So how do you shoot a 500/cfv combo in portrait orientation without a prism? As I understand, the back can't be mounted that way.
This is a problem, admittedly. When you are shooting film in 6x6 format, the image is square and you do not have to rotate the camera. But the CFV back is effectively 645 and the back is fixed, which is fine if you are using a prism, but using the WLF restricts you to landscape format. However, one of the joys of the old 500s is the huge range of V-System accessories which go along with it, and I have most of them (one reason I am not too keen on the H-System). The little gizmo which helps out here is the Sports Finder, which clips onto the accessory shoe on the L/H side of the camera. Various masks for different focal lengths and formats slot into a frame which you squint through at eye level. So for portrait shots -
* You focus using the WLF magnifier.
* Trigger the mirror pre-release.
* Fold down the WLF.
* Pop-up the Sports Finder.
* Rotate the camera, bring it to eye-level, frame and shoot.
When you have all finished falling about laughing, knowing now that Smith is in fact (as you suspected) completely unhinged, I would add that (with practice) this does actually work quite well. And yes, I do have the usual set of prisms, but they add a lot of weight to the camera, so I tend to use them only when I am working from a tripod.
This shot was taken using the sports finder, for example.