View Full Version : m5 viewfinder metering in low light

08-07-2010, 16:59
hello m5 or maybe CL users also,

i find myself having a really hard time seeing the needle at the bottom in low light situations, so matching the shutter speed to the matchstick becomes a real challenge. the rangefinder patch is no problem however.

are your experiences the same?

i would say in low light, the last 1/4 of the left side becomes near impossible to see. sometimes the entire strip is quite hard to see.


Richard G
08-07-2010, 17:24
Is your frame line set original, or has it been 'upgraded' to include 28 and 75?

08-07-2010, 17:29
I have the same problem in low Light....
original framelines on my 1972 M5

though my battery compartment is upgraded

08-07-2010, 17:36
Yep, same for me. Maybe a deficiency of the M5.

The Nikon SP had an illuminater, albeit for the framelines. Maybe someone needs to make a little accessory for the M5. The little window at the top edge of the body is the light collector for the meter.


08-07-2010, 20:20
richard g, original frameset on mine

08-07-2010, 20:37
The frame lines are lit up from the front light gathering lens. But, the Light Meter is lit up by the top light gathering lens on the top plate.
So, you need a light source from above more than the front.
it gets dim faster than the frame lines... just look at the size difference of the two light gathering windows.

If, only there was a "hot-shoe" flexible mini LCD light that could be placed over that small top light gathering lens...:D

P. Lynn Miller
08-07-2010, 20:47
I have been intending to make a small LED illuminator for my M5 that is patterned after the Nikon SP illuminator for a long time now. It would use a low-level red LED to illuminute both the frame-lines and metering strip. Too many other projects on the burner.

But to be honest, I seldom use the meter in any camera when shooting at night. I take a hand-held meter, take a few readings in the light and dark spots and then go from there. There is only about 4 stops of spread when shooting at night, much less than day time shooting. Too many photo opps are lost when taking time to meter. I just shoot and go, then make sure I develop accordingly.

08-07-2010, 21:12
Try the "SHINE" from these folks:

P. Lynn Miller
08-07-2010, 21:53
Try the "SHINE" from these folks:

While that is a clever idea, that is like putting a beacon on the top of your camera. Stealth and invisibility are a very important part of successful night or low photography.

08-07-2010, 22:55
haha, i misread that above and thought you wrote bacon. putting bacon on top of your camera. hey thats not such a bad idea. people like bacon.

that shine is a good idea but pretty conspicuous for sure. maybe if they could cover all of it and leave just the light shining towards the light collector. black electrical tape?

i looked up that nikon sp illuminator. now that is sweet. to be able to be in pitch darkness and still see your lines. although i am not sure what that means for your pictures tho.

thanks for everyones comments. glad to see this m5 i just picked up is working fine and standard.

p.lynn millter, if you ever get around to macguyver-ing a nikon sp tyoe illuminator please do let us know!

P. Lynn Miller
08-07-2010, 23:05
Bacon!!! :eek::D

The other annoying thing with all rangefinders is when the rangefinder window gets splattered with rain and you lose the ability to focus. It seems that low light, night and rain are the trio I always encounter.

So thinking of combining a some sort of hood that will shield finder and rangefinder windows with the illuminater as well.

Steve M.
08-08-2010, 00:20
By the way, my Kaspersky anti virus wouldn't allow me to link to that leicagoodies site. It said there was a trojan attempting to load.

08-08-2010, 03:08
One of the nice things about the M5 is you don't have bright diodes lighting up the finder, with the trade-off being the needle viewing in low light.

When the light gets that dim I don't often need a meter reading anyway, I'll be set up on a tripod and using a hand held meter.

But one trick I use that sometimes makes the difference is to use your index finger on the right viewfinder side and move it so it just covers the lower part of the finder. This will blacken the view below the frame and make the meter display stand out more, maybe just enough.

08-08-2010, 07:07
I was shooting with M5 Friday night (RockNRoll concert) and the light was so bad, I couldn't see the speeds on the shutter dial. But by moving the camera around, and illuminating the finder with the brightest light available, I could just make out the speed, through the viewfinder. Yes it's hard to see (sometimes) but I still enjoy M5 very much. It's the tradeoff, and I really don't like diode displays, I have decided.

1/30 at F1.2 EI 800, now that is -dark- spotlit stage lighting!

08-08-2010, 20:03
i'll have to give that finger block trick a try.
i've heard about that before somewhere.
what does that farthest right, little window do?