View Full Version : Linhof Sports Finder

31-Aug-2010, 14:10
I've come into possession of a Linhof sports finder for a Tech V. I'm a little confused about some nuances of these. What focal lengths are they compatible with? How do they work with a recessed lens board, when the standard may be racked out a little further?

al olson
31-Aug-2010, 14:38
If yours is like mine there are two fold down forward frames. The small one is for the telephoto lens somewhere around 210 to 240 mm. The larger one is for use with the normal lens, somewhere between 127 and 150mm.

Press photographers didn't use a wide angle lens much for sports photography. Therefore there is no need for a wide angle viewing frame nor a recessed board. Likewise, we didn't rack the bellows out very far. Most sports photos were made from 10 feet and beyond.

Typically there was more on the negative than what you would view through the sports finder. The purpose of the finder was to make certain that the photographer would get everything he wanted onto the negative. When we went to the darkroom we would crop the images down before we gave the to the editors.

One of my Kodak Data Guides from around 1954 mentions that press photographers seldom used more than 1x1.5" of the negative. From my experience I think this was true at least for sports photography. (Can you say 35mm.)

The Speed Graphics and Super Graphics had a collapsible sports finder built into the camera and this was all I used. It was designed for a normal lens which was all that most of us owned.

31-Aug-2010, 15:32
Hmm..thanks for the info. mine only has one frame though, and a peep sight to correct for parallax. I suppose I will try to some comparisons to the GG tonight to see how close it is.

al olson
31-Aug-2010, 15:54
These wire-frame viewfinders were really intended for press photography and not to give a close match to negative area. The fact that it would be used with "normal" lenses from 127 to 150mm indicates that there will be error when determining the edges.

These finders were intended for hand held work. If you were into street photography, this kind of view finder would work best.

In fact, I used mine more as a gun sight than for determining composition. I always tried to get the subject in the center of the frame. Then I would crop it in the darkroom for composition. I never bothered to set the parallax on the rear peep. It was close enough.

If you see any photos from the 40s through early 60s with press photographers in view you will see that the cameras have the wire-frame viewfinders extended.

I should also mention that these wire-frame finders are handy if you are shooting action where you have the need to pan. It is much easier to pan if you are viewing the whole scene instead of the tunnel vision that you have through optical finders.

Since the wire-frame finders are intended for (in your case) normal lenses, I find it handy to mount it on the accessory shoe of my MF or 35mm cameras whenever I will be making panning views with a normal lens.

Ed Richards
31-Aug-2010, 16:25
I know someone will correct me, but if you are using a lens whose focal length and flange focal length are about the same, on a flat board, then the wire frame will work correctly whether it is a 90, 135, 150, or anything else.

al olson
31-Aug-2010, 19:01
If I understand what you are saying, that would not be true. The wire frame when viewed through the peep site is designed to approximate the field of view of a normal lens, or as with my Linhof sport finder which also has a second, smaller wire frame to approximate the field of view of a near telephoto. There is no other mechanism to change the field of view in concert with the focal length of the lens.

With the Linhof sport finder accessory the front wire frame stays stationary. Now with the Graphic cameras, on the other hand, the wire frame moves with the front lens board. In that sense, the field of view would become narrower as the bellows are extended.

The movement of the wire frame with the front standard on the Graphics is usually an insignificant change in the field of view, except for extreme extension. And under those conditions, why use a wire frame finder? I don't think it would match the camera's field of view for, say, macro photography.

al olson
31-Aug-2010, 19:18
Ed, I believe I misinterpreted what you were trying to say. In fact, with the Graphics, the wire frame is positioned in accordance with the focal length of the lens when it is at infinity. In that case, the field of view would be wider for a wide angle lens and narrower for a longer lens.

However, this is a very crude match up and I would be surprised if the angle of view would scale well with the focal length, especially at different focus distances. And, of course, this would not work at all with the Linhof sport finder accessory which has the front frame at a stationary, fixed distance from the peep sight.

I should mention that Linhof also has another wire frame accessory that plugs into the front standard and that is separate from the peep sight. I have never seen one of these, however.

Whenever I shoot with my Super Graphic I expect to see much more on the negative beyond what I view through the wire frame finder.

31-Aug-2010, 20:18
Hi Al,

I have the latter type of peep sight accessory, which plugs into the front standard and moves with the front standard.