MF noob: WLF has inverted image?

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momus

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The inverted image bothered me initially on TLRs, but you adapt very quickly w/o even thinking about it. But seeing the image upside down in a LF camera was odd. Again, if I shot it regularly, it would probably quickly cease to be a problem. Maybe.

You can drive yourself nutty looking at a photo that has a strong composition, then looking at it in a mirror. It usually falls apart.
 

Sirius Glass

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I have no problem with upside down since the camera is on a tripod, but I do with right left and left right because it is hard to track action.
 

ic-racer

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Maybe a language thing, but 6008 WLF should have a reversed image (L/R) but not be inverted.

Might be easier to use the 90 degree finder when panning moving objects but the image is smaller and a little harder to focus compared to the 45 degree.
I always considered the 45 degree perfect on a tripod for wedding style shoots, whereas the 90 degree gets the camera up higher when using wide angle lenses with landscape/architecture and general handheld photography.
 

Sirius Glass

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Maybe a language thing, but 6008 WLF should have a reversed image (L/R) but not be inverted.

Might be easier to use the 90 degree finder when panning moving objects but the image is smaller and a little harder to focus compared to the 45 degree.
I always considered the 45 degree perfect on a tripod for wedding style shoots, whereas the 90 degree gets the camera up higher when using wide angle lenses with landscape/architecture and general handheld photography.

I use a 45 degree finder both hand held and tripod mounted.
 

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I also prefer a 45º finder. For me, it is more comfortable to use and I find the slightly lower POV better for portraits, and if I want to go a bit lower I can just bend over and bend my knees a bit rather than having to kneel which wreaks havoc on my knee. It can be awkward on a large tripod at full extension, sometimes necessitating an apple box or step stool.
 

lxdude

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As has been posted above, the WLF should give you a right side up image flipped left to right - in landscape orientation.
I'm perplexed by the reversal left to right in the 45 degree finder. The finder is not a prism? Is it a prism or mirror setup which simply re-angles the normal waist-level finder to 45 degrees?
 
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Dan Daniel

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Please bear with me: how in the world am I supposed to compose my image if it is inverted?

Practice. Sit and play with the framing. Keep practicing. You get used to it. And then when you go back to a regular viewfinder, it takes maybe ten seconds to get used to that again. Once the brain learns what is going on, it gradually learns to work with inverted images. And it stays with you. Use a view camera for more inversions. Hold a WLF over your head to shoot over a crowd and follow someone walking across the frame- it can be done.

Try using an astronomical telescope with no inverting prisms to follow stooping falcons and scattering sparrows. It really does become second nature.

They did experiments having people wear prisms as eyeglasses, flipped the world upside down. Took about 24-36 hours for the brain to flip the flipped image and all was fine. Remarkably simple process for the brain, so give it some time.

And if it never becomes workable, there are lots of ways around it as others have described.

But seriously, practice for a while before spending more money.
 
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Having gotten my first camera (Rolleiflex 6008) with a 45 deg finder, I had not realized that an MF camera has got an inverted image in the WLF (left <-> right).

Please bear with me: how in the world am I supposed to compose my image if it is inverted? Am I so bad that I mounted my WLF the wrong way? It's super difficult to center an inverted image and focus at the same time...

I must be doing something wrong.

Hoping to be helpful here I will give a quick lesson on optics (not by any means the best lesson out there). All lenses will invert an image, both left to right and up to down. In an SLR like your camera the mirror will also invert the image in one direction (top to bottom if the camera is held with the finder up) because of the angle of the mirror as the bottom of the mirror projects the image to what is considered the top of the frame. To get the image to invert left to right a pentaprism is needed as that will invert the light path left to right and then you have a fully corrected image in the viewfinder. If you do not want to use/buy a pentaprism finder for your camera you will eventually get used to the invention and possibly have issues with using a camera that has a fully corrected viewfinder. This is nothing that all of the others have not already said, but I hope it helps. Also you should see the focusing screen on a large format camera! Everything is backwards! It can be quite fun!
 

Sirius Glass

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Practice. Sit and play with the framing. Keep practicing. You get used to it. And then when you go back to a regular viewfinder, it takes maybe ten seconds to get used to that again. Once the brain learns what is going on, it gradually learns to work with inverted images. And it stays with you. Use a view camera for more inversions. Hold a WLF over your head to shoot over a crowd and follow someone walking across the frame- it can be done.

Try using an astronomical telescope with no inverting prisms to follow stooping falcons and scattering sparrows. It really does become second nature.

They did experiments having people wear prisms as eyeglasses, flipped the world upside down. Took about 24-36 hours for the brain to flip the flipped image and all was fine. Remarkably simple process for the brain, so give it some time.

And if it never becomes workable, there are lots of ways around it as others have described.

But seriously, practice for a while before spending more money.

It is nice that works for you, but not for me. Also it is not worth the effort when I can afford a 45 degree PME in great condition.
 

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Pieter12

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It is nice that works for you, but not for me. Also it is not worth the effort when I can afford a 45 degree PME in great condition.
My first camera was a TLR and it never seemed to bother me. Now I mostly use a MF SLR with a prism finder, and I'm no longer used to the opposite movement needed with a WLF. I sometimes would rather not have the extra pound on my camera and wish I was comfortable with a WLF like in the old days.
 

Sirius Glass

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My first camera was a TLR and it never seemed to bother me. Now I mostly use a MF SLR with a prism finder, and I'm no longer used to the opposite movement needed with a WLF. I sometimes would rather not have the extra pound on my camera and wish I was comfortable with a WLF like in the old days.

The extra weight of the prism is a nice counter balance to my weight. Also my eye pressed against the eyepiece and the two hands holding the camera provide a nice stable three point structure to steady the camera.
 

Vaughn

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Since I learned with a WLF on a Rolleiflex, I have always considered it normal...and right/left is not as dominant when composing a square format.

It made the move to LF cameras easy for me. Instead of 'backwards', the images are upside down. Just a different kind of inversion. My image is already seen and the composition in progress before I set the camera up. By the time I get the darkcloth over me and the camera, and start looking at the upside down image thrown on the ground glass, the image orientation is not an issue. I am usually fine-tuning the composition at this point.

One of my photographic processes reverses the images anyway. 😎
 

GregY

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Hank, the image is in fact 'reversed' not inverted. You do (can) get used to it with a little time. Think about, those of use who use view cameras are always looking at the image upside down. Composing within the square or rectangle of the camera frame is a matter of moving shapes to where you want them. Lots of photos of subjects in motion have been taken w TLRs or SLRs sometime w sportsfinders, other times just pre-focusing.
 

Pieter12

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Hank, the image is in fact 'reversed' not inverted. You do (can) get used to it with a little time. Think about, those of use who use view cameras are always looking at the image upside down. Composing within the square or rectangle of the camera frame is a matter of moving shapes to where you want them. Lots of photos of subjects in motion have been taken w TLRs or SLRs sometime w sportsfinders, other times just pre-focusing.
Hank Chinaski is a fictional character, the alter ego of the poet and author Charles Bukowski.
 

GregY

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Pieter12, I wonder what caused Hank to leave sunny (16?) California for Glasgow? 😉
 

GLS

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The inverted image bothered me initially on TLRs, but you adapt very quickly w/o even thinking about it. But seeing the image upside down in a LF camera was odd.

I'm the opposite. I just couldn't get on with the reversed WLF image on my Hasselblad, but found working with the fully inverted image of a LF camera very easy and natural.
 

Roger Cole

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In a waist-level camera, the viewfinder image should be the right way up but mirrored left to right. Composing is easy once you get used to it as is keeping verticals vertical. I find waist-level finders are a good aid to composition (not because of the reversing thing) as a direct result of the viewfinder image being further from your eye and not dominating your vision. Stick with it.

Composing and focusing are entirely separate operations. To focus, I use the viewfinder magnifier and bring the camera to my eye. Once focused, I drop the camera to my waist and compose. If you are photographing action with a waist-level finder (not their strong point), use zone focus (the numbers on the lens) and a small aperture.

I do exactly the same and concur - I find it an aid to composition.

Wait until you go to a large format view camera, if you ever do, where the image is upside down on the ground glass. Once I adapted to that I find it a huge aid to composition, even more so than the MF WLF, because it's abstracting to a degree and forces you to actually compose and not get so fixated on what you see as the subject that you forget the surrounding area and the actual composition. Most people who stick with LF seem to agree with this, but it's not something everyone ever adapts to.

I use an eye level prism on my 645 camera (Mamiya 645 Pro) because turning it for verticals would be very awkward, and also because it's an AE prism and I have the winder grip making it much more like shooting with a slightly oversized 35mm than like either my TLRs or my RZ 67. But I like the WLF on the TLR and the RZ, though that's a very different style of shooting as I don't use it handheld so the 45 degree prism is a little more convenient just from the position of the camera on the tripod (and of course the back rotates so there's no need to turn the camera for verticals.)
 
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Roger Cole

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Not for action! For action shots you will need to depend on depth of field as focusing manually will take so long the action will have moved.

To a certain extent, but for some action you can predict (say a parade coming by, or a race of whatever kind, many sports shots - say baseball where you can anticipate a play at the plate) you can pre-focus on a spot and shoot when the subject reaches it.

But really, a WLF is not ideal for action. That's why they had the little window action finders on TLRs. If I'm shooting something like that I'll use either my 35mm cameras or my 645 with the winder and AE prism.
 
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