This Vintage Visoflex Lets Leica M Shooters Capture Better Landscapes

For less than $400, you can turn your old Leica M6 into a DSLR style camera.

You’re probably wondering why you’d want to convert your Leica into a DSLR. After all, they’re meant to be small in the first place. But DSLRs can have advantages over rangefinders. One prominent example is with graduated ND filters. Of course, Leica has its own high-resolution Visoflex EVF with its newer digital cameras, but it doesn’t also accommodate SLR lenses. You can adapt those if you wish, but if you want the optical experience, you need to go for something like this Visoflex III on eBay. According to seller classic_photography_uk, it’s in good working condition.

First off, you’re not getting the Leica M8 with it. Sorry about that! The listing on eBay says that. To understand how this works, equate it to a few adapters Sony has. To use their A mount lenses, Sony has a few adapters with the translucent mirror inside. That’s almost what’s happening with the Leica in this case. You won’t be using the rangefinder coupling to get critical focus. Instead, you’ll focus the SLR lens. Then you’ll look into the hood style finder and make sure the focus is sharp. Think of it almost like a medium format SLR–but with a rangefinder mated with a DSLR.

That’s simple enough. We know that, of course, the camera is Leica M mount. And we’d take an educated guess to say that the Visioflex is using a Leica R mount. Arguably, this is much cheaper than buying the Visoflex EVF and then purchasing Leica R mount lenses. Alternatively, you’d need to buy the EVF, then the adapter, and then the lenses. Otherwise, you’d use the LCD screen on the back to make the photos. The most expensive part is the Leica R mount lenses. Since the Leica M10 came out, Leica R mount lens prices have skyrocketed. At the same time, cinema shooters value the R lenses for their look, so many buy them up and adapt them for whatever system they’re using. It’s a smart move. And if I were them, I’d do the same thing. R mount lenses can’t be beaten! We reviewed the Leica R6 a while back, and that review is scheduled for later this month. The lenses have a look to them for sure. But you can save more money with this at under $400.

Lots of you have joined the Leica fanbase as of late, and this can really open up more possibilities. A part of getting into photography is a love of the gear. But you want to stay light and small with a Leica. Lenses that are too big can ruin the walkabout experience for you. And with something like this Visoflex, I’d say you need to be ready for it. I’ll admit it will be amusing, but it might be so heavy you won’t want to bring it out with you often. If you’re hiking and shooting landscapes, this is a great tool, though. Slap a graduated ND filter on the front of the lens, and your photos will get better exposure for sure. You’ll visibly see the effect of the ND on the scene vs. through a rangefinder. With an EVF, I’ve never been able to successfully see the full results because of how the screens work.

So if you’ve got a bit of spare cash, consider this Visoflex.

All images used courtesy of the eBay listing.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.