LEICA VISOFLEX EVF2 VIEWFINDER REVIEW
Leica Visoflex EVF2 is a high-resolution electronic viewfinder with a 1.4MP display that mounts onto the accessory shoe of Leica M (typ 240), X2, X Vario (Typ 107), cameras. It is designed to aid focusing and composition by allowing all exposure parameters to be shown on the viewfinder screen as well as permit accurate framing of the image.
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder comes in a leather carrying case with a fastener type closure in the event LCD screen on the back of the cameras are used or in the case of M cameras rangefinder type of focusing is preferred. Leica Visoflex can be tilted up 90 degree for flexibility of use and affords the ability to focus with magnification and a diopter option for anyone with less than perfect eyesight.
Real-time Depth of Field
Leica’s rangefinder type focus only allows focus confirmation but not real-time information on depth of field or what the composition would look like once the shutter is pressed. In this respect, Leica Visoflex EVF2 opens new possibilities with ease of use of Leica’s M line of cameras. When EVF2 is mounted in the shoe mount of Leica’s M240 camera, it is possible to see what the composition would look like especially when wide apertures are used. For example, if Leica 50mm APO Summicron-M f/2.0 or Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 lens is used at the widest aperture, the bokeh characteristics of the composition can be viewed in real time via this viewfinder.
Beyond determining compositional aspects, exposure can be “seen” real time for the possible photographic composition. In this respect, Leica Visoflex EVF2 provides not only depth of field information that helps to compose more artistic images but also takes the guess work out of exposure at any give camera and lens setting because the exposure is instantly displayed before the photograph is captured.
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder provides the most essential information, exposure, ISO and metering mode via its high resolution screen. When you rotate the focus dial on the lens attached to the camera, information from the lens is transferred to the camera and the viewfinder to aid with focusing, simply referred as focus aid.
Focus Peaking is one of the most useful tools available in modern cameras and Leica M240 provides red lines around the edges of what is sharp or focused to help with focusing. This function is also available via use of Live View function on the camera body but is most easily utilised when Leica Visoflex EVF2 is used.
When focus peaking is used the contrast levels must be sufficient to reflect in and out focus areas in the composition. While this may be useful in well lit environments or on sunny days, using focus aid appears to be more accurate as contrast based focusing can often fail in less than ideally lit spaces.
Multi Camera Use
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder can be used with all Leica M and Leica R lenses which affords a wide array of lens selection from Leica’s line up. Use of electronic viewfinder becomes especially important when wide angle lenses are used with Leica M cameras as the rangefinder type focusing does not provide sufficient information on the framing or compositional characteristics. For example, with Leica 18mm f/3.8 Super Elmar-M lens one can view what the composition will look like on the electronic viewfinder display before the shutter is pressed revealing the beginning and end of the frame lines for better compositional framing.
On telephoto lenses, Leica’s rangefinder type focus only has a center focus area that needs to be aligned to achieve focus but by attaching a Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder it is possible to see the full frame view of the composition as well as the depth of field.
When Leica R to M adapter is used to mount Leica R lenses the use of electronic viewfinder becomes even more crucial as the focusing requires precision only an electronic viewfinder can provide. If macro photography lenses are used accurate focusing is essential which is almost always achieved via use of viewfinders.
Leather Carrying Case
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder looks ungainly on Leica M cameras and at times removing the viewfinder from the shoe mount is desired. In these instances using the leather carrying case to protect the Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder is a smart move as the viewfinder is plastic and does not appear to be able to handle rough handling.
Thankfully the carrying case is well designed to not be bulky and can easily fit in any cameras accessory pocket.
Leica M cameras automatically detects Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder when it is attached on the shoe mount. This allows for the possibilty to adjust the brightness of the electronic viewfinder from the camera’s settings. In the menu section, simply setting it to “medium low” on the “EVF brightness” is often ideal as the brightness on the viewfinder is higher than the LCD screen of the Leica M cameras.
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder takes a bit of time to fire up for use which may result in some lost moments for capture but over all wake up time is about 3 seconds if the camera is in sleep mode. This is to be expected from Leica as they are always slower to catch up to other camera manufacturers. When Leica M cameras turn on the start up is about 5 to 6 seconds to see any image projected on to the electronic viewfinder display.
When you attach Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder on any Leica M cameras it will take sometime to get used to switching between magnification mode and full frame composition. This period of adjustment to using electronic viewfinder will depend on the amount of time you spent photographing, in general, it takes about two weeks to regular use to become accustomed to using it.
Once accurate focusing via use of electronic viewfinder becomes second nature going back to using rangefinder type of focusing would seem primitive as Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder provides far more precise focusing and better compositional information. This is particularly important for new users of Leica cameras as the ease of using electronic viewfinder is similar to using DSLR and mirrorless cameras. In fact, today’s mirrorless cameras almost exclusively use electronic viewfinders.
It is important to understand that Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder also has some shortcomings like when the shutter button is pressed for capturing an image, the viewfinder stops updating the display screen. The screen will return to normal as soon as the camera has written the image information on the SD card. This all take a less than a second but it is noticable.
Low Light Photography
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder truly outshines rangefinder type focusing in low light photography as the display always shows a brightly lit image which only changes when the shutter is half pressed to reveal the exposure at any given camera and lens setting. This allows an accurate framing and focusing at night or in low light situations.
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder also has a diopter setting that can be adjusted simply by rotating the rubber ring around the viewfinder. Rotating this ring will move the diopter setting between minus and plus to correct for any eyesight difficiencies. However, due to the poor construction quality the diopter setting will not remain fixed and must be reset often or must be glued to remain at a constant setting.
Olympus VF-2 viewfinder vs. Leica Visoflex EVF2
Leica Visoflex EVF2 viewfinder is rebrander Olympus VF-2 viewfinder. They are identical but Leica because of its brand recognition sells about twice the price of the Japanese brand. This is to be expected from Leica as brand demands a higher price tag. German manufacturer knows that Leica users will probably not want to have Olympus name appear on the viewfinder of their Leica cameras.
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