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Thread: Viewing frame question

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    59

    Viewing frame question

    Hi, I'm wanting to make a viewing frame for pre-visualizing 4x5 shots.I ran into this at Toyo's website

    "Buy a 4x5 cut-out black presentation mat to use as a "viewing frame," and a small ruler. Hold the frame about 6 inches from your eye and you will see the approximate area that a 150mm lens "sees." Bring it about 3-1/2 inches from your eye and you now have simulated the area viewed by a 90mm lens"

    But in an article by Howard Bond he mentioned making the cutout size 3" x 3 3/4" for 4x5.My only lens right now is a Nikkor W 150mm.So what size cutout do most of you use for a viewing frame?I was planning on doing mine with a piece of white 8x10 matt board then spraying it with matt clear krylon for protection.

    Thanks....Chris

  2. #2
    Old School Wayne
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Posts
    1,178

    Viewing frame question

    I always used a 4x5 frame when I used one, but I've gone to the simpler method of holding my 2 thumbs and middle fingers together to form a rectangle. I never intended it to be 100 precise, even with the cutout, just enough to get a general idea of what I'd see with the camera.

  3. #3
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    brooklyn, nyc
    Posts
    5,775

    Viewing frame question

    is the kind of frame you hang on the wall for "post-visualizing?"

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    NE Missouri
    Posts
    328

    Viewing frame question

    I just use a sheet of film that I developed without exposing. Holding it to your eyes gives you the framing as well as the focal length of lens you need to use. Use a sharpie to blackout the edges if you need more of a 'frame'... cheap and easy.

    Cheers,

    Richard

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,952

    Viewing frame question

    You can use any size you want, as long as the proportions are 4:5, and you hold it the appropriate distance from your eye to reproduce the view from a given focal length.

    Mine is 4x5 inch and I attached a string to it with knots at distances equal to the focal lengths of all my lenses.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    South Bend, IN
    Posts
    100

    Viewing frame question

    I like a card that fits a shirt pocket, so I made one half-size with a 2.5" x 2" opening; I hold it at half of the lens focal length, i.e. at 3" (75mm) to approximate a 150mm lens.

    I've also created a half-size panoramic card (84mm x 28mm opening) for 617 format. I find that shirt pockets make a very convenient storage place so that I can carry these cards wherever I go.

    Regards,
    Danny www.dannyburk.com
    Visit www.dannyburk.com for fine photography galleries, drum scanning, instructional workshops and Photoshop tutorial, tips and more

  7. #7

    Viewing frame question

    I use 8x10 scraps of matboard and cut the window in the middle. If you don't want to dicker figuring the dimensions, you can just trace the outer edge of a piece of 4x5 film. The tape measures method for judging the field of view works, but if you do it enough, it is just as easy to use your free hand to guestimate focal length. Wide angle, up against my nose, 210 is the hook 'em horns away from the tip of my nose, etc. You do it enough and you'll develop muscle memory for the distances that go with the focal length of your lenses.

    I used to use the smaller size cards, for the same reason that Danny mentions. But I suddenly went blind overnight on my 45th birthday and have resumed using the larger cards. I still carry a smaller one to isolate telephoto images since my arm isn't long enough to frame the scene with the larger card.

    I also used to weight the opening to one end of the card so that I could use the fat side to shade the sun when I was framing backlit scenes, but found I prefer framing through a balanced window that looks more like what the print will look like matted and on the wall.

  8. #8
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Posts
    4,894

    Viewing frame question

    FWIW, I used the actual image area produced by a standard film holder - 96mm x 122mm - and used a nylon string with knots tied at the focal lengths I use. The trick is to remember to tie the knots sequentially (measure, tie; measure, tie) to preserve the focal distance.

    my (mat board scrap) frame

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Location
    Baraboo, Wisconsin
    Posts
    7,695

    Viewing frame question

    For $10 or so you can buy a very nice viewing board called the "Visualizer" from Adorama or other major photo stores. It has the 4x5 cut-out and a tape with focal lengths marked on one side for 4x5 and the other for 8x10. It's made of a sturdy black plastic material of some sort. It's about 8x10 or a little larger. The downside of that is that you can't fit it in your pocket but the upsdie is that when you hold it up to your eye to look through the cut-out it blocks out everything except what you want to see.
    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.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    59

    Viewing frame question

    Hey thanks for all the tips guys!

    Chris

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