View Full Version : Best 85mm VF?
I've got a Canon 85/ 1.8 for portraits and tried a CV90 VF for framing, but it's obviously not precise for close work. What do you recommend? I prefer one w/ frame lines.
Don't think there is anything better, Bill. There are 85mm BL finders from Leica, Canon and Nikon, and an 80mm finder from Komura, all hard to find and with fundamentally the same problem at close distance - difficult to get things in focus.
You might not like this recommendation, but a lens like this needs a dedicated body, IMO. Using 90mm framelines for 85 works well for me. 100 might be a bit too tight ...
Roland's right about getting accurate framing at close distance. The Leica 85mm finders are very expensive. It's probably cheaper to get a good Canon 7 with 85mm frameline than the Leica 85mm finder. The Nikkor and Canon finders are much cheaper and also have parallex correction. The late black type has framelines which you prefer. The russian 85mm finders are a good option too. I think David Murphy was selling one just a while ago.
I have used two types mainly - the original Canon chrome "tube" type which are a bit small and "squinty" but are readily available. The later black and chrome models by Canon are better. And I have used turret finders -either the after market ones or Leicas VIOOH type. The after market ones are preferable as the Leica ones mask off the area (so it gets smaller for longer focus lenses) while the others actually enlarge the image depending on the frame / focal length in use. This makes it much easier to see the details when longer lenses (85/90 and 135) are in use. Go to the Stephen Gandy site - I seem to recall he has an article on viewfinder options.
Don't get the FSU one: I had one arrive with a J-9 I ordered and it was basically a little pinhole you look through. Seemed fairly useless, lens was a dud so I didn't hang on to either it or the finder. Now that I have a working, finder-less J-9 I just use the 90mm frames on my R3A and guestimate. To an extent that's what RF shooting is all about.
Canon and Nikon both made some great Brightline finder with correction years back. Are you using the frame lines on a Bessa or an external VF? If it's an external could it have been damaged (read dropped before you got her?)? If it's internal do you have the same problem with other lenses up close?
Have you done the 3 foot edge test? Get a tripod and mount your camera on it. One the wall put a large set of papers covering about four feet tall and five feet wide. Put the camera, tripod in the middle of it and focus to three feet (or so, just really close). You may want to put a little cross in the middle where you focus on. Put small marks at the edges of your frame in a dark color and then mark every half inch from there on both the X and Y (up, down, left, right) axis say about four inches from the corner.
This should give you an idea of how far you are off. Do this with your 85 and a 50. Just for giggles do it on a 35 too.
That close up it might be a combination of things that have thrown you off.
I use the 90mm frame for both my 85 Nikkor and my 90mm Elmarit. It's close enough. For the type of shooting I do it works great. Negative carriers, slide mounts, and the Fuji machine tha Walgreens all cut off some image anyway. Most SLR's don't show the entire image on the ground glass. There arer better things to worry about.
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