Never Be Afraid To Be Cheap

ud-sealnoThe Paris end of Collins Street is not where I shop – though for the past few years my daughter and I do window-shop there late at night on the way back to the hotel. The little shoe and accessory boutiques that have only one item under a spotlight are the most fun – we have a competition to guess the price of the goods.

We call past next day and ask the sales assistant for the financial review. I have never been within $ 500 of the correct number and in some cases I’ve been $ 1500 low. That’s Collins Street.

In my own field, retail photo goods, I can also be flummoxed when I look at Leica or medium format gear. I do have a closer appreciation of the prices, and a closer appreciation of the sort of people who pay those prices…but I can truthfully say that the desire to buy the stuff is not in me. It is the same as my car – I prefer the cheap runabout to the luxury responsibility.

So it came naturally to me to reach for a big can of cheap-ass this morning when I was contemplating an open-sight finder for the Fujifilm system. I’d seen the Ikodot on the interent – sadly no longer available – and the various Albada finders that Leica, Sony, and Fujifilm make. All dear and all not what was needed. Even the historical wire finders on eBay were too dear for not being quite right.

The can of cheap-ass contained a sheet of stiff cardboard, an Exacto knife, and some contact cement. I turned on the camera, sighted onto the wall, and marked what the back screen could see at the selected focal length. Then I squinted down behind the camera and measured that from the eye’s position.

Oddly enough, a rectangle of 24mm x 36mm was the correct aperture and it was easy to draw out a basic block viewfinder on the paper. Cut out and assembled with the glue, it could be stuck onto the top of the camera in just a few minutes.

Well, it worked, and did a wonderful job of showing me that it is no better than using the finder of the Fujifilm X-Pro1 in the optical mode. I need not go further to duplicate it in brass or aluminium nor do I need to search out an Ikodot or other expensive accessory.

The answer was ” no ” but it was just as useful as a ” yes ” and considerably cheaper.


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