I just had my ebay Beaulieu overhauled and just as I'm gearing up to do camera tests, I'm having issues adjusting the viewfinder. After I do the usual (look at something bright, adjust viewfinder until the ground glass and cross-hairs get sharp), the viewfinder refuses to get into proper focus.
Initially, I thought it was an inherent system flaw and when I used a close-up lens and looked through it, the image improved. But then after fiddling with the camera some more, I noticed that the diopter lens in the viewfinder jiggled around some so put some tape around the diameter to keep it seated; still, the diopter wouldn't focus.
Finally, I placed a 35mm right-angle viewfinder over the beaulieu viewfinder and it finally snapped into focus. So, I'm back to thinking that its the problem of a weak diopter since I have a pretty heavy contact/eyeglass prescription. There's a cheap 35 SLR viewfinder diopter gadget (I just got the right angle viewfinder for cramped quarters) that it is a dead match and I think it's the answer. Any thoughts?
I was going to do that but since I'm planning to have an Ultra16 upgrade done by Bernie at Super16, the repair folks suggested I should maybe send it off to him to take care of since they wouldn't know if the diopter needs to be repaired or if it's just my weak eyes until they saw it, and sending it to them and back is going to be $40 round trip in postage just to find out, warranty or no.
I decided to just split the difference and get the diopter gadget which is $20 and wait to have it looked at later, just to get the camera tests done since I've been putting it off. If there are more adjustments that need to be done (I had them do some tachometer tweaks), then it'll be better justified sending it off than if it was just for the diopter alone.
Good to know I'm not hallucinating this problem. I'm going to have some friends and relatives (who have better eyesight than I do) look through my rig and see if they have the same problem. If so, there's a bigger problem here and if not, I'm guilty of crummy eye sight.
Anyway, here's the ebay link. http://www.ebay.com/...=item256091cc8e or do a search for "diopter lens vewfinder Zenit". There are other similar gadgets about that are of a more recent vintage but they seemed to be aimed at DSLRs, while this was straight-up made for SLRs and specfically to address diopter issues and also has some pretty serious glass it sounds like.
The seller has the same item under two different prices for some reason, One is $9.50 and the other is $12.50, but with shipping it's all around $20. the part that clips to the viewfinder is the same approximate dimensions as the r16 viewfinder (26mm) plus round so it should be a flush fit. Be warned that it's coming from the Ukraine so get your order in before the place goes full Bosnia.
Update: so that diopter thing didn't pan out. It worked sorta but the field of view was too tight and it was difficult to make out the corners. Anway, I've started to think that it is my eyes since I've played around with it since then, i can dial iin the viewfinder fine with my eyeglasses if don't place my eye directly on the viewfinder. Still that's not exactly ideal still so I'm going to see if I can find some more viewfinder diopters that are in the USA that have a larger diameter than the viewfinder since that's what did the trick with the right angle viewfinder gadget..
You know that you should take OFF your glasses when you look through a film camera viewfinder?..
It is most important that you set the viewfinder glass for your right eye - this is critical. You can do it without the lens, by looking at a bright light source: turn the eyepiece back and forth and look at the crosshair or split screen, or whatever reference you have on your ground glass. The focus should be placed on the matted side of the ground glass. Then 'fine-tune' it again, with a wide angle lens, set to infinity. Look for distant tree tops, or something with great contrast. When set, you have optimum sharpness control on your lenses, provided they are collimated to your camera mount and give the same focal flange depth.
I have tried without my glasses and with contact lenses and it's a total straight-up bust. As I've said, I've only gotten the viewfinder to work with the 35mm right-angle viewfinder over it which, if I understand it right, is adding some additional diopters and magnification. I haven't gotten a solid consensus about whether it's my eyes or if there's a problem with the camera, but after I do my tests, I'm sending it back for a check.
Update: Okay, I figured this out and what I ended up doing was just using my left eye instead of my right and it looks fine. That was simple. I don't know if that was an obvious solution but then again hind sight is 20/20 (or in my case 20/300).
However, this was after I bought a couple of SLR correction lens (+1, +2) because I also found out that if I was was so inclined (or if both my eyes were terrible) you can dremel out the bottle cap from a liter of soda and sandwich the diopter between the viewfinder and slide the whole thing over the viewfinder. So this also works and I may keep one of these lenses since my DIY video tap was having problems focusing on the R16.
Umm, back pedaling here. I would delete what I just posted if I could. Turns out the R16 diopter had shifted. I placed it back down and it's funky again. I'll be sending this off to the overhaul people sooner rather than later.
As I need to finish up my camera tests, I decided to just throw together the DIY eyepiece to wrap things up before I send it off. Here are some pix and directions FYI for anybody who needs it. It's dirt cheap (the correction lens will set you back $10-$15) and it works.
So you need a bottle cap from a liter of soda, an SLR correction lens in the flavor of your choice (mine is +2.0), and an optional pair of swim goggles. Re: the correction lens-- make sure it's big enough for the eyepiece (most are) and it should be circular with a rubberized metal frame, and one side should have a thread. Dremel out the the inside ridges of the bottle cap and then cut a hole in the cap roughly the diameter of the the threaded side of the correction lens. Stick in the lens and slip over the viewfinder. You're done.
However, you'll want an eye cup so take the swim goggles, cut one free and the then dremel out the front. Glue in the bottle cap once you've figured out how you want things arranged and putty up any exposed holes. Now you're really done.
Here just some pix as some examples. Note that I haven't finished mine totally when I took the pix.
Reviving this old thread as I can't help but to wonder how to solve this equation: I'm very near sighted (my glasses are about -7) and this camera only has diopter up to -2. I can usually cope with the -5 that most cameras have, but -2 just isn't enough. I bought that same Zenit diopter Sir Alvin mentioned just to find out the same what Sir Alvin did -- the field of view is too narrow.
Before I go and buy a SLR correction lens, swim goggles and find my self a bottle cap, does someone have any other suggestions how to solve this problem?
With reflex viewfinder cameras one doesn’t spend $20 for an eyepiece kind of upgrade. We talk about the second most important part of the optical system after the focusing device, be it a ground glass, be it a split-image screen. We want to have a big, bright, and sharp view.
When sending the camera to a tech do clearly state the sight of both your eyes. With the Beaulieu Reflex 16 it is possible to adjust for greater myopia than what the eyepiece can correct by altering the spacer lengths within the finder tube. That will cost extra money and a little magnification. By shifting the erecting lens towards the ground glass (actually a ground plano-convex element) magnification is decreased by perhaps 10 percent. Far-sighted people have a small advantage here since shift will go in the opposite direction.
I should invest $200 to 400. A little more still and you have a second-hand Arriflex 16. These cameras have excellent finder optics, the Beaulieu is no comparison. I am sorry to bring it about in such a harsh way but the differentiating line between professional and amateur equipment is exactly the viewfinder. The most precise system by the way is the rackover. Technicians can adjust everything to a fraction of the deviations that must be tolerated with spinning or oscillating mirror shutters. Of course, the rackover system doesn’t allow accurate following of an object.
I am right now overhauling two Bell & Howell Filmo 8 turret models, a 134 and a 605. Their focusing finder offers an upside-down view of the GG and only three times magnified. I have revised Paillard-Bolex H-16 S models, their eye-level focus, as it was called, has an eight times magnification. More powerful eyepieces can be fitted. To explain my eagerness for better finders, I come from large format photography where I have a 5" × 4" ground glass.
In the end I was able to solve my problem with a Nikon F100 -5.0 diopter. I just taped it with electrical tape to the viewfinder and voila! All woes gone. Very nice amateur solution for an amateur camera.
I also noticed that ditching my small 20mm Som Berthiot C-mount lens and replacing it with an Olympus OM to C-mount adapter and SLR primes made focusing much more comfortable. With the former I really couldn't tell if the image was in focus or not...