Ground Glass focusing Loupes : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Any comments on the Toyo ground glass focusing loupe? I need to purchase a loupe. My AXII has a focusing hood, so the longer style of loupe seems to be good. I also notice the Toyo loupe is priced quite a bit lower than most others. Any feedback is appreciated.


-- Jim Billups (, January 21, 1999


I have a Toyo 45 AII and the extended length Toyo Loupe. In theory the idea sounds great, but in practice I find that the loupe barely extends beyond the length of the focusing hood causing the hood to interfere with almost every shot. I have resorted to just "unlocking" the hood so it hangs by the hinges and using the loupe together with my focusing cloth. This seems to help. I do wish the Toyo Loupe had a little more magnification. I have considered the Wista Loupes. Still, for the money, the Toyo Loupe is a good buy but I have found that the extension is a selling tool rather than something that has practical use.

-- John Wiemer (, January 21, 1999.

I have found the Toyo loupe to be satisfactory even more so when considering the price. Compared to the Schneider loupes, the Toyo is a steal. The optics are decent but I would have to say the magnification is a little low. Then again with the 6x, 10x loupes, one might have problems with actually magnifying the the etched side of the glass to the point of interfering with focusing the image. Besides, anything above 6x is overkill unless you absolutely need microscopic sharpness.

-- Brian Jefferis (, January 21, 1999.

Here are the drawbacks of the Toyo focusing loupe: (1) the magnification is a bit low, although it's listed as about 3.4 x, I also use a Schneider 4 x and the Schneider seems to have a lot more magnification. Also, to my eyes, the Schneider much more clearly "pops" into focus, (2) I used the loupe with a Horseman VH, which has a focusing hood similar to the Toyo AX, and the Toyo loupe barely extends long enough to use with the hood extended; I prefer to move the focusing hood out of the way and just use the loop directly on the ground glass, (3) I will probably eventually purchase/try a Wista loupe, which is also an extended loupe, and which has a 6x or 7x magnification (I can't remember). One very nice feature about the Toyo loupe is the rubber covering that protects your ground glass/fresnel from scratching. More loupes should have this feature. Like everything else the Toyo loupe is a compromise. It's worth the money as long as you're aware of its limitations.

-- Howard Slavitt (, January 21, 1999.

I like to rough focus with the hood but like the others swing away to for fine focusing but i'm not as rabid about loupes as others. In many cases the rough focus is accurate enough after stopping down, Some people have to spend lots on the latest loupe but any one will do. I have a filthy, used horseman extended 7x and it works as good as the latest gazillion dollar Doktor. I lost my first expensive schneider while hiking into a location(the chain broke)and bought the horseman junker as a interim loupe and haven't needed anything more.

-- Triblett Lunger-Thurd (, January 21, 1999.

I've been using the Calumet 4x loupe (which is made by Rodenstock) for about 4 years and it has worked great. The wider field also allows it work well on the light box.

-- Mike Long (, January 21, 1999.

I concur with what has been said about the Toyo loupe and the Toyo folding focusing hood. It's really too short. The Wista might be better, but I have no experience with it. I use the Horseman 7x loupe referred to, and it is excellent, but can't be used with the folding focusing hood as it's too short. Incidentally, I bought the Horseman 7x loupe from Calumet under their name at consideraably less money.

-- Richard Deimel (, January 22, 1999.

I used to have one. It's nice for focussing, with its rubber, rather large field of view and reasonable magnification, but I found it a bit bulky for my taste compared to my Calumet 7x.

-- Quang-Tuan Luong (, January 27, 1999.

I'd get rid of the folding hood and replace it with a Darkroom Innovations 4x5 darkcloth,

-- Ellis (, January 27, 1999.

The folding hood still makes a great protector for the ground glass. I do use the Darkroom Innovations focusing cloth (really nice and worth the price) and just tend to move the hood out of the way...this is very easily done with the Toyo cameras.

-- John Wiemer (, January 28, 1999.

I used a Peak 4x loupe for years but saw so many people raving about the Toyo loupe that I figured why not give it a try for $30. I really didn't like it, only because it is round. The Peak loupe was square so that you could get right up into the corners, which is often where your problems, particularly vignetting, will show up. With the Toyo I couldn't see in the extreme corners. I quit using it and went back to the Peak loupe. The Peak loupe was a little more expensive - around $50 or so as I recall. Personally I wouldn't use anything except a square loupe for ground glass focusing. The folding focusing hood on my Linhof Technika is totally useless except as a ground glass protector so I don't use it and use a dark cloth (Darkroom Innovations) instead, so length of the loupe wasn't a consideration for me. The Peak is short and probably would be difficult to use with a folding focusing hood.

-- Brian Ellis (, January 28, 1999.

Listen you guys out there lucky enough to own a Toyo Field camera. There is an accessory folding hood from Toyo, which is really a modified wide angle bellows which replaces the ordinary popping up viewing hood. With this folding hood, it is a piece of cake to put in the Toyo loupe. No problem with fitting it within this flexible arrangement. Just wanted to let you know.

Best regards, Emil

-- Emil Ems (, March 03, 1999.

Makes it similar to the Linhof Focusing/Metering Bellows which fits the back of the Linhof. Has 2 screw together 2x magnifiers. With just one you get a 2x view of the entire screen with both 4x of any part of the screen. And, if you use one you can add a light meter with a microscope adapter to read the entire ground glass or any part as a spot about the size of a quarter for spot readings.

Looks something like a beret and is very flexible.

It is actually available for 23, 45, 57 and 81

-- bob salomon (, March 03, 1999.

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