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Old October 3rd, 2017, 10:55 AM   #1
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What kind of lens attachment to film viewfinder, binocular, View-master?

If one wanted to record and present to a viewer how the view looking thru an optical viewfinder looks like or looking thru a binocular or monocular, or telescope, microscope, View-Master etc. --- what type of lens and adapter can provide the ability of show how things look thru those device?

I assume using some sort of macro or extension tubes?

I don't want to fake it by creating a mask and non functioning indicators.... but curious how to actually shoot what the eyes see looking thru that kind of device.

What type of equipment is needed?

Thanks.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 09:10 AM   #2
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Re: What kind of lens attachment to film viewfinder, binocular, View-master?

In my opinion it'll be easier to do this with a subject that has a single eyepiece such as a spotting scope, a monocular, a microscope or a telescope.

And more difficult with two eyepieces such as binoculars or a View-Master (of which I have a small collection... hurrah for View-Masters). Unless you just pick one side, right or left, to show.

Some camcorders, such as all Canon XF and Vixia series, have a built-in macro mode. Remove the lens hood, zoom out to full wide, and you can focus very, very close to the front element of the lens. Perhaps other models from different manufacturers can do that too; I don't know.

Any DSLR with a dedicated macro lens could probably do it. I reference Canon again because that's the brand I know. They have a new 35mm macro for crop-sensor that's only $350 and most likely ideal for what you propose.

Canon Announces New EF-S 35MM F/2.8 Macro IS STM Lens

For a full-grown telescope and some spotting scopes, this isn't too hard to do as there are T-mount adapters to put a DSLR or a mirrorless camera directly in place of the eyepiece.

Imaging with a DSLR through the telescope

But for other types of scopes, or a View-Master, you'll need a rig or a rail on which to mount everything securely and keep them aligned.

Also... is your intention to show *only* the field of view through a scope? Or do you want to show the surrounding lens barrel / bezel / other outer elements.
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Old October 4th, 2017, 04:52 PM   #3
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Re: What kind of lens attachment to film viewfinder, binocular, View-master?

Thanks Chris! It is just one those things that seem so common on videos and films, where they show how the viewfinder looks like with the focusing screen with the split diopter, exposure needle bouncing around etc and all the indicators of f-stop, ISO but I could never figure out how to do it.

I will try and see how it works with a 55mm nikkor micro.

In editing, I will scale the footage as necessary to fill more of the screen.

Yes, on a View-Master, I would only present one eye view. :)
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Old October 6th, 2017, 11:23 AM   #4
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Re: What kind of lens attachment to film viewfinder, binocular, View-master?

Quote:
Originally Posted by John C. Chu View Post
...It is just one those things that seem so common on videos and films, where they show how the viewfinder looks like with the focusing screen with the split diopter, exposure needle bouncing around etc and all the indicators of f-stop, ISO...
Oh, that effect!

I have shot a few screens with a second camera - this has just been quick and dirty, but does indicate that setting up to do it right is going to be a bit finicky! For the macro version, I think you'd want to rig these devices together...

I think many of those shots *are* done in post production, with photoshopped partially transparent overlays applied in an NLE, and if needles are bouncing that would have to be animated.

I say that because the examples I see on broadcast TV are as clean and linear, with straight lines, no reflections, etc., they look like any other shot. Shooting an LCD monitor with a camera never (?) does look the same as a straight shot. Shooting through telescopes, binoculars, etc. is going to be different and should be better than shooting an LCD.

But I've not seen a focusing screen with a split diopter... After Effects or a similar program would be capable of that overlay in post.

Magic Lantern (open source software add-on for several Canon DSLRs) can capture a still image with all overlays... Apple iOS devices can do moving screen captures natively with the brand new iOS 11 for iPhone/iPod/iPad, though there is an existing method using Quicktime capture when USB tethered to a Mac.

Most (many?) prosumer and pro camcorders can display live-view overlays on their HDMI output, for an external recorder like an Atomos or whatever. Many still cameras will do this as well.
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Old October 6th, 2017, 11:28 AM   #5
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Re: What kind of lens attachment to film viewfinder, binocular, View-master?

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Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I think many of those shots *are* done in post production, with photoshopped partially transparent overlays applied in an NLE, and if needles are bouncing that would have to be animated.
That's exactly my takeaway too. Most of my experience with screens (when there's a post budget at least), is that they are replaced in post and then slightly tweaked to give the kind of glare you would see if you actually shot it, however, just subtle enough to sell the effect.

So deal with this scenario. You'd film it straight and then manipulate it in most to give it the feeling of looking through a device.
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