View Full Version : 90mm lenses: What VF are you using?

06-18-2005, 03:39
With some care, I'm able to focus my 90mm Elmarit with success on my RD-1.

I was wondering for those using a 90mm, what auxiliarly viewfinder are you using? I've been considering an old Nikon Varifocal finder (does it 'zoom' between 35-135?) and Leica's brightline 135mm finder. Does both of these finders' parrallax compensators work well? Thanks for your input. Regards, Charlie

06-18-2005, 04:07
Only yesterday did try out my J9 85/2 with a 135mm VF. I found it tricky at best. I got better results by using the rf patch. In my not so scientific approach I use the patch is the middle section of a frame divided into 9 rectangles. That way I was able to use the "rule of thirds" quite easily and frame the scene quite accurately.

06-18-2005, 05:59
rml: which 135mm VF did you use? did it have an adjustment for distance to correct for parallax?

My guess is accuracy would be an issue since the VF's parallax adjustment was designed for the older rangefinder cameras with a shorter lens to auxiliary VF height -- the Epson's is quite higher.


Jim Watts
06-18-2005, 09:17
For my 90mm/f2.8 Tele-Elmarit I'm using the 135mm frame in a Russian Turret 28/35/50/85/135 finder, which I posted about in another thread and these can be found quite cheaply (less than $50). At infinity I would estimate that the finder covers about 95% of what appears on the sensor with the extra fairly evenly spaced around the frame. At 1.5 meters I would say its a 100% of what you see, but I don't mind a tight crop. There is a small amount of distance/parallax adjustment on this finder.

I also find I have no problem focussing the 90mm even at f2.8 on the R-D1 on static subjects, but if you are fairly close in at wide apertures on a moving subject holding focus and using the auxiliarly viewfinder is not really possible.
Guess-a-matic framing is better.

David Kieltyka
06-18-2005, 20:39
I tried using my 85mm with a Nikon Varifocal finder, but the framing was way off with the finder at the 135mm setting. It had about the right amount of reach but the frame was located too high, even with the finder angled down as far as it could go. I get much better results by imagining a smaller frame inside the 50mm framelines. But I haven't used the lens on my R-D1 in some months...50mm on this camera is long enough for my RF needs.


06-18-2005, 21:52
When using an 85mm or 100mm lens, I use a Tewe zoom viewfinder with a range of 35mm to 135mm. The results are usable, but exact framing is difficult.

The situation isn't too bad at long distances, but the parallax compensation isn't very accurate as you focus closer. To be really accurate, an auxiliary finder has to be designed for a specific camera, taking into account the distance and angle between the accessory shoe and the lens. If mounted on a different camera with different dimensions, framing will be off.

Also, don't forget that a lens' effective focal length increases as you focus closer -- so if the finder's viewing angle is correct at infinity, it will show too much (vs. the final image) at close distances.

The way I get around both of those problems with the Tewe finder is to set it for a slightly longer focal length than I'm actually using. That way, there will always be a little extra in the final image compared to what I saw through the finder; that provides some safety margin against framing error. Attached are a couple of pictures from a chamber music concert at which I used this technique with the 100mm lens; I just cropped the final images a bit to get the framing I wanted.

If you use a 135mm finder (or a zoom finder that only goes to 135mm) you won't be able to set it for a longer focal length -- but you can make sure you compose well within the picture edges to get the same effect.

06-19-2005, 06:02
Thanks for your replies, everyone. After hearing all of your experiences I've been convinced to forgo getting a 135mm finder and use the "guestimate" method when using my 90mm on the RD-1 (which shouldn't be all that often).

Regards, Charlie