Any tips on focusing a R4 without the split-screen view screen? : LUSENET : Leica Photography : One Thread

As I have been shooting a ton of photographs during my engagement stint, I have been finding that shooting at close distances in indoor light settings has been the hardest for me to get solidly focused photographs at wide open esp. at f2. Any tips on how to focus better or should I replace the view screen with a split-screen instead? I am thinking about that solution strongly because my eyesight isn't all that good.

sincerely, Alfie

-- Alfie Wang (, December 03, 2001


I have found that the only screen I can reliably focus any R camera with in dim light and/or with shorter lenses is the Universal screen. Even the all-microprism screen doesn't cut it, except in my SL which is a completely different type of screen and much brighter. The only time I use the all-matte screens in my R bodies (and this includes the R8) is with the long telephotos and teleconverters, because the split blacks out and the center microprism looks like fishnet stockings.

-- Jay (, December 03, 2001.


I'd recomend a split screen. I don't have the greatest eyesight either, and when I started shooting pictures in low ligt wide open, I could never get the pictures sharp.

A split screen helped me out quite a bit at wide aperatures. When you're outside you can still use the surrounding matte field for quick focusing also.

Good luck! john

-- john locher (, December 04, 2001.


I have this problem also as I have an unregular distorsion on my cornea. And especialy in low light it is sometimes an issue.

I can recommend you the following steps:

- If you have the original universal R4 view screen you should replace it with the new one which is used in the R7.

- Check your eye sight and look for a correction lens.

- And for the rest as I often do is training. Go in a relative low ligthed room and start to focus with the 35 or 28 mm lens on objects which are about at 3m distance and than compare the distance you measure with the distance you measure with the 90 mm. With this you are going to learn to live with your lens and especialy with your eyesight. Also you are going to get a feeling for the accuracy of the view screen and his posibilities to focus. At this point if you have acces to M camera try it also with this game and than you will imediately understand why the M`s are so good for low ligth photos.


-- Salvatore Reitano (, December 04, 2001.

Unlike the others I much prefer the all microprism screen for general use, particularly portraits. It is very important that the viewfinder is optically correct for your eyes, however. If it is your eyesight (and mine is getting worse) then you should consider diopter adjustment lenses. I have to say this is one of the main reasons why I prefer my R6.2 over my SL these days as it has a built in diopter adjust. In low light at full aperture - it is always difficult, but if low light means f2 at 1/30 with a 100 ISO film and a 50mm lens then you should be able to focus fine with the R4 unless the subject is in shade or has no distinguishing features to focus on.

-- Robin Smith (, December 04, 2001.

I have found that focusing aids are greatly overrated....I suggest zone-focusing a few rolls so that you get an appreciation of judging relative distances.That way you are not dependent on secondary information..the same as not using filters..Good luck !!!!....Mark

-- Mark Kaminsky (, December 13, 2001.

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