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10-13-2015, 04:41 PM   #1
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LX viewfinder brightness (FC-1) vs WLF

Got another question about the LX...

I do like using waist-level finders at times, even on 35mm - simply because on occasion, it feels less like 'shooting' people. Now I see that for the LX, you get the FC-1 sports finder, which is described in another thread by users as a fair bit less bright than the standard prism finders, and thereby as making it harder to focus properly.

Regarding the image brightness, and getting a decent focus, does anyone have practical experience using both, the waist-level finder and FC-1? It would also be great to hear about general experiences, people have had using both setups, for people, landscape or travel photography, or related areas. (Personally, I'm looking less for experience in macro or astronomical photography or other 'specialist' areas - but then, that might of course be interesting for other readers!)

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

10-13-2015, 05:22 PM   #2
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When held near the eye - not to the eye - the FB-1 / FC-1 combo is like looking through a picture window, I don't enjoy the WLF at all - it is too small to be useful for focusing that far away from my eye. I use FE-1 Waist Level Magni-Finder instead, and the FB-1 / FD-1 Magni Eyepiece on a tripod.

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10-13-2015, 05:50 PM   #3
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The FB-1/FC-1 combo is excellent and very flexible; I recommend it highly.
I found the tiny reversed image in the waist-level finder practically useless.

Chris
10-13-2015, 07:00 PM   #4
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Hi monochrome and Chris, and thank you for your feedback! Can I ask you what sort of photography you've been using the FB-1 / FC-1 for?

I sort-of grew up with waist-level finders, the first 'proper' camera my day passed on to me was his old 'Exa 1b' - with wlf. (Which might tell you something about my age, and where I grew up...!) In one way or another, I think I got used to using them when it 'feels right', so often in situations where you can work with zone focusing.

But I've never used (or even come across) anything like the FC-1 before, and so I'm curious to get an idea, of when people feel it comes in handy!

Kai

10-13-2015, 07:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
I don't enjoy the WLF at all - it is too small to be useful for focusing that far away from my eye.
I agree with this in part but I think it greatly depends on what you're shooting. The only time I really find the WLF useful (and extremely in this case) is street shooting when I'm using hyperfocal (or close to it) and can be generally/moderately sure about my focus. It's very useful for framing and shooting in a more discreet manner, but for critical focus with a shallow depth of field (especially in lowlight) it's a PITA.
10-13-2015, 08:18 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
I agree with this in part but I think it greatly depends on what you're shooting. The only time I really find the WLF useful (and extremely in this case) is street shooting when I'm using hyperfocal (or close to it) and can be generally/moderately sure about my focus. It's very useful for framing and shooting in a more discreet manner, but for critical focus with a shallow depth of field (especially in lowlight) it's a PITA.
Yes, street photography (in the widest sense) is when I tend to find wlfs most useful too. And anything with low point of view, of course. A reasonably fast lens with a proper distance scale, and a decent split-image screen tend to help of course, but as you say, in low light...

So that's what made me curious about this FC-1 thing, and the fact that it seems a very quick way to change from near-WLF handling to eye-point. This is maybe one of my biggest frustrations personally, when using a wlf: those moments when you feel that for this one shot, you'd really need to be at eye-level!
10-13-2015, 09:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by kai_in_paisley Quote
This is maybe one of my biggest frustrations personally, when using a wlf: those moments when you feel that for this one shot, you'd really need to be at eye-level!
That's usually when I flip up the magnifier.. though honestly I just rarely have the WLF on the LX except when I'm trying to be discreet. The waist-level is way easier with a MF camera with far larger ground glass.
10-14-2015, 04:40 PM   #8
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The FB-1/FC-1 is suitable for all types of photography. When rotated up it can be used as a WLF.
The high eyepoint/eye relief is very freeing. I often used mine for shots at odd angles including overhead.
Though larger than the standard LX eye level prism camera still balances and handles very well.

IMO the FB-1/FC-1 is the single "must have" accessory for the Pentax LX.

Chris

10-15-2015, 01:37 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
The FB-1/FC-1 is suitable for all types of photography. When rotated up it can be used as a WLF.
The high eyepoint/eye relief is very freeing. I often used mine for shots at odd angles including overhead.
Though larger than the standard LX eye level prism camera still balances and handles very well.

IMO the FB-1/FC-1 is the single "must have" accessory for the Pentax LX.

Chris
Maybe I should pick one up to be waiting as a welcome-home present for when it returns from Eric in a couple weeks.
10-17-2015, 07:36 AM   #10
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So following people's feedback I got hold of an FC-1, and thought I should get back with some first impressions. I do like it a lot - in bright conditions. Having the extra eye relief really makes it very easy to concentrate on your framing and composition. In low light, I do find it harder to focus than through a standard FA-1, and so I could imagine that the FC-1 might become a go-to finder for outdoors for me, but not really for indoors.

As a wlf replacement, well, I need to try... Of course, it doesn't allow you to be quite as subtle as with a wlf, you can't use the camera essentially sitting on your lap, or just above floor while kneeling - you have to get the camera a fair bit closer to your eye. That said, I'm going to give it a shot and see how it feels, using it for people / street photography, with the FC-1 sitting 'up'.

One more nice thing: with a 85mm lens (which is a focal length I really like), the FC-1 becomes pretty close ot 1:1 in scale. So if you're so inclined, this might come in handy shooting with both eyes open. Having said this, because the camera can sit so much further from your eye, even shooting with one eye closed, you still get a good peripheral vision around your viewfinder as well, so that really helps if you are looking for something (or someone) to come into shot: you can keep an eye on your frame AND the surroundings - with one eye!
01-01-2016, 03:34 PM   #11
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Downsides of the FB-1/FC-1 are low magnification, and you can't really get the camera very close to your face for support in the "sports finder" mode. But it sure is unique.
01-01-2016, 03:52 PM   #12
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Many here have written the WLF is really too small to be useful. It isn't a TLR finder by any means.

Before my cataract lens replacement surgery I used my LX + FB-1/FC-1 as my only film camera. I learned to look 'through' the finder rather than 'into' the finder for framing, then I focused by moving closer; if necessary I re-framed slightly before shooting. Of course I and to use smaller apertures for more DoF to compensate for body sway, but what O got was better then getting nothing.

Now I mostly use the FA-1 hand held and the FD-1 magnifying eyepiece on a tripod, but I still enjoy the 'looking through a picture window' aspect of the FC-1.
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