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Using A Right Angle Finder

A guide to using a right angle finder on your Pentax camera.

Posted: 24/02/2012 - 00:00

We often restrict ourselves to take photographs from a comfortable angle, but sometimes a lower viewpoint is much better. The right angle finder will make it easier for you to take more dynamic photographs from the ground looking up.

What is a right angle finder?

The right angle finder is an optical gadget that slips over your Pentax camera's viewfinder eyepiece.
It allows you to view through the finder in a more comfortable position, so you will be looking down rather than having to place your ear to the floor to see through the finder.

How a right angle finder works

The finder has a prism inside that bends the light, but the view on some is laterally reversed so it takes a little while to get used to fine adjusting the camera position. The benefit is you can shoot from ground level and see the subject from a totally different and more creative viewpoint.

Some right angle finders have magnifying lenses built in so the view becomes larger and easier to focus. Some have a switch to go from a standard view of 1x to a magnified view of 2x or 3.3x. They also have a diopter adjustment so photographers who wear glasses can use them.

What right angle finders are available?

The Pentax option is called the Ref Converter. Over the years Pentax have made several versions starting out with the original one used on the 60s Spotmatic cameras called the Pentax Refconverter that also fit the K1000 and KM. Then the Refconverter II that fit all K mount bodies, followed by the Refconverter M (below) that shows a corrected image and has 2x magnification. This one fits M and A series film cameras and modern digital SLRs.

Pentax Refconverter M

The current Refconverter A (below) is the same as the M but has a broader field of view to ensure the LCD below the viewfinder could be seen in the Program Series cameras.

Alternative brands include Seagull (still made), Jessop and Ohnar (both discontinued a few years ago). There are also several Chinese manufacturers selling direct on eBay.

With your refconverter in place you will find it easier to take photos like these:

Low angle field
room taken from a low angle
Fungi from ground level
Posted 01/03/2012 - 09:59 Link
I have a Pentax right angle view finder that I use with my Pentax S1a. Unfortunately, it does not fit the viewfinders of the Pentax digital range of cameras. The seagull viewfinder and the ones from china have plastic mounting plates and break.
Not everything in life is Black & White, If only it were!
Kind Regards,
Posted 01/03/2012 - 23:02 Link
You need Pentax Refconverter M or A for their digital cameras.

Mine is a Refconverter M and works fine with a K20D and a K-5...and every Pentax since and including the film M series.

Came in mint condition from Ebay for 40, shows images the right way up and right way around.

K-1, Sigma 12-24mm DG EX, Sigma 24-70mm DG EX, K-3, White K-01 with 40mm XS and white 35mm f2.4, SMC Pentax FA 1.8 31mm AL Limited, 43mm f1.9 Limited, 77mm f1.8 Limited, Sigma 17-50 f2.8, SMC Pentax DA* 50-135 f2.8, MX + SMC M 50mm f1.4, SMC A 50mm f1.4, SMC A 50mm f1.2, Spotmatic F 55mm f1.8, ES with 55mm f1.8 and 28mm f3.5, Program Plus (Chrome) with SMC A 50mm f1.7, Pentax 6x7, Leica ii, plus misc. odds and sods)

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