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Olympus VF-1 Optical Viewfinder for use with Olympus PEN and OM-D Micro Four Thirds Digital Cameras
|Price:||$99.95 + $8.05 shipping|
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- Optical viewfinder for use with the 17mm pancake lens VF-1
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|Item Dimensions||1.4 x 1 x 1.2 inches|
|Item Weight||0.05 pounds|
|Maximum Focal Length||17 mm|
|Minimum Focal Length||0 mm|
|Shipping Weight||0.05 pounds|
Optical viewfinder for use with the 17mm pancake lens VF-1
From the Manufacturer
Optical viewfinder for use with the 17mm f2.8 pancake lens or 17mm f1.8 lens on Micro 4/3 cameras. This externally-attached optical viewfinder supports shooting with the 17mm lenses. It uses a bright 17mm frame to enable comfortable picture composition.
Read about our customers' top-rated lenses and cameras on our review pages: Lenses, Digital SLR Cameras, Compact System Cameras
Top customer reviews
For the uninitiated, this item (and any other finder like it) gets a horrible, undeserved slam from some. If you would give this a single star rating, it’s probably not an item you should have purchased in the first place. You’re the perfect candidate for an electronic view finder.
Before the coupled rangefinder system, these were how a photographer would frame a photo. Rangefinder cameras were the norm for many years and certain lenses either weren’t or could not be supported by the focusing system eventually built into them. Even as time progressed and the viewfinder became built in, and later as SLR cameras proliferated, these simple view finders would still be found in many serious/professional photographers kits.
The simple beauty of the promise this type of finder makes is a clear and unaltered view of the world. Space is provided around the outside of the bright line frame to see what is going on in the world around it and that’s about it. A seriously great tool for low light, fast action, candids, street shooting, traveling light. Purity, simplicity, speed, compactness.
This particular one happens to be made of plastic, but the optics are first rate. I preset my LX7 or D-LUX 6 to 35mm in optical finder mode (display turned off). I rarely pre-focus, as many people do, but have had no problems. There are no parallax compensation lines, but with a little testing and practice, that’s easy to overcome. I should note that the hot shoe mount on the VF-1 is too thick for my cameras, and I had to file it down slightly so it would slide in the hot shoe. On an Olympus camera, this would not be a consideration.
Using one of these takes you back to photography in its simplest form, and it forces you to “be the zoom” and to know how your camera works and what will be in the frame. For me, there are many shots I would miss if I were trying to frame on the LCD or through the EVF (which I also own and think is excellent). An optical finder makes everything intuitive. Just a clear view, no distractions as the assumption is all the camera settings are made in advance.
Camera makers obviously assume most people know what these optical finders are and what they are for, but it’s clear they do a poor job of explaining what to expect. So I guess that’s what many of us are trying to contribute here.
The big downside is that it's only a plastic hotshoe mount, and the grip in the hotshoe is a bit light. Might stick a piece of tape on the bottom to add a little more thickness and therefore resistance.
Plastic construction, but Optics are good.
Aside from those cons, I absolutely love this viewfinder. Its viewing window is very big and bright. It's comfortable to use and the grid line is accurate.
I should say that I do not use it on an Olympus camera. This viewfinder is perfect for old film rangefinders that don't have 35mm frame lines. I have this on an old Nikon S2 rangefinder camera, which only has a 50mm viewfinder. I know this would also be useful on some old Leicas as well. Those old cameras have their own viewfinder attachments but this Olympus is much better. The vintage viewfinders are: rare, expensive, and very very very small. It's like looking through a peephole.
I highly recommend this for older rangefinders. I used to have an EP1 and 17mm f2.8 but I didn't own this viewfinder at the time.