The PEGOO Remembered

Posted by: Classic Connection

The Leitz mirror reflex housing (Visoflex 1) circa 1950-1958 was typically equipped with the PEGOO 45 degree magnifier. The 45 degree viewing angle made close-up photography more convenient than when the straight up and down LVFOO magnifier was attached. Nature photographers especially valued the tripod mounted Visoflex1/Bellows1/135mm Hektor assemblage for their precise and demanding work.

The latest digital M’s can be fitted to this vintage equipment now nearly 70 years old. The Leica body can be positioned for compositions with the Visoflex1/ PEGOO remaining in a fixed position. The modern incarnation of the PEGOO is represented by the electronic Visoflexes 18767 and 18753. The electronic Visoflex permits a PEGOO like 45 degree viewing angle for horizontals. Owners of the digital Sl and SL2 can utilize vintage Leica lenses with adapters. There is no provision for 45 degree viewing.

Some enthusiasts who want to use their old lenses with 45 degree viewing have chosen digital cameras not manufactured by Leica. The lightweight Nikon Z6 has become a favorite. The Fuji GH1 ( and later models) provides full articulation of the viewing screen for 45 degree viewing for both horizontals and verticals.

The illustrations show the PEGOO circa early 1950’s. The 45 degree viewing angle can be acheived with the electronicVisoflex on the digital M, the Nikon Z6, and the Fuji GH1.


PEGOO in use 1950’s

 Z6, Bellows R,135mm Elmar


GH1, Bellows II,65mm Elmar, horizontal motif

GH1, Bellows II,135mm Elmar,vertical motif

Z6, Bellows R/100mm Macro Elmar, horizontal motif 0505

Digital Leica M, electronic Visoflex, set at 45 degrees Bellows II/135mm Hektor


James L. Lager received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Ohio State University. In 1971 he joined the Leica Technical Center of E. Leitz, Inc. Rockleigh, N.J. Since 1975 Jim has worked in the retail sector of the photo industry. The author’s previous books are; LEICA ILLUSTRATED GUIDE, (1975). LEICA ILLUSTRATED GUIDE II, (1978). LEICA ILLUS-TRATED GUIDE III, (1979), LEICA LITERATURE, (1980) and LEICA, AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, VOLUME I – CAMERAS, (1993) and VOLUME II – LENSES, (1994).

Jim is a past president of the Leica Historical Society of America (LHSA) and past editor of its official publication, VIEWFINDER, in which he wrote and illustrated over 100 articles. His photographs have been published in LEICA FOTOGRAFIE and LEICA PHOTOGRAPHY. Over 22 years of almost daily contact with the Leica camera on both pragmatic and esthetic levels, has given Jim Lager a unique perspective on this engaging subject.