View Full Version : Viewfinder size on M series
Is the view finder larger on the M series compared to a Leica CM or CM zoom. I found it was hard to look though finder window on the Minilux and CM Leica cameras.
Dan, not only is the viewfinder on the M series larger than the CM series but it is a completely different concept. The CM viewfinder is designed for autofocus as its primary use & has built-in diopter correction to make it more or less viewable for different eyes. On the other hand, the M-series viewfinder is not only used for composition but is also the focusing window, so it is designed to be large & bright for accurate focus. As important as viewfinder size is the magnification you see through the eyepiece: .4x magnification on the CM, .72x mag standard on the M-series. So, the image you are seeing in an M-series eyepiece is almost twice the magnification of the image you see in a CM. Even the .58x mag option on the M-series is almost 50% larger the CM image.
Originally posted by Huck Finn
Dan, not only is the viewfinder on the M series larger than the CM series but it is a completely different concept. The CM viewfinder is designed for autofocus as its primary use & has built-in diopter correction to make is more or less viewable for different eyes. On the other hand, the M-series viewfinder is not only used for composition but is also the focusing window, so it is designed to be large & bright for accurate focus. As important as viewfinder size is the magnification you see through the eyepiece: .4x magnification on the CM, .72x mag standard on the M-series. So, the image you are seeing in an M-series eyepiece is almost twice the magnification of the image you see in a CM. Even the .58x mag option on the M-series is almost 50% larger the CM image.
I was concerned about that as I had a hard time looking though my friends Leica Minilux camera:rolleyes:
How does it compare to looking though the viewfinder on a SLR such as Nikon FM3A?
No one has a Leica M Series to look at here in Sudbury.
Based on my very limited experience w/ the M series, comparison w/ an FM3a would depend on the VF mag. of the actual M you are looking at (M3=.91, M2=.72, M6=.58, .72, or .85, etc.).
I happen to have a recently acquired M2 and I am a long time FM3a user, which I believe has a mag. of .83 or .82. I also wear glasses. Logic dictates that the Leica's lower magnification would make viewing the different framelines easier than through the Nikon, but this is not the case. With the Nikon, I can see most of the frame, and have to move move around only a little to compose accurately. With the Leica, I can easily see the framelines for a 50mm lens, but I can see that the 35mm frame is going to require a lot more hunting around. Hope I addressed your question.
Dan, I consider the FM3A to be a superb viewfinder. Nikon made this VF very bright compared to cheaper models, so you will find the Leica & a high level SLR viewfinder like the FM3A both to be bright - as long as you are using a reasonably fast lens on the SLR. However, there are key differences between the two:
1. Although both viewfinders are large, bright, & easy to see through, the SLR viewfinder will change with each lens or zoom setting so that the desired picture will always fill up the viewfinder. The Leica VF will remain constant & you will compose your picture using framelines projected in the viewfinder window. A wide angle picture will fill up most of the viewfinder, but a telephoto shot will only use a relatively small portion of the middle of the viewfinder. In this way, the Leica VF allows you to factor in information outside the desired composition - useful when shooting people who are moving. On the other hand, the longer the telephoto lens on a RF camera, the smaller the framelines until it eventually becomes unworkable.
2. The magnification in the Leica VF will remain constant, depending on which model you have chosen regardless of what lens you are using. The magnification on the SLR VF will vary depending on the lens or zoom setting you are using, i.e. it will increase with a telephoto lens & decrease with a wide angle lens. As jja said the FM3A mag is .86 with a 50 mm lens set at infinity but varies up or down from there.
3. Viewing through the Leica VF is like looking through a window, independent of what the camera sees. Everything is always in focus, while the SLR view is out-of-focus until you adjust it. While the SLR gives you visual feedback & has DOF preview, it can be hard to focus when light is dim. The rangefinder mechanism is much easier to see & align in the viewfinder in low light. The SLR low light difficulties are compounded by some degree of light loss viewing through the lens in dim light even on the best of SLR viewfinders, while the Leica viewfinder will take advantage of any available light because it is jsut a clear window. In all lighting conditions, a rangefinder is a more precise focusing tool than through the lens focusing.
4. With a zoom lens on an SLR, you can play with composition until you get just the amount of the scene that you want. For the same function on a Leica, you can try different framelines to help decide how much of the scene you want to include before making a choice of lens. Of course, you can physically move closer or farther away with either camera type.
5. You can go to the leica website @ www.leica-camera.com or Stephen Gandy's website @ www.cameraquest.com to see examples of RF viewfinders with projected framelines.
I hope this helps.
I went to Toronto today to look at M series cameras. One store has a demo Leica silver MP. I looked at this camera and found the viewfinder really good:)
How is the .85 finder version compared to the .72 version ? The only 2 lens I plan to use is 35mm and 50mm. Which is easier to focus?
None of the stores I went to stocked the M series.( new in box ):confused:
One of the stores had the Bessa R3A, found the finder bright and large. It is much lighter then the Leica MP.
The .72 is a good, general, all-round vf. The .85 is much better for a 75, 90, or 135 focal length.
Some folks find it a challenge to see the 35 framelines with a .85.
For 35 and 50 lenses... you might even look at the .58 vf version.
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