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Thread: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

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    Cool Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    I recently special ordered a clearviewer (http://www.clearviewer.com/socket.html) for my E-P2 and it just came. I use a leather Aka-asahi case on my E-P2 and I had the clearviewer made for the case, which makes it a little thicker and taller than the bare E-P2. I also expressed a desire to be able to mount the contract on a tripod or monopod, and I was told they had just started thinking about having a thicker base using aluminum and a tripod screw hole, so I said sign me up.

    While I bought the initial E-P2 kit that came with the VF-2 viewfinder, there are times when it is impossible to use:

    • Due to the glare of the sun and my migraines acting up, especially in direct sun, I pretty much need to wear polarized sunglasses when I'm outside. Unfortunately, I cannot see the image in the VF-2 with polarized sunglasses on in landscape mode.
    • I often keep my FL-36 flash on the camera, even if it isn't turned on, which means I can't use the VF-2.
    • The rare times I shoot video with the E-P2, I want to use the SEMA-1 external microphone to have a better chance of not hearing the focusing of the lenses, and eventually upgrading the microphone to a directional microphone to reduce the sound of people taking behind me. Like the flash, using the SEMA-1 prevents the use of the VF-2.
    • When I've used the VF-2, I've noticed more power drain using it, than using the LCD.

    Over at dpreview, in the Olympus forum, I heard people talking about the clearviewer, and decided to buy one. I had a chance to use this last weekend, and here are some thoughts:

    • I can use the clearviewer with polarized sunglasses in landscape mode. Unfortunately in portrait mode, the image darkens quite a bit. This isn't the fault of the clearviewer, because I get the same effect without the clearviewer (and I can see fine witht he VF-2 in portrait mode, grrr).
    • Since the clearviewer has a lens in it, you can instantly see how dirty you've let your LCD get. Unfortunately, it also magnifies the view so that you actually see the black area around the pixels. After awhile I didn't notice it. I would imagine the E-PL2 should be a lot better because it has a 800x600 screen instead of 320x240 like the E-PL2. I saw a similar thing when I glued a loupe to a spare plastic protector to be able to chimp with the E-1 in the sun.
    • When I used it on the weekend, I had NO issues with not being able to see the LCD due to sun.
    • It adds just a little bit of time to unfold the clearviewer and get it into the right position. I didn't find it that much of an issue. If you want to keep it in position, I would recommend using a wrist strap or potentially using a flash so the camera tends to tip down on your strap. If you are real active, it might be an issue with the lens bouncing around on the camera back.
    • You can use a US penny, dime, or quarter to screw in the screw. A nickel is fairly close.
    • Due to the leather case, my clearviewer rotates a little from side to side, since the case doesn't have the friction the normal bottom of the camera has. I will probably make a little attachment so the clearviewer doesn't rotate, but frankly after the first day of using it, I had trained myself not to move the clearviewer.
    • Without the case, you would be able to change batteries without removing the clearviewer. Unfortunately my case does not have a cutout for the battery compartment, and a friend who is a leather worker said he didn't advise cutting a hole to allow me to change batteries quickly.
    • I have not used a Hoodman loupe or other similar products, so I can't say how it compares to the clearviewer. My sense is the Hoodman is somewhat bulky to use because it doesn't fold down like the clearviewer does.
    • You can fold it down, so you can use the LCD as normal, in case you wanted to show somebody the pictures you took.
    • I normally don't do manual focusing, but I did try some manual focusing this morning. While the VF-2 is better at MF because of the sharper screen, I could definately do MF with the clearviewer. Because you are holding the camera with clearviewer up to your eye, it is more natural (at least to DSLR users) to MF this way, rather than at arms length like you normally need to do for an LCD.
    • I think it is a keeper, particularly when you think about the cost ($60 or so). If you are on the fence between VF-2 and clearviewer, the VF-2 has the better screen, but it is expensive, and can't be used in some cases. The clearviewer however, does allow you to use the camera in the sun at a somewhat cheaper price.
    • I did try to photograph through the clearviewer lens with my E-3 and 50mm and I wasn't successful. If I do it, I think I need to do it in a more controlled fashion.

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    Default Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Michael,

    Is it meant to be used like an slr vf so you can steady the camea against the head or do you have to leave a little space between the eyepiece and the eye. From the pictures (yours and at the product site) it appears to be the latter.
    John B

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    Cool Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Quote Originally Posted by e10user View Post
    Michael,

    Is it meant to be used like an slr vf so you can steady the camea against the head or do you have to leave a little space between the eyepiece and the eye. From the pictures (yours and at the product site) it appears to be the latter.
    You have to leave a little space or else you will push the lens down. Since I wear glasses when shooting, I do anyway. When I got the first version of the clearviewer which was a little off, I kept knocking down the lens, but soon I just got used to putting my eye in the correct location, and not knocking down the lens.

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    Default Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    That looks interesting, but except for the collapsible feature, I would think a Hoodman Loupe would be better. The Hoodman does not magnify at all. It basically does 2 things - it shields the LCD completely from light, so it doesn't matter how bright out it is. And it has a diopter adjustment, so you adjust it for your eyes as you do with a camera viewfinder. In use, it feels like you are looking thru a bright viewfinder, or perhaps like looking into a microscope.

    But for the Pen cameras, where portability is a big consideration, the folding feature is quite useful.
    Rich
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    Default Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    WOW - Another use for an old tool. I spent over 20 years of my life looking through this type of viewer...the original use for this "viewer" was to line up negatives and registration marks in film used in offset commercial printing, called a linen tester by the trade....it looks as though someone has found a new use. The original had an open bottom so that you could turn the ortho film over emulsion side up and use a small "pick" to retouch dots in halftones and also in 4 color separations...

    Here is a link showing the originals....HERE!

    You will note that the Clearviewer is the lens assembly and the side portion with the "bottom" camera mount, replacing the foot on the original linen tester.

    I have a drawer full of these things at home, maybe I should start modifying and selling them....I use them to remove splinters and see very small items, serial numbers on lenses etc...good for these old eyes.

    I also have higher grade one which is a different style and the distance from the lens to the bottom is adjustable (focus) so you can see even clearer and of course it has a much more powerful magnification factor and also way more expensive.

    That style is here. I have used it in live view but it is almost too powerful you are looking at the individual pixels of the LCD...

    You can see it HERE!

    As an old film stripper with over twenty years staring through these things over a light table looking at negatives...it is amazing someone found another use for them and a willing buyer in Michael Meissner!!

    Glad to see old technology finding a new use...

    Jim
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    Default Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    I like the cool things you find, Michael.
    Olympus E-3 | Olympus E-PL2 PEN | Olympus E-PM1 PEN | Zuiko ED 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD | Zuiko 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5 | Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro | Carl Zeiss Sonnar 135mm f/2.8 | Konica Hexanon 50mm f/1.4 | Konica Hexanon 85mm f/1.8 | G.Zuiko 50mm f/1.4 | Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 Macro | Zuiko 25mm f/2.8 | KMZ Jupiter-3 50mm f/1.5 | E.Zuiko 200mm f/4 | Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 | Olympus EC-14 teleconverter | VF-2 and VF-3 Viewfinders | EMA-1 Mic Adapter | Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R speedlights

    cyclopsphoto.ca

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    Cool Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Quote Originally Posted by wigpro View Post
    WOW - Another use for an old tool. I spent over 20 years of my life looking through this type of viewer...the original use for this "viewer" was to line up negatives and registration marks in film used in offset commercial printing, called a linen tester by the trade....it looks as though someone has found a new use. The original had an open bottom so that you could turn the ortho film over emulsion side up and use a small "pick" to retouch dots in halftones and also in 4 color separations...

    Here is a link showing the originals....HERE!
    Thanks for the history. In the site, he mentioned that he was adapting other lenses for the clearviewer.

    Quote Originally Posted by wigpro View Post
    You will note that the Clearviewer is the lens assembly and the side portion with the "bottom" camera mount, replacing the foot on the original linen tester.
    Yes, assuming the loupe folds down, which for me makes the product. I looked at the hoodman loupe in the photo store, and could not stand the fact that it was fixed in size and did not fold down.

    I also could see the pixels for the mod I did for the E-1, of gluing a rubber loupe to an extra screen protector that I ordered. But with the E-1, I just never really needed to chimp the pictures, so in bright sun, I just never looked at the screen. With the E-P2 you need to use the LCD in bright sun to frame the shot.

    Quote Originally Posted by wigpro View Post
    I have a drawer full of these things at home, maybe I should start modifying and selling them....I use them to remove splinters and see very small items, serial numbers on lenses etc...good for these old eyes.
    If it matters, he has applied for a US patent (presumably in terms of the mods to use it on the camera, and not the original loupe). But since he had the original idea, I would tend to want to buy from him since it isn't that expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by wigpro View Post
    I also have higher grade one which is a different style and the distance from the lens to the bottom is adjustable (focus) so you can see even clearer and of course it has a much more powerful magnification factor and also way more expensive.
    As I think I mentioned in the review, I can see the individual pixels on the E-P2. Presumably the E-PL2 with its higher pixel screen it will be less noticeable, but after using it for a bit, my brain mentally just looks at the pixels and doesn't see the black spaces between the pixels.

    Quote Originally Posted by wigpro View Post
    As an old film stripper with over twenty years staring through these things over a light table looking at negatives...it is amazing someone found another use for them and a willing buyer in Michael Meissner!!

    Glad to see old technology finding a new use...

    Jim
    Thanks.

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    Cool Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Quote Originally Posted by Neddog View Post
    I like the cool things you find, Michael.
    Thanks. I was at a photo safari yesterday with John Issac and my local photo store, and one of the sales guys commented that I always seem to have the cool tools. Everybody liked the viewfinder.

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    Default Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Michael, thanks for this review and follow-up information. I have been using a slightly different approach for solving a similar problem (using the LCD display when I am composing & focusing with Livewiew) and I may consider changing to this device.

    As an old MF shooter, I have several collapsible 6x6 viewfinders with pop-up magnifiers laying around. I took one originally from a Bronica S2A and tossed it into my camera bag, after adding some self adhesive felt to the bottom edge. When I use Liveview, I just take out the finder hood, pop it open with the button on the side and use it to view the LCD - - I can use it with or without the magnifier, and it does a great job of blocking the bright TX sun. When I am done, it folds up again and goes back into the bag. The downside of my solution that is entirely addressed by the device you reviewed is the ability to use it without a tripod - - although I'm not sure how often I would be using Liveview without a tripod.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
    Wes Clavey
    Visit My Gallery

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    Default intro

    This is certainly becoming interesting. I came across this information on the internet and thought I would say congratulations. A Very interesting post much appreciated in particular with what i will be attempting to accomplish. Does any one have any more reading? Where is a good option to start here on this website?

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    Cool Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Quote Originally Posted by wclavey View Post
    Michael, thanks for this review and follow-up information. I have been using a slightly different approach for solving a similar problem (using the LCD display when I am composing & focusing with Livewiew) and I may consider changing to this device.

    As an old MF shooter, I have several collapsible 6x6 viewfinders with pop-up magnifiers laying around. I took one originally from a Bronica S2A and tossed it into my camera bag, after adding some self adhesive felt to the bottom edge. When I use Liveview, I just take out the finder hood, pop it open with the button on the side and use it to view the LCD - - I can use it with or without the magnifier, and it does a great job of blocking the bright TX sun. When I am done, it folds up again and goes back into the bag. The downside of my solution that is entirely addressed by the device you reviewed is the ability to use it without a tripod - - although I'm not sure how often I would be using Liveview without a tripod.

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention.
    You are welcome. Of course with the Pen, I'm shooting in live view all of the time and I need to shoot hand held. With the E-3, I would typically use the optical view finder and not worry about reviewing the shots, but I can certainly imagine times when it would be useful to use.

    You could borrow the black cloth drapped over the back of the camera to block out all of the light from the wet plate era. In my faux LF setup where I have the E-P2 or E-3 in a shell with a bellows, I've had people asking me if I was going to add a black cloth to drape over my head. In that case, I don't plan to do it because I'm in a crowd situation, and I want to keep an eye on what is going on.

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    Cool Re: intro

    Quote Originally Posted by jepDrerce View Post
    This is certainly becoming interesting. I came across this information on the internet and thought I would say congratulations. A Very interesting post much appreciated in particular with what i will be attempting to accomplish. Does any one have any more reading? Where is a good option to start here on this website?
    I'm not sure how much more information you would need. If you have questions, I can try to answer them. I originally ran across the device in the Olympus Talk Forum in dpreview.com, where every so often people mention using it.

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    Default Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    I often go out with the E-30 and a 4x5 camera, and here in TX, using a dark cloth together with Liveview is a common practice for me. Even with the pop-up MF finder hood, it often is not dark enough in the middle of the day.

    I use Liveview a lot because I use a lot of old Nikkor & Zuiko analog lenses, including my favorite shift lens, for shooting old churches, decaying buildings, etc. But it keeps me tied to the tripod... I try to balance that with the modern digital lenses and not use the tripod or Liveview.

    But this really looks like a good alternative and may be handier than the MF pop-up hood.
    Wes Clavey
    Visit My Gallery

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    Cool Re: Clearviewer for E-P2 with leather case

    Quote Originally Posted by wclavey View Post
    I often go out with the E-30 and a 4x5 camera, and here in TX, using a dark cloth together with Liveview is a common practice for me. Even with the pop-up MF finder hood, it often is not dark enough in the middle of the day.

    I use Liveview a lot because I use a lot of old Nikkor & Zuiko analog lenses, including my favorite shift lens, for shooting old churches, decaying buildings, etc. But it keeps me tied to the tripod... I try to balance that with the modern digital lenses and not use the tripod or Liveview.

    But this really looks like a good alternative and may be handier than the MF pop-up hood.
    Yep, I can see that.

    I'm wondering whether something like the video rigs that provide a shoulder mount might be helpful, to go along with the clearviewer. You would be able to adjust it so the LCD + clearviewer is at eye level and hold bracket with your right hand, and use the left to zoom and focus the lens Here are some I noticed on ebay:


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    Default Fourthirdsphoto Forum - Reply to Topic

    That looks interesting, but except for the collapsible feature, I would think a Hoodman Loupe would be better. The Hoodman does not magnify at all. It basically does 2 things - it shields the LCD completely from light, so it doesn't matter how bright out it is. And it has a diopter adjustment, so you adjust it for your eyes as you do with a camera viewfinder. In use, it feels like you are looking thru a bright viewfinder, or perhaps like looking into a microscope. But for the Pen cameras, where portability is a big consideration, the folding feature is quite useful.

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    Cool Re: Fourthirdsphoto Forum - Reply to Topic

    To each there own. When I looked at it in the store, I hated the Hoodman because it does not fold down. I can't imagine carrying the E-P2 on a shoulder strap and having the Hoodman between my side and the camera, while the clearviewer folds nearly up to the E-P2. Also, when I put the camera in my camera bag, the bag is already on the full size, and since the Hoodman doesn't fold down, I would need to find room for it.

    I will admit one thing that I don't like is having to unscrew the clearviewer, and then take off the case to change batteries or memory cards, but that is more of a problem of the case. If I had a clearviewer without the case, it would not block the battery compartment.

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