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Leica X1: using the LCD and the viewfinder

Discussion in 'Ask B&H Photo' started by BBW, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Chuck, I recently purchased a Leica X1 from you all at B & H, and am learning how the camera works. Right now, I'm somewhat torn between the LCD and the viewfinder. I find myself using the LCD in order to focus and choose where I want to meter, but then I feel I can't always see that well (I wear progressive lenses) and so I think - Gee, I really should look through the viewfinder - but, of course, if I move the camera to my eye my focus point will surely be off. Sometimes I feel a bit like a turtle, or a heron if I want to be kinder to myself, sticking my neck out to try to reach the viewfinder without moving the camera.:redface:

    I imagine this is just a case of my not being used to the camera and how it works. I know at least three other X1 shooters on here, and may well seek their input too, but wanted to see what your advice might be if you are experienced with this camera.

    I've got some photographs that are really crystal clear, while with some others I feel the focus is not at all what it should be. No doubt, it's my human error - not the camera's. Any suggestions would be welcome!
     
  2. Chuck-B&H

    Chuck-B&H B&H Photo Specialist

    56
    Aug 5, 2010
    New York
    Hello,

    I too have issues when I re frame from the LCD, epically since I do a great deal of available light shooting with very unforgiving fstops and shutter speed settings. Years ago I choose to purchase an M6 over the Contax G2 for a similar reason, while looking through the VF, you did not know where the G2 was auto focusing until your film came back from the lab.

    The 2 quick fixes would be using a tripod which I know is not very convenient or stopping the lens down to increase your DOF to compensate for any camera movement when you re-frame. I've spent some time this summer with the Samsung NX10 and working on my technique has been the best practice.

    Having shot with my M for many years, I am in the habit of focusing and then taking my eye away from the VF to watch my subject. When focusing on the LCD, be aware of where the camera is focusing and learn to keep a steady hand as you frame or re-frame your shot. While on the NJ shore recently we rushed my wife to the emergency room with chest pains which thankfully turned out not to be heart related. While waiting for some final test to be finished, they allowed me and our 6 year old to sit with her. Holding the NX10 at my waist, I looked at the Live View to see what was in frame and focused on my son sitting in a chair next to his mother. I locked the focus and then watched him as he fidgeted in his chair. Using his foot, he rolled a piece of hardware in front of him and I fired off a shot with him in focus and the machine in front of him slightly soft. This shot would have not worked had i just pointed and then shot as the camera would have normally focused on the closest subject to the camera.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  3. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Thanks Chuck, I do realize about the f stops and DOF. As I said some are superb but then others where I think they should be are not so in focus. It's probably just going to take me some more time and practice to get used to how this Leica X1 works best. I will also have to try the image stabilization option sometimes to see how that works, as well.

    Wow, I'm sure that trip to the emergency room must have been scary, but very glad to read that your wife is alright!
     
  4. JanCdeRidder

    JanCdeRidder SC Rookie

    24
    Aug 3, 2010
    Since yesterday I have the 35mm VC viewfinder, today I have been trying the best setup using the VC. I actually don't mind focussing through the LCD since you can easily get down to unobtrusive angels. holding at waist level and trying to peak through, this works fine indoors for me, even using the spot focussing thingie. In daylight however this becomes a trifle more difficult since, unless chimping it you are unable to focus or sometimes even compose, this is where the viewfinder comes in .... I tried with the 11 point setting, this works well in 80% of the images, the 1 point focussing works well after practicing where the exact calibration of the center point of the LCD and the Viewfinder lies.... this isn't in the center of the viewfinder, it's a tad off actually but if you know where to find it, it's sorted, even with the spot focussing. I will generally stick with the 11 point since you don't really need to use the LCD at all, and I just take 2 or three shots, one always turns out sharp. I will continue trying to better my findings.... I will keep you informed.

    Last but not least, I find the X1 an incredibly good piece of photographic equipement, within 100 or 200 shots I might even take it to bed with me... :)
     
  5. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    On the EP cameras, I often use the 17 and the finder.
    On the Pen, I set the Focus Point down 1 click. This gives pretty accurate AF with the finder.
    This should work similar on the X1.
    Shooter
     
  6. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Don, when you say "I set the Focus Point down 1 click" do you mean the location of where you're meaning to focus? As in if there were a grid of squares, you'd be down one from the location you are aiming at?

    What I've been doing is focusing on my main interest, however I attempt, depending upon the contrast of the image, to use the exposure compensation to lean towards the highlights so that I don't blow them out. It's been an interesting experience to try out different combinations to see what works.

    In addition, the way this camera seems to work is that the focus and metering are tied together. You can lock it by a half press but it apparently they work together on page 106 of the manual it says "Aim the respective AF-frame and/or the green exposure metering spot at the part of yours subject which you want to have correctly focused and exposed. As soon as focus and exposure have been set and locked by pressing the shutter release button to the first pressure point the the color of the AF frame changes to green and the focus signal lights up as confirmation." Of course one can move the camera and retain those settings with the half press.
     
  7. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 12, 2010
    Philly, Pa
    BB, on the Pens, there is a grid to put the AF target point at. I set it down 1 click on the grid. This places it visually in the center of the viewfinder.
     
  8. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Yes, they have a way to move this around too in a similar way...I just need to remind myself that it's there and how to do it.:wink:
     
  9. keliza

    keliza New to SC

    3
    Aug 7, 2010
    Oregon
    Hi BB: Just wondering if you have tried your EP2/Epl1 evf with the Leica X1. Is it a reasonable fit instead of purchasing the Leica viewfinder? I also see where people typically buy the Voigtlander view finder. Thanks.
     
  10. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    No, I didn't because my PEN viewfinder is electronic. This X1 needs an optical viewfinder. You'd want to be sure to get one that had the proper mm view, too. Some do buy the Voigtlander, some have the Helios but plenty also buy the Leica one that was made for the camera. I, too, spent quite a bit of time reading about the plusses and minuses of the different options.

    Perhaps some of the other X1 owners will chime in with their preferences.
     
  11. burro39

    burro39 SC Regular

    26
    Jul 20, 2010
    Santa Fe, NM
    Paul
    Hi BB! I have had the same problem and have had somewhat better luck in getting the proper focus on what I wanted by changing the focus point to "spot", placing that spot on the item I want to be sharp and pressing the shutter halfway. I then use the optical finder to compose. As long as you are not shooting wide open the short distance between looking at the LCD and moving the camera to my eye doesn't seem to cause too many out of focus photos. I had more problems when I set the focus point at 1point or 1point H. The camera seemed to grab focus further out than I intended. I have the Voigtlander 35mm finder and it seems fairly accurate to find center and place your focused item there. Don't know if that helps but I seemed to get more keepers that way.
    Paul
     
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  12. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Thank you Paul. I will check my settings again and see if I still have it on 1 point H, or not. I know I did. I agree, if it's a scene that is a good distance away there isn't a problem with the LCD vs the viewfinder. I think it's in more in the closer shots I've been taking. We're getting there! Thanks for your input, Paul!