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beverlylogan

Are there any aids to focusing?

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I wear glasses (and need them on all the time) and find manual focus frustrating. I am slow and never confident that I have my shots perfectly focused. Are there any aids to focusing for the M8, such as different focusing screens or magnifiers to highlight the split image? I use my M8 for travel and street photography.

Edited by beverlylogan

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The main thing is to get a diopter lens that fits your vision. Since you wear glasses all the time are they bifocals?

The M viewfinder is set a fixed distance of 7 feet (2 meters) and you need to have a diopter lens attached to the eye piece of the camera or use your bifocal lenses to get the images clean and clear in the viewfinder.

 

Yes there are magnifiers but even with them you need to use a diopter lens or your glasses to get a clean clear image in the viewfinder.

 

Once you have a clean clear image in the viewfinder focusing become much easy and accurate.

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I have progressive lenses, but keep the camera in the distance part when I shoot. I tried the diopters at B&H and they just made everything blurry. My eye doctor doesn't understand how the diopters work. Are they for your reading or distance vision?

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I have progressive lenses, but keep the camera in the distance part when I shoot. I tried the diopters at B&H and they just made everything blurry. My eye doctor doesn't understand how the diopters work. Are they for your reading or distance vision?

 

The diopter work just like glasses. The + (Plus) diopters are for people that need reading glasses to see clearly at 7 feet. I wear +1.75 to + 2 reading glasses and use a +1 diopter lens on my M cameras.

The - (Minus) diopters are for people that need distance glasses to see clearly at 7 feet.

 

Not sure why your eye doctor doesn't know how diopter lenses work. That is what he is giving you with every pair of glasses.

 

You need to figure out what part of your glasses gives you a clear image at about 7 feet.

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I am also an eyeglass wearer but choose not to use a diopter just in case I pickup my camera without my glasses. Before there were autofocus SLR and DSLRs I found that by practicing bringing the camera up to the eye and focusing on a preselected object helps with focusing speed and accuracy. With digital take the image and review for quality. Doing this also helps when focusing on subjects moving either toward or away from you as you work on the ability to "follow-focus".

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It sounds like the diopters are good for people who don't wear glasses except for reading or distance. They are a substitute for glasses. For those of us who are already wearing corrective lenses, the diopters might not work. Nevertheless, I'm going down to Adorama today to try a few. Thanks for your help. I normally shoot with a Canon 5D and just might be someone who can't get used to manual focus no matter how much I love my Leica.

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i use both glasses and a diopter.

i tried them all in london and most were blurry.

because i was in london the staff was extra patient with me. eventually i found one that in combo with my glasses worked.

i might add that i wear glasses for close up and mid range.

before i had a very hard time focusing. now no.

also moving from dslr to manual takes time.

best,melissa

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Dioptre lenses in the viewfinder need to be fitted in conjunction with your normal glasses, if you intend to use your glasses with the camera, or without if you are prepared to take the glasses off every time you shoot.

 

Don't forget that the M viewfinder has a built in dioptre correction anyway. IIRC, it's -0.5, but someone will correct me on that if I'm wrong. So, if you do fit a dioptre correction lens to the camera, you need to take that into consideration too.

 

I used to use a correction lens but sold it, as taking the glasses off every time was a PITA.

 

If I were younger, and circumstances were different, I'd have my eyes lasered and forget about it once and for all.

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Back to basics here, before going for expensive solutions.

 

Are you centring your eye with the viewfinder?

Are your view- and rangefinder windows clean?

Have you had your eyes tested recently?

Are your spectacles a design that sits close to your face, or some distance away?

 

Eliminate the easy ones first.

 

Also consider the SHADE from Leicagoodies.

 

Regards,

 

Bill

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A few things you can do:

 

1. If you need some equipment to help out, consider the Megaperls ( now Japan Exposures ) magnifier. I wear glasses and the model I use is a 1.35X with diopter adjustment. Some people like it and some don't. There are pluses and minuses. You have to try it for your self to find out. You can also search the forum for related threads to read what has been discussed before on this device.

 

2. Practice, practice, practice. Manual focusing is an acquired skill. You can walk around the house and snap away at objects either inside your house or outside the window. This is how you can build your confidence.

 

3. Try different ways to focus under different circumstances. When I have strong and contrasty vertical lines I use the split line to focus, on patterns I use coincidence, a lot of times I use contrast. These methods are like different tools in your tool box, you just have to pull out the right one for the job on hand.

 

4. Accept the fact that no matter how good you are, there will be keepers and those belong to the bin. As you get better, the keepers will increase and the tossers will be less. Just don't be discouraged. Enjoy the keepers and forget the tossers.

 

My 2 cents.

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The M viewfinder is set a fixed distance of 7 feet (2 meters)

 

Not quite. The M8, which the OP apparently owns, is set a .7m. The M8.2, or an upgraded M8, is set at 2m. (And the M9, like its film counterparts, is 1m.)

 

Jeff

 

PS For the OP...Try repositioning the camera and moving your eye within the VF. Seems obvious, but there are some angles where you will see the VF patch contrast and clarity better than others.

Edited by Jeff S

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A few words of caution. The Megaperls variable diopter is quite nice but if you are short sighted, you have to uncrew the thing so far that it is almost falling apart and there's no way to lock it in position. The smaller 1.15 magnifier provides little benefit in my experience.

 

Then, any of the attachments will scratch your glasses if you have plastic lenses and the Megaperls is the worst. Even Leica do not get a clean bill of health on this one because the rubber protection ring comes off very easily and Leica seem incapable of providing replacements which do not stretch and so stay on.

 

Using a magnifier of course limits what you can see in the finder, so is not useful with wide-angle lenses. I've long put the case for a variable magnification finder with built-in diopter correction to do away with all this viewfinder clutter.

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Not quite. The M8, which the OP apparently owns, is set a .7m. The M8.2, or an upgraded M8, is set at 2m. (And the M9, like its film counterparts, is 1m.)

 

Jeff, you're confused. Those are the distances at which the framelines are calibrated. Shootist was talking about what is relevant here, the apparent distance of the virtual image in the M viewfinder.

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I wear glasses (and need them on all the time) and find manual focus frustrating. I am slow and never confident that I have my shots perfectly focused. Are there any aids to focusing for the M8, such as different focusing screens or magnifiers to highlight the split image? I use my M8 for travel and street photography.

 

- Rangefinder cameras do no use a focusing screen...

 

- Leica makes two different strength magnifiers. I think they are x1.25 and x1.5

 

- Focusing a Leica simply takes some practice. I remember when I got my first one it seemed like it couldn't get a sharp picture to save my life. Then after about month of constant shooting I got the hang of it. This should be easier to do with the M8, since you don't have to worry about film cost, processing etc.

 

- The dirty secret of RF photography is that most people use scale or zone focusing if there is enough light...

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I acquired my M8 at the beginning of this last long and dark northern European winter and trying to focus has at times been a nightmare. A shot that seems to be correctly focused in the viewfinder will prove to be slightly off, especially with portraits at wide aperture. I'm trying to focus on the eyes, more often than not the nose or the ears will be sharp...

 

But now we're (finally!) heading into spring, and I've been out and about and there has been enough light to shoot comfortably at f/8, and things have just become a whole lot easier. Now I'm seeing why I paid out all that money for these Leica lenses.

 

I'm also getting better at focusing with the M8, though, that's for sure.

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Have you tried using the other eye. When I started I was using my right eye with frustrating results. Switching to the left eye, which I now know is dominant, made it easier.

 

Roland

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Jeff, you're confused.

 

Well, I can say for certain that this isn't the first, or last, time.

 

As Emily Litella would say, never mind.

 

Jeff

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Beverly, you're not getting much help here, are you?

 

There's only the rangefinder window, no interchangeable screens. Magnifiers may help, but usually aren't necessary with lenses 50 mm and shorter.

 

With your glasses, you can see sharply at 2 m, the apparent distance of the VF and RF patch, right?

 

What problem are you having?

 

Be sure a right finger isn't blocking the second rangefinder window on the camera (item 1.3 here, from p 71 of instructions: ).

 

Hold the camera horizontal. Set the lens to infinity.

 

To start, look at something with a clear vertical line, like the frame of someone's glasses or the edge of a doorframe. Now use the left hand, held under the camera body, to rotate the focusing ring until the two images in the rangefinder patch match. That's it.

 

Don't see-saw your focus back-and-forth, but stop turning the focus ring when the lines line up. Then shoot.

 

(When you're used to doing that with a vertical line, you might try looking at a horizontal line--for this, you turn the camera vertical, and your grip may change. It's harder to do than with a vertical line, and usually best avoided except from a tripod IMO.)

 

Then, try looking at a pattern--an eye, say, or a piece of furniture or fabric. Here, you're not trying to make two lines line up, but trying to superimpose two images. (page 104 of instructions: )

 

 

Once you get the hang of what you're trying to do, you'll automatically choose vernier focus (focusing on a straight line) or coincidence focus, without even thinking about it.

 

If you're still having trouble, why not post an example or two? (Often when nothing is sharp, it's camera motion rather than missed focus.) Try this stuff, then we'll make more dumb suggestions.

Edited by ho_co

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Well done Howard. Reminds me my youth when i opened for the first time the user's manual of my M4.

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