What is a Torpedo finder?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by ray_moth, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. At the Camera Collectors web site is an advertisement for a "Leitz
    VIDEO Torpedo Finder". Anyone know what it is? <a
    href="">This is
    the URL<a/>
  2. The Torpedo name came from the enlongated form of the
    Leitz finder. VIDOM was the code word for it used by Leitz.
    6 different versions were made. Frames were for the lenses 35mm-135mm. Hope this helps.
  3. A ship.

  4. Hi

    i understand this is the finder that Henri Cartier Bresson favours!
  5. HCB is now very old and uses a point and shoot.
  6. Chris is wrong!!! The torpedo finder is NOT the same as the VIDOM. The torpedo finders (there are a variety of them) were made (mostly) from 1931-1932 in small numbers and were replaced by the VIDOM ( a much more common item). Most torpedo finders were black paint over brass although a few later (and very very rare) units were chrome.

    Torpedo finders vary according to which combination of frames they showed, the most common being VISOR (? I believe it had 3 frames for 35-50-135 lenses). Others had four frames (35-50-90-135. The VIDEO (the one being offered) is a rare variation which also includes the 105 mm frame (for the Mountain Elmar 105/6.3 introduced in the early 1930s).

    The value of these finders varies from roughly $ 250 (for a beat up but useable black finder with the most common focal lengths) to over $ 1000 for the rarer variants. The VIDEO is a prettyu uncommon variant. Others include VIFUR, VIUNA, etc.

    Note that the torpedo finders produce and image that is reversed from right to left, like the rest of the Leica "universal" finders.

    The later VIDOM finders are much more common and generally run from about $ 75 to $ 150 depending on condition and rarity (the early black paint/nickel versions are worth more than the later all chrome versions.
  7. I should add one thing. There has been some confusion about which codeword corresponds to which frames. The VIDEO should correctly refer to a finder that has the 105 mm frame. But some people use this to indicate the more common finder with the 90 but no 105. I suspect that is the case with the finder pictured, since it was offered for $ 180, which is much less than the truly rare torpedo finder with the 105 mm frame.
  8. Bless you, Mani.
  9. even if this is the 90mm version, that is a great price for this item.
  10. Roger. Yes, $ 180 is a good price for a torpedo finder even of the most common variety, as long as the glass is reasonably clear so you can see through it. If I didn't already have one, I'd buy at that price. I haven't ever seen one offered for less.

    These finders were designed by Oscar Barnack himself. They go well with a very early black and nickel model C or D Leica camera.
  11. If I am wrong about the Torpedo finder, so are all the Leica books that are being sold throughout the world! The VIHOO was a later 35-135mm finder that is the most commonly found at the $50-$100 price range.

    I have a large collection of Leica books that will be sold dirt cheap if this is wrong.
  12. Whoops!! I meant the VIOOH was the later version. Typo mistake. Lager's Vol III refers to the VIDOM as the last of the Torpedo finders.
  13. Chris, you are most certainly wrong. Just look at the pictures in your books. This is NOT a VIDOM finder. It is an earlier finder introduced before the VIDOM, the earliest of which was 1933. This one was from 1931 or 1932. The VIDEO is NOT a VIDOM type finder. All of the VIDOM finders had parallax correction and had parts that were chrome or nickel. The VIDEO is all black.

    I repeat, this is not a VIDOM. Nicht VIDOM.

  14. Okay, I never stated that the finder in the photo was a VIDOM, I just added that the Torpedo finder got it's name from the way it looked. The VIDOM is a Torpedo finder. Yes, the VIDEO and VISOR were early Torpedo finders. I'm going off to drink now.
    Alex_Es likes this.
  15. Thanks for all the interesting responses (I think I'll pass on this, since I don't need it).
  16. I bought a silver chrome Leitz "torpedo" finder in good condition at Naniwa Camera, Kobe today. Its frames are 3.5, 5.. 7.3, 9. 10.5, 13.5. Don't know its acronym. I want to learn how to use it. Anyone with experience? Will post photo tomorrow.
  17. SCL


    I tried one back in the 1990s, and could never get used to the reversed image, which, as I recall, wasn't very bright either. FWIW there are usually a number of these offered for sale on the big auction site.
    Alex_Es likes this.
  18. Alex, I have a VIDOM finder with the same markings as yours and use it on a IIIg. It was designed for LTM camera with interchangeable lenses bodies prior to the 1950's introduction of the M 3 and later M series camera bodies. To use it, slide it into the camera body accessory slot. The number markings on the top of the VIDOM correspond to the focal length of your mounted lens. Rotate the ribbed chrome ring until the black index mark slots into the number matching your mounted lens focal length. Set your lens f stop and shutter speed. Now focus on your subject. Next read the distance to subject off the lens barrel. Finally correct for parallax error by moving the VIDOM lever at its base to match your lens to subject distance setting. Looking at the subject through the VIDOM's black outlined image, operate the shutter release. Note that the VIDOM parallax correction will only be accurate at the numbered lever settings, so others will only be an approximation as accurate as your practice and usage.

    I like using it, especially with a 35 focal length lens as the framing is quite accurate even if the parallax correction is not always perfect. Where it has also come in handy is I have a Canon f3.5 100 LTM lens and the VIDOM setting at 105 is my best way to frame shots without an actual 100 Canon viewfinder. It is a little fussy to set up, but it does work well as there is nothing in the viewfinder except the image. It'll mount in any Leica accessory shoe.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
    Alex_Es likes this.
  19. To correct my above post: Mine is an Imarect finder; however the markings are as describe for a VIDOM. The parallax lever and eye piece surround match an Imarect. Perhaps it is a transition design. Functioning is as above.
    Alex_Es likes this.

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