looking through the viewfinder…

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Just days ago, I became aware of a photo technique involving pictures being taken with one camera through the viewfinder of another camera over at The Sometimes Crafter blog. (a wonderful blog that should be thoroughly checked out) The technique is not at all new; only my knowledge of it is (as usual). It’s called TtV and stands for Through the Viewfinder.
As I was reading Christina’s post about her TtV experience, I could feel the top of my head getting warm from that light bulb turning on again. I lifted my gaze, refocused my eyes on the shelves right above my monitor, and rested them on an old Super Ricohflex camera Jeff bought over 10 years ago at a thrift store. I’ve never used it; the double lens was stuck and didn’t know how to fix it. Shortly after, I had pretty much stopped using film. And, it has stayed, all this time, right where I had put it.

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I opened it up, peered into the viewfinder screen, and suddenly remembered why I had held on to the camera.

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I love the way the picture on this tiny screen looks inside the camera; it seems almost magical---like looking at an old color movie projection.

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Words can’t describe it, and neither do my photos, really, but I intend to keep trying.

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I shared with Jeff my excitement about this new discovery. He worked on the Ricoh’s lenses and was able to get them to move.

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This allowed me to manually focus on objects close or far away. It seems to be permanently stuck on a very short depth of field, but that would usually be my preference anyway.

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Then, he took care of another problem I was having---light seeping in between the two cameras and causing a reflection glare. He made me a box to fit over the viewfinder chamber that works really well.

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Here a few photos I have taken through the viewfinder of my Super Ricohflex camera. I’m having a lot of fun with my new toy.

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There are all sorts of tutorials online and I’m learning that there is more that I can do to get even better looking photos---
Russ Morris gives a very detailed account regarding his findings at Through the Viewfinder: A Tutorial.
My photos don’t have the typical black frame you would normally see around the edges of TtV photos, like the ones you see here at Through The Viewfinder fickr group. I believe if I was able to get a screw-on macro lens for my SLR camera and built a contraption like the ones here in their discussion, which shows some really creative ways to build a tube to connect the cameras, I could have that same effect---if I wanted.
Or, I can always have fun with just plain editing. Larushka: What is TtV anyway? explains a simple way to create TtV-like photos from any photo you already have with photoshop or GIMP photo editing software.
But for now, I think I’m going to have to get that garden gnome to jump down off his pedestal and start helping us with some yard work while the weather is still cool enough for it.


  1. hummm, I just may have to try this, thanks for sharing I'd never heard of this before, now if only I can find that old camera!

  2. Seriously, this is an awesome idea. Now I wish I kept my old cameras to try this technique. The pictures that you took are beautiful :)

  3. Thank you, so much. I’ve always loved old cameras; this one is my only still shot---the others I have are old 8mm and 16mm movie cameras. We got all of them at thrift stores, and that is where I would recommend looking. I’ve read online, during my research, that a lot of people use eBay to find old dual lens cameras. I took a look, and most of the dealers are really good at describing the condition of the cameras. I think that if I really wanted another one, I would certainly keep my on eBay as well.

  4. Thank you so much for this peek into your magic world of photography!!!!!