leica SLR with 100% finder?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

What is the finder view of the various SLR's. Are any of them 100%? If not, what is the closest? How about the SL, since it's the least expensive.

Many thanks,

-- J. Rivera (jrivera@vapop.ucsd.edu), September 19, 2001


None of the Leicaflex or Leica R bodies have 100% viewfinders. They are all approximately 92-93%. If your end-use is unmounted transparencies for publication, or you are shooting for scientific purposes where accurate scale measurements are required, you will probably prefer a 100% viewfinder, such as found on Canon F1, EOS-1 series, Nikon F,F2,F3,F4,F5 or Contax RTS III. If you shoot mostly for prints, a 90% or greater coverage should pose no real problem. Contrary to popular advertising, mounted transparencies do not mask equivalent to the 92-93% finders. The 96% finder of the Nikon F-100 comes closest to that. If you are concerned with unwanted things at the periphery, a little expermentation will allow you to judge how much to move closer once you've framed the shot. With a zoom lens it's even easier, unless you're already at the long end.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), September 19, 2001.

I find that for cardboard mounted slides by Kodak then the R series v/f reflect pretty well exactly what is seen in the final shot. If you use GePe slide mounts though they show a slightly larger area of the slide than appears in the viewfinder. I use GePes. I find that for only maybe 1 in 50 slides this is noticeable and 1 in 100 it might need some adjustment in the framing of the slide in the mount by moving it within the mount. If you must have 100% then there is no R camera for you. Why do you need it as a matter of interest?

-- Robin Smith (smith_robin@hotmail.com), September 20, 2001.


I like the idea of seeing everything that is going to be on the film in the finder. 24x36 is such a small area, I don't like wasting a millimeter. Yes there are workarounds (framing tricks as noted above) and there are plenty of great photos taken with out 100% finders. It is really just my personal preference.

I guess the next question would be what cameras (if any) with 100% finders can be adapted to use leica glass?

-- Jeff Rivera (jrivera@vapop.ucsd.edu), September 20, 2001.

The Nikon F-series can be adapted to take R lenses, but it has to be done by a camera repair facility with the knowhow and equipment to do it properly. You can buy adaptors at www.cameraquest.com to use Leica R lenses directly on Canon EOS bodies, of which the 1, 1n and 1V have 100% finders. Realize that with *any* adaptation, you will loose the automatic diaphragm operation. You can meter manually in stop-down mode, or use aperture-priority auto, but you'll need to manually rack the lens between maximum and working aperture for focusing and shooting. Whether you feel that R lenses give you enough of an advantage over the Nikon or Canon top lenses must be weighed against this inconvenience of operation. Perhaps the Contax RTSIII and Zeiss lenses would be another option for you.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), September 20, 2001.


Thanks for the response. I think I'll pass on leica for now (damn!). A mint Nikon f2 with the best nikor primes should be the best choice. On the other hand I do believe the premium lenses (zeiss, leica) are special. I learned that when I used a rollei SLR for a short time.

Does anyone have the name of a repair center that can convert nikons to the leica mount? Does the conversion preserve infinity focus? That may be the answer if I find I need leica glass.

Many thanks,

-- Jeff Rivera (jrivera@vapop.ucsd.edu), September 22, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ