Binocular viewer for Toyo 45A field camera : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I need some feedback on any users of the binocular viewer for a 4x5 camera for field use, I am considering buying one to help me with composition and focusing, though I know that focusing on the ground glass is more accurate. I sometimes have trouble recognizing what I am looking at when I am out in the field as far as looking at what's far or near since everything is upside down, especially when I am photographing something with a lot of clutter such as a tree with a lot of branches close up. I mainly am interested in landscape photography. Thanks in advance

-- Belden Fodran (, November 20, 1999


Although it works ok, that thing's huge and clunky.

-- John Hicks (, November 21, 1999.

The best accessory purchase I've made for my 45A11. It is bulky but I made room in my backpack for it. Wouldn't go photographing without it!!!

-- manuel johson (, November 21, 1999.

If your goal is to turn things right side up, its your only choice, if your goal is to see better, than the monocular option would be better. The gg is a 2d object so a binocular viewer does not offer any benefits over monocular as far 2d vs. 3d. The monocular is big also, but sure cuts out the light leaking in from the sides. If you have been doing this for awhile and it still bugs you, then you go for it, if you are new to this, it should be comforting to know that you get over this real quick and start recognizing things very quickly without it... as mentioned above, big and bulky for sure! Good luck..

-- Bill Glickman (, November 23, 1999.

In response to Bill's suggestion that the monocular hood would be better for just seeing the screen more easily -- it wasn't the case for me. I tried the Toyo monocular hood on my 45AX but sent it back because I couldn't see as well with it. The 1.5x magnifier is placed at the back of the hood (like the exit pupil on binoculars or a 35mm camera. My problem was that I couldn't get my eye close enought to it to block extraneous light. Mostly all I could see was glare and reflections. I don't know if it is because it is so much bigger than the exit pupils for 35mm cameras or isn't inset far enough, but it didn't work for me.

-- Greg Lawhon (, November 23, 1999.

Having used a folding binocular viewer for three months, I would highly recommend it. It is far too expensive and has a few weaknesses but actually, there is not much choice out of the giant pieces made for studio work by some manufacturers. I modified it to use it on a Linhof Tech V, (required mechanical work, actually it can easily be ruined by inadequate operation!). The composition is made much simpler and more comfortable and my photographs have improved and also my pleasure in the process. Accurate focussing can still be done by opening the viewer, though it is generally not required in full light. There is a quick release on one side. It can also be turned 90 degrees for vertical settings thanks to a simple but not very safe mechanism (I had a few frights in the beginning). I have modified this piece by enlarging the holes to make it safer and it is now near perfect (but still tied to the camera with a safety rope). I live the folded viewer on the camera in the bag (Tenba PBA) and it takes very little time to make it functional. It weighs about 1kg and is part of my normal backpacking equipment(a comb is no longer!). I would not recommend the use of this viewer with rollfilm backs other than the insert type, as it is difficult (at least on my camera) but still possible, to access the spring back. It was needed to grind the closing knob to use the insert magasines I own. I also stuck some black rubber foam to make the viewer more comfortable and prevent light from entering when looking into the thing. You will have to stand on something to access the viewer when using your camera at head's height. Or you can turn the rotating back ones the settings have been done and lift up your tripod with care viewing your groundglass from under (a second safety spring would be advised). This allows shooting from far above eyes height, something very precious in landscape photography. To sum up, I would say this piece of equipment is a great idea, but Horseman should get back to work and make a few improvements to make it worse the price they sell it. ( Belden, be aware, there is also a Horseman binocular viewer that has no mirror and won't reverse the vue, only the folding binocular viewer will).

-- Paul Schilliger (, November 28, 1999.

Sorry, I just missed that! Of course I was'nt talking about Toyo's viewer but Horseman's. However, it should fit your Toyo very well.

-- Paul Schilliger (, November 28, 1999.

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