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Old 23rd November 2008, 11:07 AM
Dave miller Dave miller is offline
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Default Reflex viewer

Iím considering buying a reflex viewer for my 5x4. Any comments on their use, do they make focusing any easier? I thinking of studio rather than field work.



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Old 23rd November 2008, 11:52 AM
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Tricky one to answer. I have a reflex viewer and I really like it as I hate using a dark cloth. You just need to leave your eye in position for a few seconds to allow it to adjust to the light levels. You should really be using it in conjunction with a fresnel screen or the corners will be dark meaning difficult to see if anything off centre is in focus. And when you introduce tilt or swing it can be tricky to see correct focus. But this really depends on your GG and fresnel. Some GGs snap into focus and others dont. An after market fresnel may be good on your GG or it may not.
I use mine in the field and I have quite fast lenses so I haven't bothered with a fresnel.
In the studio, unless you have hot lights, then you are going to struggle to see anything other than the center if you don't have a fresnel, especially if you don't have fast lenses.

Magnification of the eyepiece is also a factor in whether it makes focussing any easier. Mine is 2X I think. Dont expect to get much more than that. That means you are looking at a large part of the image being in focus and not just a small part like with a loupe.

And like a TLR, you have to be able to get your head over it to see, which means putting the camera lower. If it fits in any orientation, then that can be avoided. Tried it once and found that looking at 90 deg to subject direction was a bit odd but its doable.

Basically I find I use the viewer to get get focus and then check/fine adjust with a loupe if I think it necessary. Depends on lighting levels. I can swing the viewer to the side on my camera.

But having said all that, a well shaded GG and pair strong glasses would probably be better in the studio as you can move your head position to see in corners without use of a fresnel. Speak to your optician (watch makers / jewelers flip up magnifying glasses)

In the field the reflex viewer gives 100% shading of the GG. In the studio, depending on lighting, that is less important.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 01:16 PM
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I have the basic Toyo viewer. Bulky but light. I use it to frame the image but remove it for final focusing and shifts. I don't trust my old eye's looking through the viewer for the final adjustments.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 02:45 PM
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I have the same viewer shown in the image... It can be rotated 90 degrees at a time allowing you to look from the side for example, but the orientation of the image can be confusing when you do that!

I'd agree with all the above. A Fresnel is essential for my 90mm or you see about a 2.5" circle in the middle as you can't bob your head around like you can under a cloth. As with a MF SLR or TLR with a waist-level finder, the image is the right way up but reversed left-right.

I use mine in the field as I also dislike using a cloth. I have wrapped black tape (actually self-amalgamating tape that won't leave a residue as it only sticks to itself) around my loupe to block light so I can use it without a cloth for the final focussing - tho the finder is fairly good for a straight shot, I do not quite trust it when using movements.

A cloth is easer indoors however as you can normally just use it to shade the gg rather than have to stick your head under it.
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Old 23rd November 2008, 05:57 PM
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I use a reflex viewer on my 6x9cm viewcamera. The viewer is made by Horseman (Graflock fitting) and it works just fine, rotatory. Again would recommend fitting a fresnel if using wide angle lenses.

For 4x5 I use an Ebony focusing bellows with magnifier. This is a straight through system and stays attached on the camera all of time. Very compact.
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