dante stella stories photographs technical guestbook

Opening that third eye...
 
Voigtländer Kontur 50mm finder
 

Ok, you've seen it in various places: the Voigtländer Kontur finder.  Here is some information that I do not believe is available elsewhere.

1.  The Kontur finder is very small.  The 50mm version (335/23, which is pretty much the only one you can get) is about 42mm wide.  In terms of depth, the main bakelite portion of the finder is 35mm deep, roughly the same thickness as a Ricoh GR Digital II.  The chrome eyepiece ring adds 8mm.  So this finder would not be uncomfortable on a pocket-sized camera (assuming, of course, that it has an accessory shoe).

2.  The only optics appear to be in the eyepiece.  The front is a black reticle that has framelines etched into it.  The optics appear to be directed to helping to focus your nondominant eye on the reticle.

3.  The reticle has a small alignment dot in the center.  The dot seems to be there to induce your eye to focus on the reticle.  It is not in the center of the field as the manual claims (at least not on most modern cameras).

4.  The framelines are quite bright and remain visible down to where you would need f/2,4 and 2/3 of a second at ISO 200.  In other words, they are visible well past the point at which you can comfortably handhold a camera.

5.  There is a huge amount of eye relief.  You can actually see the entire framelines with the chrome eyepiece about an inch from your glasses.

6.  Optimum sharpness of the framelines depends on the distance between the finder and your eye.  So don't jam your eye right into the eyepiece!

7.  Frameline coverage is similar to Leica 50mm framelines.  The parallax-corrected frameline for 1m is not field-size-corrected (i.e., it is the same size as the general frameline), so it's probably safe to assume that the main framelines are very conservative.

8.  Watch eye dominance.  I am right-eye dominant (says the doctor...) but photograph with my left eye.  For me, the right eye is the one that works better for the finder.  I would check it both ways.  You might be surprised.

9.  In terms of the mythical 35mm version, I have seen a variant called f=35mm, where the framelines are much closer to the edges of the housing.  That said, if we are talking about the same housing as the 50mm version, there would be drastically reduced eye relief (just like on a Canon P) and likely a lot of things in the finished pictures that did not show up in the viewfinder. 

10.  The 6x9 (335/82) version comes in a few variations (including sometimes extra framelines for 6x4.5) but is pretty much identical to the 50mm in frame size.  I wouldn't lose any sleep over the 6x4.5 framelines, since the number of cameras that (a) have flash shoes, (b) have 105mm lenses, and (c) do 6x4.5 is actually pretty small.

11.  The fit in some modern flash shoes could be very loose.  Verb. sat. sap.

In sum, this is a neat little piece of equipment for digital or film, though the use of 50mm lenses and their equivalents seems to be on the wane.

DAST