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Zorki viewfinder vs. Leica IIIc/f viewfinder, which is easier to use?
Old 11-27-2016   #1
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Zorki viewfinder vs. Leica IIIc/f viewfinder, which is easier to use?


I'm considering buying a Leica IIIc or f. I've only used Zorki-1 as a Barnack copy. To me, as a glass-wearer, the built-in viewfinder on Zorki is usable but not extremely comfortable (though still better than FED-2, Zorki-4 etc.). By "usable" I mean be able to see the whole frame without rolling eyeball.

I'm wondering if it is easier to see the whole frame of the viewfinder on Leica IIIc/f in comparison with the Zorki? In other words, is the eye-point higher on Leica VF?



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Old 11-27-2016   #2
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I normally wear contacts rather than glasses, but I just happened to have the glasses on and checked one of my IIIcs - I had no problem seeing the entire VF frame without moving my eye around. That said, a 1:1 external finder (SBOOI, Voigtländer, whatever) makes using these dramatically easier, glasses or not.
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Old 11-27-2016   #3
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Another vote for the external finder. The IIIc is much better than the earlier IIIa, etc., but it's still not great. I wear glasses and can use the built-in IIIc finder but it's no joy. Since you have to move your eye from the rangefinder to the viewfinder, it's not that much of a stretch to go to an external one. Fortunately, the 50 finders aren't rare although they are somewhat expensive. If, however, you choose to use a 35, either get a Voightlander or prepare to pay for an expensive used Leica finder.
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Old 11-27-2016   #4
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Very late made IIIf RD with self-timer and its late made IIf with the ST have a slightly larger VF image when compared to the earlier made ones.

I have several versions of the IIIf BD, RD and with self-timer and have noticed this. It is very slight but it is there.

The VF on the Zorki 1 and Fed 1 and pre Leica IIIb cameras have the added advantage of a simple tube type VF that is easier to clean from the inside (haze and fungus) when compared to the combined eyepiece Leicas and the Japanese Leica copies that have the same type of combined RF/VF eyepiece, like on late made Nicca/Tower and Leotax cameras.
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Old 11-28-2016   #5
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I use both a Zorki-1 and a late IIIc, and wearing glasses the IIIc shows slightly more of the VF frame.
The Zorki rangefinder has slightly more contrast by the way.

Because the IIIc rangefinder has a diopter adjustment, I can shoot without glasses, but that would be particular to each person's eyesight.
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Old 11-29-2016   #6
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Easy to use is not a phrase I would use about any of them...

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Old 11-29-2016   #7
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External viewfinders all the way with me. I do not use the rangefinder in my IIIF or IIIG; and I have 20/20 still for my age. It is very quick to compose with the external viewfinder, and shoot all the time via hyper focal.
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Old 11-29-2016   #8
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well eh... all the "barnack" style camera, German/Russian/Japanese/etc ... has squinty peep hole, like looking through a barndoor keyhole... couple with the fainting rangefinder patch by now, it's pretty difficult to use, at lease for me.
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Old 12-06-2016   #9
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Thank you guys for the input!


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Old 12-06-2016   #10
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Just get a Zorki 4, and enjoy a camera that is better in most larger respects, than any of the LTM Leicas, or their clones.

Whether you can use glasses with one of those tiny viewfinders is beside the point really, because even if you can, the viewfinder is still basically useless for anything other than aiming the camera. If you want to actually compose your photos you'll want something larger.

With a Zorki 4 you get a built in diopter adjustment, a huge viewfinder with integrated rangefinder, and non-ridiculous film loading as a bonus. You will be happier.
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Old 01-15-2017   #11
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As mentioned, it's hard to beat a good optical finder on a Barnack style body.

And, I should add - nothing else "feels" as good as one of those little gems, and most of their clones.

If you're concerned about your glasses getting scratched - here's an inexpensive solution: Dr Scholls (sp?) corn pads, or the house brand eqIv. They all are self-stick.

Just stick it on and trim off the excess (35mm finder shown.) (And, NO that's not a Barnack body. )

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