When I first saw a picture of Leica’s new box-car Visolfex 2 I was less than enthusiastic. Ugly duckling was my first reaction. Now, having attached the new viewfinder to my (black) M11, I have almost changed my mind. Sure, it ain’t pretty. But Leica’s designers have done a good job in addressing the shortcomings of its predecessor.
The immediate impression on handling the Visoflex 2 is that this is a quality piece of work. It is solid and thoroughly functional. The all-metal body is superbly crafted and the tilting operation is precise. Not only does it click firmly into place at 45 and 90-deg angles, but it also stays put on its base when closed, thanks to two magnets.
But for me, the greatest attraction is the way the unit locks into place on the hot-shoe. There is absolutely no chance of it sliding off (and getting lost) as was the danger with previous designs. It clicks home and required a very strong push to dislodge the slider when you decide to remove the unit. The large diopter adjustment wheel is firm in operation and is unlikely to be moved inadvertently.
The ergonomics of the viewfinder, therefore, are excellent. When mounted on the camera, the Visoflex 2 looks and feels like it is a permanent fixture rather than an accessory. And the boxy design is growing on me. I now think it complements the M body.
So far I can make no judgements on the operation, however. It has the same 3.7MP resolution as the viewfinder of the Q2 and I would expect similar performance. Strangely, the characters of the data display, when selected, are larger than those in the Q2 finder. In this respect, the Q2 finder is closer in layout and appearance to the finder of the SL2. However, the SL2 viewfinder with its 5.76 million dots is clearly in a different class.
All in all, the Visoflex 2 is a step in the right direction and, for the moment, I am keeping it on the M11 for experimental purposes. I still prefer rangefinder focusing on the M lenses, but the larger image of the Visoflex and the ability to monitor exposure add another dimension.
What’s your view? Do you think the Visoflex 2 is pretty, or just functional? Do you welcome this improved EVF or are you a died-in-the-wool rangefinder focuser?
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