Guest Guides Mods & DIY

How to: 28mm & finder for your Leica on a pensioner’s budget – Guest post by Geoff Radnor

My first Leica was an M2 in 1959 it came with a 5cm 2.8 Elmar to which were added over time a 9cm and a 13.5cm. I never did get a wide angle 3.5cm, but what a nice viewfinder that M2 had. Over the years I succumbed to digital and the Leica equipment went to the auction site on the bay of San Francisco.

However in November last year I could not resist a Leica lllf for $100 on that auction site, it was listed in Montreal and I live in Ottawa. So convenient, as was a 5cm Summar listed a few days later. I am back in the fold again using HP5 and relearning real photography.

Shortly later I happened to get an almost free Canon Converter B by lucky happenstance. This permits any Canon FD lens, of which there are millions, to be used on a screw mount Leica. As an impoverished pensioner this opened a few doors for me. 35mm Summarons were way beyond me as are most Leica bits and pieces. But Canon FD lens are 2 a penny on that famous site.

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It didn’t take me long before I found a 28mm f2.8 genuine Canon lens for US$10.65 in immaculate condition. My first roll of HP5 was guessing the view and setting the focus, as there is no rangefinder focusing with the 28mm Canon lens, but set at 5 feet @ f16 everything is in focus from 3 feet to infinity. Point and shoot.

This is the Canon lens that screws onto my lllf.
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Then along came Eddy’s post (thanks Eddy) on hacking a viewfinder from an old point and shoot camera. If Eddy can do it so can I, I thought. With a bit a bit of research I discovered that our dear friends at Nikon had made an AF240SV, the SV I think means Super Viewfinder. And it had a 28mm lens!

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Found one in as new condition, in a case too. When it arrived in the post it didn’t take me too long to take it apart, extract the viewfinder, clip off the plastic bits around it and there it was a large clear wonderful 28mm viewfinder. There was an old flash with a shoe held on by two screws that fitted just fine and with a dab of Gloop glue it is secure and fits on top of the lllf. Perhaps I should I buy up every Nikon AF240SV and go into business in competition with Voigtlander etc…? or not.

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The following photos are from a test roll of Poundland Agfa Vista 200. The viewfinder is right on horizontally but needs adjustment for accurate close work, that is according to my test.

Pic2

Pic3

Pic4 (1)

I would like to copy some famous brand that has a nice smooth parallax adjustment to make my work result perfect. I don’t know how to do that, so I’m waiting to see if someone else attempts it first. For now adjustments can be made as I shoot.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Mike Hinkleman
    September 8, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Geoff

    Nice job. Speaking as one with a ton of leica ‘bits and pieces’, photography is about photos and not about filling drawers with leica accessories. Myself I’m attempting to transition to photo taker.

  • Reply
    Frank Lehnen
    September 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Looks good, your viewfinder! Over the last months there have been a lot of nice viewfinder solutions here. I applaud the initiatives.

    By the way, I’m still not finished with mine ( http://www.35mmc.com/30/07/2016/hacking-35mm-viewfinder-canon-af7/ ). I got the 3D-printed viewfinder casing from Ray Yee but struggle to find the time to finish it.

    Well done Geoff!!

  • Reply
    Duncan
    September 8, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I know this is for 28mm, but concerning 35mm viewfinders has anyone ripped apart a Nikonos? The IV-A has one of the biggest viewfinders I’ve ever seen.

  • Reply
    jeremy north
    September 9, 2016 at 6:37 am

    Excellent bit of hackery Geoff. I love this kind of initiative.

    How come you have Poundland shops in Canada? Shouldn’t they be Dollarland?

    • Reply
      Geoff
      September 9, 2016 at 10:44 am

      We have Dollarama and Dollar Tree but they don’t sell film, so my brother in the UK got me a supply of Vista 200 for £1 which is worth about $1.70. Film here is $10 a roll.

      • Reply
        jeremy north
        September 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm

        We love poundland over here not least for the Agfa 200

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