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ljsegil
4-Nov-2007, 10:15
I am wondering what people look for in a focusing loupe, what features help their picture taking or just make their lives easier. How much magnification seems optimal, is the ability to focus the loupe important, does the loupe need something to protect the ground glass, what or which have greater eye relief (eyeglass wearer). I'm just curious to hear about most anything that users find to be important in their louping experience, and what brands/types they find most satisfying.
Thanks,
LJS

Brian Ellis
4-Nov-2007, 13:06
I use a 4x loupe with a square base made by Peak. I like a square loop because it's easier to see along the edges and in the corners of the viewing screen (if the corners aren't cut out). I also have a Peak 8x loupe but that seemed to magnify the Fresnel lines on viewing screens too much and interfered with focusing. I also have a round Toyo loupe that I've never used because I didn't like the fact that it was round.

You'll get all kinds of thoughts and suggestions, it's just a matter of what works best for each person. But don't caught up in the idea that you need one of those $100+ loupes. Most loupes are made for viewing slides on a light table where optics relating to things such as color accuracy are important. When you're using a loupe to focus a LF camera you're only using it as a magnifying glass so there's no need to pay for fancy optics that you don't need.

Rick Moore
4-Nov-2007, 13:14
Brian, I have to disagree with your assertion. I have tried many different loupes, from the Agfa cheapo through linen testers to the Rodenstock 4x aspheric I now use. The Rodenstock loupe has a much larger exit pupil and greater eye relief than any of the cheaper loupes I have tried. It is much easier to use, especially for those of us with less than perfect vision. The Rodenstock loupe requires much less moving of the eye back and forth to find the sweet spot. The Schneider aspheric I tried also shared this characteristic.

The one feature I miss with the Rodenstock is a square skirt for viewing the corners of the ground glass.

Darren Kruger
4-Nov-2007, 13:41
I am wondering what people look for in a focusing loupe, what features help their picture taking or just make their lives easier.

I use the Toyo loupe. It's designed for use on a LF cameras with only 3.6x magnification. It's solid all the way to the base and has rubber on the base to protect the ground glass. It also happens to be the about the same height as their focusing hood so I can use both at the same time.

-Darren

Scott Kathe
4-Nov-2007, 16:40
How good is the Toyo with respect to looking at the edges?

Scott

Jim Rhoades
4-Nov-2007, 17:44
Funny, I have a Leica that cost as much as a first born child. A Toyo that I like because it's long and has the rubber base. The one I use the most is a plastic Agfa that I spray painted the skirt black. It's cheap, handy, light and it's not rocket science.

Brian K
4-Nov-2007, 17:52
I use/own many loupes. Here are my thoughts on the ones I have:

Toyo loupe- excellent general loupe, good optic, bright, no distortion could use a little more magnification, I use this loupe most of the time, but will sometime check more critical focus with:

Horseman 7x loupe- very good loupe, very long gives good distance from focus screen, has a little of the tunnel vision affect, sometimes too much magnification because it makes GG texture too strong.

Rodenstock 4x aspherical- great optic, a little short and a little too fat. Great if you're working with an 8x10 camera or larger, the fatness is a little problematic with 4x5 and 6xXcm backs.

Schneider 4x- the classic loupe, used by a whole generation of LF photographers, getting a little long in the tooth optically compared to the Rodenstock, but still an excellent optic, a little fat, but not nearly as fat as the Rodie, also a little short

Schneider 8x- when I test lenses I use this to really criticize the focus, however it is way too short to use comfortably and will make the GG texture really obvious

Mamiya 4x-12x zoom- Way too fat to use as a focus loupe, an ok optic compared to the others but I guess that's expected given that it's a zoom, better off used as a loupe on film.

Nikon 6x High Magnification finder conversion- I had SKGrimes convert 2 Nikon High Mag finders. The optic is superb, the length is excellent, however it is a little fat and has a narrow view.

None of these loupes are particularly good at viewing the corners, especially when used with a wide angle lens. The problem being the extraneous light caused by the loupe not contacting the GG fully will cause reflections and the lack of DOF that the loupes have require full flush contact.

David A. Goldfarb
4-Nov-2007, 17:54
I like the current version Schneider 4x best (the older Schneider 4x shows noticable pincushion distortion).

When I'm using a folding focusing hood, I usually use the Toyo 3.6x, because it has a long barrel. There's an older version of this loupe made by Omega, which is the identical.

I have a Silvestri tilting loupe, which is nice as well. 6x, so I usually use it with cameras that don't have a fresnel, but you can get into the corners with it and the tilting function is handy for wide lenses.

Occasionally I'll use a Schneider 6x with my Sinar 8x10", which has a particularly fine textured groundglass.

If you have a focusing chimney finder with a square base for a medium format camera, these also make good groundglass loupes often, and they get into the corners. I used the chimney finder for my Bronica S2a (with Nikkor glass) before I bought the Schneider 4x.

Brian Vuillemenot
4-Nov-2007, 19:17
I use the Toyo 3.6X- it's inexpensive, easy to use, and relatively robust. Never tried anything else, since the Toyo has worked fine for my needs.

Kirk Gittings
4-Nov-2007, 20:50
You'll get all kinds of thoughts and suggestions, it's just a matter of what works best for each person. But don't caught up in the idea that you need one of those $100+ loupes. Most loupes are made for viewing slides on a light table where optics relating to things such as color accuracy are important. When you're using a loupe to focus a LF camera you're only using it as a magnifying glass so there's no need to pay for fancy optics that you don't need. Brian Ellis

Here here.

Capocheny
4-Nov-2007, 21:38
Funny, I have a Leica that cost as much as a first born child. A Toyo that I like because it's long and has the rubber base. The one I use the most is a plastic Agfa that I spray painted the skirt black. It's cheap, handy, light and it's not rocket science.

Hi Jim,

Is that the large loupe that has the slide attachment at the bottom? The case is also round in shape about 5 plus inches long?

Anyway, it's a GREAT loupe and is very easy on the eyes with extended use.

I also use the Toyo loupe and a Horseman 7x model.

My favorite version is the Toyo 3x but that may have to be upgraded to the 7x Horseman model as my eyes start worsening with time. :(

Had one of the little Schnerider loupes but just couldn't get a good hold on them. So, off they went.

Lots of different models out there... it's just a matter of what you get use to over time.

Cheers

John Kasaian
4-Nov-2007, 21:55
I've got a Silvestri 6x. I like her swell!

Matus Kalisky
5-Nov-2007, 00:03
I am using currently Horizon 4x with square 50x50mm base. It is rather large one, but does the job perfectly. I used cheap Peak 8x with rectangular base before but it had no cotaings, field distortion and was sharp only in the middle. The horizon is also great on the light table. I like it.

Leonard Metcalf
5-Nov-2007, 00:20
My first Loupe was the older schneider 4x, which I loved. Latter I bought the Toyo one thinking that because it was designed as view camera loupe it may perform better. But in use I always preferred the schneider. I later bought the Ebony handheld loupe which you have to focus by holding it at the right distance from the ground glass. I thought that it would be a weight / space saving good idea. Basically it didn't suit me either. I also tried a 6x Peak which was too much magnification for me. As I had my first schneider stolen I recently bought the new schneider 4 x which in hind site is well worth the investment.

In summary the Schneider is by far my favorite to use on my 4x5

john collins
5-Nov-2007, 00:47
The Horseman 6X long loupe.

kev curry
5-Nov-2007, 02:58
I removed the lens housing from an old broken Paterson major focus finder and fitted it into a neat little plumbers fitting. After a little patient filling -millimeter by millimeter- to shorten the fitting, I got it to focus perfectly when placed in contact with the ground glass. Never cost me a bean and yet to be troubled by a focus issue.

Kev

evan clarke
5-Nov-2007, 03:26
I also like the Silvestri, I have Rodenstocks, Schneiders and a Toyo. The Silvestri does th job wonerfully and is half the size of the rest, one of my best LF purchases...EC

Jim Rhoades
5-Nov-2007, 06:34
Capocheny; The Leica did have a slide base that's somewhere in my darkroom. Long lost to non-use. I use it on a light table for checking negatives. It never leaves the light table. It is great for checking sharpness on the film.

For focusing a gritty ground glass any cheap plastic works for me.

Nicolai Morrisson
5-Nov-2007, 09:48
Toyo 3.6... the magnification is enough for me, and I *really* like that it has a rubber gasket on the bottom so there's no chance it'll screw up the ground glass. And the price is nice.

(To summarize: ditto Darren.)

Rakesh Malik
5-Nov-2007, 13:04
I have one of the Toyo loupes, but I mostly use my Ebony handheld loupe now. I like the Toyo, the magnification was nice as was the extra length, but what I like about the Ebony is that it's very easy to see the corners with it. It also allows you to see a lot more of the ground glass at once, which I like.

The obvious downside is that you focus by moving your hand. I just lean my hand against the frame of the camera to keep it still once I get the right distance, which I find by focusing on the grid lines on the ground glass.

Capocheny
5-Nov-2007, 17:21
Capocheny; The Leica did have a slide base that's somewhere in my darkroom. Long lost to non-use. I use it on a light table for checking negatives. It never leaves the light table. It is great for checking sharpness on the film.

For focusing a gritty ground glass any cheap plastic works for me.

Hi Jim,

Thanks... it IS the same loupe then. It's a biggie alright.

And, it's so easy on the eyes even with extended use. :)

Cheers

John Sarsgard
5-Nov-2007, 17:44
Reading glasses considerably stronger than you need work well. And they are hands free!

Herbert A Terbrack
5-Nov-2007, 18:15
Sometimes myopic vision comes in handy. I can remove my glasses and get close enough to the ground glass to fine focus (I have 20/400 vision uncorrected). Seems to work well enough for me. At least I can't see the difference. I'm not sure if this is better than a loupe but I have use the agfa and another no name loupe. I've bid on the Toyo and Schneider but some people seem to think the used loupes are more expensive than new. I refuse to pay 80 to 90 percent of a new loupe. Sometimes when you add in the shipping and handling its cheaper to buy a new one.

BradS
6-Nov-2007, 10:41
+3 reading glasses...cheap, effective and hands free!

domenico Foschi
6-Nov-2007, 17:09
The viewing lens of a broken Pentax spotmeter V.
Distortion at the edges?
Who cares about that, especially after Jim Galli has flooded the market with those Brass lenses?:)