Finder Flare?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by pete|1, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. Someone describe finder flare to me? I have an M5 with M6 frame
    lines. I do not know what internal changes other than the frame
    lines were made to make the update. Did I get an M6 finder flare
    problem? My finder patch is always extremely bright compared to the
    surrounding area. In strong backlit conditions, I cannot see any
    detail in the finder patch and therefore cannot focus? I know the
    true M5 finder was supposed to be a good finder. Would this still
    happen? Is this what everyone is referring to when they talk about
    finder flare?
     
  2. Pete, my M6 finder flares when I face a bright backlit subject. It usually results in the whole RF patch being "whited-out". I work around it by moving the camera slightly or my eye until the white-out subsides. But recently, I've taken to just putting a piece of tape on the slotted window on the front of the camera (framelines window). this cuts down on flare substantially, although it does make the framelines much dimmer. regards
     
  3. Installing the M4-P frameset (which is what is used) into an M5 does not make the view through the M5 as flare-prone as a standard M6. It may, however, be slightly more flare-prone than an unmodified M5, which features a great VF/RF.

    You do loose the M5 metering area marks (which apply to the 50mm lens only) when you acquire the 28mm and 75mm lines.
     
  4. There are two sources of flare. All M's after the M3 (which does not flare) use a mirror to direct light to the frameline mask. The rangefinder image has to pass the through a hole in that mirror. When the mirror is delivering a lot of light, some of it gets bounced into the rangefinder patch, causing flare. The M2, M4, and M5 all exhibit about the same amount of this flare.

    Starting with the M4-2, they pulled out a condensing lens, making the flare worse. M4P, M6, and early M7's are similar. Late M7's and the MP are about the same as the M2, M4, and M5; and in fact are a bit better. It's about the only real advantage of an MP.

    The M5, however, is essentially as good as the M2 and M4 in this respect. Changing the frameline mask will not spoil its flare performance. In other words, I doubt if yours has a problem.
     
  5. As a relative newbie to rangefinders, and to Leicas, I have to say, part of me is shocked that these simple cameras are so expensive and they still have at least three major flaws:
    1. Patch flare in many models that makes it impossible to focus in some common situations.
    2. The baseplate loading is slower than, say, a Bessa.
    3. You can't tell which film stock is in a body.

    The pragmatic engineer side of me is continually awed by these facts.
    Luckily, the art snob appreciates the solid quality and loves the silence and lenses.
     
  6. What I was told is that the M4 and M5 have framelines that are etched into glass plates and the later ones have metal masks with cutouts for the frames, and that they are not individually interchangable, therefore to get the 28 and 75 framelines they have to change the entire mask set to one for an M6. That meant no condenser lens. Now it would be possible to have M6 frames put into an M4 or M5 along with the MP flare upgrade, or to have the upgrade done to an M4 or M5 which already had the M6 frames installed a while ago.
     
  7. Actually, I had Sherry install the M5 version of the M6 framelines. I have the 50 and 75mm frames together and the M5 metering marks. It even has a cutout on the bottom of the 28 frame for the meter scale. It was expensive but Sherry did it well.
     
  8. In that case wouldn't it be simpler to just call Sherry and ask her if she left the condenser lens in place, rather than have the forum speculate?
     
  9. Toby Boudreaux , feb 25, 2005; 09:31 p.m.
    As a relative newbie to rangefinders, and to Leicas, I have to say, part of me is shocked that these simple cameras are so expensive and they still have at least three major flaws: 1. Patch flare in many models that makes it impossible to focus in some common situations. 2. The baseplate loading is slower than, say, a Bessa. 3. You can't tell which film stock is in a body.

    Toby, while I've addressed shortcomings no. 1 and 3 (check out leicagoodies.com) I'm still working on no. 2... ;-)
     
  10. Toby there are perfect solutions to all three "shortcomings" which do not involve glueing things to the outside of this expensive and some even say beautiful camera. Leica has parts to upgrade all flare prone finders and DAG can install them for $165. Be aware that the flare is not a universal problem with users. It ranges from those who don't experience it at all to those who stroke out over it, so before you commit to a fix, make sure the problem even affects you.

    As to knowing what film is in the camera, if you aren't using a flash or an accessory viewfinder, a piece of the film box can be inserted in the hot shoe. All M Leicas have some way of setting or marking the ISO and/or film type. M2-M5 have dials and M4-2/M4-P actually have a place you can write on. Of course the M5-MP have ISO settings for the meter. I always use 2 bodies, sometimes with different films and have never felt I wanted to add anything more to help me differentiate them. Even the IIIf has a place on the advance knob to set a film reminder.

    The bottom loading is only daunting to those who let reports of its dauntingness terrify them, or who follow elaborate multi-step loading approaches they read on the internet. If you just make certain the cassette is bottomed competely, the leader is lying up into the guide slot above the top film rails and engages the sprocket spool, and the leader tip is more than halfway through a slot in the takeup spool, you can close the baseplate and wind on without a hitch, every time. Just keep an eye on the rewind knob for the first couple blank frames to make sure it's turning.

    IMO there are 2 ways people can deal with Leicas. One is to scrutinize them to death, moaning about its design as being flawed. (Personally I don't understand why they don't just sell them and buy something else). The other is to recognize that if tens of thousands of people over 50 years have used them to make millions of photographs, they can't be that flawed, and just go out and use them. To be sure, there _are_ faults in the M cameras, but rather than inherent to the design these are the product of needless deviations from the original design done speculatively to cut manufacturing costs.
     
  11. Fed up with the horrid flaring in my M6 TTL's viewfinder, I sent it to Don Goldberg two weeks ago to correct it and I got it back yesterday. Yay----the flaring is gone! Shame on Leica for releasing this expensive camera to the retail market with this flaw!
     
  12. I asked Sherry about this. She remembered the camera (as it was just back there for something else). She said it was as flare free as it can be at this time - it has all the correct parts. It should behave similar to the M2, M4 and ordinary M5s. I guess what I saw is just "finder flare."
     
  13. Sticking a film box piece into a hotshoe is not a "perfect" solution, and certainly is less
    elegant than Lutz' fix.

    That Leica or DAG can fix a flare-prone finder (for $165-300 additional) is more of an
    insult than a solution. A camera of this expense, and one that has been around in various
    incarnations for so long should never require it. A Hexar doesn't flare. I had a Mamiya 6
    that didn't flare. What about Bessas? Photography is first about seeing, and a viewfinder
    that works shouldn't be an 'option.'

    I don't consider it "daunting." The bottom-loading thing is just silly. Sure, we get used to
    it, but it's still silly, and without justification. Tradition is one thing, but it shouldn't be
    intrusive.

    I would suggest that there are more than two ways people deal with Leicas. Like anything
    else, i don't believe one has to be blind to their shortcomings in order to use them. One
    doesn't have to love every aspect of a tool, even if it is that person's prefered tool. No one
    owes allegiance to a camera, and there's no nobility in ignoring stupidity. Millions of
    photographs have been made with Leica LTM cameras, and still Leica saw fit to improve
    them. They evolved into the M-series because there were addressable shortcomings. "They
    can't be that flawed" just because they're established as effective? A lot of institutions,
    practices, thought patterns and traditions have been 'effective,' yet they were still
    inherently flawed.

    I am happy to have and use an M7, but i am not always happy. That's 'human' and that's
    my right.
     
  14. "Sticking a film box piece into a hotshoe is not a "perfect" solution, and certainly is less elegant than Lutz' fix."

    I don't understand how a small piece of film box in the hot shoe is less elegant than glueing a frame over the camera's own ISO dial and then sticking a larger piece of film box in it, but you're certainly entitled to your opinion.

    "That Leica or DAG can fix a flare-prone finder (for $165-300 additional) is more of an insult than a solution. A camera of this expense, and one that has been around in various incarnations for so long should never require it."

    I quite agree and it is exactly this kind of thing, along with the plastic frame counter and the dust-catcher eyepiece, that I was referring to as needless denigrations of the original design done to cut costs. However insulting it might be to you though, to me it's less insulting to pay $165 on top of $1000 for a nice M6 than $2900 for an MP to get the flare-less finder, and then have to caulk shut the eyepiece.

    "I don't consider it "daunting." The bottom-loading thing is just silly. Sure, we get used to it, but it's still silly, and without justification. Tradition is one thing, but it shouldn't be intrusive."

    I suppose if I looked at it abstractly I would have to agree with you. However to me it's just the way the Leica loads and I have no problem with it. If it was intrusive to the point of affecting my photography I would just use another brand.
     

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