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View Poll Results: Waist level finder or prism finder for medium format SLR
Waist level finder 41 44.09%
Prism finder 22 23.66%
I use both fairly evenly 30 32.26%
Voters: 93. You may not vote on this poll

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WLF or Prism with Medium Format SLR?
Old 02-03-2015   #1
iamzip
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Question WLF or Prism with Medium Format SLR?

Just out of curiosity, What do people here use most with their medium format SLRs (Hassy, Mamiya, et al.)? Waist level finder, prism finder, or both?
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Old 02-03-2015   #2
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WLF mainly with my Mamiya RZ67 and 645 Pro TL; prism on my Pentax 645 because it's too primitive to offer interchangeable finders.

The Mamiyas see far more action than the Pentax for this reason.
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Old 02-03-2015   #3
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WLF finder, easier to use on tripods, easier to use for macro work, fun for low angle POVs, lighter, brighter... about the only thing it does poorly is panning action shots - but if you practice you can do that too.
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Old 02-03-2015   #4
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WLFs with my Rolleiflex 6006 and 6008 Integral.
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Old 02-03-2015   #5
mike rosenlof
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Hasselblad 501cm and Mamiya TLR. WLF for both since they're square format. I have a prism for the Mamiya and hardly ever use it. If I had a 645, I would want a prism or I would never take a vertical.
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Old 02-03-2015   #6
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Right now, I only have a prism for the only Med format camera I have; a Mamiya 645 Pro.
Previously, I owned a Kiev 60 and had both the meter prism and the WLF. Used them about equally, preferred the WLF for its lighter weight but didn't always want to carry a separate light meter.
I am thinking about an ARAX made Kiev 88 and I will likely just go with the WLF for that one.

The waist level finders can also be used as "over the head level" finders too.

Rob
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Old 02-03-2015   #7
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I use the WLF most on the Hassy 500CM due to the weight and bulk of the 45° prism finder.

G
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Old 02-03-2015   #8
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Prism always, I just don't like to hold the camera to my eye with a wlf. Get a sore neck with that and even then it isn't very clear without a loupe.
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Old 02-03-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbiemer View Post
Previously, I owned a Kiev 60 and had both the meter prism and the WLF. Used them about equally, preferred the WLF for its lighter weight but didn't always want to carry a separate light meter.
Rob
There is an unmetered prism for the Kiev 60, much lighter. The meter isn't very handy anyway.
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Old 02-03-2015   #10
Gerry M
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Even tho I have wlf & prism finders for both Pentax 67 and H'blad 500 CM, I only use the wlf's.
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Old 02-03-2015   #11
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If you are walking around with the camera ( Hasselblad 50X series ) on a shoulder with a small lens ( 60/80/100 etc. ) , the prisms unbalance the camera - tipping it so it does not hang as well.
The WLF also has higher magnification.
I would only use a prism when tracking of moving subjects is required.
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Old 02-03-2015   #12
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Pentax 67II: AE prism with 75/2.8 AL and longer, but WLF for 45/4.0 and 55/4.0.

Cal
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Old 02-03-2015   #13
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My first Mamiya m645 came with the Prism and I like using it but then I bought the WLF and it opened up a whole new style of shooting...I have three m645's two with the WLF and one with the Prism...
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Old 02-03-2015   #14
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I have a Pentax 6x7 with both the metered prism finder and the folding WLF. The folding WLF is for landscapes and critical focusing/zone system type shots, whereas if I'm shooting handheld I'm using the metered prism. I find if I need to get a shot in a hurry, an eye-level finder helps. The critical difference here is a Pentax peculiarity: No meter for the WLF, and only 90% coverage for the prism, so when metering NOW isn't important or I want super-accurate composition, I use the WLF.
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Old 02-03-2015   #15
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Personally, back in the day I preferred WL finders EXCEPT when using rectangular format SLRs (MF or 35mm) that lack a revolving back. Shooting a vertical image with a WL finder on a Mamiya M645 is a pain in the neck except in a few special situations.
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Old 02-03-2015   #16
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I use the 45-degree prism finder on my Bronica SQ-A most often. It has a diopter adjustment and I can focus and frame quicker than with the WLF. It's more comfortable to use than the standard prism finder as I don't have to hold the camera up to eye level. I can keep my elbows tucked against my body which feels more stable.
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Old 02-03-2015   #17
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Hasselblad chimney finder too.

Also have WL and prism finder. Use the WL finder most due to size and weight. I'd love to get a metering prism though.
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Old 02-03-2015   #18
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I have the wl, chimney and 45o prism finders for my Rollei SL 66E. I use the prism finder
most of the time.
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Old 02-03-2015   #19
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For me, composing on a WLF groundglass is a very different experience from doing so through an eye-level finder. Perhaps because I am viewing the screen with both eyes, I am much more sensitive to placements and alignments. It's like laying out the composition on a canvas.

This, of course, works best with square format or something like an RB-67/RZ-67 with rotating back. I think if I had a 645 camera I would use it most with a prism finder, to facilitate changes between horizontal and vertical.

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Old 02-03-2015   #20
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I'm not very tall so at close subject distances a WLF (even with my eye to the flip-up magnifier, which I always did) forces me to tilt the camera up causing some keystoning distortion. Plus I don't use it often enough to remain facile at moving the camera the opposite direction from a subject moving across the field of view. When I owned Hasselblads I prefered the 90 degree non-metered prism. I have one for my Rolleiflex 2.8F also. It adds signifcant weight and bulk, and my MX doesn't accept a prism without modification, so when I traveled with those I used the eye level sports finder (they both have a mirror that allows magnified central focusing at eyelevel, albeit the image is upside down.
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Old 02-03-2015   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim_jm View Post
I use the 45-degree prism finder on my Bronica SQ-A most often. ......
I shot a SQ-A for many years. I had the WLF, the 90 degree prism, and the 45 degree prism. (the WLF being the most expensive) I used the 45 degree prism about 98% of the time. But I almost always shot hand held. I do believe it is directly related to your style.
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Old 02-03-2015   #22
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It's about point of view. Lower POV with the WLF, eye-level with the straight prism, the 45 degree prism is in between.

I liked the 45 prism when I was shooting MF SLR.

Now, with digital, the flip-out LCD brings back that different POV of the WLF.
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Old 02-03-2015   #23
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A waist-level finder is much easier to hold for a TLR and for modular cameras (e.g. Hassy, RB67, Mamiya 645). While the prisms make viewing and focusing a lot easier, they add significantly to the weight of the camera, and it's a chore to hold those up to your eye. But cameras like the Kiev 60 and Pentax 67 are very comfortable to hold using the finder.
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Old 02-03-2015   #24
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I really like the waist level finder on my 6x6 Bronica. The WLF allows shooting from much lower than eye level; thus avoiding all pictures having that 'looking down' signature. There's the flip-up magnifier that makes critical focusing possible. Another plus is the size/weight/compactness advantage over a prism; on 6x6 these are big. The left-right reversed image has it ups/downs; on the one hand, seeing the world reversed can help judge composition better, but on the other, it makes for a weird experience getting your prints back.. they really look different from what you saw in the finder.

Obviously, on a 6x6 you don't need to tilt the camera sideways for portrait/landscape orientation, so a WLF is no hindrance in that respect. For a 6x9 I'd probably regard it in a much different light.
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Old 02-04-2015   #25
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I have the WLF and the 45 degree prism. I find it uncomfortable to hold the camera up to eye level with the prism, and the 45 degree angle feel funny to me, so I seldom use it. I used to have the chimney finder, and I think I want to return to that, as the WLF at times lets sunlight shine on the screen, whereas the chimney blocks extraneous light.
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Old 02-05-2015   #26
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WLF on my Hassi, Prism on my Ptx645N
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Old 02-05-2015   #27
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I have an autocord so WLF only, prior to that had a C330 with the WLF and Prism finder, always felt that the prism finder was more of a pain then a help. For me personally, big camera = WLF.
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Old 02-05-2015   #28
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Yes! Chimney finder should be another option to vote for. For me (on the Hasselblad) WLF is most used, then chimney, and rarely the 45deg prism.
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Old 02-06-2015   #29
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Prisms on "giant 35" (Pentax, Pentacon 6) and 645; WL on square format brick-shape or rotating back such as Hasselblad, Kowa, RB67...

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Old 02-08-2015   #30
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the weight savings of the WLF over the prism.

Not sure which MF SLR you're using but with the Pentax 67, the WLF is maybe a pound lighter. That pound makes a big* difference when hauling that system around. Traveling was much easier. Since then I switched to traveling with the fuji GW series and haven't regretted it.
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Old 09-30-2016   #31
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Zeiss ikonta 531

Otherwise both WLF and prism
WLF
Yashica MAT 124 G and Mamiya RZ67PROII
prism
Mamiya 645 PRO and Pentax 67
Both prism and WLF
Nikon F3
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Old 09-30-2016   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JChrome View Post
One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the weight savings of the WLF over the prism.

Not sure which MF SLR you're using but with the Pentax 67, the WLF is maybe a pound lighter. That pound makes a big* difference when hauling that system around. Traveling was much easier. Since then I switched to traveling with the fuji GW series and haven't regretted it.
I would say the Pentax 67 is wery anoying to use without the prism which is not that much more weight(if any at all) if it's the plain meterless one.
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Old 09-30-2016   #33
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I use the Mam 645 pro TL with both. WLF on tripod in the studio, the prism outdoors as it has the built in meter with spot metering and avg metering plus manual, and is much easier to focus quickly and accurately than the WLF.

If I want to use a WLF outdoors, I pack a Rollieflex.
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Old 10-04-2016   #34
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I use a mix of both on my RB and c33 depending on the scenario, for example the prism when I need a head shot at normal height and the WLF when im going for more low angle portraits or landscapes.
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Old 10-05-2016   #35
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I use both but prefer the prism on my Rollie and my C220. I have a hard time keeping the image level when using the WLF and so use them mostly for posed shots. I hate the extra weight of the prisms but what can you do.
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Old 10-05-2016   #36
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Wlf ftw, of course
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Old 10-10-2016   #37
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I just bought a nice RB67 prism in Japan and intend to attach it to my Plaubel Makiflexes. As I have stated before, I prefer the "Stovepipe" viewfinders over all. Plaubel made one, but I never have seen one for sale in 30+ years of looking -hard- for this stuff. So I made my own from an RB67 Stovepipe. Not hard to do.

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Old 10-11-2016   #38
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I strongly prefer a WLF, but with the medical problems in my neck, I'm pretty much forced to a prism. It's an unpleasant learning experience.
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Old 10-16-2016   #39
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it depends on the camera!

the non-square formats (except revolving back models) pretty much require a prism to be usable.

My MF SLR is square format. I've got a 45 degree prism, but use the WLF for about 95% of photos. I have a prism for my Mamiya TLR system also. Almost never use it.
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