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suggestions for optical viewfinder

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Luke, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I plan on using my gf1 mainly with the 20mm lens attached and would like an optical viewfinder for composition. I give big bonus points for retro style and cheap price. The FOV doesn't need to be exact. I assume once I get used to it and compare my results to what I see through the finder, I'll know what is being cropped or how much extra will be in the picture.

    Does anyone use one? I'd love to see photos of your rig. What are you using and where did you find it?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Tecpatl4

    Tecpatl4 Mu-43 Veteran

    292
    Oct 16, 2010
    Midwest
    I've been thinking about those popup plexiglass viewfinders they used to put on underwater cameras.

    I've seen them on cheap 16mm movie cameras too.

    Just a flat piece of plexiglass with crosshairs and lines near the edge indicating field of view.
    Something like this instead it's painted on instead of molded.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
  4. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Voigtlander viewfinder on GF1

    This is my set up for an optical viewfinder on the GF1, In the photograph it's the Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder used with a 21mm Voigtlander Color Skopar, (remember your 20mm lens is the equivalent of a 40mm on 35mm format and this viewfinder is from the 35mm format era). The only draw back is that it fails on your cheapness criterion.

    name0014.

    I have seen a web page where the photographer suggests that the 35mm viewfinder is more accurate for the 40mm lens until you get closer than about 20 feet when the 40mm viewfinder shows itself to be more accurate (this is when shooting with a 3:2 ratio).
    In my experience there is a very slight side ways twisting movement when the viewfinder is mounted in the hot shoe which would lead to slight inaccuracies anyway so I'm not too fussed about using the 40mm instead of the 35mm, and I've got the 40mm anyway. But for what they are they are not cheap, so maybe not the solution you were looking for.

    Barrie
     
  5. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Well, cheap is all relative. I wouldn't mind spending in the $40-$80 range, but I know some of those pieces of glass can go for several hundred. I like the look.

    So in your estimation a 35mm should be close enough once I learn the ins and outs of it? I see some old Russian ones on eBay from time to time and those tend to be pretty cheap. Anyone else have experience or suggestions?
     
  6. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    I can't find the link to the guys blog at the moment, but I'd pasted it into a word processor and here's a copy of some of it

    "Somewhat to my surprise, the optical viewfinder transforms the experience of using the GF1. I really liked it. Now I almost think it's what completes . It makes the shooting experience more free and more fun.
    The big rap against optical viewfinders is that you lose the focus information. And it's true that when you're using the Voigtländer optical viewfinder on the GF1 you lose the focus indication, you can't see what you're focusing on. But here's what I discovered. (This is, obviously, true for me, but might not hold true for you.) When I use the optical viewfinder, I set it to 23 area focusing mode and just go for it. Without me riding herd on what the focus is doing, I miss my preferred focus on a few shots every now and then. Either the camera doesn't grab focus where it should, or it guesses where I want to put the focus and guesses wrong. Nothing bad, just occasionally. Most shots are still in focus.
    So why don't I mind? Here's the thing. When I'm focusing with live view, I use only the single central focus point set fairly small, and set the focus deliberately for each shot. When I use the camera that way, I also miss focus on a few shots occasionally. Also to be expected, and also no big deal. But those misses are more frustrating because I expect to be in complete control. With the Voigtländer viewfinder, I don't worry about it. I just shoot. I expect to lose a few frames to incorrect focus, so, when I do, it doesn't bother me. (Note that you can still focus and recompose when you know it's critical, even without referring to the live view.) If anything, I've been consistently pleased that the camera does so well on its own. The important thing is that I don't worry about it when I shoot; it just flows. Nice.
    I'm going to continue to use the live viewing screen for focusing and composing in many situations. I might even sometimes switch back to single-zone focus when I do, I don't know. But the optical viewfinder makes this camera about three times more fun to shoot with. I recommend it to others, and thank dkreithen for recommending it to me."

    I hope this helps and yes, I guess an old Russian viewfinder will come in considerably cheaper than a Voigtlander one.

    Barrie
     
  7. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
  8. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    I have the Oly VF-1 for sale in the for sale section of the forum - the field of view etchings match the 20mm perfectly, better than they did on the 17mm (owned both lenses at one point). That might have been on purpose so that there was some extra edge around the final photos taken with the 17mm, but knowing the framing was spot on with the 20mm was great.
     
  9. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    Thanks for the info on the Oly. I'll keep it in mind as an option.
     
  10. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    The Oly finder works very good. It is more accurate for the 20 than the 17 and it's very good with the 17. It's as good as my Leica finders on 3:2.
    Keep in mind about the aspect ratio with different finders.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    223
    Apr 22, 2010
    I would second the recommendation of the Olympus VF-1. I had moved from a 17mm lens to a 20mm and was about to sell my VF-1. Someone suggested I try it with the 20mm and I was sold - it covered the field of view very nicely and it's a beautiful bright finder as well.

    It doesn't have the focus indication of the electronics viewfinder or the ability to tilt up, but it's much smaller and more discrete, does not suffer from blackout or smearing of the image, nor does it cost $200.

    For the amount it's going for, I'd say it's a must-have for anyone with a 17mm OR a 20mm lens!
     
  12. pdh

    pdh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    598
    May 6, 2010
    Streetshooter's reminder about the aspect ratio of older finders is well taken ... I had been watching a few on eBay because of their relative inexpense (& cuteness) without having given it a second's thought ... have removed them from my watchlist and am keeping my eyes open for an Olympus now ... of course one could always shoot in 3:2 ...
     
  13. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    If you set your camera up properly, meaning for quick work, you can still use AF with the Optical Finder.
    You just need to pay attention to the center of the frame and visualize the AF target point.
     
  14. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    223
    Apr 22, 2010
    AF target point

    Wonder if it would be useful to mark a dot or crosshair at the center focus point on the viewfinder with something (perhaps a Sharpie or projection marker)? Or perhaps a piece of transparent plastic attached to the front of the finder would be safer?



     
  15. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    If I had one of them tiny and expensive Lumix 20mm lenses I'd be tempted to buy one of them cheap-as-chips e-P1 bodies ... in which case I'm sure I could 'create' a super OVF from the dead husk of this Yashica electro I have lying here...
    That would be my plan if I had an autofocus pancake of around 20-30mm.
     
  16. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Robertro,
    Use the force.... I have used this method countless times and never missed a shot.

    We doin need no dots on finders 'round here....