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Viewfinder magnifiers - do they help with focussing?


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Afternoon everyone

 

I've been using an M9 with a 50 Summicron for just under a month now. I occasionally have problems focussing, (pictures sometimes aren't as sharp as they should be) partly I think 'cause I'm as blind as a bat and wear glasses.

 

Quick question - would a 1.25 magnifier help? Worth popping into a dealer to try one?

 

Thanks

 

K

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There is a bit about focussing in the M9 FAQ which may help too.   About faffing around, that is a matter of experience. I take it you mean that you are hunting for focus, turning the focus ring back and forth. That is not a good technique on a rangefinder, fine as it may be on an SLR. Make it a habit to return your focus to infinity, and turn it into focus in one go, only pulling a bit back in case you overshot. If neccesary you can finetune by swaying forward or backwards with your head. I

Throw away your glasses - forget about dioptre adjusters - forget about magnifiers.   Just get some disposable contact lenses - and if you're currently wearing varifocals or bifocals (like I was), then have a different strength in each eye.   I have a +2.5 in my left eye (with which I can read the dials and view the LCD) and a 1.75 in my right (which is perfect for the viewfinder).   It's also a revelation in 'real life' not having to look up and down to get something in focus.   If you

Well, that's simply practice - something you can get used to pretty easily - and the normal contact lenses are 100% protective with respect to UV - and of course there's no need to take them off indoors because they don't reduce the light.   I actually visited my optometrist today for my 6 month check up - he says there are now special disposable contacts for long sighted people with significant astigmatism (apparently mine's not bad enough to warrant them). He was saying that lots of his olde

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I had the same problem and went with the 1.25. While it wasn't a 'wow' moment, it did improve my hit rate. I also think that the more I shoot with the M9 the better I get. So, I guess I would say it's a combination of both. Of course the basics count too (shutter speed).

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Theoretically a magnifier does not add any accuracy to a 50 mm lens. The measuring base of the M9 is ample for that focal length. A far better solution is to fit a proper diopter to your viewfinder. If you buy a magnifier - some find them helpful, some find them useless, it is a personal matter- you will still need a diopter anyway. Shooting with your glasses on on the bare viewfinder works in some cases, with a magnifier it becomes more problematic, if only because the loss of contrast and brightness it induces gets aggravated by the spectacles. In other words: if you have problems like these try a diopter first ( find out which one by visiting your optician and experiment with his try-out glasses, the value is different from your prescription) and if that does not suffice go for the magnifier (again, if possible, with a diopter) but keep the packaging to return it after a few days if it does not work for you.

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If you actually have trouble seeing the split images in the viewfinder, then yes, definitely.

 

Have you thought about other reasons for unsharpness? Depth of field, camera shake due to low shutter speed, need for more practice focussing, possible lens misalignment?

 

- The M-ster

 

M-ster, I do often have probs seeing the split images in the viewfinder, especially if I use my left eye (as I sometimes prefer to). The more I use the camera the better I get, but would like my hit rate to get better. I also end up missing stuff because I'm faffing about focussing, so anything that helps me get quicker (again, I know practice will help immeasurably) would be highly useful.

 

The K-ster

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Worth popping into a dealer to try one?

Yes, definitely.

 

That said, be aware that some people say magnifiers will do more bad than good. I feel a magnifier helps a lot with 50 mm lenses and longer. So your mileage may vary. However the most crucial thing is having your vision properly corrected for. You need to be able to see sharply at a (virtual) distance of 2 m (without magnifier) or 1 m (with magnifier).

 

For younger persons, 2 m is more or less the same as infinity, i. e. to them, 2 m qualifies as 'far distance'. For elderly persons, 2 m may be significantly different from 'far distance', and 1 m even more so. So ... whether it's best to leave the glasses on or to take them off and use an eyepiece correction lens instead depends on many factors.

 

It definitely is recommended to visit a dealer, try several options, and find the one that suits YOU best. If your glasses' prescription is older than, say, one or two years then visit your optometrist first and check if your prescription is still valid and get new glasses if not before you do anything else.

Edited by 01af
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Throw away your glasses - forget about dioptre adjusters - forget about magnifiers.

 

Just get some disposable contact lenses - and if you're currently wearing varifocals or bifocals (like I was), then have a different strength in each eye.

 

I have a +2.5 in my left eye (with which I can read the dials and view the LCD) and a 1.75 in my right (which is perfect for the viewfinder).

 

It's also a revelation in 'real life' not having to look up and down to get something in focus.

 

If you haven't tried it, don't knock it - it changed my life.

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M-ster, I do often have probs seeing the split images in the viewfinder, especially if I use my left eye (as I sometimes prefer to). The more I use the camera the better I get, but would like my hit rate to get better. I also end up missing stuff because I'm faffing about focussing, so anything that helps me get quicker (again, I know practice will help immeasurably) would be highly useful.

 

The K-ster

There is a bit about focussing in the M9 FAQ which may help too.

 

About faffing around, that is a matter of experience. I take it you mean that you are hunting for focus, turning the focus ring back and forth. That is not a good technique on a rangefinder, fine as it may be on an SLR. Make it a habit to return your focus to infinity, and turn it into focus in one go, only pulling a bit back in case you overshot. If neccesary you can finetune by swaying forward or backwards with your head.

It helps to stop worrying about focus when photographing too.. Quite a few of the shots I consider my best have missed focus by a sliver when viewed on the computer, but are perfectly all right in print. Better to mis focus by a few millimeters than to miss the moment by a few milliseconds.

Edited by jaapv
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I got the 1.25 magnifier for my 50 Cron and never use it any more. Didn't help and seemed to make it worse at times. Others find it helpful. For me it all comes to down to f/stop, DoF and a steady hand at this point. Soft release also helps at low shutter speeds. I just don't have a real steady hand and tend to press the shutter release too hard like a real buffoon. I still put my right finger over the window and wonder where the heck the lines went for crying out loud.

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The 1.25 magnifier helps me and is wedded to the camera that normally holds the 75mm Summilux.

 

My vision cannot be corrected to 20/20 and I have astigmatism. You might want to check with an optometrist to find if a magnifier alone will be adequate. In my case, I've no choice but to accept the compromise.

 

You might also want to try a test - the same non-moving subject shot on 50mm at 1/125th carefully hand-held and another from a tripod at the same setting. Camera movement can have a profoundly degrading effect upon sharpness. Some people cannot possibly hold a camera still enough.

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Throw away your glasses - forget about dioptre adjusters - forget about magnifiers.

 

Just get some disposable contact lenses - and if you're currently wearing varifocals or bifocals (like I was), then have a different strength in each eye.

 

I have a +2.5 in my left eye (with which I can read the dials and view the LCD) and a 1.75 in my right (which is perfect for the viewfinder).

 

It's also a revelation in 'real life' not having to look up and down to get something in focus.

 

If you haven't tried it, don't knock it - it changed my life.

 

+1

Don't forget it's an optic system, therefore, yoiu can also ask a doctor how to solve this (not jut an optician), but it looks to me that Jono's simple approach is also the best

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Theoretically a magnifier does not add any accuracy to a 50 mm lens. The measuring base of the M9 is ample for that focal length...

 

This is the same as saying, stop down far enough and you don't need a magnifier.

 

Sensitivity of the rangefinder is proportional to viewfinder magnification.

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Everyone is different, so I agree with those who suggest that experimentation is the only way for you to know.

 

As for me, I have astigmatism and require prescription sunglasses in all daylight situations. I also own a 1.25 magnifier, but have decided that I prefer leaving it at home, especially with lenses 50mm and wider. My glasses are properly corrected (as best as they can be) for M viewing.

 

YMMV.

 

Jeff

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This is the same as saying, stop down far enough and you don't need a magnifier.

 

Sensitivity of the rangefinder is proportional to viewfinder magnification.

No it is not. What you are saying is nonsense. Stopping down does not alter the measuring base. And it is ample in this context, we are not talking Apo-Telyt or Noctilux here. Enlarging it by a magnifier will only push the accuracy even further beyond the resolving power of the eye, so it won't solve underlying problems.

Before you ask: Gunther Osterloh, Advanced Photoschool pp 40 ff.

Edited by jaapv
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Everyone is different, so I agree with those who suggest that experimentation is the only way for you to know.

 

As for me, I have astigmatism and require prescription sunglasses in all daylight situations. I also own a 1.25 magnifier, but have decided that I prefer leaving it at home, especially with lenses 50mm and wider. My glasses are properly corrected (as best as they can be) for M viewing.

 

YMMV.

 

Jeff

 

HI Jeff

I also have an astigmatism, (not serious) - but the contact lens solution is still excellent - they are also UV filters.

 

Of course, I agree about trial and error, but it seems odd not to try something which is such a complete solution if it suits.

Edited by jonoslack
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The problem, Jono, is that these things if you use the Leica ones -and the optics are superior- are darn expensive. So it seems a waste if it does not work for you.

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Afternoon everyone

 

I've been using an M9 with a 50 Summicron for just under a month now. I occasionally have problems focussing, (pictures sometimes aren't as sharp as they should be) partly I think 'cause I'm as blind as a bat and wear glasses.

 

Quick question - would a 1.25 magnifier help? Worth popping into a dealer to try one?

 

Thanks

 

K

Yes, if you can find a dealer with stock.

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The problem, Jono, is that these things if you use the Leica ones -and the optics are superior- are darn expensive. So it seems a waste if it does not work for you.

 

I was suggesting contact lenses Jaap - I think I pay £1 a pair - certainly not too expensive to give them a try - and there's so much to enjoy if it works out!

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