Wednesday, August 10, 2011

OM right-angle finder on Canon

click photo to enlarge
My sons have frequently told us that we keep things too long. I guess that's an age thing, and their children will doubtless say the same to them. But, one of the virtues of making things last a long time, and hanging on to some things that look like they might have a use in the future, is that it can save you some of your hard-earned money. Today's blog post is an example of this.

Mounted on my Canon 5D Mk2 is a right-angle finder - the sort of thing that has, for some, been supplanted by the hinged live-view screen. An optical finder of the sort shown above allows you to look down when lining up a shot in front of you. In fact, the finder rotates through 360 degrees so, in theory, it can be used in other positions too. This is particularly convenient when shooting from a very low position - for example, when taking macro shots or simply looking to achieve a low viewpoint. It can save you getting the front of your body wet and muddy or can make viewing possible without bodily contortions and strain. Canon make a right-angle finder for which they charge the absurd price of c.£170. Less expensive versions by independent suppliers are available in the £35-£50 range.

When I've been looking through my old photographic equipment that I used with my Olympus OM1n film SLR I've always passed over this Ohnar finder. It's not that it's very cheap and nasty or anything: it has a black anodized metal body, 6 element optics, a coated mirror and a +/- 2 diopter eyepiece. Because it is designed to fit an Olympus (OM) eyepiece coupling shoe I've always felt that it clearly couldn't fit on a Canon DSLR. Well it wouldn't, would it? Well, yes it would, as I found when I tried it. The fit isn't perfect - there's a little left and right play - but it's not so much because I can turn the camera upside down and the finder doesn't fall off. Best of all, and what I didn't expect, I can see all of the camera's viewfinder.

So, I've pressed it into use and it should make my macro photography a little easier. There's just one thing: the finder flips the image horizontally. That's not a big deal, however, and I got used to it thirty or so years ago, so I guess I will again!

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.2mm (48mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f2.6
Shutter Speed: 1/50
Exposure Compensation: -0.66 EV
Image Stabilisation: On