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Thread: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

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    1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I'm having trouble focussing on my M9 with a 50mm...do u think the magnifier will help any? 1.4x or 1.25? I've been trying to read up to see if this would help...
    Thanks

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    Senior Member Per Ofverbeck's Avatar
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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Bought one when I got a TeleElmar 135. Honestly, its not worth the hassle (must be removed for anything shorter than 50 to see the frames). The statistical improvement in focus success rate is quite small, at least for me.

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    Subscriber Member weinschela's Avatar
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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I use a 1.15x and I do find it helps. This is very personal, however, and you might want to see if you can borrow one to see for yourself.
    Alan

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I don't think so.
    I think it's practice which helps, not gadgets.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Now I'm not gonna argue with the 'big shots' here , but I found the 1.25x magnifier very helpful.
    Not so the 1.4x, it's big, bulky, darkens to viewfinder and if you're not careful it'll take your eye out ...
    Mind you: I've even stacked the 1.4x and 1,25x for my 135 telyt, but in the end it was the 1.25x that worked best for me.
    Unfortunately it'll set you back 250 or so making it an expensive experiment.
    Therefore: take Jono's sound advice first ...

    Good luck.
    Bart ...

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Thanks i'll try to see if i can get one for less...and get an eye exam!

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I have had one since it came out. I rarely use it. I find it useful for magnifying the framelines, but not really for making it easier to focus. Basically, any increase in magnification seems to be offset by the loss in acuity in adding more elements. It is also much more sensitive to eye placement than the standard finder.

    I would agree with Jono in that practice is most important, as well as an understanding of the limitations of rangefinder focusing -- you are simply not going to have a high hit rate shooting wide open close up with moving subject matter. This is not to say some people aren't going to have a higher hit rate than others, but better understanding of what you can get away with will really help. Just because you have a 1.4 lens that focuses to .7m or a .95 that focuses to 1 does not mean you are always going to be able to use them that way effectively!
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    Senior Member thrice's Avatar
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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I also strongly suggest you have your rangefinder checked (or do so yourself).

    It's amazingly easy to dismiss consistent focus problems as human error.

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    What really helps focusing is the appropriate correction lens. Anything else I found not necessary!

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I tried the Leica 1.25x and 1.4x for use on my M8 with Lux 50 and Planar 80. I was planning to pick one or the other, but decided to get neither. As has been pointed out, the benefit to focusing just wasn't substantial--and I really like to simplify and carry as few gadgets as possible.

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    I like the 1.25 not only for focusing but also for a larger magnification in the viewfinder for seeing the subject when using longer lenses.

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    Senior Member 4season's Avatar
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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Try a LensAlign:
    http://www.whibalhost.com/lensalign/

    When I first got my Noctilux, I had a lot of trouble with precise focus. The lens "seemed" be be okay when I tried informal focus tests. I bought the Leica 1.25x magnifier and it didn't help one bit. Finally, I tested it with LensAlign, and it showed me that the lens was definitely not calibrated correctly. Leica fixed the lens under warranty, and that was the end of my focus problems.

    I also have an old screw mount 135mm Hektor, and on my M8, it was pretty far off too (has it been out of alignment for 50 years?)

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Here's what I would suggest in this order:
    1. Make sure that your body is calibrated. If you haven't had it CLA'd by Leica or someone you know is good, you should do so.
    2. Make sure whichever lens you have that has the narrowest DOF is calibrated. Again, get it CLA'd if necessary.
    3. Once those two are calibrated, you have a solid reference point to check other lenses you may buy. Of course, if the body or lens takes a serious bump, you may have to have them recalibrated.
    4. Then as suggested by others, practice.

    At this point, if after a reasonable amount of practice, you're still having significant difficulty, try a magnifier. Either Leica or Japan Exposures are the only ones that are trustworthy from what I've tried (Japan Exposures) and read.

    The bottom line here is that your eyes are your eyes not someone else's. People who are younger with good vision and no allergy conditions that affect their vision find it easy to say you don't need a magnifier. For some of us, magnifiers help. I've tried with and without. On fast 50's and longer, I get a better hit rate with a magnifier. Unfortunately, no one can tell you what's going to work for you. You just have to try it. They are a fairly big investment considering their size but if they don't work, you won't have much trouble reselling them.

    One other point about checking focus accuracy. You don't have to have a Lens Align or other fancy equipment. Shooting a specific point on a brick wall at about 60 degrees will allow you to see how the lens DOF falls around the focus point. Take several shots, particularly with the really fast lenses as you will undoubtedly vary your focus some from shot to shot. I do this at about 8 feet but shorter may be better if you shoot shorter distances a lot. If the lens is okay on this test, then have a series of things that are always available at varying distances and shoot them to see if the focus is accurate, particularly near MFD and at infinity. Every time you get a new lens (except for very wide lenses), check it in this way. After you get used to doing this, it won't take long to determine if a lens is calibrated or not and it will save you from scratching your head when that new lens just doesn't seem to be sharp. I had a brand new Lux 50 ASPH earlier this year that came out of the box not correctly calibrated so don't just assume a new lens is going to be right.
    Last edited by zombii; 28th August 2011 at 01:32.

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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Some good advice above. Check the focus accuracy of the camera, the lens, and of course your own eye's, maybe you need a diopter.

    But a 1.25 magnifier will not help with focus accuracy because besides the converging images the other way to see if you have hit the focus point is the way the converged images increase the contrast of the focus patch. A lot of people subliminally use both methods and when images match and contrast is maximum thats it. But the magnifier reduces the effective contrast of the focus patch by making the viewfinder less bright, so you are back to square one and have to rely more on the convergant images.

    Steve

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: 1.25 magnifier will help my focussing?

    Quote Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
    Some good advice above. Check the focus accuracy of the camera, the lens, and of course your own eye's, maybe you need a diopter.

    ...

    Steve
    The BEST investment I ever made with my Leica outfit was sending the M9, 21 'lux, 35 'lux, 50 'lux, nocti & 90 Elmarit all together to be calibrated. In my case I used DAG here in the US as I've always had good experience with his work (and not so great with Leica service).

    The difference in focus confidence and consistency was remarkable. Prior to this I was always having to second guess whether it was me or the gear that was at fault. The difference with the 35 'lux and Noctilux was significant afterwards. The body was fine and accurate but each lens other than the 21 'lux & 90 Elmarit was slightly either front or back focusing, and in the case of the 35 & Noctilux I was able to have the optimal focus set for wide open (or your own preference) to account for the inevitable focus shift when stopped down.

    When I get another M9 and lenses the first thing i'll do is get them calibrated again.

    Getting the correct diopter setting or lens if you need eyesight correction is certainly advisable, well, ok, essential. Thats true if any camera and not just a Leica rangefinder.

    As regards the viewfinder magnifier, it can help with the longer glass such as the 135 APO-telyt although as other folks mentioned it becomes less necessary over time and does help at all if your body or lens is not correctly set up. The other thing is that the pesky rubber ring on the 1.25x converter will inevitably fall off at some irritating point in time.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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