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PME45 or PME90


Hello All:

I use a 503CW, with 60, 80 and 150. Plus bit and pieces. I meter with a handheld - sometimes a Gossen or my old Weston Master with invercone.

My question is this: IF the Good Fairy told me I could have a PME90 or a PME45 meter, which one should I wish for?

Of course, I have a PolaPlus back so I know that I could not use the back with the PME90 - but the reality is that I use the PolaPlus only maybe 10% of the time and I would be OK using the regular finder when I had to do so ( only a minute to change it out).

I don't use the CW Winder, and mainly I use the camera on a tripod. I am very used to looking DOWN into the camera, but of course I look THROUGH my Nikon SLR and my Leica RF.

So, please, what should I do if the Good Fairy says - BUY ONE.

Your views would be very appreciated.

Of course, I fully expect someone to tell me that I could spend USD$700 on a great new Sekonic or Gossen etc, and maybe get a Used non-metered prism. :)

But I do think metering TTL is very handy.


Or you could by a new one from

The 90 is the choice if you find your self in situations were you a streching your own physical limits to the most - standing on a ladder on your toes shooting with your tripod at max extension

The 45 i smore in balance with the cameras funtionality or may that is because you are used to control the camera from the angle of the waist level finder

Any way give my best to the good fairy (unless its a dragqueen with a Holga)
Uh-huh! You're right ... three Holga's. Chromogenic film. Point and Shoot.

The Good Fairy is the person in my household who controls the cash flow and it isn't me - if you get my drift. Not a dragqueen, either. <grin>. And she is not named Holga or Helga even.

Your point is well taken about the physical restrictions or I guess the ergonomics of viewfinder use. (I've actually used my Rollei TLR very successfully held upside down above my head, shooting set at infinity and sunny sixteen.)

I'll wait for some other erudite replies before I approach 'she who must be obeyed'.

Thanks, Laurent, but I'm not keen to buy in HK.

I agree that the PME90 could be more "friendly".

What happens if I decided to use a CW winder? Does that bring your hand and forearm up too high as you bring the camera all the way to eye view. Seems like a 45 would be more convenient and natural angle with a winder being used?
I only use the PME45 so I can't make a comparison but I am very happy with the 45. I do mostly landscape work with a 503CW on a tripod without the winder. Except at the extremes of position when I use a stepladder or shoot from the ground with the camera inverted, its great. I am also happy with the PME45 when I shoot my daughter's athletic events with the winder attached.
Thanks, Richard, for your experienced viewpoint.

When I hold the camera at the "approximate" position for 45 and 90 viewing, it seems to "fit" better at 45.

Do you (or any other member) know what percentage of the negative we are seeing in the prism finders? I can't seem to find that info anywhere on the HB site.

I know with my two Nikon SLR I get to see around 92% in one and 96% in another.

And from actually testing a regular HB WL viewfinder image v. what the HB PolaPlus produces on a positive print, I see that I'm getting about 2mm more - especially on the 'bottom' - on the polaroid than what I can actually see through the WL finder (unless I move my eye forward and look almost under the WL frame as it sits above the screen.)


I believe someone asked Hasselblad about this and got a response that the screen shows about 96% of what ends up on the film. One easy way to test this is to photograph a meterstick, taking note of how far left and right you can see in the screen, and compare that to what you get on the film. If you also have the distance to the meterstick measured, you can also measure the exact FOV of your lens.

Between the vignetting at the top of the image in the older bodies, and the limited coverage of the viewing screen, those who like to crop in the camera, or shoot transparencies, need to check what is just outside their view on the focus screen. Moving the camera left/right and up/down before settling on a composition, or taking a step back, then forward again may prevent surprises.

In addition, the 45 deg. finders magnify 3x, the 90 deg. magnify 2.5x. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. If you shoot from the tripod with the camera below eye level, then the 45 deg. prism would be better ergonomically. For handheld, I find that the 45 deg. is just right for me. I don't think I would want to keep lifting the camera that high every time. I still occasionally go back to the waist level.

Make sure you are getting a prism that is calibrated to your focus screen. I don't remember whether you would have an AcuteMatte or AcuteMatte-D in your 503CW, but that should be easy to find out if you bought your body new.

Hi Taras:

Great reply. Thanks. I have the D Screen.

Yes, I tested with a WL and although not done exactly as you described, the resulting image on polaroid suggested a figure of 97% I thought. That's with a WL. I don't have a prism at all (PM or PME) so I was just curious if the prism construction closed the view in a little more.

It's not important so much with landscapes, I guess, but shooting relatively close-up (BW) with flowers and plants, sometimes the composition depends on a few wispy tendrils caught with backlight (etc.) wandering off towards the edges, and I find I have to use the PolaPlus to confirm design and layout - and then the framing is not exact.

I'm not one who MUST print the whole negative, but it is nice to use as much as you can. (The Hassy v v notches can be inserted digitally, anytime you need them, anyway!! :) )


For exacting work in macro, or to check lighting or the composition, the Polaroid backs are invaluble.

In my previous post the sentence "I don't think I would want to keep lifting the camera that high every time." should read "Regarding the 90 deg., I don't think I would want to keep lifting the camera that high every time, but it is useful if you usually shoot at eye level from a tripod."

My experience is mostly with Ukrainian 45 deg. finders, which is why I did not specifically mention whether or not the view is more restricted with the PMEs, since I do not know.