Beast Mode: A Sony RX1 with a Russian Turret Universal Optical Viewfinder


Disappointed that the full-frame Sony RX1 compact camera doesn’t come with an optical viewfinder? Don’t worry: you can use the camera’s hot shoe to attach a sweet/strange-looking universal turret viewfinder! That’s how DSLR Magazine customized theirs in a recently published review.

Universal viewfinders were created decades ago to allow photographers to carry around a single viewfinder that can be used for a number of prime lens focal lengths. Instead of swapping viewfinders at the same time as lenses, you could simply adjust the viewfinder every time you switch out a lens.

Zeiss and Leica were the pioneers in developing these strange-looking turret-style viewfinders, but after World War II, the USSR cloned the viewfinder designs for their own rangefinders.


The viewfinders offer five different focal length frames, rangefinder-style (you can see the frame-lines that roughly show how your photo will turn out, along with some extra space on the outside edges of the frame).

You can find a more detailed history of the universal viewfinder over on Alfred’s Camera Page. Want to pick up one for yourself activate beast mode on your own camera? You can find them being sold over on eBay for between $80 and $120. Not a bad deal, considering the fact that Sony’s official optical viewfinder for the RX1 costs a whopping $600!

(via DSLR Magazine via sonyalpharumors)

Image credits: RX1 photo by DSLR Magazine, Kiev 4a and Lenses by Yasuhiro_S

  • 11

    arnold schwarzenegger gatling gun

  • FP

    Kind of stupid when you could just as easily get a vintage 35mm viewfinder to match the lens.

  • AntonyShepherd

    I would have thought that anyone who can afford the camera could afford a specific 35mm viewfinder!

  • Steve Stevenson

    Seriously, other than the “cool vintage” look of a turret finder, it’s useless on that camera.

  • pieefi

    sony fail

  • fmfm

    You could probably make a good business selling these. That is, if enough people have paid the extreme price of a Sony RX1.

    Protip: not many have.

  • vdido

    Mmmm love me some of that Nikon S-Rangefinder clone.
    Bringing back the bad memory that the shutter in my S2 is torn :(

  • giga

    Dear Friends,
    Kiev was made in Ukraine by Arsenal manufactury.
    . kiev is not russian made camera or viewfinder

  • Ministry of Truth

    when this viewfinder was made, ukraine was in the USSR, which was referred to as “Russia” in the US at the time… so you’re both right.

  • Mike Selsky

    Well, you can use the cropped zoom modes on the RX-1 of 50mm & 75mm, so maybe the turret isn’t totally useless after all?

  • Yves Lagache

    The lens is a 35mm so this is useless, there are 35mm viewfinders….

  • Jason

    Incorrect. Soviet Union maybe, but Russia is Russia and Ukraine is Ukraine…never was considered the same place by Americans.

  • Jason

    How is this a Sony fail exactly?

  • Федор

    The logo under the “MADE IN THE USSR” inscription is one of the KMЗ factory ([kmz]).

    The factory is in Russia (has always been, all those ZENITH SLRs came out of it).

    I may be wrong, but the parralax between the lens and the viewfiender suggests the same(there were other rangefinders in USSR, like more leica-type:)
    However, there were versions of this VF to fit KIEV(Contax) cameras.

    (The logo. by the way, is often referred to as “КМЗ-coffin” for its shape).

  • marxz

    $600 fail for a sony 35mm viewfinder

  • Stanco55

    Americans wouldn’t be able to find Russia, the Ukraine, or most of the US states for that matter…