Leica Magnifier Questions

Mijo

Veteran
Apr 11, 2013
San Francisco
I relatively new to Leicas and rangefinders, I used my friends M9 for about a week before buying an M-E, so I'm still getting used to learning how to focus. I only have two lenses, 50 summilux and the 28 elmarit, and I'm considering getting one of the magnifiers to help improve my focusing with the 50.

From what I've read online it seems that the magnifiers are normally used for FL at around 50 and greater, so I'd probably need to take it off when using the 28 or pick up a viewfinder. How hard is it to take the magnifier on and off? Does it make sense to remove it when using the 28 or should I pony up and get a viewfinder to go with the 28 so that I can leave the magnifier on all the time? I'm more inclined to just pick up a viewfinder for the 28 so that I can leave the magnifier on as I'll pick up some longer lenses when I have a need / money.

Also I wear glasses all the time and I read conflicting information about users with glasses and the magnifier. Will there be any issues with the magnifier if I'm wearing glasses? Any input is greatly appreciated.
 

usayit

Veteran
Sep 4, 2010
There are two magnifiers.... x1.4 and x2.0

More than likely... the x1.4 with the 50mm. i use the x2.0 with the M8 for use with my noctilux. I am pretty sure you wont be able to see the 28mm framelines. They twist on... I wouldnt find it very fluid switching it on and off.

You can find good quality magifiers of varying magnifications as well as versions that decrease magnifications for use with eyeglasses from Matchtechnical.
 

usayit

Veteran
Sep 4, 2010
btw... since you are new, I would highly recommend trying it out without the viewfinder for a while to really get a sense of what you need... if the need even exists. Imhave helped a few "new" people into rangefinder world... some stayed and some did not... its not for everyone... But what is guaranteed is practice with the least complexity added. For example, many shooting very fast on 50mm or longer dont realize that the focus plane moves during recomposition.... with a little practice... they learn to compensate and enjoy doing so. This is especially true with the 50 f1 as well as the 75mm summicron which is often why these two lenses get sold and resold often....
 

BrianS

Hall of Famer
Apr 3, 2013
I have the Leica 1.25x magnifier, bought it used. I also have a Chinese made 1.25x magnifier that goes for ~ $100 on Ebay. I can focus the 50/1.1 Nokton without problems.

If you wear glasses, you need to be careful. I put a layer of plastic over the Chinese made magnifier. The optical quality of my adapter is quite good, can't tell the difference between the two.

The third-party one that I have is the same as this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-25x-for-Leica-M-M3-M6-M7-M8-M9P-50mm-75mm-90mm-135mm-F1-2-1-4-2-8-4-Lens-Black-/261161302466?pt=US_Viewfinders_Eyecups&hash=item3cce6d39c2

I leave them on when using a 35mm lens, great for the 35/1.2 Nokton. For the 28- it needs to come off.
 

chalkdust

Regular
Apr 3, 2013
I have M8.2, a 1.25 magnifier, and a -3 diopter lens for my viewfinder. At the current time, I wear contacts, so I do not use the -3 diopter, but a year ago I used it. Both the 1.25 magnifier and the diopter correction screw on to the viewfinder somewhat like filters screw on in front of a lens. I was able to use both the magnifier and the diopter correction at the same time. The diopter correction screws into the 1.25 magnifier. My actual eyeglass prescription is -3.25 and I have astigmatism correction also, but the -3 diopter was sufficient for me to accurately focus.

With glasses on, I cannot see the entire viewfinder edges on my M8.2 without looking around, that is, slightly moving my eye and the camera. So wide angle lenses required me to use the diopter correction, (or my current contact lenses), or just live with the slight limitation and do my best. Doing my best worked pretty well, by the way.

The magnifier and the diopter correction are easily put on and taken off. However, because they are quite small, they could be tricky to manage in the field - not impossible, just tricky.

If you are having trouble focusing a 50mm f/1.4 lens wide open, remember that the depth of field is only a couple inches at most. So the slightest movement of you or the object after you focus will result in some blur. No magnifier will correct this. And this is not any kind of defect in any equipment. It is just part of the fun and "sport" of photography. :)

You have some great equipment. Enjoy!
 

Mijo

Veteran
Apr 11, 2013
San Francisco
Thanks for all the input, you've given me a lot to think about. I'll spend another month with what I have and then decide whether to get a magnifier and potentially a diopter as well. Thanks for letting me know about third party magnifiers as I hadn't looked into those.
 

BrianS

Hall of Famer
Apr 3, 2013
Are you seeing a blurry view through the viewfinder all the time, both eyes?

I hace found the Leica finder has a slight diopter to it, the Chinese made adapter does not. SO- when i use my older, stronger prescription- a "little" blurry. With the correct prescription, slightly undercorrected- it's fine.

IF the problem is the pictures are out of focus using the finder, it might be the lens is off and the degree is only noticeable with the more accurate focus of the 1.25x.
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
This morning, I have tried using the 35 Lux and then the 75 Lux wide open with and without the 1.25X magnifier.

1. When I look through the magnifier alone, everything is clear.
2. When I use the magnifier with the 35 Lux, things get less clear than not using the piece.
3. Using the 75mm Lux wide open has always been easy for me. The 1.25X does not help me at all in focusing with this lens. The results are sharper than when using the 35 Lux wide open.
4. My eye sight is still OK, and I do not wear glasses. A + 0.5 diopter would help though for dark scenes.

Overall, I would say that the combination of {1,25X; M9 VF; my eye sight} is not working well as a team. It is interesting that quite a few users of non-Leica magnifiers are happy with their magnifiers.
 

brusby

Regular
Mar 1, 2014
I had the same experience of things getting fuzzy through the Leica 1.4x magnifier. However, unlike you Raid, I am a little nearsighted and am starting to need just a slight correction (+1) for distance.

I'm pretty sure it's just the magnifier making any focus problems or unsharpness more apparent. I have two solutions. If I want to use the Leica 1.4x I correct it with either a pair of glasses or a screw on diopter. Cheap reading glasses from the corner drugstore work fine. But the problem with that approach is a different amount of correction is required depending on the subject's distance from the camera -- I need a +1 diopter for infinity and +2 for close work. Glasses are quicker and easier to change but they make it difficult to see the whole frame with wide lenses. Screw on diopters are more of a pain to change but allow a better view.

So I eventually broke down and got a magnifier with a variable diopter built in. It can be adjusted simply by twisting the diopter a quarter to half turn. I feel that is the best solution, at least for people like me who need different amounts of correction for different distances, because I can always dial in the exact amount needed to have a perfectly sharp image.

Good luck!

ps The magnifier isn't needed as much for wide lenses like the 28mm. It can easily be unscrewed with just a couple of twists. I'd carry a little cloth jewelry bag to put it in till needed again.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
Thank you for the tips. I don't need the magnifier right now, but I thought that it would be useful to improve sharpness of images by improving my focusing. It could me that my eyes do not work well with such a magnifier.
 

Peter Klein

Regular
Dec 31, 2014
Seattle
Peter Klein
Raid: Either a Leica diopter or a magnifier that has an adjustable diopter is what you need. I have the little Megaperls 1.15x magnifier, which works great--it has an adjustable diopter setting, and it gives the digital Ms roughly the same magnification of the 0.72x film Leicas . Unfortunately, it sin't made anymore, but sometimes you can find one for sale. One drawback: the cutouts that you use to turn the diopter adjustment can scratch eyeglasses, if you wear them.
 

Peter Klein

Regular
Dec 31, 2014
Seattle
Peter Klein
Brian: That reminds me--what did you use to "put a layer of plastic over the Chinese made magnifier"? I've got the 1.15x Megaperls, and I'd love to put something on it to protect my glasses.
--Peter


I have the Leica 1.25x magnifier, bought it used. I also have a Chinese made 1.25x magnifier that goes for ~ $100 on Ebay. I can focus the 50/1.1 Nokton without problems.

If you wear glasses, you need to be careful. I put a layer of plastic over the Chinese made magnifier. The optical quality of my adapter is quite good, can't tell the difference between the two.

The third-party one that I have is the same as this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1-25x-for-Leica-M-M3-M6-M7-M8-M9P-50mm-75mm-90mm-135mm-F1-2-1-4-2-8-4-Lens-Black-/261161302466?pt=US_Viewfinders_Eyecups&hash=item3cce6d39c2

I leave them on when using a 35mm lens, great for the 35/1.2 Nokton. For the 28- it needs to come off.
 

BrianS

Hall of Famer
Apr 3, 2013
Brian: That reminds me--what did you use to "put a layer of plastic over the Chinese made magnifier"? I've got the 1.15x Megaperls, and I'd love to put something on it to protect my glasses.
--Peter
Strange- I posted this once. Hiccup?

I cut a piece from one of those plastic protectors used for LCD screens.
 

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