A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Large Format > Cameras > Linhof Viewfinder

Linhof Viewfinder

David Nash , Aug 15, 2002; 03:16 p.m.


I'm looking for a viewfinder that would be suitable for a 5x4" camera. I popped into a local dealer today, and they had an old Linhof viewfinder. It was variable between 90mm and 300mm(I think), and had a mask for 6x9cm. It also had a rotary knob on the back that moved the body of the viewfinder downwards to correct for parallax. I'm tempted to buy it, but just wondered if there was anything else available. Are these still available new, and if so, how much are they. This old one was around $300. The only other thing I might want, is something that will cope with shorter lenses than 90mm.


    1   |   2     Next    Last

Michael Alpert , Aug 15, 2002; 04:22 p.m.

I guess I'll ask a question back. What is wrong with just using your ground glass for composition? An alternative would be a focusing frame (Ebony makes these), which I think would work. Or a piece of cardboard with an opening and a neck strap to help you hold it at the correct distance. I must admit that I've never tried anything other than my camera's ground glass, but maybe another device would be a good idea. Frankly, the Linhof viewfinder sounds a little awkward and expensive.

David Nash , Aug 15, 2002; 05:23 p.m.

Thanks for your response, Michael. I, too, normally use the groundglass for composition and focussing, but I'm planning on using the camera hand-held, hence the requirement for some sort of viewfinder. I don't really want to use a wire frame. I could probably use a 35mm viewfinder (maybe Voigtlander), but the aspect ratio would be wrong (although I could probably make a mask), and they don't have the parallax adjustment, etc. I seem to recall that Horseman made a zoom finder, but I remember that it looked quite heavy, and seemed to be more of a compositional aid, to be used for evaluating a scene and deciding what focal length lens to use. Anyway, I'd still be interested to hear other comments.

The Linhof viewfinder was a lot lighter than it looked - and it would be a cinch to use.

Steve Baggett , Aug 15, 2002; 05:34 p.m.

The Linhof multifocus viewfinder is available new. It covers 75mm-350mm and retails at B&H for $1195.95 . Yes, that's right: one-thousand two hundred dollars less 5 cents.

triblett Lungre-Thurd , Aug 15, 2002; 05:37 p.m.

i love mine...

it was a chunk of money though. you could check into other formats... like old rangefinder stuff at swap meets... see if you can find one that matches the focal length of yer particular lenses. wear a gaggle of 'em 'round yer neck on a chain and play director. but uh... yeah.

i've found i can scout a location with it... without unloading the car... see if a winner is there and save lots of time. you'll have an idea of yer tripod height... lens selection... it's nice.

try it mike... you'll see,


p.s. it's the only way to go for handholding... not accurate really unless you compare it to the sportsfinder(wireframe). but close enough.

triblett Lungre-Thurd , Aug 15, 2002; 05:44 p.m.

mine's of late 50's vintage... 90 to 360mm.

paid $150 for it... parallax knob and front rotating bezel is chrome... no masks. a bit of the mirror-surfacing on the frame lines is gone.

other than that, it works like a charm,


triblett Lungre-Thurd , Aug 15, 2002; 05:47 p.m.

sorry but i keep thinking of things... if yer shooting a tech handheld? you gotta have the a-grip too.

a life saver..


p.s. got that cheap too...

Colin Carron , Aug 15, 2002; 06:50 p.m.

MPP in the UK had a zoom optical finder made by the German firm Tewe. It was called the Polyfocus. It does 90-360mm and can be found occasionally s/h in the usual place and much more reasonably than the Linhof.

more on www.mppusers.freeuk.com

Michael Kadillak , Aug 15, 2002; 06:57 p.m.

This subject has been kicked around many times over the last few years. While I find my Linhof finder invaluable and an important component to the composition equation in 4x5, 5x7 and 8x10, your question has two correct answers. If you can afford an older one for $150-$200, that is great. You will find it very worthy of a lifetime of use. The newer $750+ view finders from Linhof are strictly for those shooting hand held Master cameras with cammed lenses. Now if you are not able to afford one I suggest finding an old Zone VI viewing filter for B&W and tying knots in the laynard at the distance from your nose to the filter for the focal lengths of the lenses in your camera case. You could do the same thing with a piece of stiff cardboard or plastic. Without years of experience behind the ground glass, shuffling a camera on a tripod with all of the accessories to another "better" location even if it is only 10 feet away is a hassle squared. I for one want to know that when I drop legs, I am reaching for the right lens and am preparing to make a photograph, not fiddling with what I thought was going to be on the ground glass that is not what I am seeing there.

Wayne Crider , Aug 15, 2002; 08:20 p.m.

I just picked up a nice Lindhof for $175 and had to come up with a way to center it over my camera but not on top of the distance scale for my Super Graphic rangefinder. Got it done and now all I have to do is drill for a set screw. Be advised that the base of the Lindhof viewfinder will cause you to finagle a solution. Some shoes fit it, others don't.

    1   |   2     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses