.



I don't even keep the EVF connected on the Fuji GFX-100 because:



But with magnified, stabilized, manual AF, I don't miss it.

Best,

Matt
 
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Rand47

Active member
The size of your glasses lenses, and the frame design, have a dramatic impact on viewfinder visibility.

I wear progressive lenses, and have titanium wire frames (Lindberg) with very small lenses that sit very close in to my eyes. No problem seeing the entire viewfinder w/ my GFX 100.



BUT, several months ago it dawned on me that using progressive lenses required me to “shift about” to get “the right spot” in the “progression” for the viewfinder to be sharp. A light went on in my head. I went to LensCrafters and selected some small frames with small lenses (as close as I could get to my Lindbergs) and had them make straight-up bi-focals. I had the tech draw a red line to simulate where the divide would be. I’d brought my camera with me and put my eye to the viewfinder, then away and looking at the back of the camera / LCD and we kept tweaking the position of the divide until it was “just right” for me. These are now my “photography gasses.” Looking through the view finder is straightforward since “above the line” the lenses are consistent “distance vision,” and the lenses are small enough and close enough to my eye that I can easily see the whole viewfinder. Then, when I pull the camera away from the viewfinder-view there’s a generous area blow the divide where the whole camera back, buttons, controls, LCD are perfectly sharp. A perfect solution for me.

Rand
 

Pelorus

Member
My day to day glasses are a pair of Mallee Bulls



They have clear lenses and the prescription in a port - not at all as ugly as it sounds. The prescription is also digitally corrected for the wrap around. I have a tinted pair exactly the same for sunnies. They both have progressives.

The idea of getting close to the viewfinder is a fantasy for me ;) and of course on the Alpa it doesn't matter.

On the GFX 50R I have used the dioptres to good effect but it's a complete pain: where do you put your specs when you're taking a shot? Then you have to put your specs back on to chimp the image... I've ended up moving my head to try and visualise the whole image field. Not ideal but it becomes reflexive after a while.

BTW I'm not affiliated with Mallee Bull but they are the world's toughest glasses I reckon. Ballistically tested with a .22 at point blank range - it doesn't penetrate and they are now available in selected places in the States. I originally got them for flying and just ended up wearing them all the time.
 

JoelM

Active member
I'm near sighted so I have my 25 year old glasses (Lunor) on a leash when I am taking pictures. I just drop them down and use the diopter adjustment set on the view finder. I "need" to see the whole view and with glasses, I can't see the edges. One huge advantage for the film rangefinders is that you could see what was in the frame and what was coming/leaving.

Joel
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
It’s not just the glasses. I think I have deep-set eyes (or a heavy brow ridge). Thank you all for your suggestions. I may try using a leash.

Best,

Matt
 

jng

Well-known member
...I may try using a leash...
There came a point in my slide toward physical decrepitude when I gave in and started using progressive computer/reading glasses. This in turn necessitated using those god-awful librarian straps, which at least allowed me to see things both near and far without constantly dropping my glasses on the ground. I suppose all this beats the alternative...

John
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I've never had great eyesight. Been wearing glasses for heavy astigmatism and near-sightedness in my left eye since I was nine years old, the right eye is better but still nothing stunning. A single correction worked until I was in my early forties (twenty years + ago), then I moved to progressive lenses (and about a decade or so back, a set of "computer continuum" hard-line bifocals for when i'm working with a large screen computer system).

That said, I've never had much trouble focusing a camera. The often-ballyhooed ability of an RF to see outside the frame hasn't done much for me, I've usually preferred SLRs and now EVFs for precision focusing, and I've gotten used to not really seeing the full lines of the viewfinder. Most SLR viewfinders are not 100% coverage anyway, RF frame lines are really only accurate within a particular distance range, only LCD/EVF and a well-registered ground glass back on a view camera are truly critically accurate. And critical framing accuracy is rarely much of an issue, presuming I'm not shooting with a Minox 8x11 camera or a 2 Mpixel camera. I shoot a little loose with the notion that I've got room to make minor framing adjustments in rendering. I've worked extensively with a lot of scale focus only cameras, and have gotten pretty darn good at estimating distance.

About half the time nowadays, I just set a distance on the lens scale, an f/stop to establish the focus zone, and point the camera on center in the VF knowing where the edges of the frame are going to be. It's very fast, faster than AF most of the time. It works for me. :D

G
 

RobbieAB

New member
I've had similar issues with my cameras, such that I have to confess I have considered trying to commission a custom eye-piece lens for my MF camera.

This might be why the idea of the Hasselblad CFV II + X509 appeals: It's a system designed NOT to use a view-finder.
 

vjbelle

Well-known member
I've been fortunate to have been blessed with fairly good eyes. I really didn't need glasses for much of anything until about a decade ago when my nearsightedness started to need help. Then Cataract surgery on both eyes which went very well. With glasses that really aren't all the corrected I am able to see at 20/15. My bias is for far sight and I've never been comfortable using glasses when focusing. I much prefer to let the diopter setting do its job and that has worked well for me. If I need to use the LCD for focus or composing then I would prefer to use a loupe which I've become very used to over the years.

What I do need my glasses for are setting up my Actus rail settings. I have all of my rail settings on my phone which is easy to see but the engraved mm markings on the rail are difficult without glasses. After that the glasses go into my photo vest where they usually stay 90% of the time. Focus check on my 4150 is always done with a 4X loupe which has never failed me.

Victor
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I've had similar issues with my cameras, such that I have to confess I have considered trying to commission a custom eye-piece lens for my MF camera.

This might be why the idea of the Hasselblad CFV II + X509 appeals: It's a system designed NOT to use a view-finder.
I presume you mean 907x body. The tilt-up LCD *is* its viewfinder. And of course the back can just as easily be fitted to a 500CM if you need an optical reflex viewfinder. :)

G
 

RobbieAB

New member
I presume you mean 907x body. The tilt-up LCD *is* its viewfinder. And of course the back can just as easily be fitted to a 500CM if you need an optical reflex viewfinder. :)

G
I did indeed mean the 907x. That was sort of my point regarding the view finder. It isn’t going to be hindered by my glasses and the camera will be built to be handled like that.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I did indeed mean the 907x. That was sort of my point regarding the view finder. It isn’t going to be hindered by my glasses and the camera will be built to be handled like that.
:D

Yeah. I’m eagerly awaiting delivery...

G
 

jotloob

Subscriber Member
:D

Yeah. I’m eagerly awaiting delivery...

G
Me too . No # !!!!!
As I have ordered the chrome version , I think , I will have to be patient and wait till springtime
next year .
As I have to use progressive glasses since the cataract surgery to both of my eyes , I have more or less trouble with any kind of view finder . As described above .
Therefore I really hope , the CFV II 50 c LCD display will solve some of the inconvenience .
 

dchew

Well-known member
What I do need my glasses for are setting up my Actus rail settings. I have all of my rail settings on my phone which is easy to see but the engraved mm markings on the rail are difficult without glasses. After that the glasses go into my photo vest where they usually stay 90% of the time. Focus check on my 4150 is always done with a 4X loupe which has never failed me.

Victor
Hi Victor,
Have you tried turning your loupe around around to see the rail settings? It makes a decent magnifying glass in a pinch. When it is dark, that’s what I do to set f-stop and sometimes HPF rings. I have the loupe around my neck anyway so it eliminates having to swap between glasses and loupe.

Dave
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
I, too, had the 907X on order, but ...

A) Portrait mode would be a bit more difficult,
B) I was never thrilled with the output of the X1D. It's perfect, but boring. I know that's my fault, but we just never clicked.
But most importantly,
C) Handheld magnified focus really benefits from stabilization. Not a problem with the wides, which is why I used the 21, 30, and 45 the most.

I never liked the handling of the Fuji GFX50S or R, but the 100 feels more balanced in the hand. And it has IBIS. And the LCD opens both vertically and horizontally. The look of the 23 still bores me next to the Leica S24, but the 110/2 is a nice lens, and the new 50/3.5 is so "tiny", that I'll leave an extension tube on it and it will be my macro. I thought the 32-64 would be always with me, but it's heavy, and I just don't use that range much. So GFX100, 23/4, 50/3.5, 110/2 is a not-too-heavy walk around kit, weighing in at 8 lbs. Almost a half pound less than a Leica S with 24 and 120, but with IBIS, much better AF and, least importantly, more pixels. (Although a 37.5MP crop from the GFX, 110/2 has the same FoV as a 180 on the S, so there's that...)

Now I just have to find a home for an X1D, 21, 30, 45, and 90... Getting :OT:,

Matt
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Heh. I want the 907x Special Edition ... Perhaps by the holidays!
Not too concerned with Portrait mode as I'll be setting it to square crop mode most of the time. And I tend to work on a tripod a lot of the time with this type of camera: an L bracket solves a lot of that problem too. But for hand-held eye level work, the grip and an accessory finder will do nicely and let me rotate the camera easily. :thumbup:

...
Now I just have to find a home for an X1D, 21, 30, 45, and 90... Getting :OT:,
I have the XCD 21mm on order with the camera. Next XCD lens will be the 45mm, perhaps if the additional funding shows up I'll talk to you about that lens. Meanwhile, I have the mount adapters for my Leica M and R lenses, most of which should cover the square crop format (33x33) nicely at least.

But back to the viewfinder business ... A friend gave me a practically unused Polaroid One-Step he found while cleaning out his mom's house. It's a silly little thing with a fixed focus lens and a simple optical tunnel viewfinder. The viewfinder shows about 80% of the FoV ... this is near to perfect for me. I know what the full frame will look like and the viewfinder is just for aiming, no focus is needed.

All the Photography comes down to finding the right moment and catching it. :D

G
 

PeterA

Well-known member


Generally bright to glaring sun down here - especially by the seaside means that my constant companions are my MauJim's - the brown or gold tint makes the seaside colours pop as I walk or drive around the place - to make a shot I raise them to the top of my head and let then sit there. Can't recommend them highly enough for glare stopping power - their proprietary tints are second to none as far as eye protection goes.

As far as viewfinders go I rate the Leica S as having the best I've ever looked through, followed by the Leica SL - which converted me to Mirrorless shooting. The CL is really good as well - better than my XT-3 - but the GFX100 EVF is the best I've looked through as far as EVF goes. The ability to see all you need to see as far as information goes makes EVF a no brainer for me now. When the SL2 comes out I hope it delivers the same quality experience as the GFX100 or better. I recently dumped most of my Leica M gear - tbh after 20 years of Leica M fanboydom - the whole rangefinder 'gestalt' just doesn't do it for me anymore -the viewfinder experience is great of course especially with the improved magnification of the M10 - but the GFX has it covered for my purposes - never thought I'd ever be able to say that about an EVF V genuine rangefinder.
 

MGrayson

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Oh, the GFX100 EVF is great. But even without glasses, I have to mash my face into it so hard that it leaves marks. Very sad 😢.

M
 
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