Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/03/27

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Subject: viewfinders -Reply
From: Joel Tlumak <JT@JMBM.COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 1997 12:42:04 -0800

I take exception to Campin's remark that he finds it
"hard to imagine why anybody in their right mind would
ever have bought a Canon IVSB, given how dreadful
their finders were."

Admittedly the finder is not the brightest in the world,
but I still have no problem seeing my subjects.  The
135mm window I now find is excellent for a 135mm lens,
with which lens I now use my IVSB.  With a 50mm lens I
focus with the 135mm finder and use a 50mm accessory
finder for the 50mm lens when I carry the camera on a
should strap under a jacket.  When I carry the IVSB in a
jacket pocket, I focus with the 135mm viewfinder and
shoot with the 50mm viewfinder when I have time,
otherwise I can still focus with the 50mm viewfinder (I do
not wear glasses) when I have to work fast.  And the
100mm finder, through which you do not see the entire
field, still works well for me with a 100mm lens.  

In my use of screwmount Leicas and Canon, I know
before I shoot with a certain lens what I want in my
photos.  I do not use the viewfinder in the same way as
photographers use an SLR viewfinder (which on most
SLRs does not show 100% of the view).  I do not
compose with my rangefinder viewfinders.  My images
are composed before I use a viewfinder.  I do have to
know whether what I want will fit in my frame and for
that purpose, the viewfinders on the IVSB work very
well for me.  The best all around viewfinder for my IVSB
and for me has been the accessory Russian turret, but
the three viewfinders in the IVSB are nonetheless quite
reasonable for me.  Again, it all depends on how you
shoot your photos.  I use my Leica IIIc/IIIf with my 50mm
and 28mm lenses, Canon IVSB with 50mm, 100mm and
135mm lenses and my Canon L1 with 35mm and 50mm
lenses.  And the 135mm viewfinder on the IVSB is quite
good for rangefinder focusing.

The Canon IVSB is an excellent camera in all other
respects, one that I use quite a lot.  The question of
sanity and insanity in the selection of equipment
depends on the sanity or insanity of the photos
resulting from the photographer's selection and use of
that equipment.  

I too cannot understand why someone does not
manufacture viewfinders, unless such manufacture may
not attract enough buyers, which is probably the case. 
Photographers today do not want to use accessory
viewfinders or go through the process of cutting film to
load bottom-loading screwmount cameras.  At least
most photographers.  I do not think there is a big
enough market of photographers willing to buy
accessory viewfinders for someone to start
manufacturing them.  I wish there were.  Just as there is
not a big enough users market for screwmount Leicas
and Canon cameras.  The Canon IVSB has the great
advantage of being quite inexpensive and quite
available for those few photographers who would like to
use an excellent compact camera.  With a collapsible
50mm Summitar on my Canon IVSB and WITHOUT an
accessory viewfinder I have quite a compact camera for
a wide variety of uses day and night -- without having to
pay the higher prices for a Leica IIIc or IIIf.  I can do quite
a lot with that combination, as I'm sure a few other
photographers do as well.