This has been an ongoing thing since I got my Leica IIIa. It’s a wonderful camera and I like carrying it with me and using it, but as I already said, the viewfinder is downright crappy, at least when you have to rely on glasses to see anything, like me.
So I have been searching for a solution for some time. I killed a nice working Canon ShureShot AF7/8 point and shoot camera to tear out it’s gorgeous finder as I related here and it basically works.
The finder is huge, spectacular… but giving me a 35mm field of view which does not play well with my 50mm lenses.
A great guy lurking on 35mmc, Raymond Yee from Lost Lens Caps, has offered to 3D-print me a housing for my hacked finder and I’m anxiously waiting for it right now – he sent me pictures and it really looks great, though I don’t understand why he’s not sending that crappy Contax G1 along with the finder…I scored an Altix finder on the bay, a nice metal 35mm finder with 50 and 90mm ‘blinds’ that snap on to give the right view. It’s nice, looks quite OK on the Leica and is really easier to use than the built in finder. The good thing is that the Altix finder has a distance scale that does not focus the finder as I first assumed, but it heightens and lowers the rear end of the finder to account for parallax error. Great idea!
With the 50mm blind it allows me to see the whole frame, even with my glasses on. Quite nice I think.
Then again I got a very battered Voigtländer Kontur finder, that will need a bit more explanation.
In fact, put it’s giant eyepiece to your eye and behold….. nothing. Nothing but a nice white 50mm frame line, a dotted parallax corrected frame line and a small dot in the center! That’s it, no nice view out!
OK, how is that going to work as a finder you say? Here’s how: you simply don’t squint your left eye shut when you look through it! What happens? Your brain combines the images from both your eyes and you will see the brilliant white frame line superimposed on the scenery… Voilà!Easy peasy, brilliant idea, no?
No, not really, as it takes some mind-bending to get used to this system. It’s really not easy to convince your brain that those two images belong together as, at least my brain, always tries to convince me that there’s either one or the other.
Until now I have not yet made friends with the Voigtländer Kontur!
So that leaves me with several possibilities:
- Adapt to the original Leica finder
- Adopt the Altix
- Stick with my home-brewed finder hack and get a 35mm lens
- Wrangle my brain around to work with the Voigtländer Kontur
Choices, always choices – kills me every time!
They have one thing in common, they are quite big, even the Altix, and they really succeed in destroying the nice lines of my Leica IIIa.
I have to say that the Altix looks best of the three. Goes nicely with the outlandish style of the Leica and well, it’s adapting to different focal lenghts.
A versatile piece of metal and glass – quite solid feeling too. And what’s more, the copy I bought is clean – bet there’s been a problem with eBay!
I think I’ll send the Kontur on – it’s too big, too cumbersome to use and as a simple proof of the principle of two-eyed-photography it’s not convincing to me. No I’ll not hoard things any more!
Then again, when I get the nice housing for my home made finder it might become my favourite. I’ll just have to find a way to draw 50mm frame lines on it, or at least dots, marking the corners.
I’ll expand this post as soon as this finder is completed!
As always, thanks for being here and reading this!