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Viewfinder Magnifiers
Old 04-17-2017   #1
roscoetuff
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Viewfinder Magnifiers

Simple question that really applies to all M cameras - and my search turned up nothing.

Viewfinder magnification: Leica makes 2 versions and there's a Hong Kong aftermarket product as well. What are folks using? and can you use BOTH viewfinder magnifiers AND optical correction diopters... or is this an EITHER/OR but not both type of thing?
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Old 04-17-2017   #2
a.noctilux
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I can comment only the Leica x1.25 and x1.4 that I use on M8 but not on later M9 or MM.
- it's possible to screw correction diopter on Leica magnifiers
- maybe not the one you use on your M (correction may vary with or without magnifier in place), that's very odd
- x1.4 reduce contrast more than x1.25 in M focus patch
- best compromise for 50/75/90 lenses is x1.25
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Old 04-17-2017   #3
peterm1
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I use the one from Japan Exposures Store (JE) here: http://www.japanexposures.com/shop/a...finder/page-2/

They available in 3 different magnifications (these being 1.15x, 1.35x and 0.85x) but the real advantage for me (and which answers your question) is that each one also has infinitely variable diopter adjustment between -3 and +1.5, This worked well for me given my eyesight.

To be honest this was the real motivation for me to buy it, as I was having serious trouble focusing my M8 with any success. The Leica diopters are not readily available in Australia and to buy one on the internet would mean I would have had the problem of estimating the diopter required which maybe meant sending it back and exchanging it if it was not right. Not to mention the problem that my eyes almost certainly would (and have) changed over time. Once I got it of course I realized that its magnification (mine is 1.35x) is an advantage too as I mainly like to shoot in longer focal lengths and this magnification helps focus accuracy as effectively it is much the same as increasing the baseline length of the rangefinder.

The price is 19,500 yen.

BTW for really critical focusing I sometimes stack this on top of an aftermarket magnifier (which is not diopter corrected) which I bought on eBay. I bought that one first, hoping it would solve my focusing issues before I knew about the JE one. It did not, hence my decision to by the JE one once I became aware of its availability. The other advantage of stacking is that the two together increase the eye relief quite a bit which helps prevent you from having to smoosh your nose against the LCD screen quite so much if you use your left eye, as I do.

I cannot comment on the optical quality of the JE magnifier/ diopter lens except to say it is OK and works (the M8 finder is itself, truth be told, a bit crappy by comparison with earlier film M cameras and the new M10 finder). I have no way to compare it with the Leica magnifier but suspect the latter has better optical quality. But given it has no diopter adjustment that is a moot point for me.

The only slight problem I have noticed is that the JE model is constructed from two separate lens units that screw together to achieve the diopter adjustment - rotating the rear unit changes the diopter. But the threads can be a bit loose and change by themselves if you hang the camera around your neck on a strap - caused by contact with your body when walking about. This also raises a risk that the rear lens unit can unscrew totally and become lost. To avoid this you might put a small dob of fingernail polish on the treads to lock them in place but this means using a bit of force to break the bond if you do need to make changes to the diopter setting. Or I instead used "Bluetack" putty / stickum (I don't know what it is called) rubbed into the threads to tighten them. This is not a complete bond and allows the diopter to be changed easily but seems to stop the above problem. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-Tack
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Old 04-17-2017   #4
mdarnton
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I use the single focus Hong Kong type, 1.25, no adjustment. For me it was a wash, the greater magnification being balanced by very slightly more internal reflections. Consequently, most of the time I don't put it on the camera. It has threads where you could put in a diopter and they resemble the eyepiece threads in size, so I guess you might be able to screw one in, but that would be two more air/glass surfaces, more reflections, and I don't think I would like it, since I rely more on the image snapping into contrast rather than two becoming one.

With the 1.25X on my M4, it becomes about like an M3--the 35mm finder isn't really visible.
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Old 04-17-2017   #5
Huss
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I have the Leica 1.4 one which turns a .72 finder into a 1:1 finder.
But I hardly ever use it because it pokes me in the eye. I'm not making a joke here, these things stick out and make the camera far less natural and comfortable to use.
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Old 04-17-2017   #6
Godfrey
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I have a 1.25x magnifier I bought from Phottix (Hong Kong). It's good quality. I bought it when I had the M9 and used it with the 50/1.5 and 135/4.5 lenses on that camera and on the M-P. For some reason, I never felt the need for it with the 90mm lens.

Whether it can be stacked with a diopter adjustment lens .. I don't know, but it already occludes some of the viewfinder and I'd likely find it too annoying.

Since I've had the M-D, I haven't found I need it at all.

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Old 04-17-2017   #7
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I had one non Leica made from ebay. x1.25, asking price 90 USD, 70 USD offer accepted.
I worked great on M8 with 35 lens, on M3 with 90 and on M4-2 with 50 mm frames.
I lost it at very first serious walk. It just unscrewed itself by contacting with my walking, climbing on rocks body.
I'm glad I lost 70 USD, not 90.
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Old 04-21-2017   #8
roscoetuff
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Okay. Thanks! So it sounds generally like an underwhelming solution... unless you find Peter's recommendation for folks like us useful (sounds like it's worth a look at least).

Funny thing is I read somewhere that you should have your eyes checked professionally for focus at 1 meter to determine what diopter you need for your Leica. I can report back that this is a total fail in my case as I see better without the diopter I bought on this basis than with it. So I'm a little buffaloed about the whole thing at this point, and just squinting, but pretty much getting focus with shorter focal lengths 'cause it's not hard. It's the 90mm and a possible 135mm where it could be more necessary.
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Old 04-21-2017   #9
Robert Lai
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I bought one of those adjustable diopter types, then found that I couldn't focus my M3 accurately at all. The problem is that I have astigmatism. The diopter only changed the refractive index, not correct for astigmatism. Thus, I do need to use my glasses all the time. All the non Leica finders I've tried have flare, distort, and are dim in comparison to the Leica ones.

The best view comes from the Leica magnifiers. At one time I had both the 1.25 and 1.4X magnifiers. You can stack them (for 1.75x), but it becomes a dim tunnel with basically only the rangefinder patch visible. Good only if you love to shoot 135mm lenses. Basically, you turn your Leica M into a IIIF, because you'll need an external finder for composing.

I had the M7 with 0.85x viewfinder at the time. With that camera, the 1.4x finder was too much magnification (about 1.2x). It gave a larger than life size image, with the 50mm framelines being barely visible.

The 1.25x magnifier is the one I now use with any of my cameras if I'm using a 90mm or longer lens.
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Old 04-21-2017   #10
peterm1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscoetuff View Post
Okay. Thanks! So it sounds generally like an underwhelming solution... unless you find Peter's recommendation for folks like us useful (sounds like it's worth a look at least).

Funny thing is I read somewhere that you should have your eyes checked professionally for focus at 1 meter to determine what diopter you need for your Leica. I can report back that this is a total fail in my case as I see better without the diopter I bought on this basis than with it. So I'm a little buffaloed about the whole thing at this point, and just squinting, but pretty much getting focus with shorter focal lengths 'cause it's not hard. It's the 90mm and a possible 135mm where it could be more necessary.
I suspect your problem with the diopter you bought is that if you bought one that corresponds to your eye test this will be incorrect. I understand that the Leica finder naturally corresponds to a diopter of -1 at 1 (?) meter or there abouts (I think that is what I was told). Hence the actual diopter adjustment lens you need to buy is whatever you scored on your eye test plus or minus Leica's -1 native setting so that the final result corresponds to your eye test when mounted on the camera. I believe that is how it works. Same kind of thing applies if my memory is correct to old Nikon finders. Problem is many people don't know this and extensive searching is needed to find out about it. Another reason perhaps for me to have a variable diopter - it is harder to cock it all up.

EDIT: I just found this reference in a different thread by Googling the question. As for me I cant personally recall the specifics about distance etc so it may pay for you to do more Googling to confirm it. But I knew it was something like this (its been a few years since I made my inquiries but the reference to 2 meters, not 1 meter, definitely sounds familiar and I also think it applies generally to all Leica M cameras not just the M8 referred to in the quote.)

"The M8 and I'm pretty sure that the M9, too, is set up so the framelines and info is projected to 2 meters/6 ft and the finder has a -0.5 diopter. So, whatever diopter is needed for you to see objects clearly at 6 ft/2 M minus 0.5 would be where to start. Astigmatism can play a game with RF finders, too.
If you have a problem in dim light focusing with the rangefinder it is a hint that the diopter needs or will soon need some correction. That is how it snuck up on me. Cheers."

BTW I just recalled a trick I used to find the best diopter for my eyes and my camera. I went into a pharmacists store where they sell cheap reading glasses with various diopters which usually come in half diopter increments - same as the Leica screw in diopters do. I tried on a number of them, one after the other, while peering through my Leica M finder till I found the one that worked best for me when used for this purpose - if I had just been reading I would have got a different result of course. That told me thescrew in diopter lens I actually needed to buy after allowing for Leica's viewfinders own diopter. It can save considerable fritzing about but be aware that you will often really need a diopter that is part way between two available ones so it never gives perfect results. But this is also an inherent problem with Leica fixed diopter lenses and was another reason for me ultimately to go down the variable diopter path).
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Old 04-21-2017   #11
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Like Peter M I use JE magnifiers, in my case 1.15x (2 off) I wanted for the variable dioptre
It gives either side of 1:1 on an M3 or 0.85 vf, brings the original MM/M9 to 0.72
Would recommend.
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Old 04-21-2017   #12
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Generally speaking, I let my eyeglasses account for diopter correction and don't bother with viewfinder diopter correctors. I bought the magnifier mostly to improve visibility of the focusing patch with the 50mm lens and to increase the size of the framelines for the 135mm lens.

I wear my eyeglasses when I'm looking through the viewfinder, which is why I never see the native 28mm frames ... I use an external viewfinder for anything wider than 35mm. (With the M10, I wouldn't have to use an external viewfinder for 28mm, but then I don't really shoot with 28mm all that much anyway.)

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Old 05-30-2017   #13
roscoetuff
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On re-reading all of this after getting my M4-2 back from Youxin, want to thank all who contributed, but especially Peter. Part of the issue was that the threads were stripped from the viewfinder and Youxin replaced this. The other part, well... I will have to try the grocery store look-through glasses solution to see what I can find as I don't like to wear glasses while shooting. So thanks!!!
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