28mm Frame Lines?
Old 02-22-2016   #1
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28mm Frame Lines?

I'll be pulling the trigger on a film Leica soon to get over my decades-old obsession. However, this frame line business is still confusing me. My main lens will either be 24mm or 28mm.

1) Which of the film M has 28mm frame lines? The M4-P and the M6/M7/M-P, with 0.58 or 0.72 magnification only?

2) If I wear glasses, will I be able to see the 28mm frame lines?

3) If I were to use a 24mm lens, could I use the area outside the 28mm frame lines as a rough framing guide? I guess I won't see that if I wear glasses, correct?

4) Is buying a Leica M for a 24mm lens pointless because I would have to use a shoe-mount viewfinder, hence never using the "range finder" part of the camera, using it like a Bessa L (which I'm using right now)?

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Old 02-22-2016   #2
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The M4-P has 0.72 magnification and shows the 28mm framelines. The other cameras you mentioned also show these framelines with 0.72 magnification. I have no experience with any of them with 0.58 magnification, but it's safe to assume they show the framelines because the low magnification is for use with wide-angle lenses.

I wear glasses and all my cameras have 0.72 magnification. The lines are there and visible. You need to explore with your eye to find them, but they basically cover the entire viewfinder field.

When it comes to anything wider than 28mm, it's better to use a finder. The 28mm framelines are just an approximation, and while they give you a good idea of what may go in the frame when composing, they're not going to be reliable for any other focal length. The reason is that they occupy almost the entire field of view of the camera finder, so there's incredibly little room for anything else.

Hence, buying a Leica for a 24 or wider lens is kinda pointless without a finder.

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Old 02-22-2016   #3
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Thanks, Francisco, that's very helpful!
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Old 02-22-2016   #4
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I can't shoot with inaccurate frame lines. In my opinion it's pretty rough trying to take pictures without seeing what will be on the edges of your frame. Also if you shoot street, there is no faster way to compose and get off a picture than with an external vf. And with a 24mm lens, your depth of field will be very great, so focusing won't be a big issue. Framing is the more important thing with a lens that wide. I would get an mda and a nice plastic leica vf to go with your 24mm lens, if you are looking for a dedicated body for it.

For a 28mm lens, it is definitely worth finding a camera with frame lines for it (ideally with a .58 vf) if you plan on shooting in low light and opening up wider than f4.


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Old 02-22-2016   #5
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It is very dependable on the person. I don't wear glasses, but it is still impossible for me to see largest framelines. I want M4-P to be able to see 35mm framelines
I recommend to OP to find Leica camera with 28mm framelines before buying it and check it first.
And if you really want 24, but don't want EVF, the Bessa is still for you.
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Old 02-22-2016   #6
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no experience with the exact questions you pose, but the 28mm framelines on a .68X finder are difficult to see even without glasses. Personally, I just pretend they arent there and use the entire viewfinder as the framing guide. Then again, if I'm wearing sunglasses I can hardly see 35mm framelines, let alone actually use them, so maybe it's just me. I can see and actually use 50mm framelines with my sunglasses. Looks about equiv to how 35mm ones look w\o glasses.

I think you might stand a chance to see the 28mm framelines at .58 but certainly not at .72 with glasses. (based off my experience with a .68)

and x2 on using a viewfinder for wider lenses. The wider you go the more it's needed and less of a hassel it becomes due to the reducing need to continually focus thanks to the very large DOF.
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Old 02-22-2016   #7
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28mm is my main focal length. I wear glasses and on my 0.72 M6 I have gotten use to scanning the frames and not being able to see the entire frame at once. YMMV.

Know that the 90mm frames work for the middle rectangle when using the rule of thirds as an aid in composition when shooting a 28 (for clarity understand that 28 and 90 frames coexist).

As far as external VF'ers, I find that the Zeiss fiders are the best, and infact Zeiss makes a 25/28 VFer so for you it might be a wise choice.

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Old 02-22-2016   #8
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If you really need to frame in the viewfinder, I am not sure an RF is the way to go. A rangefinder is really the ultimate approximation.

For a 28, you can use the whole viewfinder if the camera does not have the 28 frame.

From my personal experience, over time I've "gotten a feel" for where the edges are and how to work with the Leica. But you need to burn some film and not be worried about making stupid mistakes for a while ...
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Old 02-22-2016   #9
resu deretsiger
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Originally Posted by Calzone View Post
Know that the 90mm frames work for the middle rectangle when using the rule of thirds as an aid in composition when shooting a 28 (for clarity understand that 28 and 90 frames coexist).
and a big X2 on this.
The leica framelines are very carefully designed and generally are not appreciated in this manner. I also tend to use the 90 lines in a similar way as I find where the 4 lines stop sort of also approximates the 3rd's intersections for the 90mm frame. And I also find that the corners of the 75 sort of "hug" the outside of the 3rd points on the 50m.
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Old 02-22-2016   #10
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This will help you judge for yourself.

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Old 02-22-2016   #11
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Voigtlander R4M or R4A? Both have 21mm, 25mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm bright frame lines. Admittedly this is not a Leica, but I've lost (misplaced) all of my 21, 25 and 28 external viewfinders.
--Nikon SP x2, Bessa R2S, Skopar 21/4, Skopar 25/4, Nikkor 28/3.5, Skopar 28/3.5, Nikkor 35/2.5, Nikkor 50/1.1 with hood, Nikkor 50/1.4, Nokton 50/1.5, Nikkor 50/2, Nikkor 85/1.5, Nikkor 85/2, 85/3.5 Apo Lanthar, Nikkor 105/2.5, Nikkor 135/3.5, Tanar 135/3.5
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Old 02-22-2016   #12
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The modern C/V external VFs are readily available and attractively priced. I have the metal 28mm and 35mm versions with chrome finish: awesome build quality, compact, contrasty view, and brightlines you can see in any light. I almost always focus by scale at 28mm, so using an external VF is no inconvenience.

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Old 02-22-2016   #13
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I'll echo the suggestion for the Bessa R4, that's the "cat's meow" for wide lenses, the camera is uniquely suited. If you use wides a lot it's very convenient and worthwhile. The framelines are arranged like this: 21+35, 28 by itself, and 25+50, all easily usable in the .52x magnification parallax-correcting viewfinder.

This is a high eye point viewfinder, making even the 21 frameline easily visible by most glasses wearers.

This really is a "big deal" and we can blame this unique camera on the influence of our RFF friend Tom Abrahamsson!
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Old 02-22-2016   #14
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With my M7, M5, M240, the only way to see the 28mm lines is by moving your eye around the VF. You cannot see them straight on. The M7 and M5 have .72 finders. The M240 is about the same (there is no option on finders for that one)
By far the best 28mm VF out there is the one on the Minolta CLE. Better than any other RF that I have looked through. It is as if it was built for it. And if you want to use a 25 or 24mm lens, the full area outside the VF matches it.
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Old 02-23-2016   #15
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I was no fan of the 28mm lines in my 0.72 M6 - I went back shooting 25mm with external finder
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Old 02-23-2016   #16
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To shoot the 28mm lens when wearing glasses, I use a Leica with a .58 finder. It is excellent with the 28mm. I can shoot my 24mm Elmarit without an external finder if I want to. I don't so much use the whole finder out to the edges, so much as to just "shoot loose" around the 28mm framelines, letting intuition/experience judge where the edges are. When the framing needs to be a bit more careful, I use either the Leitz 24mm finder, or the Zeiss 25/28 finder (great finder by the way).

P.S. I just noticed there is a 24mm Leitz finder in the classifieds.
May the light be with you.
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