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View Poll Results: Which do you prefer for 35mm with glasses?
Leica M2 13 48.15%
Leica M4 14 51.85%
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Leica M2 and M4 viewfinder comparison for glasses wearers
Old 10-24-2016   #1
lrochfort
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Leica M2 and M4 viewfinder comparison for glasses wearers

Hello all,

I want to buy a Leica M, principally for use with a 35mm lens and occasionally 50mm. I don't anticipate using any other focal lengths.

I wear glasses and would like your feedback on the viewfinder and rangefinder on the M2 and M4. What are the general pros/cons and what are the specific pros/cons for glasses wearers?

I'm a fair way from anywhere I can handle these cameras, so your feedback is much appreciated.

I added poll in case that helps people later.

Cheers,
Laurence.
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Old 10-24-2016   #2
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The M2 and M4's finder magnifications are the same - .72x. The only real difference is that the M4's VF exit masking is enlarged compared to the M2. Some M2 owners have this modified to the M4 type during CLA. I think the M4 I own now if the brightest one I've ever owned, so it gets my vote.

As a glasses wearer, I find it difficult to see all four corners of the 35mm frame all at once on either camera. I have the same issue with the M3's higher magnification/50mm frame. I have to shift around to check all four. Bothers me more than others, I'm sure. I primarily shoot a 50mm as a result, despite enjoying the final framing of the 35mm when I do use one.


The best experience I've had with using a 35mm lens on the M2/M4 was with the "goggled" versions of said focal length. Yes, it does dim the VF a little, is a bit unwieldy, lowers the RF accuracy, and there is some ghosting. But for me the trade off was worth it to be able to properly use the 35mm frame. It uses the 50mm frameline and modifies the magnification of the finder to be about .58x (vs the normal .72x), therefore approximating a 35mm frameline FOV. You have more room around the frame to see subjects coming in and out of the image...also, slightly closer minimum focus distance (.6-.65m instead of .7m). In this option, you would be restricted to the 1950's lenses.



That set up - sold the lens, to much regret



You could also consider an M6/M7/MP with a .58x VF. Less bulky - potentially better as a glasses wearer. Never owned one, so can't really say beyond that.
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Old 10-24-2016   #3
lrochfort
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blind_spark View Post
The only real difference is that the M4's VF exit masking is enlarged compared to the M2.
Thanks very much.

Could you expand a bit more and what you mean by the exit masking?
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Old 10-24-2016   #4
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In this video, at the 6:55 mark, he shows the difference between them.
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Old 10-24-2016   #5
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Another possibility would be to attach a dioptre lens to the viewfinder of either the M2 or M4 and take your glasses off while shooting (or put them on top of your head as I do). This is the only way I can make the 35 framelines on my M2 usable as a glasses wearer (sadly can't wear contacts any more). It works well though dims the viewfinder ever so slightly and perhaps makes the view less crisp.

If money were no object and I shot film a lot I would be tempted by a 0.58 finder; an M6 TTL is probably the cheapest way to get one.


Graham
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Old 10-24-2016   #6
sojournerphoto
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Agree, 35 framelines are a challenge on M4 with glasses. I use mine as a 50 camera. The Zeiss Ikon, or a smaller magnification viewfinder (Leica 0.58 or Voigtlander R4 at 0.5) are the answer.

Mike
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Old 10-24-2016   #7
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I'm a glasses wearer too and like you I prefer shooting with glasses on to removing/putting on the glasses all the time. With glasses I can just see the 35mm frameline on the M4 without struggling. Forget about the areas outside the frameline though. Haven't handled an M2 so I can't compare.

I find the 35mm frameline on Bessa-R (x0.68) much more comfortable to use. Even the one on Canon-7 (around x0.8) is slightly better than M4.
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Old 10-24-2016   #8
Chromacomaphoto
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+1 on Blind Spark's comments. Used M's for years as a glasses wearer who likes to use a 35. Never good results and lots of guessing, although you get better with practice. I only ever really got successful with it when wearing contact lenses instead. The older goggled lenses (I prefer a summaron 35 2.8 for street and on the fly walkaround stuff myself) are really the best bet and you can use them on most film m's old or new...not sure about digital ones as I have zero interest in digital Leica but I'm sure somebody else knows. M3 finder with a 50mm is heaven for glasses wearers. Summaron on an m2 was my last rig like this.
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Old 10-24-2016   #9
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There are other Leica options. The M6TTL has a .58 finder as do the MP and the M7. I wear glasses and these finders are far superior to the M4. I've never shot an M2, but I suspect it's the same as the M4. Having said that, if you don't want to spend Leica money, consider the Bessas or, if you don't mind battery-dependent, the ZI. That has the best finder going for clarity.
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Old 10-24-2016   #10
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I prefer my M4 over my old M2 although the finders are almost identical. One thing I loved about the M2 were the DOF markings inside the RF patch. I wish I had those in the M4 but prefer it for the loading and rewinding.

Phil Forrest
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Old 10-24-2016   #11
madNbad
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With either the M2 or the M4 the eyepiece is metal. Spend a few dollars and get a plastic cover from DAG camera, it'll save a lot of scratches.
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Old 10-24-2016   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madNbad View Post
With either the M2 or the M4 the eyepiece is metal. Spend a few dollars and get a plastic cover from DAG camera, it'll save a lot of scratches.
Or replace the eyepiece altogether with one from an M6.

Phil Forrest
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Old 10-24-2016   #13
Dez
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Lots of good answers here, but mostly not to the original question. The M2 and M4 VFs are the same, except you also get 135 mm frame lines in the M4, and as was mentioned, the mask in the M4 opens a bit wider, which is a small advantage when wearing glasses. All in all, the M4 is a more convenient camera, but more expensive than the M2.

Cheers,
Dez
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Old 10-24-2016   #14
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I too am a fan of the goggles. Previously, I found them rather odd.

But I came across a perfect 35/2.8 Summaron at a bargain price and have changed my mind. Yes, they still look goofy, but the close focus and framing are excellent. And they don't add much weight in spite of what may appear.

These should work well with any M if you can see the standard 50mm frames with glasses.
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Old 10-24-2016   #15
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Any of the goggled 35mm lenses (Summilux, Summicron, Summaron) are your best bet when wearing glasses and going to use a Leica with 0.72x VF.

The older M4 VF have the M2 style eye pieces. Leitz changed that later when they also changed from balsam to some synthetic glue for the prism.
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Old 10-24-2016   #16
Doug
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Agree that the goggled Leica 35s make a good solution. I got my M2 and 35 Summicron back in the 60s and could never see any two opposite sides of the frame, wearing glasses, and it wasn't much better with contacts. Though one's face shape will make a difference here.

When I got a goggled Summaron 7 years ago it was a revelation to see not only all 35mm framelines at once but more real estate around the outside too. This works as well on the M9 and M240 etc also, though lens corner performance suffers a bit visibly. On the M8 it works but is unnecessary.

And, the goggled lenses work on the Konica Hexar RF as well, since it has the same window positions as the M cameras. But its viewfinder is 0.6x anyway, making it an alternative to a .58x Leica body.
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Old 10-25-2016   #17
Chromacomaphoto
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Never knew that about the Hexar RF being able to use goggled Leica lenses, you learn something new every day. Makes sense I guess.
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Old 10-27-2016   #18
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Just adding for reference, I am a glasses wearer who has an M2 and shoots only with a 35mm. Although I can just see the the 35mm framelines with my glasses on, I prefer to wear contacts when I shoot. Being able to see outside of the framelines is part of the reason why I bought a RF.
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Old 10-28-2016   #19
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I wear glasses.

I've had an M1,2and 3 and currently have an M4, 4P and 6.

I've found the finder of the M4 was superior (clearer and easier to use) to that of the earlier ones, and was intending to use that camera on an impending cruise. However, of the lot the easiest to see the frames and to focus whilst wearing glasses is the M6, plus it has a soft eyepiece to protect my glasses.

You may have guessed that I will now be using the M6 (finally swayed by the soft eyepiece).
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Old 10-28-2016   #20
Dez
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I suspect if people are finding differences between M2 and M4 finders, it's more likely to be camera-to-camera production variability rather than a difference between models; they should be the same.

Cheers,
Dez
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Old 10-28-2016   #21
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I AGREE (10 characters)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dez View Post
I suspect if people are finding differences between M2 and M4 finders, it's more likely to be camera-to-camera production variability rather than a difference between models; they should be the same.

Cheers,
Dez
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Old 10-28-2016   #22
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Or individual condition decades after they were first sold...
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Old 10-29-2016   #23
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Another option, albeit expensive, is a 0.58x Finder. Should be able to go into an M4 or M2. Or can be found in an MP or M7. Not exactly what you're asking, but vastly better 35 frameline visibility.
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Old 12-12-2016   #24
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M4 with glasses works for me. I cannot see 100% the corners of the 35mm frames, but I'm ok with that. I like that if I can see it, it's in frame.

If I need absolutely precise in-frame composition, I'm not going to be using a rangefinder in the first place.
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Old 12-13-2016   #25
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I have an M2 and a 0.58 MP. I don't wear glasses. Nevertheless, I far prefer the 0.58 finder of the MP for the 35 frame lines. I can comfortably see around them, much like a 50 on the M2. A 35 on the M2 is pretty well jammed into the corners of the viewfinder at a normal viewing distance. If I really squash my eye into the eyepiece I get a bit more relief.

I would suggest that you get an M2 or M4 if you favour a 50, and will be happy with a goggled 35, all of which will be older lenses.
However, if you favour a 35, and hope to use a more modern non-goggled version, such as a late Summicron or Summilux, I would look for a 0.58 M6 TTL or M7, as others have mentioned.
You will find a 50 eminently useable on a 0.58 finder, and you can always add a magnifier if you feel the need.

All the best.

J
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Old 06-08-2017   #26
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I have an M2 and I removed the viewfinder mask. To my eye, it made no difference at all. But come to think of it, the limiting factor is that wearing glasses spaces out the camera too far from my eye to see all of the 35 frame.
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Old 08-24-2017   #27
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I have not noticed anyone else mentioning this, but when I need to see the full frame with the 35mm on my M2, I simply take my glasses off for the final framing. I focus with glasses on, frame with them off. This, of course, only works for stationary subjects; not for tennis matches! Probably not for street photography, either. Well, maybe for street photography; you can use zone focusing.

Framing a 35 while wearing glasses can also be successful. It just requires some intuition to know where the edges and corners are. I did it for years until I got my .58 bodies. Now, "intuitive framing" is only needed with the 28mm! Try it. It works!
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Old 08-24-2017   #28
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my solution: -3.0 diopter.
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Old 08-25-2017   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayernfan View Post
my solution: -3.0 diopter.
Well, that too; except i need a -4.0 diopter! It can be a nuisance to take your glasses off to see through the finder. Contact lenses are another solution. But then I'm nearsighted, so I would have to wear reading glasses to see my shutter speed settings, and my distance settings for shooting with DOF. And I have to remove them again to see through the finder.

Of course, there is always monovision, wearing a contact in one eye for distance, while leaving the other uncorrected in order to see close up. My wife has that setup.

Other options: 1) Switch to a Nikon F3 with high eyepoint prism and leave eyeglasses on. 2) Switch to a Rollei or Hasselblad. Eyeglasses can stay on for those, too.
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Old 08-30-2017   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
I prefer my M4 over my old M2 although the finders are almost identical. One thing I loved about the M2 were the DOF markings inside the RF patch. I wish I had those in the M4 but prefer it for the loading and rewinding.

Phil Forrest
Indeed, the M2-R might be the synthesis for you?
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Old 08-30-2017   #31
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Quote:
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Indeed, the M2-R might be the synthesis for you?
i own an M2-R and and M4. very similar. i prefer the M2-R for the clean 35mm line, yet prefer the M4 for the ergonomic wind lever.
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