View Full Version : How to use a wire frame finder?

Frank Petronio
24-Jan-2007, 22:15
I never read the instructions. I never had the instructions. Are they dangerous? ;-)

Any significant differences between a Crown Graphic or a Linhof Technika in regards to the use of their wire frame finders? What is the focal length represented -- 135? 150? or sort in that range? Obviously they can't be that sloppy if they build parralax adjustment into the eyepiece, right? Thanks - FP

24-Jan-2007, 22:25
hi frank

i can't speak for a crown or linhof
but on my pacemaker speed graphic
there are little markings on the side.
i believe they say 6, 10, 15 - focal length.
you can pull the bottom of the finder up
and it will click to each of the markings.
i have used mine quite a

but it doesn't have paralax adjustment, just
a little thing to look through ...
maybe you are thinking of the viewfinder ?
it used little masks that slide infront of the finder
that crop the view.

the whole list of them is here on graflex.org (http://graflex.org/speed-graphic/viewfinder-masks.html)

- john

Frank Petronio
24-Jan-2007, 22:43
The optical viewfinders are different parts that can do the same job. I think those markings "6, 10, 15..." are for parralax! Are you using the front the part that is over the front standard? They rear viewer part should rise as you focus closer, so the "6" should be the highest position...

I have the basic concept down, I am wondering in practical usage how people use theirs. Do you put your eye right up to the viewer hole and center it withing the front frame? That's what I suspect you do but I want to hear it from some old-timer who knows it cold.

Mark Sampson
25-Jan-2007, 05:34
The basic concept was "point'n'shoot". With big flashbulbs @ f/16 and a wideangle lens (127 Ektar). You cropped in the darkroom, making a quick 8x10 from the still-wet neg, in order to make the late edition of the paper.

Ole Tjugen
25-Jan-2007, 06:18
Sinc the front wire is mounted on the front standard, it will work just the same for all focal lengths (as long at you don't use a telephoto lens).

Just think about it for a moment: The longer the focal length, the farther from the film plane is the lens. Since the wire frame follows the lens, it frames a narrower angle.

With a front frame the size of the film and a rear sight about the same as the aperture, what you see is what you get. Even including rise and shift (but not parallax).

25-Jan-2007, 06:19
I use the wire frame finder frequently on both my Anniversary Speed and my Pacemaker Crown. As John said, the Crown has the markings for distance. Those markings, together with the varying distance of the lens from the negative as it's focused take care of parallax. They also take care of focal length - the longer lenses focus farther out from the camera back, and with the wire frame on the front standard, it automatically takes care of focal length.

Yes, you put your eye to the peep sight in the rear and center it on the wire frame.

All of this is relative, of course. You probably won't get the accuracy at the edges that you'd get using the ground glass. Just make a few test shots to see how well it frames the actual negative. It's somewhat like 35mm where different manufacturers had different ideas about where the viewfinder edges should be in relation to the actual film edges.

I use my Crown for photojournalism type photography, so the speed available with the wire frame is an asset. With the Speed, I use a Zone Plate - it's about f/80, so focusing on the ground glass is almost impossible. I've found using the wire finder is good enough for that work, too.

Frank Petronio
25-Jan-2007, 08:14
Wow, duh, I never thought that the longer the lens the smaller the front wire frame would appear. THANKS it is the obvious that I need help with and that helps alot!

Walter Foscari
25-Jan-2007, 08:38
Used it a lot at one time with a Super Graphic. Works pretty well once you have the basics down and a bit of practice. I was able to get pretty precise framing, even with a bit of front rise.
Most annoying things: the super G has a revolving back but the wireframe is landscape format only. The grafmatics are just perfect for this were it not for the extra thickness on the back that makes it harder to get your eye up close to the peep sight (bulgy eyes would help I guess ;-)