The Leica Visoflex 2 is an electronic viewfinder that can serve as an alternative to the optical viewfinder on certain Leica cameras that was originally released with the Leica M11. This EVF is particularly useful for working with lenses that are challenging to use with the rangefinder design, such as ultra-wide-angle, fast telephoto lenses, and macro lenses, or adapted lenses that have no range finder coupling.
It offers a 3.7MP OLED panel (3,700,000-dot) and provides 100% frame coverage, with an adjustable diopter. The Visoflex 2 is constructed from durable aluminum and has an upward tilting design that can be positioned at 0°, 45°, and 90° angles to accommodate low-angle shooting.
I’ll start off by saying I really love the M11, even with all its shortcomings, and I really like this Visoflex 2 even though it’s not exactly what I want, so I say with love . . . Leica should recall this and issue an update and you shouldn’t buy it until they do.
They didn’t seal the diopter dial from the inner elements of the EVF, so it gets totally loaded with dust. Here is my EVF after only about 2-3 weeks of use, traveling around Tokyo and Japan with it almost permanently mounted to my camera – Yes, that dust is on the inside.
If you decided to buy this, You need to set the diopter dial and immediately cover it with tape.
Leica Visoflex 2 – B&H
Camera Tap – B&H 1″ or 2cm is about what you need. I use cloth gaffers tape, not paper camera tape, but either will work fine for this job. Just don’t use electrical tape because it gets sticky. You’ll also want this to cover your rear control dial on your M11 since the black anodization will wear down very quickly.
Onto the review.
Leica Visoflex 2 Review
What I Like
First off, you need this little EVF if you like shooting with a digital view.
Shooting off the LCD is not practical since Leica has designed the LCD to overlap where your thumb grip is, but they don’t allow you to turn off the touch screen. So every time you punch in to focus off the LCD screen, the focus point starts at the top right of the screen.
By using the Visoflext 2, the LCD touch screen is disabled when the EVF is engaged so you don’t have this problem of your thumb accidentally adjusting the focus point.
You can set the EVF switching to be on Auto (which will switch from LCD to EVF depending on if it detects your eye near the EVF), EVF extended (which turns on and off as your eye approaches, leaving the LCD always off), or EVF mode which leaves the EVF on full time. To get the ability to switch between your different settings here, I’ve customized the back wheel button, so I can always easily toggle through the different settings. There should have been a button on the EVF but, oh well.
Also, the Visoflex 2 doesn’t seem to speed up or slow down the camera in any way. The camera still takes about 4-5 seconds, sometimes randomly longer to boot up or come out of auto power-off mode (which is pretty pathetic), and there is still that half-second delay (randomly sometimes longer) when pressing the shutter button (which is also pretty pathetic, just being honest).
I also absolutely love that this EVF tilts up 90 degrees, so you can shoot it like a medium-format film camera looking down into the camera from above. I am tall and this makes it much easier to shoot at lower angles when photographing kids or just people not as tall as me and this has been game-changing when trying to find better compositions. I no longer have to crouch down to try to use the OVF or force the camera to a low angle while desperately trying to nail focus off an LCD screen that I can’t even see straight on.
The Visoflex also functions with different angles. It will click and hold into three angles at 45 degrees, 90 degrees, or closed and it’s magnetically locked closed. Also, it fits on the Leica M11 very securely and will not slip or slide off without a lot of force, so you don’t have to worry about it popping off by accident.
Because of this one little accessory, the Leica M11 has become my favorite camera to shoot on, and it’s really cool.
But that doesn’t mean this accessory is good. The concept was great, but the execution was – well . . . obviously done by a third-party without a lot of supervision, and it is made in China, not Germany.
What I Don’t Like
Like with all of Leica’s other accessories that came out for the M11, the concept, and draft of the Visoflex 2 was great, and there were some cool features in the designs, however, the execution was poor.
Here is where Leica went wrong.
For fast aperture telephoto lenses, 3,500,000-dot is not enough. It’s fine for general viewing on a traditional mirrorless camera that has autofocus, but it’s not for trying to nail f2 on a 75mm lens or f1.5 on a 50mm. At the minimum, it should have been a 5m-dot. By comparison, the Sony A7rV which uses a similar sensor is 9,437,184 Dot. Even the Leica SL2s is 5,760,000 Dot. So I’m not really sure what Leica was thinking here.
Here is the worst and most embarrassing part. The Diopter adjuster is not sealed from the internal lensing of the EVF. After only two weeks of traveling around Japan, there is an insane amount of dust inside my EVF. Maybe I just got some bad one, but I see others complaining about the same issue – Seriously, the thing pulls in more dust than a Voigtlander lens.
The Visoflex 2 dust issue is so bad. I’m shocked more people aren’t screaming about it on online reviews.
So here is what you need to do if you decide to get a Visoflex 2.
Once you set your diopter dial, cover the little dial with some tape to seal it off. Unfortunately, I switch between contacts and glasses a lot so I always have to re-adjust the diopter, but if you don’t switch around as I do, then just set it and seal it off.
What It Comes With
With the Visofelx two, you get a little carrying pouch and a small little rubber cover to protect the bottom.
Leica also sells a Leather Case for this little EVF as well which can be found here – B&H
Leica Visoflex 2 Review Bottom Line
The VisoDust 2 is a pretty cool little accessory and quite a significant upgrade from the original. The construction feels good, and it really expands the usability of the camera in ways just using the LCD wouldn’t and I really recommend every Leica shooter that uses ultra-wide lenses or fast telephoto lenses try one out.
However, it’s unfortunate Leica couldn’t have packed more resolution into this and didn’t think to seal it off from dust while charging $740 for it. Some tape fixes the problem, but then you have this really nice camera with tape on it.
Samples Taken With The Visolflex 2 on the Leica M11
Here are some samples with a few different lenses. The Zeiss 28mm, the Voigtlander 75mm and the Helios 44-2. It’s nice being able to get different angles that would other wise be very difficult, and it’s also great being able to shoot on old classics like the Helios 44-2.