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Shen45
18-Mar-2012, 19:45
It creeps up on you like a snail. Eyesight deterioration. I shot some frames recently that are reasonable images but underwhelming as far as 5x4 quality is concerned. They are sharp but not quite if you know what I mean. I have a very good loupe but for convenience I use a good pair of reading glasses. I checked the GG and it was fine so I focused critically with the reading glasses and everything looked great - until - I checked with the loupe and the image on the GG was definitely not sharp. Everyone raves about the crisp sharpness of the 203 Ektar but I had basically over the last month or so consigned mine to the "other" bag. Focused correctly they are a beautiful lens.
I suppose the real surprise is how our brain and eyes accommodate gradual changes over time.

Steve

Daniel Stone
18-Mar-2012, 20:13
your eyes sometimes don't coordinate with each other either.

"cheap" dollar-store eyeglasses don't always work best for attaining focus. My right eye varies in focus for close-focus from my left. So I need to make sure I use the correct eye for focusing with a loupe when needed. Thankfully the 8x10 g/g doesn't always "need" one, unless I'm stopped way down.

-Dan

Doremus Scudder
19-Mar-2012, 04:20
Get your eyes examined to make sure you do not have astigmatism or other problems that would affect your vision. You may have to wear corrective lenses while using your focusing aids. I like my Cabellas 4-diopter flip-down clip-on reading glasses, so I can wear my corrective lenses and use the reading glasses too. We all lose close-focusing ability as we age and the lenses in our eyes loses flexibility. That's why God created reading glasses. :)

Like I said, I use 3.5 or 4-diopter reading glasses, but just to view and compose my image on the ground glass. I would never dream of using them for critical focusing. For that, it's an 8x loupe, usually used in tandem with the reading glasses, giving me even more magnification. The glasses alone never do the job.

Maybe you just need to be a bit more critical about focusing? If you are trying to focus with just a pair of cheap readers, then you just aren't getting enough magnification to do the job. I compose, choose my plane of focus and focusing points and then focus carefully on these with the loupe (and glasses). If movements are applied, I make them using the loupe.

If you use a loupe along with a Fresnel/gg, then make sure the loupe is focused on the frosted side of the ground glass, not on the Fresnel rings. I use a Peak or Nikon slide-viewing loupe (8x) reversed and not touching the ground glass so I can adjust the angle for best light and move it nearer/farther to make sure I'm focusing on the frosted part of the gg.

One more thing to keep in mind. Even if whatever you are using to focus with does not give you perfectly sharp vision, sharpest is still sharpest, i.e., if you have enough magnification and set focus at the sharpest point, even if it's a bit blurry due to your eyes or whatever, it will still be in focus on the film.

BTW, my 203mm Ektar is one of my sharpest...

Hope this helps,

Doremus

E. von Hoegh
19-Mar-2012, 08:22
It creeps up on you like a snail. Eyesight deterioration. I shot some frames recently that are reasonable images but underwhelming as far as 5x4 quality is concerned. They are sharp but not quite if you know what I mean. I have a very good loupe but for convenience I use a good pair of reading glasses. I checked the GG and it was fine so I focused critically with the reading glasses and everything looked great - until - I checked with the loupe and the image on the GG was definitely not sharp. Everyone raves about the crisp sharpness of the 203 Ektar but I had basically over the last month or so consigned mine to the "other" bag. Focused correctly they are a beautiful lens.
I suppose the real surprise is how our brain and eyes accommodate gradual changes over time.

Steve

Why would you focus with anything other than a loupe? You're taking the time, trouble, and expense of using 4x5, then focussing with reading glasses. Like buying a vintage Ferrari and running it on clearance sale tires fron Pep boys..

Michael Graves
19-Mar-2012, 09:25
Another thing is to make sure that your loupe focuses correctly on the ground glass. I switched from a Toyo 4x to a Peak 7x simply because the Peak had adjustable diopter and I could make sure it was focused on the ground glass. I have to admit I also like the increased magnification over the Toyo.

Mark Sawyer
19-Mar-2012, 11:40
Just a note that a "bad" magnifier won't make an out-of-focus ground glass look like it's in focus. It just makes it a little harder to see whether it's in focus or not.

Drew Bedo
19-Mar-2012, 13:42
As a visually impaired photographer, I have tried many different focusing aids, from reading glasses, loups and at times a jeweler's head set (Opti-visor). When shooting table-top set ups, I often place a bar code somewhere in the composition. sometimes I forget to remove it . . .usually the best shot of a session!

Brian C. Miller
19-Mar-2012, 14:02
Drew, tie a string between your focusing aid and your lens, or maybe your dark slide. Then when you pick up the holder or cock the shutter, you'll grab the string, too.

aporodagon
19-Mar-2012, 14:15
I had a different problem with the same cause. I couldn't seem to make a sharp print despite focusing aids, enlarger alignments, etc. Looking at my prints they were fuzzy up close - until I took off my glasses.

turtle
19-Mar-2012, 14:38
Good luck finding a reliable solution!

Selling my 203 Ektar in a nice Prontor SVS shutter was one of the stupidest things I have done with my kit.

E. von Hoegh
20-Mar-2012, 11:05
Good luck finding a reliable solution!



A loupe, properly focussed on the GG and carefully used, is as reliable as it gets. Period.