Rangefinder Contrast

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by stu weinstein, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. I had a real hard time today focusing my M3. I was shooting dogs in
    the park, hazy sunshine, most of the subjects were considerably darker
    than the light grass background. Missed about 3/4 of my good shots.
    Does "The Shade" work? I've had focusing problems before, but they
    were few and far between, until today. Thanks. Stu
  2. If you are over 40 start thinking about auto focus.
  3. Stuart, I have a pair of nikon shooters (gold coated polarized glasses) that I wear to focus
    my noctilux {even in low light sites}. a strange combo but it works!
  4. Time to buy a Contax G2 and let it focus for you. It'll even expose it for you. Just a thought.
  5. In actual answer to your question... ;-)

    It does work, but the whole viewfinder does get dimmer. It's a trade off, but does costso little that it's worth a try.

    I bought one with a 'sling'... Took the sling off, and lost it but it was very good for 'wandering'. Eventually took the 'shade' off - it was a marginal decision, but I preferred more light in the vf.

  6. Thought I'd chime in at this point. The Shade doesn't dim the VF the least bit. It just dims the *framelines* to about 40%. While it effectively reduces rangefinder patch flare, I haven't had reports on its benefit on the M3 so far (since the M3 is not affected by the dreaded "whiteout", AFAIK...). It might enhance the readability of the RF, though, in a similar way a colored gel in front of the RF window does. Cheers.
  7. If the RF image is dull and hard to see, there may be oil or dirty optics in the system.
  8. "If you are over 40 start thinking about auto focus."
    I love this respone. In addition to your eye sight, your reaction time slows a bit.
    When you reach 40 like I did a long time ago, you do realize there are times when it is better to "zone focus". It speeds things up considerably. You don't always need to chase the rangefinder patch the way SLR users used to chase their focusing prism and needle metering.
  9. Remember as well, when you reach 40 & nothing hurts when you get up, you are dead!
  10. FWIW maybe the vwfndr needs cleaning or parts replacement. Auto-focus fails in the very light, one has difficulty in focussing! I gave away my EOS system. The M6 "flare" is a horror. My M3 (rebuilt vwfndr) and m M2 very easy to focus. Oh! I'm 61..Zone focus is the way to go if you like guessing.
  11. jtk


    It probably needs simple cleaning. Consider a CLA while you're at it.

    I use a pair of Canon Ps...their viewfinders are inclined to flare but they're managable in the worst light...fine in extreme dark, fine recently in blasting Utah desert light...there's no situation that defeats them. I'm 61...I went to rangefinder from manual focus SLR because I did find it harder to focus than in careless youth.

    It's not inherently "age" but it's possible you have a developing eye condition, specifically cataract or macular degeneration, since your M3 is pretty much the ultimate in terms of rangefinder view...you might want to have your eyes checked by a real MD opthamologist...would be cheaper than a CLA :)

    Forget Contax: slow, miserable toy viewfinder.
  12. Stuart, My first M3 had a dim viewfinder and I thought all of the glass surfaces were clean. I took a few Q Tips and some Windex and cleaned all of the glass on the camera (Not the lens!) and I was amazed at how much brighter it got. Put the Windex on the cotton and then clean to make sure it doen't leak into the camera...Robbie
  13. Diopters are readily available.

    I won't shed a tear for you - I've had crappy vision since I was 10. I'd wear glasses and get
    over it.
  14. I have weakening eyesight since I crossed the 45 barrier, but I am now doing better adjusting to rangefinder focusing and I also am getting sharp images with SLR cameras. Now I use smaller apertures when I am unsure about the focus point and use larger apertures when things are "clear" during focusing. In my last photo shoot I placed a 4X lupe on top of the ground glass in a Rolleiflex TLR to see all details and I also simply used the magnifying lupe that is in the Rollei. Both methods gave similar results.
  15. Good answer Raid ... I use zone focus and small apature on a regular basis ... in addition to working well in many situations it is a fun way to shoot. I have 3 rangefinders that are easy to focus in almost any light ... the M3, Canon P and Hexar RF, some don't the CL, Olympus XA and the Russians ... I tend to use the first three for more relaxed style shooting, the other three for the high apature zone stuff, I use Minolta manual focus SLRs for travel photography in daylight situations ... That brings us to the auto focus question ... as I've past 50 I can't really track and focus on the run especially in low light situations or fast changing scenes ... so I too have gone into AF for some situations, I use Nikons ... but find them far from foolproof ... but nice when you need them ...
  16. Stuart, there is a possibility your M3 could benefit from having the rangfinder/viewfinder optics cleaned by DAG. I compared my M3, which he overhauled a year or so before I got it, to one at a camera store not long ago, and there was a pretty big difference in the clarity, especially outside in the sunlight where the dirty one seemed to get worse.
  17. "I've had focusing problems before, but they were few and far between, until today."

    Unless you fell and hit your head on a concrete floor today I wouldn't worry about one bad roll.

    "If you are over 40 start thinking about auto focus."

    That's just trading the devil you know for the devil you don't...

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