Eyes wide open

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Pan Korop, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    I loved Leicas to shoot sports/action. It did what I couldn't achieve with the "N" SLR: sharp panned shots of action (blurred background) with a wide to normal lens. Shooting both eyes open.

    My favourite setup was M3 with a 50 mm Summicron. Instead of the built-in viewfinder, I purchased (for an arm and a leg, already in the 70's) an old brightline 50 mm add-on viewfinder, 100% magnification, originally intended for Leica I. Both eyes open, seeing the whole scene, while the brightline appeared suspended like an aura around the subject.

    I thought my Oly's VF-2 might achieve the same comfort. To get the 100% magnification, implying left eye sees as big as right eye in the VF, it seems that the focal length should be around 40 or 41 mm. Except it didn't get the Leica brightline comfort; instead I started squinting like crazy. Heavy on the eyeballs; after five minutes, I thought I'd look at things Marty Feldman's way--what we call in France an existentialist's point of view. Check a portrait of J-P Sartre to get the idea.

    Finally, I decided to lift slightly the VF-2, since it does pivot. There, just around the click-stop (+ 2~3° ?) I found a sweet point: eyes wide open, the left and right eyeballs seem to "sync" their respective images.

    Now wishing for a VF-2 with sorta parallax compensation dial, which makes no sense without the lengthy prior explanation.

    Harrr... Hardware! Feeling like I should give up photography altogether, take brushes and oil...
  2. fastcar888

    fastcar888 Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 2, 2011
    I came from the Leica world also and don't understand where parallax compensation figures into the equation with the VF 2 viewfinder. My understanding is Parallax is an effect in photography where the image seen in the viewfinder is not framed the same as the image seen through the lens, because the viewfinder is in a slightly different position to the lens.

    Personally, I think the VF 2 viewfinder is far superior to that which I had on my two Leica M6TTL's, so I don't get where you are coming from. iMO Leica viewfinders, especially with long lenses on rangefinders (even a 90mm), left much to be desired. It took time and practice to get it perfect.

    Also, I always close one eye using my dominant eye on the VF 2. It is 100%.Maybe I am missing something? :confused: Good luck with it.
  3. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    Precisely. This is why some RF camera users adapted add-on viewfinders on the flash shoe. Notoriously for the 50 and 90mm lenses, because these VF had 100% Magnification. This means the eye in the VF sees the scene at the same size as the other, unaided eye.
    Given this, you can shoot with both eyes open, and the VF bright line appears as "floating" in the air. Great for action or street shots, because you never loose your peripheral vision.
    Maybe the best example of 100% magn. is a frame VF like on a Speed Graphic, or the "sports" VF on a Rolleiflex when you look through the hood, not into it.

    Today, the Leica I 50mm VF is a pricey collectible.
    The 90 VF, however, is reissued by Cosina-Voigt', complete with its parallax ring, which tilts the optics to look down at close distances.

    You're talking 100% field of view: the VF shows you all of the final picture.
    But its magnification with a standard lens is closer to 50%. this means you have to close the other eye.
    Now set up a standard kit zoom to about 40 mm and check it out. See ? The VF now shows the image same size as the real scene as seen by the unaided eye.

    Now, for some reason, my VF2 is not strictly parallel to the optical axis. It is only when I lift it up slightly, just past its normal click setting, that both of my eyes vision get in perfect sync, and I enjoy both eyes open framing.

    This is why I alluded to the parallax ring on the Leica 90 VF, which mechanically speaking did just that--tilting the ocular up a bit.

    Did I explain it better? Did you try it? ;)