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The Leica Universal Wide-Angle Viewfinder M is a shoe-mounted external viewfinder for M-system rangefinder cameras (including M8). This viewfinder offers bright-line frames to match the 16-18-21mm lens. Since the 1.33x conversion factor has to be considered for the M8 digital camera, bright-lines for 21, 24, and 28mm are also included. It can also be used with other fixed lenses that match this range. A parallax compensation dial allows for adjustment of the frame to the focusing distance, in five steps (0.5, 0.7, 1, 2 meter & infinity).
Lensrentals Leica Viewfinder Family
We now stock a few different viewfinder options for Leica wide-angle lenses. You may be asking yourself, “I just don’t know which one to try”. Well, we took an entire morning comparing the different ones we stock and offer to you a brief insight into how they stack up.
- Leica 21-24-28 Viewfinder – This viewfinder allows the user to select 3 different focal lengths. If you have or are renting those 3 focal lengths and desire a single, not too big viewfinder, you may want to consider this one. Size-wise, it’s slightly bigger than the 2 different brightline single focal length viewfinders, while being a good bit smaller than the Universal Wide Angle Finder. What makes this guy different than the other options is it doesn’t have frame lines. Instead, when you select your focal length, everything you see through the viewfinder is what the camera is recording. Die-hard Leica fans may be cringing, but it still works quite well. At close distances, the viewfinder shows a bit wider, but at further distances, it’s nearly exact. Viewfinder distortion is also corrected for with this one, for the most part. If you’re looking for a versatile, not too obtrusive option for 2 or more of the focal lengths this viewfinder covers, this is a great selection.
- Leica M Universal Wide Angle Finder – This viewfinder is designed to be a match with the Leica 16-18-21mm Tri-Elmar. The additional focal lengths are for M8 users who have a 1.3x crop factor to contend with. With that lens, it works beautifully. However, it doesn’t stop there. For M9 or older film camera users, you also have the ability to use the viewfinder with 24 and 28mm focal lengths in addition to 16, 18, and 21. This viewfinder is definitely the most versatile of our options, but it does come at a cost. What’s the cost you ask? It’s big! And by big, i mean a strange looking growth coming from the top-left of the camera an 1.5" tall and 3" wide. If you can get past this hiccup, you will fall in love. It offers frame lines for the classic Leica feel. It has two dials, one controls focal length, the other selects focus distances. This is useful for correcting parallax at closer focal lengths. With all the controls this viewfinder offers, when set correctly, it’s very accurate. Oh yea, it also has a built-in bubble level to aid in straight compositions! If you want as accurate a view you can get with a wide-angle Leica lens, here you go.
- Leica M-21 and M-24 Brightline Viewfiners – These two viewfinders I will lump together since they are nearly identical except their respective focal length. Obviously, the big difference between these guys and the two previous viewfinders is the fixed focal length. With the Brightline finders, you get a very accurate, if not a bit tight, viewfinder with frame lines. It’s definitely more accurate at further distances than close, but it’s still very useful up close. There is also a unique set of smaller frame lines that you can use in different combinations for close focus distances or with the M8 and it’s crop sensor. A couple pros for these guys are you get a very sharp image in the center and decent sharpness in the corners, VERY bright frame lines, even in low-light, and it’s the smallest option of all the viewfinders. It’s big con is if your eye isn’t centered looking through the viewfinder, the image distorts quite a bit due to the concave mirror design. If you want a small, unobtrusive option or will be shooting in low light, you may prefer one of these guys.
- Leica M
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