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Author Topic: Best "viewfinder" compact for medium format tech camera?  (Read 2003 times)
torger
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« on: September 18, 2013, 08:17:55 AM »
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When having a tech camera which takes some effort to set up and switch focal lengths it is good to know in advance where to put the camera and which focal length to use. If you're Ansel Adams you use your experienced expert eye and do it right the first time. If you're an amateur like me testing compositions and focal lengths with a compact camera before unpacking the big camera can be helpful.

I have a really outdated compact which I don't like, so I plan to get a new one, mainly for this purpose. So the question is which one to get?

I have 35, 47, 72, 90, 120 and 180mm to my 48x36mm sensor, ie ~24 to 130mm in 135 equivalent terms. The ideal compact would thus have this zoom range, 4:3 sensor format and possibility to set a specific focal length, or at least see what it's at. I'm assuming that I'll have to translate from 135 equivalent to my MF format.

It's quite easy to find a camera with the zoom specs, but many have no possibility to see what focal length it's at or difficult to set a specific length, which of course makes it difficult to use as a focal length choosing tool. Finding out how the user interface for the zooming works on a specific camera just by surfing the web is more difficult.

I'm understanding that reducing the zoom range slightly to say 28-120mm increases the number of choices drastically. 130mm seems to be in the "superzoom" range of cameras, approximating 130mm from 120 is not too hard.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 08:28:08 AM by torger » Logged
sgilbert
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« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2013, 09:11:33 AM »
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An iPhone or iPod with an app like the ALPA efinder.  You can choose the lenses you want displayed, as well as the DB size.  See https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/alpa-efinder/id405837177?mt=8

A short review is here:  http://brianhirschfeldphotography.com/2011/12/07/alpa-efinder-ios-app-review-2/
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torger
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« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2013, 09:27:42 AM »
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Is there anything similar for Android?
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kdphotography
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2013, 09:51:28 AM »
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Yes, there is an app for Droid.  I use an app called Viewfinder.  It's inexpensive. Only slightly difficult to configure, but once done for all your lenses (and your size sensor) is extremely easy/basic to use.  I literally can use it within seconds as I am walking up to an area and decide what focal length I want to use before I even set my backpack down.  It allows you to choose the color  of "frame" for each lens you own, so you can easily see within the screen which lens has the best fov for your subject matter.

ken
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torger
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2013, 10:29:27 AM »
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I guess the main drawback with a phone app is that you cannot do very wide angles? Most phones only have lenses of about ~35mm, right? You can still see if you need a wider lens or not though of course.
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kdphotography
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2013, 11:57:42 AM »
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Yes---on my Droid (old) you are limited, but the viewfinder app "blackens" out the wider frame for the wide focal lengths, so it is still easy to see which lens focal length to use for your subject matter.
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foster_jb
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2013, 12:42:20 PM »
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Hi Torger,

Not sure if you want to go "old school," but I use a lightweight Director's Viewfinder, and I love it.  I've tried phone apps, and they are slick.  Yet I often shoot out in the cold, and then you always have to worry about the batteries running out.  Or just simply forgetting your phone at home or in the car...  The viewfinder goes in your camera bag and stays there, so you don't worry about forgetting it.  I also still shoot 6x9 film sometimes, and with the viewfinder, you can change aspect ratios to shoot whatever your film/sensor is. 

I am pretty sure that it will accommodate your widest (35mm) lens.  You can see it and the tech specs here:

http://www.adorama.com/AGPTDVF.html


Best,
Foster
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2013, 12:57:00 PM »
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I guess the main drawback with a phone app is that you cannot do very wide angles? Most phones only have lenses of about ~35mm, right? You can still see if you need a wider lens or not though of course.
for the iphone app, you can use a wide angle adaptor on your phone, and input the info on the adaptor into the app. Handles pretty wide lenses.  Perhaps the droid app does the same thing.

There is another app called Photopills which has absolutely amazing functionality ... the swiss army knife of apps. (I don't know if there is an android version).  One of its many functions is a FoV feature.  If the phone lens isn't wide enough to show the FoV, you can lock onto the center of the potential image, then as you move the phone around you can see where the desired lens will crop.

It has a ton of other features, including the functionally of the Photographers ephemeris etc. Kevin did a write up earlier here on LuLa.  Another pretty cool feature is it's augmented reality view, so as you look at a scene with the phone, you can move through time and see where the sun and moon will be ... very handy if trying to position yourself for a sun/moon rise or set with an object you are trying to frame, etc.
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Jason Denning
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« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2013, 02:52:50 AM »
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Fotoman have a view finder with changeable inserts which I like. It's small and I put the inserts in a memory card wallet. They have inserts for many lenses some you may have to use an equivalent 4x5 insert. It also goes very wide 110 degrees I think.

You buy them new from fotoman in china. I've delt with them a few times and its all easy and postage is quick.

Jason
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markymarkrb
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2013, 09:32:08 AM »
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Who do we talk to to get Tilt/shift functions for Photopills?  If it had that function, the App would be unstoppable.

Mark
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Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 06:44:40 AM »
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I've been without a proper viewfinder for my Cambo until yesterday.

I had tried using a Zeiss multi-focal length viewfinder i borrowed off an antique camera on the shelf - works ok.

What i now have is the schneider ipro case for Iphone 5 and 0.45 times iPro Century superwide lens (the second generation lenses). The schneider case can attach via an adapter to a normal tripod screw. So all i needed was a $10 hotshoe to tripod screw adapter (lots of brands of this on ebay).

Way cheaper than the cambo kit, and unlike that it's actually designed for iphone 5 (and i dont think the cambo iphone holder works with the new series of Schneider iphone lenses).

I use viewfinder pro and also have the Alpa version which allows you to simulate shifts.

What i really want is a mask in the viewfinder to simulate panoramic aspect ratios.
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Carpe lucem
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 07:05:32 AM »
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Whitey,

Quote
What i really want is a mask in the viewfinder to simulate panoramic aspect ratios.

You can accomplish this with Viewfinder Pro. Read the instructions (available here) commencing from page 32. Smiley
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Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 09:30:36 AM »
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Rtfm Smiley

Thanks arebee, i was hoping there was a way.

Is there formula to calculate the horizontal image size e.g. A 40mm lens with 15mm of shift both ways - or do you just have to estimate?
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Carpe lucem
Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2013, 09:36:04 AM »
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...formula would be 53.9 + 30mm, which is easy maths even for me, so pls ignore that last question!
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Carpe lucem
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