Is the IIIC viewfinder too squinty?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by squareformat, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. I've been thinking about buying a IIIC but I haven't looked through one yet and I'm concerned the viewfinder (I'm not too bothered about the rangefinder window which I believe is pretty good) might be so small as to be difficult to use. Just how useable is the viewfinder? Can anyone compare it to the likes of an Olympus XA2 or a Mju (Stytlus), two cameras I am familiar with.
     
  2. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    I have a Leica IIIc and an Olympus XA2. The viewfinder of IIIc is smaller than Oly XA2, but this does not bother me.
     
  3. It's very much the same as any other LTM body (except the IIIg). Leitz apparently wanted to make their cameras as small (pocketable) as possible, hence the small VF. The answer is a supplementary VF, which has a suspended frame - you can look outside this to see things coming, which is one of the unique advantages of a rangefinder camera.
     
  4. You don't "have" to squint. But it makes the edges of the finder sharper. Don't view it as anything precise. If you want something more precise and pleasant, mount a 50mm brightline finder in the shoe.
    I have a IIIa, it's finder may be a tad brighter since there aren't two reflections through a prism.
     
  5. I'm a little surprised that it's smaller than the XA2's but I suppose the bottom line is whether or not it's easy to frame the shot. There's no
    substitute for experience, though, so I'll have to try one out.
     
  6. MTC  Photography

    MTC Photography Moderator

    As a matter of fact, the IIIc finder is inferior to the Minox subminiature cameras of the same period, such as Minox A, Minox B. The Minox camera is only 1/10 of the weight of IIIc(70g vs 710g),yet the Minox B has a viewfinder with bright line frame and parallax correction, the IIIc viewfinder has no parallax correction, nor bright line frame. When you slightly shift your eye position to the left or right, the object position changes in the IIIc finder, but stay put inside the Minox B brightline frame.
     
  7. I have a IIIc and a IIIf, and use both. I haven't had a problem. When using a 35mm or 90mm lens I pop on the VIOOH finder anyway.
    Kent in SD
     
  8. I use two IIIf, one BD and one RD. It's true that the image trought the viewfinder is very small and not very sharpness. Even, the lenses how the Summitars and Summicrons appears into the viewfinder but I use it.
     
  9. The VIOOH was how Leitz met two needs. Not so good as separate bright-line finders, but the obvious choice if you have just one camera for different focal lengths. [edit] Sorry, despite all the super-wides, I still think in the "Leica range" of 35 to 135.
     
  10. I don't mind my IIIa viewfinder. It is small but it works well enough.
     
  11. fdr

    fdr

    Yes, it`s too squinty, though, we can get use to just about anything, no? lllg is the one to get and use: parallax corrected, sharply defined 50 (and 90) frames, the 50 frame lines virtually as large as in the M2! Add one of those old film knob winders and have a fair attempt at a lever wind (kind of). The winner.
     
  12. The compactness of the camera with a collapsible 50mm lens makes up for the inconvenience of the small finder.
     
  13. The screw mount Leicas below the expensive IIIg are bargains these days, provided you find one in fine condition. The small finder, a consequence of a compact body, is useable but you probably know already that no rangefinder camera has highly accurate VF framing, just that some are better than others. As mentioned, purchase of a Cosina-Voigtlander 50mm bright line and 1:1 magnification VF attachment is a good way to go for more precise framing than the 111c viewfinder. I don't find my small 111c/f VF to be much of a handicap in most use, and it is easy to pop on a 12, 35, 50 or 75mm VF when I use my modern C-V optics. The 111c is a great and reasonably priced entry to Leica RF photography.
     
  14. Yes, too squinty. I use mine with aux. finder in the shoe. "Those in the know" did this, even in the 1950's! A book of that period, by Andreas Feininger, featured a picture on the cover of someone using a Leica in this way. It is my preferred way to use an LTM.
     
  15. The IIIc is a wonderful camera. I liken the VF to looking through the periscope of a U-Boat. It is usable but not really
    what you want to use on most outings. The VIOOH finder is retro-futuristic: it gets stares and starts conversations,
    make it easier to photograph people so long as you don't mind being being noticed. It is a good finder though. I've
    poated hear many times my affection for the IIIc.
     

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