Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

  1. #1
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

    As someone without any experience regarding technical cameras and evaluating Cambo RS vs Alpa SWA vs Artec I am interested in how you guys actually work:

    1) How do you frame with such a camera? Do you use the optical viewfinder (I think the Alpa-viewfinder also shows some marks how the frame changes when you shift) or do you use a groundglass or do you just shoot and look at the display what you get or do you shoot tethered?

    2) Do you ever use a technical camera handhold?

    Here is my take so far:
    ALPA:
    + nice grips, nice viewfinder, several camera bodys, so one could eventually own a TC for handhold phoptography and add a Max later or use a SWA as a "compromise"
    + "sexy"
    + quality of the mechanics

    Cambo RS:
    + shift in all directions
    + price seems ok compared to the other options

    Artec:
    + Shift AND tilt
    +sliding adapter: focusing with groundglass without having to exchange the glass with the back-the back can stay on the camera - however I have some second thoughts how precise the focusing works with such a "small" groundglass (compared to LF gear)
    - no handholding (because a: you cant mount an optical viewfinder and b: its just not made for handholding/ no grips)
    - a lot of money, but then you also have tilt included, a loupe and groundglass included

  2. #2
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    32 31' 37.06" N, 111 6' 0.9" W
    Posts
    4,333
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

    Here's my caveat before going any further: The only real life experience I have with the systems you've named is the Cambo RS 1000.

    1. Framing: I do not use nor have a viewfinder or groundglass and as such simply don't use either. My normal method is to look over the top of the camera and "visualize" the capture area of the particular lens I'm using (currently 35 and 72mm). Once I have the camera set where I think I want it I take a test shot to make sure then using the LCD I check for general placement, and histogram. More time than not I'm very close to what I want and will then take a keeper shot using center and maybe a 5% shift left and right for insurance. I find this method easy and saves me the several hundred dollars (actually closer to a grand) that a viewfinder and mask cost.

    I did have a chance to look through a viewfinder on a RS just last month and could tell that it looked okay. Guess I'm trying to say that I understand how it'd work maybe slightly better than how I'm currently doing however I really don't need the precision that it might offer at present time.

    1a. Tethered: Don't do it and really have found no need to. Remember - I'm a landscape photographer if I shot architectural then my workflow would change.

    2. Handhold: Yes I did this to prove to myself that it could be done.

    Cambo RS: The movements are all on the back with the lens remaining in place. I've taken several multiple row/column images with my RS with great results. Speaking only of the RS: I've very glad I brought it, it's easy to use both in weight and how it' made.

    Hope this answers some of your questions and you get good results from the ALPA and Artec users.

    Cheers

    Don

    **I did just very recently tested a Cambo Ultima with groundglass and sliding back and was very impressed. Have to remember the weight difference is huge - one Ultima equals at least 5 or more RS's**
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

  3. #3
    Member jdbfreeheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    111
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

    Is there any reason you're not considering the Horseman SWD II also? I bought Bob's and have really enjoyed its use. I'm not a huge fanboy so I simply offer it as another option. Like the Cambo RS, I like that the movements are all on the back, moving my DB versus half moving the DB on the back and half moving the lens mount on the front. It's build like a tank and is solid but not overly heavy. The only caveat is that the movement isn't geared like some of the others. It does have notches every 5mm so you get the sense of your shift as you manually slide the DB up or over. Though I would prefer geared movement, this system seems robust and moves with as much precision as your own hands have. They are the "gears."

    I have the viewfinder, but don't 'really' use it. I still have it there on the mount, in case I want help pretending that I've figured out the framing, but eye-balling it seems to work just as well.

    -Josh

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    63
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

    I use the Alpa SWA & MAX cameras with their VF. I do not have the groundglass. I had masks made for the viewfinder with multiple lenses indicated so that I don't have to change the masks as often. One mask has the 24/35/47 lenses and the other 47/72. The VF does not indicate shift. You can get marks on the masks that will give you an idea of how far to shift to get what you see in the VF.

    It takes some getting used to but between the VF, the live preview when shooting indoors tethered and the back's LCD screen you can get your composition together pretty quickly. Much faster than removing the back and finding a safe place to put it, mounting the GG, opening the lens aperture and shutter, using some sort of viewing device or hood, then doing all of that in reverse.

    I have started using my small hood from my 4x5 camera to use outdoors untethered. This way I can really see the image and check focus.

    I think having a GG makes some people feel more in control but I do not have any interest in using one especially since I stopped using polarizers too.

  5. #5
    carbonmetrictree
    Guest

    Re: Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

    I decided because of portability and speed that taking test shots were the best way to check focus and compositions. After a bit of getting used to, the viewfinder can get you in a general ballpark of where the focal length will be. I've also found that I have a pretty good idea of my compositions even when shifted without the viewfinder and simply looking at my subject. I've found this beneficial because I have learned to create compositions without a viewfinder and have been very pleased with a more focused vision of what I want to capture (it's also pretty easy to get a feel for the focusing scale so you do not have to worry about focusing issues once you get the hang of it).

    Either way, you can't go wrong. My main issue is portability and ease of use in the field.


    Good luck!

    Andrew

  6. #6
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Optical viewfinder vs groundglass in tech camera

    Quote Originally Posted by jdbfreeheel View Post
    Is there any reason you're not considering the Horseman SWD II also? I bought Bob's and have really enjoyed its use. I'm not a huge fanboy so I simply offer it as another option. Like the Cambo RS, I like that the movements are all on the back, moving my DB versus half moving the DB on the back and half moving the lens mount on the front. It's build like a tank and is solid but not overly heavy. The only caveat is that the movement isn't geared like some of the others. It does have notches every 5mm so you get the sense of your shift as you manually slide the DB up or over. Though I would prefer geared movement, this system seems robust and moves with as much precision as your own hands have. They are the "gears."

    I have the viewfinder, but don't 'really' use it. I still have it there on the mount, in case I want help pretending that I've figured out the framing, but eye-balling it seems to work just as well.

    -Josh
    Josh, as far as I know there is no Hy6-adapter for Horseman and I dont want to buy another adapter for my back.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •