35mm Optical Viewfinder for Rangefinder Camera

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by http//www.photocolindavy, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. I am looking for a viewfinder to enable me to use a 35mm lens on my Nikon S2. I have found 2 that might do the trick (I am not looking at Leica or Nikon prices!) These are the Olympus VF-1 and the Voigtlander Kontur.
    But! (here's always a but!) there are some questions that arise from looking at the various sales sites :
    1) the Olympus is for a 17mm lens on 4/3rds format. How would this equate to a 35mm lens on 24mm x 36mm? I know the proportions might not match exactly but would they be close enough for most purposes (especially horizontally)
    2) The illustrations of the Kontur clearly show '24mm x36mm' and '35mm' printed inside the front lens. Now, I take this to mean that it it for use with a '35mm lens on a camera with 24mm x 36mm format' Some feedback seems to suggest that this assumption is wrong.
    Can any of the knowledgeable members of this site shed some light on this before I click the 'Buy now" button?

  2. Maybe take a look at some of the finders made for the Soviet Kiev, Zorki and FED cameras? The Kiev, in particular, shares a common ancestry with your Nikon (Contax).

    I use a rotating turret finder, which is bulky and a little squinty, but convenient, particularly if you want to see what a shot will look like with a selection of lenses.

    I never shot enough with any one lens (other than 50mm) to bother picking up a dedicated finder.
  3. As I understand it that model is for a 50mm standard lens on 35mm film (versions were also available for medium format cameras). There was a model made for 35mm wide angle on 35mm film (marked "f=35mm") but this is now rare and collectable:

    Voigtlander Kontur 35mm
  4. No clue about the Olympus. do your own math / geometry. OVFs can be quite a bit off, to be better safe than sorry, when I look at my Linhof example, compared to GG view.
    The soviet turret is all I have for 35mm. The 28mm isn#t overly exact but usable with an 21mm on M8. Thats where I need it. It doesn't go overly well with aging eyes (minus diopter for the long FLs) and if you are unlucky the internal mask comes looseand rotates.

    I'd recommend a dedicated Soviet 35mm FL (only) VF, although I had no chance to look through one yet as a "middle of the road" budget solution.

    Weren't Voigtländer Kontur heavily relying on your binocular vision with the VF generating just an outline that your brain had to mix with your other eye's vision? - While there must have been some content users that didn't work for everybody.

    Buy something reasonable and think twice what you are doing.... Shooting with auxilliary VFs is slightly slow. If you'll end zone focusing wouldn't grabbing something like a Minox be the better idea? Maybe even an SLR? - I'd get a goggled 35mm, if I was into shooting M3s and had at least 2 of them.

    VFs may be somewhat expensive, but all the rangefinder stuff is. Get something that radiates hope for a working system. And check it against a makeshift groundglass, if you can. I am quite happy with my (Cosina made?) recent Zeiss & Voigtländer VFs for 15 & 21mm.
  5. 17mm on 4/3 is commonly said to be equivalent to a 34mm on 24x36, but it is not entirely correct as the dimensions of the formats are different. 24x36 is 3/2 (versus 4/3) so the framing will be off in the Olympus finder. Try draw it on paper. Only you can say if that is acceptable to you - it would drive me nuts.
  6. On the Nikon S2, one of the variable field auxiliary viewfinders made at the time will do fine.

    Do look online since the prices on the Leica Universal ones are not necessarily more than on the ex-Soviet copies. I got mine for only a few bucks.

    Some were even made in the USA during WW2
  7. AJG


    I have a Zeiss 440 finder, made for post war Contax IIa and IIIa cameras which shows the field of view for 21, 35, 50, 85 and 135 lenses. It has reasonable parallax correction and, best of all for those of us who wear glasses, diopter adjustment so that I can slide my glasses down and see the full frame easily. It isn't as light as I might like, but it works well. If you're patient these turn up on eBay fairly frequently for $125 or so if you want to spend that much and don't have to have one in pristine condition.
  8. I have one of the Leica Imarect zoomable finders like pictured above. It came with my IIIc, which I've since sold, but have held onto it because Ebay prices are such that it's not really even worth bothering selling(and looks good on my shelf). I imagine you could get one for $20-30, or at least that's what they were running the last time I checked.

    Fixed Leica finders can be expensive, and from using them they're worth it for the longer FLs(I had a 135mm one that I never used since I only used my 135mm lens a handful of times, but it was big, clear, and bright). The Imarect I have doesn't really "zoom" but rather masks as you turn it to longer FLs. By the time you get to 135mm, you're peeking through a tiny aperture. At 35mm, though, it's big, bright, and clear.
  9. First of all, my thanks to all those who took the trouble to give their advice so promptly. Any delay in replying is due to my tardiness and poor keyboard skills.
    The upshot is that I abandoned my original plan and looked on-line for an alternative. A phone call to the nice man at ffordes Photographic in Inverness showed that a Nippon Kogaku Variable Viewfinder ( right vintage, decent condition! ) was available and it is now on on its way to me courtesy of Royal Mail.
    Again, thanks for all your advice


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