(pics) Canon G11 w/ Voigtlander Optical Viewfinder

Started Nov 26, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Spotts Senior Member • Posts: 1,143
(pics) Canon G11 w/ Voigtlander Optical Viewfinder

View this post in its full glory at my photoblog:

I have jumped into the G-ship!

Having shot almost exclusively with a range of Canon DSLRs, I recently outfitted myself with the G11 for daily carry on the street, and as a camera for grab shots while traveling.

Being used to optical viewfinders (and an analog geek) I up-sold myself into purchasing the Voigtlander 35mm viewfinder. According to CameraQuest, it's the best 35mm viewfinder in existence. But then again, they sell the thing.

G11 first impressions:

I knew what I was getting into when I purchased this setup: a small sensor camera mostly for broad daylight, not above ISO 400 for anything serious. (My standards may not be yours.) Since I view this as an alternative to a small film camera with 400 speed film, I accept the amount of graininess as a fun alternative to scanning.

The menu system is decent but could be more refined. Too easy to press buttons accidentally, especially in manual mode!, Does anyone know how to disable the metering option while in M mode? I hate that I have to cycle through the metering option when going back and forth between aperture and shutter speed settings in M mode! Also, why can't I see the meter reading when the display is off. It shows me the settings as i change them but not the meter reading. Either I'm ignorant on this, or Canon is.

Shutter lag is minimal with forethought. I still capture what I intend, for the most part, but focusl could be quicker. I have a custom function preset to 2.5 meters at f/4, iso 400, in aperture priority for anything requiring instant response, with the lens set roughly equivalent to 32mm. I crop in post.

Voigtlander VF impressions:

Is it worth $160? Depends on who is shooting. I love the experience of an optical viewfinder, and the quality of this one puts my DSLRs to shame. In fact, it's brighter than any I've ever used. The bright lines hover beautifully in space as artfully illumined frame guides. They have an uncanny power to persuade me that every composition falling within their bounds is wonderfully artistic, which only proves that they are not to be trusted.

Is the viewfinder durable, and how does it fit in the shoe?

It was a little loose in the shoe until I put some paper under it as a shim. Now it's snug. Prior to this I managed to drop it from four feet onto concrete. My heart sank expecting broken glass. Nope. Just a microscopic fleck of paint missing from the all-metal housing. I expect that this will outlive my digital cameras and finder use on future setups. It's an investment. The finder also came with a wonderful tiny pouch, really a little work of craft with a scripted "V" embellished upon it.

Finder accuracy. Let's not kid ourselves. The alignment of the Voigtlander viewfinder with the G11 is not very accurate at any lens position, but is relatively positive at three or more meters, with the lens set 2 movements from full-wide. I crop to taste in post. If shooting closer than 3 meters, I shoot full wide and crop to my original intention later.

It only takes a moment to crop in LightRoom, and I rarely print larger than 5x7 for personal stuff so it's fine. If I want perfect quality I'll use the 5D. If I want everyday fun, this G11 with viewfinder seems to do it.

Walking the streets with the screen inverted and shooting with the viewfinder is a pleasure! So inconspicuous. It causes me to focus on the next shot, rather than reviewing the last one!

Anyways, here are the coveted pictures. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I'll also be posting the first set of images taken with the camera.


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