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Thread: Viewfinder

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Northern California


    The Linhof universal view finder costs $1200, while the Horseman model is $800. I know many photographers use a simple rectangular frame, sometimes with a knotted string attached or whatever.

    I've noted that in the video field, "director's viewfinders" are marketed starting at $200. These are made with an adjustable mask for varying aspect ratios for different video formats (1.33, 1.66, etc.) 1.33:1 would be nearly the ratio of a 5 x 7. Unfortunately they don't come down to a more square format of 1.2:1. I haven't done the math to convert scales for one of these as would apply to view camera lens equivalents. They have multiple scales for common video formats, and I am guessing they might have an extended zoom range below the 75mm min (4x5) that the Linhof and Horseman offers, that would be helpful to my 65mm.

    Regardless, I have been wondering about adapting one of these for visualization work around my view camera. An example is a Cavision VFM-11X this sells for the grand price of $200 at B & H.

    Does any one have any experience around one of these devices? What do you think?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2004



    I have no experience with a video viewfinder, but initially tried the cardboard frame which was more trouble than it was worth. I quickly moved on to a Linhof universal viewfinder and have never looked back. Being new to LF, I find that this handly little item is worth its weight in gold - especially when backpacking with a variety of lenses and searching for suitable subject material.

    The Linhof finders are fairly common on that auction site where they can generally be had for $100 - $250. You would do well to reconsider getting one to try; you could always resell it if it didn't meet your needs. Good luck.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2005


    Dan, could you please elaborate on the point why the cardboard frame "was more trouble than it was worth"? I just cannot imagine a simpler, lighter and cheaper device especially when backpacking with a variety of lenses...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Portland, OR


    HI Wilbur-

    My finder that I showed you was from a Tech IV - and while I think the new ones which have an optical zoom would be nice, I suggest that you save the money and get one of the older ones. Look for one that has a scale that gose from 90 to 360mm.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    San Francisco


    I use a half-size cardboard viewer, with a hole in it 2"x2.5". It has the advantage of fitting easily in a shirt pocket. I find it adequate for selecting amongst a set of lenses reasonably spread apart, in my case 110, 180, 240, 355, 450. It's harder to use at exteme wide angles, and thus is not so useful for me to select between 65, 80, and 110.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin


    Adorama sells a viewing device called a "Visualizer" for about $10. It's a piece of black plastic type material about 8x10 inches in size with a cut out for 4x5 and 8x10 in the center and a piece of tape with 4x5 focal lengths marked on one side and 8x10 lengths on the other. I also owned the latest version of the Linhof Universal Viewfinder for a while. I sold it and went back to the Visualizer. The Visualizer is more convenient to use for my purposes, which isn't so much selecting a lens as it is finding a composition.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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