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Mike1234
15-Jan-2010, 17:59
Does anyone here use a director's viewfinder to preview before shooting? These are the types that have adjustable aspect ratio and zoom. I'd like one that I can add a W/A adapter to and I want a nice bright/big eyepiece but I don't want to spend a fortune.

Any experiences and/or advice? Brands/models/sources/prices?

Warren Clark
15-Jan-2010, 18:22
Hi Mike,

I have a Horseman Zoom finder with accessory handle and I find it very
useful-- 90-400 mm range and I also have the 6x9 mask. I can scout
locations and find tripod locations and needed focal length with less
effort moving around with camera/tripod.. check with Jim at Midwest
Photo--the handle will be harder to locate.

Warren Clark
Ft Collins, Colo.

Mike1234
15-Jan-2010, 18:53
Thanks Warren!! I'll look into the Horseman. :)

Joanna Carter
16-Jan-2010, 01:55
The best (and cheapest) viewfinder is a 4" x 5" piece of mat board with a 2" x 2 1/2" hole cut in the middle, with a tape measure attached to one edge. Simply measure half the focal length of the lens you want to use on the tape measure and pull the frame towards your eye until that point on the tape measure touches your forehead/cheekbone - you should now be seeing approximately what a camera would see. You might find that you need to adjust the "focal length" on the tape measure to compensate for how deeply inset your eye is but, all in all, it should cost you pennies and it is as bright as the surrounding light and light in weight.

Frank Petronio
16-Jan-2010, 11:13
And you need a Beret too ;-) I agree they look cool but I doubt they come with 4x5 ratio masks. Lots of people like the Linhofs, the modern version is best.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Directors-Viewfinders/ci/3680/N/4294545150

They sell a bunch, I am sure there are a lot on eBay too.

Mike1234
16-Jan-2010, 12:52
Thanks to all who have contributed.

I have a couple of Linhof zoom finders. What I really want is a director's viefinder with long-range zoom and adjustable mask. I'm not shooting 4x5 and I want the ability to crop as well as zoom for composition. What I'm concerned about is durability, big & easy-to-see viewfinder, adjustable mask, wide-range zoom, abiltity to accept an ultra-wide adapter. All at a "reasonable" price. I don't like using held-held viewing frames.

Mike1234
17-Jan-2010, 15:05
Nothing to meet the above requirements??

Eric Woodbury
17-Jan-2010, 15:22
http://toolsforstagecraft.com/n353.htm

They probably don't meet the "reasonable price".

Frank Petronio
17-Jan-2010, 15:25
I don't think many have the more squareish film formats -- most film makers are using wider aspect ratios now.

Joanna Carter
17-Jan-2010, 15:27
Nothing to meet the above requirements??
What's wrong with a/several piece(s) of card and a tape measure?

D. Bryant
17-Jan-2010, 15:32
Nothing to meet the above requirements??
Should we start calling you - 'C.B.'? :)

Mike1234
17-Jan-2010, 15:35
Hi Eric... Yeah, nice piece but $700... no friggin' way!! :D


http://toolsforstagecraft.com/n353.htm

They probably don't meet the "reasonable price".

Mike1234
17-Jan-2010, 15:37
I Frank... I don't care about square-ish... 2:3 (1:66) and wider is fine. :)


I don't think many have the more squareish film formats -- most film makers are using wider aspect ratios now.

Mike1234
17-Jan-2010, 15:39
Hi Joanna... I respect you greatly but I don't like cards. Although they work just fine... they bother me. ;)


What's wrong with a/several piece(s) of card and a tape measure?

Mike1234
17-Jan-2010, 15:39
Who the heck is C.B.?? :confused:


Should we start calling you - 'C.B.'? :)

brian d
17-Jan-2010, 16:53
Who the heck is C.B.??


Quote:
Originally Posted by D. Bryant
Should we start calling you - 'C.B.'?

I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMill:D :D

Mike1234
17-Jan-2010, 17:20
I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMill:D :D

Ehh... I'm not really into old movies per se' though they have something more than many of today's offerings. I'm JUST talking about help with composition. :)

bvstaples
18-Jan-2010, 12:58
Hi Joanna... I respect you greatly but I don't like cards. Although they work just fine... they bother me. ;)

Card(s) = $1.00 or less

Director's Viewfinder = $589.00 - $699.00

That's a lot of duckets to spend on film, gas to far off locations, a new lens...

Just my dos centavos...


Brian

Bob Salomon
18-Jan-2010, 14:29
Card(s) = $1.00 or less

Director's Viewfinder = $589.00 - $699.00

That's a lot of duckets to spend on film, gas to far off locations, a new lens...

Just my dos centavos...


Brian



You do know that the Linhof Mutifocus Optical Finders (current ones - made for the last 30+ years) not only show what a lens covers it also corrects for field size and parallax. Those are very difficult to do with cardboard.

Mike1234
18-Jan-2010, 16:53
What I want is a Director's Viewfinder with adjustable aspect ratios and long-range zoom that can accept a .5x W/A adapter and costs around $300 or less. The $600-700 ones are out of the running.

What I'm really asking, I suppose, is are the little cheap ones in the $200-350 range any good? I want a nice clear, sharp, bright, big eyepiece.

iozone
18-Jan-2010, 20:16
What I want is a Director's Viewfinder with adjustable aspect ratios and long-range zoom that can accept a .5x W/A adapter and costs around $300 or less. The $600-700 ones are out of the running.

What I'm really asking, I suppose, is are the little cheap ones in the $200-350 range any good? I want a nice clear, sharp, bright, big eyepiece.


Hey Mike, how about one for $99.00? Check this out -

http://opteka.com/optekamicroprofessionaldirectorsviewfinderwith11xzoom.aspx

You gotta promise to report back after you get it... :)

Mike1234
18-Jan-2010, 20:24
Hey Mike, how about one for $99.00? Check this out -

http://opteka.com/optekamicroprofessionaldirectorsviewfinderwith11xzoom.aspx

You gotta promise to report back after you get it... :)

Looks interesting... do you think it's worth the $100 risk to find out if it's any good? :)

iozone
18-Jan-2010, 20:53
got me, they have a 15% restocking fee and a 30 day return policy. or you can buy through amazon and possibly avoid the restock fee.

http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Micro-Professional-Directors-Viewfinder/dp/B0021E2FII

Mike1234
19-Jan-2010, 03:30
Maybe I'll give it a try. I've heard the small Cavision is a real dog but maybe the Opteka is better.

bvstaples
19-Jan-2010, 12:41
You do know that the Linhof Mutifocus Optical Finders (current ones - made for the last 30+ years) not only show what a lens covers it also corrects for field size and parallax. Those are very difficult to do with cardboard.


I don't believe that correcting for field size, and parallax for an additional $500-600 is going to have that drastic an effect on my images. The ability to "see" a photograph doesn't necessarily lie in an expensive piece of equipment.

But then that's just me.


Brian

Daniel_Buck
19-Jan-2010, 12:43
Hey Mike, how about one for $99.00? Check this out -

http://opteka.com/optekamicroprofessionaldirectorsviewfinderwith11xzoom.aspx

You gotta promise to report back after you get it... :)

interesting! I'm not familier with alot of those ratios, are any of them close to 4x5?

GPS
19-Jan-2010, 13:41
You do know that the Linhof Mutifocus Optical Finders (current ones - made for the last 30+ years) not only show what a lens covers it also corrects for field size and parallax. Those are very difficult to do with cardboard.

Only if the Linhof finder is attached on a Linhof camera does it correct for the parallax. Obviously not the case Mike1234 speaks about. Held in a hand it doesn't correct for parallax any more than a cardboard frame does...

photographs42
19-Jan-2010, 14:38
This looks very enticing. I have 3 Linhof finders. A 5x7, a 4x5 and a combo 4x5/5x7. I have used them for years and wouldn’t go out without one.

But they aren’t perfect. The disadvantages are: 1) There is no easy way to carry it, unless I’m wearing a heavy coat with large pockets. Even then it is a clumsy shape and doesn’t go in or out of the pocket easily. 2) With longer lenses, it doesn’t seam to accurately foretell the correct focal length. 3) I wear glasses and there is no diopter adjustment built in. With glasses on I can’t see the entire field and with them off I see a complete but blurry field. I have a 35mm camera viewfinder diopter lens taped to the 5x7 viewfinder that almost solves the problem.

Not related to the design is the fact that whatever I see through the viewer is only pertinent if I happen to have a lens with the required focal length. In any event it is a great tool even if it only gets me close to what I want.

The aspect ratios of 1:1.37 and 1:1.3 are close enough to 5x7 & 4x5 respectively. It remains to be seen how easily the focal length scales can be converted. I think it might be worth $100 bucks to find out.
Jerome

Mike1234
19-Jan-2010, 14:52
The problem is weeding out the junk from the decent ones... and at affordable prices.

Daniel_Buck
19-Jan-2010, 14:56
The problem is weeding out the junk from the decent ones... and at affordable prices.

Indeed! ihave a linhof finder that is nice, but it's bulky and I hate carrying it around. Something light weight that I could keep around my neck, I would actually use alot more often. The linhof takes up the space that one of my lenses do, and just as heavy.

Mike1234
19-Jan-2010, 15:08
^^^ Then what you need is one of the "micro" versions though they aren't much smaller than the Linhof finder and perhaps larger. Also, the problem with some of the mini and micro versions seems to be optical quality. The plus side is ability to adjust aspect ratios with a simple turn of a dial.

I want a nicely bright/large/sharp/undistorted viewfinder with ability to show all aspect ratios and zoom range from 24-200mm (135 equivelent) and I want it to cost less than $300US including .5x W/A adapter. Yes, I want my cake and eat it too. This "big name" $699US plus another $100US for a W/A adapter is horse hockey. There must be decent alternatives.

Seriously... just looking for the best compromise.

I'm thinking I need to join some video forums to seek advice and report back...

iozone
20-Jan-2010, 10:38
reviews on the cavision seem to be quite good. 4 out of 5 stars for 11 reviews. that is unless one thinks the reviews are somehow staged.


http://www.buzzillions.com/reviews/cavision-vfm-11x-micro-directors-viewfinder-zoom-reviews#Overview

Frank Petronio
20-Jan-2010, 11:17
Not to hurt your brain or anything, but why don't you just use a $100 digital camera with a zoom lens? It would tell you far more information than any plain optical device, it can be more valuable for composition. Look for one that shoots 2x3 and 4x3 ratio, like many of the Panasonics ;-)

Robert Hughes
20-Jan-2010, 11:22
Think of that ... a director's finder that has a built-in spotmeter AND proof shot capability! :D

Mike1234
20-Jan-2010, 11:29
Why don't you just use a digital camera with a zoom? It really would tell you more than any plain optical device ;-)

Great idea and I have another thread proposing such an idea... or maybe I just posted in a thread... my feeble brain is half gone. At any rate, the proposed solution is to carry a small ~7" digital picture frame and a cheap DSLR with zooms or a P&S with a long-range zoom and wide/tele adapters equalling the FOV range of the LF primes. Of course, the digital photo frame will require an external power source and a mini USB input. This equipment will add some weight which isn't so bad (percentage wise) if I'm carrying the 8x10 but isn't very practical if I'm trying to remain lightweight with the 4x5.

As you said though, a small P&S with a fairly large screen is a good idea and it won't weigh much... just needs a long-range zoom and aux attachments to equal the wide range of optics I intend to carry. Id' also need a large/bright LCD for my weakening eyes.

Mike1234
20-Jan-2010, 11:35
Think of that ... a director's finder that has a built-in spotmeter AND proof shot capability! :D

Yup... think of this. LF photographers "chimping" for the best shot. What has this world come to? :confused: :D

SShhh... don't tell the folks on APUG!! :p

Craig Moyer
29-Mar-2011, 16:24
FWIW: I just ordered the Opteka Micro Directors Viewfinder for use with 4x5. I will report back to this thread when it arrives and when I have a chance to test it out.

evan clarke
29-Mar-2011, 16:27
You do know that the Linhof Mutifocus Optical Finders (current ones - made for the last 30+ years) not only show what a lens covers it also corrects for field size and parallax. Those are very difficult to do with cardboard.

I use one of these from the current model of Technika and it's terrific..my best field device..EC

Craig Moyer
5-Apr-2011, 08:13
Honestly, I was expecting it to be a bit bigger, so I was a little surprised when I opened up the box and was greeted with this:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v187/craigm1987/CRW_1595.jpg

Inside the box was the DVF in a small pouch, warrantee (1 year) information, and a small cleaning cloth.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v187/craigm1987/CRW_1596.jpg

On the actual device are engravings for various film and video formats. Super 16, 35mm, and Anamorphic are listed on one side of the barrel, with video sizes on the opposite.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v187/craigm1987/CRW_1616.jpg

The device extends to the listed focal lengths for each format, and stops at each with a resounding and affirming click. When it is extended to its maximum it is about 3.25 inches long. Around the lens bezel are click stops for varying aspect ratios (ranging from TV to 2.55). The lens cap is removed by unscrewing it.

On the back of the device is the eyepiece which has a removable rubber eyecup. Diopter adjustments can be made easily by turning the eyepiece.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v187/craigm1987/CRW_1613.jpg

Looking through the viewfinder reminds me of operating an old 16mm motion picture camera. Its devoid of any sort of markings or indicators; just a simple black mask. It is bright and clear (excuse the poor sharpness, its not representative). Sharpness is just fine for what the device is used forů

Final Thoughts

I think the device is worth picking up if you feel like you would use it. It certainly is very useful in large format photography, where moving the camera is cumbersome and time consuming. I haven't really had the chance to fully put it through its paces and decide if it was money well spent. However, after figuring out which formats translated to large format (TV aspect ratio, 10mm in S16 roughly equal to my 90mm, 20mm roughly equal to 210mm), it has already proved to be a time-saving device in framing compositions.

One particular part of the device that I find the most appealing is its construction. In an age of plastic and composites its nice to come across new things that are constructed well. The device is made entirely out of machined aluminum that is hard anodized in black with a matte finish. Indicators, letters and numbers are actually engraved into the metal. The moving parts of the device all slide well and stop with affirming clicks. It seems to be constructed exceptionally well.

Bottom Line

I would suggest purchasing this device, or one like it if you want to speed up your setup-to-exposure time. If you have trouble visualizing compositions, I would also suggest such a device. Though one thing to note is that at its widest it is roughly equivalent to a 90mm in 4x5. Those who use lenses wider should consider this when shopping for a DVF. All things considered, I'm satisfied with my purchase am looking forward to using it in the field.