There are a number of useful accessories for Leica M cameras. Some of them are not only supportive stuff
but greatly influence the quality of the picture. I count 3 of them as key items in here…
1) Diopter lens to match the eye vision to finder (magnifying is secondary) to ensure focusing accuracy
2) Hand grip or a leather case combined with the grip to preserve stability
3) Optical view finders for wide-angle lens
The most important thing among them is diopter lens. So here we go…
1.35X magnifier + adjustable diopter
Leica M finder has -0.5 diopter for itself
The eye vision of individuals differs. If anyone can not see finder image clearly, must modify finder’s diopter in accordance
with his own eyes. As you know, Leica M is manual focus camera rely on user’s eye-sight for focusing accuracy.
While most other digital cameras have a built-in viewfinder diopter correction, Leica M is the lack of such a feature.
Leica M finder has -0.5 diopter for itself. It is the best to use as-is if you can see image clearly.
Genuine Leica diopter lens looks like a contact lens, if you have to use, in price range about 150-200 US dollars …Well …
It is not adjustable (variable) diopter, so need to calculate your necessary correction and buy matched one.
For example if you need -1.5 diopter to see clearly the finder, take -0.5 out which is finder’s own diopter, then buy
-1.0 diopter correction lens.
On the other hand, there is an accessory magnifying the viewfinder image. It is especially useful when telephoto
or big diameter lens used like f1.0 or f0.95 because magnifying image will increase the accuracy of rangefinder.
This magnifier does not have diopter correction though…
Why don’t they add diopter correction when build magnifier to make life easier?
Japanses optical company, MS Optics, made such a thing finally. It is not technically difficult since almost all
digical camera already built them into bodies. The price range is about 130-150 USD for MS Optics product.
I surprised a little when open the box and murmured, “such a tiny plastic tube patches 100+ dollars, really?”
Only after comparision with Leica genuine diopter, I started feeling better …
A pen points MS Optics ‘Magnifier + adjustable Diopter’
Right upper is Leica Diopter -1.0
Installation is simple
The camera eyepiece has the thread for genuine diopter or magnifying glass. Put the tube to eyepiece thread
and turn to clockwise until it stop. That’s all.
Diopter adjust has done to match with my eye-sight.
Note small gap with tube and ring at the end for diopter adjustment
Leica M8 original finder is indeed very clear and sharp. If native diopter (-0.5) fit to your eye, it is best to use as is.
Whatever add-on to already optimized finder will risk the clarity of the original.
Before attaching the maginifier+diopter, I exam it through bright lighting and found several layers of a green reflections
on lens elements. Seemingly it has glass lens elements (some makers use plastic lens, not glass) and apply
multi-coating on lens surface which is convincing build quality.
After attachment, I carefully examine finder image whether it changes to some extent. I concluded it keeps about 90%*
of original clarity. It is fairly high compared to other 3rd party zoom-magnifier and comparable with genuine Leica
(* This is acutally qualitative measurement, not quantitative which is inapproriate to use percent number.
But I like to express the finding still in number, 90% means ‘not a big difference with original but look closely
reveals a little deterioration….something like that)
Angle of View
M8 original finder shows a field of view about 28 mm lens. I read one time in the manual 24 mm field of view,
but hard to agree because need eyeballing around to see 4 corners of the frame. 28mm is more practical I think.
1.35 times makes 28mm to approximately 38mm field of view. This is bad news who primarily uses a wide-angle lens,
but one of options to whom telephoto or big diameter lens users as mentioned earlier.
Leica also offers genuine magnifiers 1.25X and 1.4X to boost rangefinder accuracy in this kind of applications.
3 accessaries attached
1) 1.35X magnifier + diopter
2) Leather case with hand grop
3) Turrent finder including 28mm field of view
Whatelse for wide angle lenses
My personal taste is a wide angle or standard lens, hardly ever use telephoto even though I own it.
Since I have no choice than diopter correction to overcome eye-sight issue, choose adjustable diopter built in magnifier.
Using wide angle lens is not greatly inconvenience because optical finder attached hot shoe is useful device especially
for wide angle lenses. Old Leicas like IIIc or IIIf has only one angle of view, 50mm indeed. All other lenses have to rely on
separate optical finders or turrent finder. Later Leica M3 equipped with 50mm angle of view from factory and M2 has
35mm angle of view. So using separate optical finder is not surprise for Leica users, at least for old school guys.
Leica IIIc sharkskin, 3.5cm f3.5 Summaron & Steinhail turrent finder
It requires a little practice, of course. I recommend not to guess the correct distance with bare eyes which is no way
to be consistent. Instead use Hyper-focal method, squeezing the diaphragm to middle to high aperture number
(e.g. f5.6 – f11) and adjust lens focus distance to match ‘infinite’ mark to the right side line of ‘depth of field’ indicater.
This way, depth of field become deep enough to cover from far to close distance. It is more appropriate method to use
wide angle lens without focusing.
Continue to handgrip