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View Full Version : Standard 21mm finder instead of 15D for CV 15/4.5 Heliar?


Dan Lazin
06-16-2005, 01:28
Hi, forum. I introduced myself a couple days ago on the general-discussion thread about cameras and cycling.

While I wait for the postman to bring my R-D1 and CV 40/1.4 Nokton, I'm still trying to figure out a wide-angle lens. I think I'll get a CV 15/4.5 Heliar -- I want something close to a 24mm field of view, and I can live with the vignetting Sean describes in his LL review -- but I cry whenever I remember that such a bargain of a $345 lens needs a $175 finder (the digital-specific 15D finder) and a $55 screw-to-M adapter to function.

In the comments on photo.net's R-D1 review (see here (http://www.photo.net/equipment/epson/rd1/)), one user reports that his 21mm finder works perfectly with the 15/4.5. Brand new, a CV 21mm finder is $128, which is a little better than $175.

Has anyone else tried that combo? Is the 21mm finder up to the standard of the 15D? They certainly look similar.

It seems like they should work, since the 40mm lens reputedly matches the camera's built-in 35mm framelines quite well. The 15mm lens is effectively a 23mm, which once again is slightly longer than the finder at 21mm.

For that matter, a CV 21/4, which comes with the 21mm finder, is only $200 more than the price of the finder alone. Anyone want a cheap, finderless 21/4?

Terence T
06-16-2005, 01:55
Why don't you tape up the 15 finder to roughly replicate the cropped view?

Dan Lazin
06-16-2005, 03:10
Thanks for the suggestion, Terence -- I suppose that's one way to do it, but one of the things that attracted me to the R-D1 was a bigger viewfinder than other digital cameras. I have a Nikon D1h as my main camera at the moment, and its viewfinder is on the cusp of being annoyingly small. I can't take the D1h travelling -- too heavy and too insistent that you recharge the batteries every three days even if they haven't been used -- and I shied from buying a D70 because I abhor the viewfinder.

I suppose a masked-off 15mm finder would be roughly the same size as the D1h viewfinder -- since they both start off nice and big and are then reduced by 1.5x -- but if I can do it for less than $175, I'd like a full-size finder.

Jim Watts
06-16-2005, 03:19
A brief loan of a friends CV 15/4.5 Heliar showed my CV 25mm finder to be a fairly good match to what you get on the sensor. With a "normal" x0.85 safety factor this finder = 21.3 field of view, close to the effective 23mm. A 21 finder with safety factor should give about 17.9 field of view which may be too much depending on how you like to work.

Terence T
06-16-2005, 03:25
Think about it like this... if you get the 21 with the finder, you'd end up solving your finder problem and also get a lens which would allow you to use the 28mm frameline (well, approximately). And it's a great little lens, compact and light enough that you can have in your shirt pocket and not notice it.

The same goes if you pick up the 25/4, that'd bring the 35mm frameline into use.

saxshooter
06-16-2005, 04:30
I've got both the Leica 21mm finder and the CV 15D finder and there is a noticeable difference in coverage if you put both side by side. The 21mm is noticeably wider in view. I didn't try masking the 21mm finder.

dmihajlo
06-16-2005, 04:35
Hi

I have both the CV 15mm and the 21mm. The 21mm finder works well for framing the 15mm on the RD-1, once you get used to it.

But vignetting ins awfull.

The 15mm shows a strong but more even pattern of vignetting than the 21mm, which shows strong vignetting plus a hard to control light fall-off along the left and right image bounds. This fall-off reduces colour-saturation dramatically (after correcting the vignetting), as does the strong 15mm vignetting towards the very corners of the photo.

I prefer the CV 12mm, which shows less vignetting (!), but more aberration (which can easily be corrected in Adobe RAW). It's not as sharp as the 15 or 21, but the perspective is really nice...

Best

Dragan

kepstein
06-16-2005, 07:11
The same goes if you pick up the 25/4, that'd bring the 35mm frameline into use.

When using the rangefinder settings on the RD-1, do you set it to the actual or effective focal length of the lense? In other words, do you set the finder to 35 or 50 on the Epson for a Leica 35mm Summicron?

Thanks,
Ken

mtokue
06-16-2005, 07:25
When using a 35mm lens on the RD-1, you set the viewfinder setting to Actual ie 35.
Mike.

NVARon
06-16-2005, 08:26
One of the sponsors of this site, Mr. Gandy at cameraquest has CV finders for the Epson for the 12, 15 and 21 lenses at a price of $175.00 each

David Kieltyka
06-16-2005, 08:58
I have the CV 15mm "D" finder but actually prefer the one from my 1950s-era Zeiss 21mm Biogon. It's smaller & not as bright as the CV, but most importantly it nails the coverage of the 15mm on the R-D1 at a focus distance of 1 meter. The finder is tilted down a little too so there's hardly any parallax error at close range. At infinity the lens covers a bit more territory than the finder, which is just fine. I know these finders are pretty rare, particularly separate from the lens, but if any of you happen to come across one at a decent price I think it's worth getting.

-Dave-

Dan Lazin
06-16-2005, 14:32
If I'd thought about this for a few more minutes, I would have recognized that what Jim says -- use the 25 finder -- makes more sense than my idea of the 21. I'd prefer less than the .85x viewfinder slop, not more; I'm used to a Konica Hexar AF that adjusts its framelines depending on distance, and since I use a wide-angle more at distance than close range, a slightly more cropped viewfinder would be a good thing.

This is only good news -- Mr. Gandy has the 25/4 with finder for just $245, and for just $70 more than the cost of the dedicated 15D finder, I'd be happy to own an extra normal-wide lens.

Two more questions, then: can anyone else corroborate the 15/4.5's compatibility (at distant focal points) with the 25mm finder? And how well does the 25/4 match up to the outside edges of the R-D1's built-in viewfinder, just outside of the 28 framelines? I wear glasses most days, so I'm sure I wouldn't be able to see wider than the 28 framelines, but being able to use the 25/4 might be a good incentive to take the time to put in my contacts.

Jim Watts
06-17-2005, 05:16
This is only good news -- Mr. Gandy has the 25/4 with finder for just $245, and for just $70 more than the cost of the dedicated 15D finder, I'd be happy to own an extra normal-wide lens.

Two more questions, then: can anyone else corroborate the 15/4.5's compatibility (at distant focal points) with the 25mm finder? And how well does the 25/4 match up to the outside edges of the R-D1's built-in viewfinder, just outside of the 28 framelines? I wear glasses most days, so I'm sure I wouldn't be able to see wider than the 28 framelines, but being able to use the 25/4 might be a good incentive to take the time to put in my contacts.

Hi Dan,
The VC 25mm/f4 Skopar is a very good buy at that price. Although its not rangefinder coupled its a good sharp lens and I don't find zone focussing a problem with it. There is only slight vignetting on the R-D1, much less than the VC 15mm. It would fit nicely in between your other choices.

I normally wear glasses but push them up out of the way to use this lens with the R-D1's finder. It is usable with the full area outside the R-D1 28mm framelines but I find that although the area coverage is about right it is biased towards the bottom and righthand side which results in a slight crop to the left and top on the sensor (with too much to the bottom & right) compared to what you see, unless you allow for this. Its more pronounced at infinity than at 1.5 meters.

If you don't mind a tight crop the 35mm frame in the Russian Turret 28/35/50/85/135 finder is a very good match for this lens. I know this would be a further purchase, but you can usually find these quite cheaply and the other frames are useful to have. The 28mm frame in this finder may even be usable with the VC 15mm (28 x0.85 safety factor = 23.8mm) but I haven't tried it.

I no longer have my friends VC 15mm to try, but as you say that like me you you don't like "too much slop" in viewfinders I think you may find it preferable to use the VC 25mm finder rather than a VC 21mm. My recollection is its pretty close from 10ft - infinity but parallax may make a 21mm a better bet close in, but at the expense of more overall slop. Ideally you need a finder like David describes with some downward tilt or parallax adjustment to get the best result.

As there seems to be a fair bit of variation in nominally the same focal length viewfinders (safety factors, accurracy of frame lines, tilt etc.) as well as personal preferences, if at all possible it would be better to try before you buy.

RML
06-17-2005, 06:50
I've tried my 25 on my R-D1, and using the 28mm framelines as VF. It's doable not I'm not happy with it at all. It's too much of a guestimate for me. I often had to reshoot a few times just to get the composition as I wanted. Too often there was too much space around the scene, usually on one or more sides and hardly ever where I'd want it.

The 35mm framelines, however, are a perfect fit for my 40mm Minolta Rokkor.

I'm planning to get a 15mm as well and I too have been thinking of using my 25mm VF with it. I'm glad to hear that that is quite a viable option. :)

Jim Watts
06-17-2005, 09:35
Dan,
One important fact I had forgotten about the 25mm finder is that I am using the first version that has no framelines and was using all the finder area for the CV 15mm. I believe the the latest version (which is probably what Gandy would supply with the lens) has framelines, which may make it less compatible.

One way I have found to use the 25mm Skopar with the R-D1 is to use the 28mm framelines for the top and left of the frame and the whole of the finder area for the right and bottom. It takes a bit of getting use to but the match to what you see is closer.