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Poor vision and the Leica M

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Poor vision and the Leica M

When someone complains about their poor vision in regards to the M camera, it's often about the difficulty to see and use the rangefinder or the inability to see the entire viewfinder. I use a rangefinder because of my poor vision. I saw my ophthalmologist today and she is always amazed I can see as well as I do considering a laundry list of eye maladies. My vision has always been poor and as I age, more stuff arrives.
I tried autofocus but didn't like the size or weight of the camera. I tried digital but am too much an ingrained film user to make the switch. The little P&S are fine but I went battery free about five years ago. My Sekonic 308 takes a single AA and that is it for batteries.
The last SLR was a long sought for Nikkormat FS. It was a beautiful camera which was eventually paired with the massive Nikkor 55 1.2 non-Ai. The problem was in 1967 a plain focusing screen was all that was offered and my eyesight couldn't keep up.
I can see the rangefinder patch well enough and know that once it's aligned, the image is in focus. I learned to scan the viewfinder quickly and to check the corners. The M4 and M4-2 are easy to carry and are just plain fun to use. The viewfinders a big and bright plus offer parallax correction and the ability to see the scene mostly unaltered. I like how they fit in my hand, the easy focus and the nearly silent shutter. Most of all, they allow me to keep going out and taking pictures, even with poor vision.

May 07, 2024 at 08:03 PM

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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Poor vision and the Leica M

Astigmatism is the bad beast for rangefinders cameras.

May 08, 2024 at 02:40 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Poor vision and the Leica M

Am in the same boat of progressive impairment. Floaters are the one thing that literally give me pause with my Leica M.
Sometimes I find the Ricoh GR3 just easier and quicker to respond. Wide angle + APS-C size sensor allow for more DOF, and thus more confidence in autofocus.

May 08, 2024 at 03:19 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Poor vision and the Leica M

As another person with not-so-great eyes I also find a rangefinder easier to focus than most of my other cameras, especially film SLRs with the split prism. The only one easier is my TLR with its magnifier on the waist-level finder; it has a leaf shutter so is as quiet as a Leica but of course it's quite a bit bigger (especially mine, a Mamiya C330). I also have a magnifying eyepiece for my Leica film camera that I use mainly for 90mm lenses.

The main situation in which I have trouble with the rangefinder is shooting images of things with complex textures and no clear vertical lines. In cases like that I usually give up and zone focus.

May 08, 2024 at 06:32 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Poor vision and the Leica M

Our brains have a great ability to adjust. I am farsighted and I had occasional double vision, but I had no trouble focusing with m4, or c330, or any autofocus camera I might not see frame lines well, but I can see movement and brain makes sense when stuff gets aligned. It means I have to move focus back and forth every time I focus manually.

While I am able to do all that stuff, I don't feel like it is an important part of my image making. Cameras with built-in diopter adjustments and autofocus are great help.

Also, I absolutely have no idea how it works, but I still have no trouble shooting firearms with all kind of sights. It just works despite of the fact I cannot see much. Red dots are naturally the easiest, but iron sights are just fine too.

May 08, 2024 at 09:41 AM

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