Which focusing loupes are best?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Many opinions differ on this subject. I prefer a 6 to 7X loupe but others say that a 3 to 4X loupe is best. I feel that a higher power will make a sharper picture if everything else is done right. Manufactures rate the magnification of their loupes differently. Would anyone care to discuss any of these notions of what is a good loupe?

-- John Dorio (john.dorio@ericsson.com), April 28, 2000


John, IMHO I have found the Silvestri x6 tilting loupe excellent, both in terms of quality and price. This loupe has the advantage of tilting so that the corners of the GG can be examined when using wide lenses. It also comes supplies with barrel that converts it to a "regular" loupe. My understanding of magnification factors has always lead me to believe that a higher magnification can often cause problems when focussing. I understand that this has something to do with the fact that at higher magnification you can end up focussing on the grain of the image on the GG and this is more difficult than focussing on the screen itself ??? Does this make sense?? I was told that x6 is about right for LF, but may be wrong!! Best of luck Paul

-- Paul Owen (paul@paulowenphotography.freeserve.co.uk), April 28, 2000.

I use a linen tester, which is an open loupe. It is a magnifier supported in a frame. I like this loupe because it can easily be used in the corners, since it does not have to touch the ground glass. I got mine from Wisner.

See this page: http://www.wisner.com/Page18.html

Linen testers are also inexpensive, about $20. I am not cheap, though. I had a Schneider 4x loupe, but a sold it because I liked the linen tester better. I hear that 4x is right for ground-glass viewing.

-- William Marderness (wmarderness@hotmail.com), April 28, 2000.

I have to agree with Paul. I don't think there is any "correct" magnification for all circumstances. The optimum magnification will depend on your individual GG screen. If the grain of your screen is coarse, then a high power loupe won't help. I've tried using higher power magnifiers of 20x or so, and if anything it makes focussing more difficult. An old straight brass tube 6x magnifier suits my setup, but might not be right for you.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 28, 2000.

I've been using the chimney finder from my old Bronica S2A, which, if you happen to have one lying around, works great, though it's a bit bulky. Magnification is 5x, it is adjustable for proper focus on the groundglass, and the base is square, so it fits in the corners and along edges nicely. I originally thought of this as a temporary solution until I could get a more conventional loupe, but I haven't found much reason to switch.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), April 28, 2000.

I have also been using a chimney finder. It is used with my Linhof TK45S. The one I use is from my Hasselblad. Likewise, I thought it would only be a temporary solution. Now, I see no reason to seek any other loupe.

-- Harvey Berman (HarveyBerman@yahoo.com), April 28, 2000.

I vote for Pentax 5.5x loupe. It's bright and sharp, covers a large area and price is not so ridiculous as those Germany stuff.

-- Aaron Rocky (ar7786@hotmail.com), April 29, 2000.

Back when I was selling cameras (a long time ago...) and optics engineer came in and asked the same question. I naturally brought out the Rodenstocks and the like. To my own amazement, we found that a lowly Hoya 4x chimney loupe was the sharpest edge to edge. I have since sold my Toyo loupe and picked up one of the Hoyas. The higher powered loupes don't make the picture sharper, just let's you view a smaller part of the frame (which can lead to more frustration due to the fresnel glass and it's granularity). Scott

-- Scott Walton (scotlynn@shore.net), April 30, 2000.

Like others, I don't think there is a clear "best" loupe. However, most people seem to use round loupes, I guess because they are more prevalent. To me, a square loupe is better because it allows you to see right up into the corners of the ground glass and all along the perimiter of the ground glass. With round loupes you can't see in the corners and examining the permieter is difficult. Since the corners and edges are where you're often looking for vignetting or lack of sharpness, I prefer the square loupe.Peak makes several in different magnifications, for around $60 I think. While magnfication is strictly a matter of preference, I like a 4x or smaller. Larger than that and the grains and/or fresnel lines are so big that nothing looks in focus to me.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis@tampabay.rr.com), April 30, 2000.

Like you, I've come to prefer a 6x focussing loupe over the 4x. As others have noted, too high a magnification makes focussing more difficult. A matter of preference and the nature of your screen as others have noted (as well as your eyesight). I recently purchased a Horseman 6x, which is a little on the heavy side (no flimsy plastic here) but of quite sturdy construction -- a must for me given how I manage to knock them around out in the field -- and reasonably priced at about $50 as well.

-- Donald Brewster (dpbrewster@prodigy.net), May 03, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ