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Best way to take a picture through a viewfinder?
Old 01-19-2018   #1
sreed2006
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Best way to take a picture through a viewfinder?

This is a two camera question. The second camera is taking a picture through the viewfinder of the first camera (such as a Leica M, or an SLR, or even an Olympus XA).

Assume the second camera has live view or at least a way to see through the lens.

What is a workable setup for the second camera to accurately show what the eye would see when looking through the first camera's viewfinder? Such as what focal length lens to use? The frame lines in the first camera's viewfinder need to be in focus, as well as the distant objects seen through the viewfinder.
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Old 01-19-2018   #2
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Use a phone camera. Small sensor point&shoot might work as well. You need the small (in absolute terms) aperture and no protruding parts in front of the front element.
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Old 01-19-2018   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Use a phone camera. Small sensor point&shoot might work as well. You need the small (in absolute terms) aperture and no protruding parts in front of the front element.
I have used a phone camera, and get pincushion distortion, which is not good.


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Old 01-19-2018   #4
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Well, then I see two options: correcting the distortion in post or trying a different one. I just tried with my Ricoh GR (the APS-C one), not good, partly shaded, that's already too large a front lens or distance from the eyepiece of a Spotmatic. Would be worse for an M I think.
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Old 01-19-2018   #5
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Short macro on crop sensor at f22.

But picture you have is already good enough for it purpose. Which is to show us how it looks like. No worries, be happy.
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Old 01-19-2018   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Short macro on crop sensor at f22.

But picture you have is already good enough for it purpose. Which is to show us how it looks like. No worries, be happy.
The pincushion distortion of this picture misled someone to think the frame lines look that way in real life. That’s a shame because the frame lines are perfectly straight when looking through the viewfinder. I am looking for a more accurate technique.
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Old 01-19-2018   #7
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I would use a phone camera and live with the distortion. On camera manuals when they want to show the framelines, they draw the lines on a photo...
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Old 01-19-2018   #8
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Old 01-19-2018   #9
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Is that pincushion distortion or the projection of the framelines onto a curved lens surface.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sreed2006 View Post
I have used a phone camera, and get pincushion distortion, which is not good.


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Old 01-19-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sreed2006 View Post
The pincushion distortion of this picture misled someone to think the frame lines look that way in real life. That’s a shame because the frame lines are perfectly straight when looking through the viewfinder. I am looking for a more accurate technique.
Hell with this particular someone. If they can only watch comics and can't read disclaimers, they not going to make it with camera which has framelines, anyway. Those are in SLR crowd.
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Old 01-19-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuikologist View Post
Is that pincushion distortion or the projection of the framelines onto a curved lens surface.
The frame lines are perfectly straight when looking through the viewfinder.
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Old 01-19-2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Hell with this particular someone. If they can only watch comics and can't read disclaimers, they not going to make it with camera which has framelines, anyway. Those are in SLR crowd.
Who peed in your cornflakes?
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Old 01-19-2018   #13
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Quote:
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Who peed in your cornflakes?
You wouldn't believe it, but it was Barnack and some Ukrainians. And they didn't even make it with framelines!
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Old 01-19-2018   #14
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What is that? Cute!

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Old 01-19-2018   #15
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The Canon Proboscis Zoom.

Sorry. It’s a Laowa 24mm f14 Macro.

It is for shooting the proboscis maybe of shy insects.

https://www.stackrail.info/index.php...-14-macro-lens
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Old 01-19-2018   #16
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iPhone for most tutorial and practical use purposes.
I guess the question should be asked... what is the end use you are after OP... Internet sharing/blog, print in book or manual...etc ??
iPhone has it's limits. Practicality is not one of them. It's quick and easy.

iPhone of 1937 Bessa RF split Rangefinder window handheld quick and dirty.

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Old 01-19-2018   #17
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The goal is to show what the eye sees, or as close to that as possible. There are many uses. Once a good technique is found, the pictures can be used for a variety of purposes.
I am not pleased with the results I have obtained so far and am hoping for a better way.
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Old 01-19-2018   #18
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Use a photo editing app like Filterstorm on your phone camera, it provides pincushion correction. There may be other apps that do chromatic aberration correction, which is also evident in your image.
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Old 01-19-2018   #19
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This is what the phone camera is for. Correct the distortion in Photoshop. Nothing else will let you put a lens that close to the VF and get that full view.
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Old 01-19-2018   #20
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Looking into the viewfinder, you need a lens with an opening about the same size as the human eye, and one that focuses at a distance. (Infinity? I don't know, but it's not way up close, so the macro lens won't do it.)

I agree with the other comments; correct the distortion.
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Old 01-19-2018   #21
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An older digital Ricoh GR could probably do the job.

Phone is alright, ain't it though?

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Old 01-19-2018   #22
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It seems to be the majority opinion that it doesn’t get much better than a phone camera, post processed.

Thank you all for your replies.
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Old 01-20-2018   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
Looking into the viewfinder, you need a lens with an opening about the same size as the human eye, and one that focuses at a distance. (Infinity? I don't know, but it's not way up close, so the macro lens won't do it.)

I agree with the other comments; correct the distortion.
Correct, but...

... one must keep in mind that "what the eye sees" is a euphemism for "the result of your brain's computer processing". To replicate this in the OPs situation you need:

1. small lens similar in size to the human eye or somewhat smaller
2. rather wide FoV
3. camera or camera app that shoot RAW (to allow better post processing to remove distortion)
4. camera or camera app that allows manual focus.

You need multiple shoots at different focus settings and then need to use focus stacking methods. Without #4 you will have issues. Few cameras do a particularly good job of having all things (edge of window, frame lines, RF patch, and other indicators) imaged at the same apparent distance. Your brain does focus stacking so you rarely realize this except when the errors are large.

You also need to avoid phones that use any second "window" to aid the camera's auto systems. You need one that gets all info from a single lens.
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Old 01-20-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuikologist View Post
Is that pincushion distortion or the projection of the frame lines onto a curved lens surface.
Indeed everything except the framelines seems barrel distorted - that's interesting. OP, does the phone usually show pincushion distortion? What about the viewfinder?
I've just tried shots with a rather old phone through three different viewfinders and had no problems, they look similar to what my eye sees.
No problem getting everything reasonably in focus. The frame lines in most cameras appear at a distance similar to the whole viewfinder image, although I've read about some cameras where that's not the case.
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Old 01-20-2018   #25
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You might ask after Ken Rockwell's technique. Scroll bit past halfway down this page:

http://kenrockwell.com/leica/m3.htm
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Old 01-20-2018   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Indeed everything except the framelines seems barrel distorted - that's interesting. OP, does the phone usually show pincushion distortion? What about the viewfinder?
The picture through the viewfinder was taken with an iPhone 6. At normal distances, that camera does not show any noticeable pincushion or barrel distortion. When looking through the viewfinder of the Leica IIIg by eye, and superimposing its frame lines on known straight lines (such as a corner in a wall, or a door frame), the lines are perfectly straight (no curve at all). The lines on subjects in the field of view are also straight.
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Old 01-20-2018   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fixcinater View Post
You might ask after Ken Rockwell's technique. Scroll bit past halfway down this page:

http://kenrockwell.com/leica/m3.htm
Ken certainly got a lot closer to the actual view than I have been able to. I will contact him and ask him how he took those pictures. Thank you for the link.
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Last edited by sreed2006 : 01-20-2018 at 10:31. Reason: missing word added
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Old 01-20-2018   #28
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I have been experimenting with a full frame DSLR wide angle lenses, and there's just no way to get a good picture through the viewfinder of the IIIg. None of the lenses I have can get close enough.

So, I took the case off of the iPhone 6, placed the lens right up to the viewfinder and was able to get this picture. I cropped the picture to eliminate all but the essentials.

In this picture, the left- and right-side frame lines are pincushion bowed - and they are bowed in real life, too! The pictures accurately shows what I see through the viewfinder. (Obviously I just hadn't really inspected them for straightness as closely before as I did today.)

So, I think this question is answered: use a cell phone without a case on it, put its camera right up to the viewfinder of the other camera, and you can get an accurate picture of what the viewfinder shows.


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Old 01-20-2018   #29
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Yup. That's quite good!
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