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I am having trouble focusing my M8. Would a diopter help me focus?


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I just received a new (to me)  M8 camera and it is really hard for me to focus a lens in order to get a sharp picture.  I have heard of diopters that attach to the camera body.  Would that help me be able to focus better?

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Posted (edited)

Hello ljskot,

Welcome to the Forum,

All Leitz/Leica "M" cameras have a built in diopter correction of - 0.5 in the range/viewfinder window that needs to be taken into account if a person is considering an additional diopter correction to help with their vision.

A diopter is a corrective lens that attaches to, or is built into, a camera's viewing system & does the same thing that a pair of glasses does. In terms of current production: Leica diopters only adjust for nearsightedness or/& farsightedness. Previously there were lenses that also corrected for astigmatism. The lenses to correct astigmatism are not currently being produced.

What is it exactly that you are having trouble doing with the camera as it is now? Do you usually focus a camera while wearing glasses?

Best Regards,

Michael

Edited by Michael Geschlecht
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Hello Michael,

Thank you for your quick response.  I always wear progressive eyeglasses. My sight not especially bad, but as I look through the camera's viewing system I have trouble with being able to distinguish between  things being in focus and out of focus.  I can get it right, but only in good light.  If the sighted area is slightly dark it is really hard to manually focus properly.  I would appreciate any suggestions that you might have.   One other thing that I could do would be to check and see if my prescription needs a change as it has been a couple of years.

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How are you having problems? Are you having an issue aligning the rangefinder patch? If so how is it off, just blurry or does it have a vertical misalignment? If the patch is blurry it is probably your eyesite, if there is misalignment, then it is the camera. 

What lens are you using? 

I am extremely near sighted and have been using Leica rangefinders for many years, my glasses are progressives, I don't have an unsharp viewfinder issue. That said farsightedness is different from nearsightedness in how you have to compensate. A diopter adjustment may be what you need. Learn how to use the rangefinder, this may be all you need. 

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Perhaps you should check your focusing technique. With the Leica M rangefinder, you first find a vertical edge which is at the desired distance from you. You then place the rangefinder so that this vertical line is bang in the middle of the patch, and then you turn the distance ring (or knob) on your lens until the line is unbroken and appears only once. When you have found the perfect distance setting, the vertical line will suddenly look very crisp. Only after you have adjusted your distance you move the camera a bit for framing what you see in the finder into the, well, frameline.

The vertical edge might be the stalk of a single grass, or the edge of an object or anything which gives a clean line. Beware of repeated pattern; they are fiendishly hard to focus because you can not tell if it's the same edges which happen to coincide in the finder.

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Be sure your rangefinder windows are clean, and like said above, find an edge to focus on, even if it isn't in the exact spot needed (but on the same plane). Also, check and make sure in good light with as wide open aperture as possible that when you do have a clean line in focus that it is in focus after taking the pic, in which case if it isn't, the rf (or lens, or both) will need an alignment. The M8 is great camera - still blown away by the images I took with mine way back when...

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And beware of the one that has caught most of us at one time or another, which is a finger straying in front of the little window below the shutter speed dial.  This will prevent the rangefinder patch from showing up in the viewfinder and make it impossible to focus the lens.

Pete.

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Hello ljskot,

As per Pete's suggestion, just above, you might try holding & focusing the camera & the lens from underneath with your left hand while holding the shutter release side of the camera with your right hand. With your right index finger on the shutter release.

Best Regards,

Michael

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, ljskot said:

 One other thing that I could do would be to check and see if my prescription needs a change as it has been a couple of years.

Definitely do this, including correction for any astigmatism.  Thin, flexible frames will also allow you to get close to the VF for best frame line viewing.

A good optician will also have trial diopters.  Bring your camera and try them, with your updated prescription glasses on, to see if any better optimize the focusing experience.  My aging eyes benefit from a +.5 diopter in addition to my glasses, which correct for distance and astigmatism.  
 

And be sure your eye is centered on the VF to ensure proper viewing and focusing. I don’t wear progressives, but I imagine this could complicate matters.
 

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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Posted (edited)

Microfiber cloth… an essential carry item.

But don’t ignore other good advice here.  It’s still possible your experience could be improved.  I can focus well without a diopter, but the small correction made me realize that focusing wasn’t optimal. And I’d been using M bodies since the 80’s.

Jeff

Edited by Jeff S
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