Do you WINTU?
Trivia: Leica normally issues a five letter code for their accessories - VIDOM, FISON, SCNOO, etc. They are all 'pronounceable' and the intent was that it was easier to remember a code like this than something like FL-1560.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I added another five-letter accessory to my user-collection. The WINTU is a finder from the 30's-40's that allows you to view - and focus - whilst holding the camera at a 90 degree angle from you (having it aimed at your subject). It's quite ingenious in it's simplicity - there are two windows to look at: the viewfinder is placed so that it's directly above the camera viewfinder and provides exactly the same view (through a mirror) and there is a second, smaller, window that covers the rangedfinder window on the camera and once again through a mirror allows you to see the rangefinder through this 90 degree contraption.
Sounds bizarre and hard to imagine? Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words - so here are a few thousand words describing what the WINTU looks like ontop of my Leica III (F).
The WINTU mounted on my Leica III (F). As you can see the viewfinder is directly above the camera's viewinder.
Rear view of the finder. As can be seen here the smaller lever goes down and covers the rangefinder window allowing it to be projected through the 90 degree finder.
Now, how 'stealthy' a photographer will this make you..and how 'useful' is it really in real life? Well, Walker Evans supposedly used one of these but in these modern days with digital cameras sporting LCD finders that often turns and twists and allows for waist, angled, over the head, etc - shooting this gadget won't make anyone invisible. Rather the oposite taking into consideration that you're yielding a 60-70 year old piece of equipment around - but it's bound to be fun to use and isn't that what it's all about in the end?
In 1933 the WINTU, as seen in an original ad below, sold for $8.91 - taking inflation into consideration that translates to about $130 today. I paid about $30 for mine in 2006 - so in a way that can almost be seen as a bargain :)
(The WINTU is an 'updated' version of the WINKO (also mentioned in the ad below)).