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Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by martsharm, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. martsharm

    martsharm New to Mu-43

    Mar 25, 2011
    North East England
    This is my first post here, but I've been hanging around for a while and had good fun... I thought it was time I gave something back. This is a bit of a geeky story and quite a well-trodden path but it has enough quirks to maybe be interesting to one or two on here.

    I've owned a Panasonic G1 for a while; and along with the ubiquitous 20mm lens it became my most-used camera, usurping a Nikon D90. I recently ordered a GF1 from ABC cameras; I liked the G1 so much, I liked the idea of a smaller backup package so I could tote a couple of primes without changing lenses. It had nothing to do with the bargain price of £199 *cough*!

    My thoughts on the GF1: actually I find it a bit fiddly to use - the scroll wheel doesn't work as well as the front-mounted wheel on the G1, and the lack of viewfinder really irked me. Holding the camera out in front of the body makes you look like a tourist, and doesn't feel anywhere as stable a camera-holding stance as a viewfinder to the eye. The one advantage is that you do look like a tourist rather than a photographer so you can blend in with the crowd when taking photos. The G1 can do that too, and arguably is more versatile with its twisty screen.

    So I decided I needed a viewfinder to make the camera feel "proper" again. I've heard that the clip-on EVF isn't as good as the built-in one on the G1, and it's not cheap, so I figured a different approach was required. After much deliberation, I decided on the Voigtlander 40mm optical viewfinder.

    I could find two supppliers of the viewfinder in the UK - Robert White and The Classic Camera Ltd, both of whom charge around £155 plus delivery, which is getting close to the price I paid for the actual camera! So a good look round the web revealed The Leica Shop, with the hugely evocative address Westbahnstrasse 40, Vienna. They carry they Voigtlander brightline finder for the much cheaper price €99 - albeit with no obvious way of determining the delivery charge. I was also a little wary that there is no image of the finder on their site, just a bare description.

    Even so, it was so much cheaper, delivery surely couldn't make it any more expensive than the UK suppliers. So I trusted my instincts and ordered.

    A few days later, I have an expertly packaged, brand new 40mm viewfinder for a grand total of £105. It could have been less if I'd used a more euro-friendly credit card to order, but I didn't have one to hand.

    Now the intro is over, let the main event commence.... unboxing!

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070727 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070732 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070734 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070736 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070738 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070741 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070753 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070750 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070751 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070752 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070755 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070757 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070760 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder unboxing-1070763 by martsharm, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 3
  2. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA

    ...but if you REALLY wanted to give something back, you'd send me that viewfinder!

    I'd leave a really nice referral!
  3. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    :smile: It looks amazing.

    But how is it in use? Any parallax errors? Accurate framing?
  4. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    SWEET!!! Does it actually properly frame your shots or is it a little out?
  5. martsharm

    martsharm New to Mu-43

    Mar 25, 2011
    North East England

    As soon as I tire of it it's yours! :smile:

    akulya and walt,

    You raise very good points, and I was very interested to do a couple of basic tests to determine how it performed. I'm quite relaxed about a certain degree of leeway with an item like this, I think it adds to the charm. There's a proper EVF on the G1 when framing is critical.

    So here's a selection of images that demonstrates the effect of parallax error on the system.

    Voigtlander 40mm viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000432 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 3m

    The centre of the viewfinder image is the black keyhole of the window on the left.

    Due to the vertical distance between the viewfinder and the taking lens, as one approaches the target, parallax error will occur - anything vertically centred in the viewfinder will move upwards from the taking lens' perspective.

    This is dead centre.

    Voigtlander 40mm / Panasonic GF1 viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000433 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 2.2m

    Still vertically centred.

    Voigtlander 40mm / Panasonic GF1 viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000434 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 1.5m

    The keyhole has moved up slightly.

    Voigtlander 40mm / Panasonic GF1 viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000435 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 1.0m

    The keyhole is now significantly deviated upwards through the taking lens.

    Voigtlander 40mm / Panasonic GF1 viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000436 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 0.75m

    There is now considerable parallax error.

    Voigtlander 40mm / Panasonic GF1 viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000437 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 0.5m

    Completely misframed.

    Voigtlander 40mm / Panasonic GF1 viewfinder parallax demonstration-1000438 by martsharm, on Flickr

    Target distance = 0.3m

    Whoa Nelly!
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    Did you use the parallax adjustment line? You now have a very good example to etch in your brain and visually on the finder of where your lens is seeing at all distances....
    Good job..... good learning experience....
  7. martsharm

    martsharm New to Mu-43

    Mar 25, 2011
    North East England
    As you can see, there is considerable parallax error at closer distances. I would consider anything more distant than 1m to be acceptable. Of course there is always the screen if framing is of prime importance. What the viewfinder offers is an alternative to the LCD which I prefer in most circumstances. I'll just have to watch those target distances.

    I must add that one gets a true flavour of the rangefinder experience with this setup. No in-viewfinder "cheats", worries about framing and parallax error. The results certainly look different to my usual work, where I am much more strict about framing. But I wouldn't say they were worse, and the look they have - whilst difficult to define, have an interesting framing appearance, subtly reminiscent of film work. On the other hand, it could be all in my head! Here's what I mean:

    Saltwell Bench-1000484 by martsharm, on Flickr

    There are technical framing issues with this photo, but I like the "accidental" aspects - distracting peripheral features which in a way balance themselves out, cutting the foot off the bench which I certainly wouldn't have done if I was working with the through the lens image. But the upper branch frames the picture nicely which it may not have done if the framing was more "accurate" in the traditional sense.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. akulya

    akulya Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thank you for taking the time to produce those test shots, I think I agree with you - negligible errors at sensible distances.

    I wonder how different it is from the Olympus VF1 (designed for the 17/2.8) I might have to look out for one of them :) 
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