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Thread: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

  1. #1
    LJ Segil
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    Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    I am wondering what people look for in a focusing loupe, what features help their picture taking or just make their lives easier. How much magnification seems optimal, is the ability to focus the loupe important, does the loupe need something to protect the ground glass, what or which have greater eye relief (eyeglass wearer). I'm just curious to hear about most anything that users find to be important in their louping experience, and what brands/types they find most satisfying.
    Thanks,
    LJS

  2. #2

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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    I use a 4x loupe with a square base made by Peak. I like a square loop because it's easier to see along the edges and in the corners of the viewing screen (if the corners aren't cut out). I also have a Peak 8x loupe but that seemed to magnify the Fresnel lines on viewing screens too much and interfered with focusing. I also have a round Toyo loupe that I've never used because I didn't like the fact that it was round.

    You'll get all kinds of thoughts and suggestions, it's just a matter of what works best for each person. But don't caught up in the idea that you need one of those $100+ loupes. Most loupes are made for viewing slides on a light table where optics relating to things such as color accuracy are important. When you're using a loupe to focus a LF camera you're only using it as a magnifying glass so there's no need to pay for fancy optics that you don't need.
    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.

  3. #3

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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    Brian, I have to disagree with your assertion. I have tried many different loupes, from the Agfa cheapo through linen testers to the Rodenstock 4x aspheric I now use. The Rodenstock loupe has a much larger exit pupil and greater eye relief than any of the cheaper loupes I have tried. It is much easier to use, especially for those of us with less than perfect vision. The Rodenstock loupe requires much less moving of the eye back and forth to find the sweet spot. The Schneider aspheric I tried also shared this characteristic.

    The one feature I miss with the Rodenstock is a square skirt for viewing the corners of the ground glass.

  4. #4

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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    Quote Originally Posted by ljsegil View Post
    I am wondering what people look for in a focusing loupe, what features help their picture taking or just make their lives easier.
    I use the Toyo loupe. It's designed for use on a LF cameras with only 3.6x magnification. It's solid all the way to the base and has rubber on the base to protect the ground glass. It also happens to be the about the same height as their focusing hood so I can use both at the same time.

    -Darren

  5. #5

    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    How good is the Toyo with respect to looking at the edges?

    Scott

  6. #6

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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    Funny, I have a Leica that cost as much as a first born child. A Toyo that I like because it's long and has the rubber base. The one I use the most is a plastic Agfa that I spray painted the skirt black. It's cheap, handy, light and it's not rocket science.

  7. #7

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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    I use/own many loupes. Here are my thoughts on the ones I have:

    Toyo loupe- excellent general loupe, good optic, bright, no distortion could use a little more magnification, I use this loupe most of the time, but will sometime check more critical focus with:

    Horseman 7x loupe- very good loupe, very long gives good distance from focus screen, has a little of the tunnel vision affect, sometimes too much magnification because it makes GG texture too strong.

    Rodenstock 4x aspherical- great optic, a little short and a little too fat. Great if you're working with an 8x10 camera or larger, the fatness is a little problematic with 4x5 and 6xXcm backs.

    Schneider 4x- the classic loupe, used by a whole generation of LF photographers, getting a little long in the tooth optically compared to the Rodenstock, but still an excellent optic, a little fat, but not nearly as fat as the Rodie, also a little short

    Schneider 8x- when I test lenses I use this to really criticize the focus, however it is way too short to use comfortably and will make the GG texture really obvious

    Mamiya 4x-12x zoom- Way too fat to use as a focus loupe, an ok optic compared to the others but I guess that's expected given that it's a zoom, better off used as a loupe on film.

    Nikon 6x High Magnification finder conversion- I had SKGrimes convert 2 Nikon High Mag finders. The optic is superb, the length is excellent, however it is a little fat and has a narrow view.

    None of these loupes are particularly good at viewing the corners, especially when used with a wide angle lens. The problem being the extraneous light caused by the loupe not contacting the GG fully will cause reflections and the lack of DOF that the loupes have require full flush contact.

  8. #8
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    I like the current version Schneider 4x best (the older Schneider 4x shows noticable pincushion distortion).

    When I'm using a folding focusing hood, I usually use the Toyo 3.6x, because it has a long barrel. There's an older version of this loupe made by Omega, which is the identical.

    I have a Silvestri tilting loupe, which is nice as well. 6x, so I usually use it with cameras that don't have a fresnel, but you can get into the corners with it and the tilting function is handy for wide lenses.

    Occasionally I'll use a Schneider 6x with my Sinar 8x10", which has a particularly fine textured groundglass.

    If you have a focusing chimney finder with a square base for a medium format camera, these also make good groundglass loupes often, and they get into the corners. I used the chimney finder for my Bronica S2a (with Nikkor glass) before I bought the Schneider 4x.

  9. #9
    Is that a Hassleblad? Brian Vuillemenot's Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    I use the Toyo 3.6X- it's inexpensive, easy to use, and relatively robust. Never tried anything else, since the Toyo has worked fine for my needs.
    Brian Vuillemenot

  10. #10
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Favorite Focusing Loupe?

    You'll get all kinds of thoughts and suggestions, it's just a matter of what works best for each person. But don't caught up in the idea that you need one of those $100+ loupes. Most loupes are made for viewing slides on a light table where optics relating to things such as color accuracy are important. When you're using a loupe to focus a LF camera you're only using it as a magnifying glass so there's no need to pay for fancy optics that you don't need.
    Brian Ellis

    Here here.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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