In praise of the Voigtlander 35mm external viewfinfer

Discussion in 'Sony RX1 Forum' started by V8VCG, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. V8VCG

    V8VCG SC Rookie

    12
    Jul 13, 2013
    I just could not face paying the price for a Sony external viewfinder, so I bought a Voigtlander from Amazon.co.uk for £128. I am thrilled with it. It is small, bright, and has lovely bright-line framing. It has no distortion for all practical purposes, and seems to accurately show the area actually captured.

    Together, the RX1 and the Voigtlander finder give me just what I want - the modern equivalent of the compact Rollei 35 I used to love. I would like to know why the RX1 f/2.0 lens can't be as small as the retractable Rollei f/2.8 lens, but the results are great.

    SonyRX1+Voigtlander.
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    looks great!
     
  3. rogerc

    rogerc SC Regular

    57
    May 16, 2013
    The Hexagonal.
    Hi,

    The first, very important, difference between these lenses is the aperture. Wider aperture lenses will almost invariably be larger than their slower siblings (speaking of same focal length here

    The second, as important as above, difference is the purpose of design. As seen in the NEX 7 and M9, when a lens rear element is too close to the sensor, the optical performance of the edges suffer. When designing lenses in the film days, you could have the rear element as close as you could to the film plane without penalty to the performance on the edges (due to light falling at a very narrow angle). With digital sensors, however, you are prone to smudges and colour casts. So, you need to correct for this either by making the lens longer and having a longer distance from rear element to sensor, OR, making the lens like the RX1 Sonnar (which a feat in itself)

    The rear element in the Sonnar cover ALL of the sensor, thus making light hit the sensor at steep angles and thus avoiding the colour cast issues as well as the corner drop in performance (the Sonnar is as good if not better than the 35mm Summicron for Leica today)

    Also, again, very important is the fact that it is an AF lens. AF motors, albeit smaller these days, still require plenty of space in design to move an element. For and AF to work, you also need to make sure there is a small element in the lens design which is the lens element the AF motor moves. For Manual Focus lenses, lens element size is not so important so you can design more freely (make them smaller) as well as considering that the housing only has to build around the lens elements and no motor at all.

    Hope this helped.

    Welcome to the great world of the RX1.
     
  4. V8VCG

    V8VCG SC Rookie

    12
    Jul 13, 2013
    Really interesting and instructive reply. Thanks. The extra stop I'd thought about, but your points about covering all the sensor and auto-focus I hadn't thought of at all.
     
  5. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Can I ask a question about this?

    How do you focus when looking through this? Do you see the focus point or anything?
     
  6. V8VCG

    V8VCG SC Rookie

    12
    Jul 13, 2013
    I trust the auto-focus! I set my focal point by centering it in the viewfinder, half-depressing the shutter and finally compose.
     
  7. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hmm....interesting. And you see it just like a range finder...? With just frame lines?

    Also, a contributor to Steve Huff's blog said that he bought the 28mm one because it matched the FOV the best...do you have any thoughts on that? 28mm vs 35mm for the RX1?

    I purchased the 28mm from Adorama so I can return it if it's not going to work, but I want something like this for street/zone shooting.
     
  8. V8VCG

    V8VCG SC Rookie

    12
    Jul 13, 2013
    The 35mm Voigtlander seems perfect to me. I never had a rangefinder film camera, so the framelines plus guessed focussing - mainly using the hyperfocal setting method - were how I did it. I'm back to that, but with auto-focussing. Seems fine.
     
  9. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Thanks for the help.

    I think that the AF might work find for me too...especially at f/8 and at 2 meters distance...I was messing at my house today and took a few blind test shots and "estimating" where the center was seemed like it worked fine.

    I'll let you know how it works out for me.
     
  10. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Well.....the viewfinder came and so far...I like it.

    I did the same thing you did...center the subject, AF and recompose and it works great. I'm shooting at f/8 for this and it's plenty good with that kind of DOF. Basically, it's going to be used for street shooting and the EVF for all else.

    I also really like that it's solid and low to the camera and seems very secure.

    The ONLY issue I have is that I purchased a 28mm and shouldn't have (don't ask) and so I'm waiting for the 35mm's to be back in stock so I can get one of those.

    thanks for the tip.

    bob
     
  11. Duane Pandorf

    Duane Pandorf SC Top Veteran

    868
    Apr 25, 2011
    Western NC
    Why do you need to use autofocus when you have the camera set at f/8? Why not set the focus manually at 2 meters and let it rip? Probably have little to no shutter lag too. If I were going to shoot at f/8 with a 35mm FOV I would set the focus distance to 10 feet or 3 meters giving me 6' - 30' in focus. Setting 2 meters is going to give you around 4.75 - 12' in focus.
     
  12. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Well...that's one thing that I was going to investigate and compare and see how it stacks up against AF; I just haven't done it yet. There is a street festival here in town this weekend, hopefully I'll make it and with so many people in such a small area, it will give me a good opportunity to give it a go.
     
  13. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    Theres a 35mm Voigtlander viewfinder on ebay at the moment!! £99 Buy It Now!

    HERE>
     
  14. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    OH man...it's silver...I want black!!
    And it's 160.00 US with shipping...a brand new one shipped is only 209.00 US. And that has a no questions asked guarantee...

    Thanks for posting it thought, I appreciate it.
     
  15. V8VCG

    V8VCG SC Rookie

    12
    Jul 13, 2013
    I use autofocus because I love out-of-focus effects and generally want to be able to use the lens at a big aperture and focus on either the foreground or background. I resent that the shortest RX1 exposure time is not brief enough to let me use f/2.0 in bright light. You pay for all that glass and then Sony stops you using it.
     
  16. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Oh....I was wondering about that....I guess it's time to slap on the B&W 3 stop ND filter..... :)
     
  17. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott SC All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    That is an outrageously great looking rig

    I think I just broke a couple of commandments: covet and camera lust.

    Cheers, Jock
     
  18. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    Just did a sort of informal test of the OVF and focusing...here is what I found in my case:

    Focus was pretty easy considering there is no box to see.

    At even f/2.8 I could focus really reasonably well even close up.

    The distance adjustments in my case are as follows:

    1.) Anything past 5 feet is "center of the frame" focus.

    2.) Anything at 2-3 feet is "slightly below" center.

    3.) At 1 foot or less it's "just slightly above the bottom of the frame lines"



    And that's it...pretty simple and I really like taking a shot with no blackout.
     
  19. rpavich

    rpavich SC Veteran

    267
    Jul 17, 2013
    And to add to this last post...I was thinking (since I'm an engineer by trade and tinkering is one of my faults) if there were some way to retrofit a "+" in the dead center of the viewfinder, as long as the AF stays in the middle, your chances of hitting it would improve greatly. It's possible to etch fine lines in things...we do it all of the time in the Aircraft industry...