Ken Smith  fine art photography  


Universal Viewfinder 

This is a great accessory if you have anything but a normal 50mm lense on your rangefinder. Anything other than 50mm, and the view through the camera's viewfinder won't match what the lense is seeing. This Russian 'turret' viewfinder has it all. It has the proper view for 28, 35, 50, 85, & 135mm lenses, plus it has parallax adjustment for each lense size when one is close-focusing. This viewfinder, unlike the VIDOM copy below, gives a full size view of each focal length perspective because it uses a separate lense for each focal length. The view is bright and clear, and upright. It looks a bit bulky, and even somewhat lethal, but it is nicely engineered. Above, I have my turret finder mounted on my Fed-2d with a Jupiter-12 35mm lense installed. 


VIDOM copy finder 

OK, this isn't Russian, but when I saw this copy of a Leitz VIDOM viewfinder on eBay, I knew I had to have it. Compared to the turret finder, above, it looks streamlined and elegant. I have a picture of the master, Bresson, shooting with a VIDOM finder on his Leica. This finder has the same lense settings as the turret finder - 28 to 135mm, but it has some fatal flaws. Since it is using only one lense, it can only vary the window size to approximate the view a particular lense is the setting for a 135mm lense makes for a very small window to peer through. And, if that wasn't enough, the image is backwards, left to right. It has parallax adjustments, and looks nice from the outside, but compared to the picture-window view given by the turret finder, the VIDOM copy finder is difficult to use. Above, I have it mounted on a Zorki-4 with a Jupiter-9 85mm lense. It looks so nice, maybe I'll get used to its shortcomings. 


Smena Rangefinder 

All the Russian cameras I have so far have built-in rangefinders. Actually I bought this Russian rangefinder accessory to use with my Agfa Isolette II. Unfortunately, after I got it I found it mounted on the Agfa's flash shoe too far to the right, on top of the shutter release! Unless I can find a riser for my flash shoe, I'll have to handhold this rangefinder when I want to use it. It is adjusted accurately, but the last number on the dial is 10 meters then only a short space before the Infinity symbol. It would take some practice to judge the distance between those settings. Maybe one day I'll just have to pay the price for a sweet Voigtlander rangefinder accessory, and do my Agfa right.


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