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Thread: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    Hi, I've had a Linhof Technica III v.5 for years and I finally got around to shooting some film with it.

    I've been shooting 4x5 sheet and 120 with the 6x9 Rollex back. The first film that I've had processed is the 120 from the Rollex. Sure enough the Rollex overlaps... so I'll be sending it in for a possible adjustment.

    The overlap is disappointing but I halfway expected that. What I didn't expect is the image to be kinda soft. Granted all the shots were made handheld and focused with the rangefinder, but there really isn't anything sharp in the image. Real close... but not quite. IF the rangefinder focus was off I would expect to see sharpness in front or behind my subject - but I don't. I didn't use any movements and shutter speeds were kept around 1/250 minimum.

    The lenses I have are matched cam with sr. #'s to both camera and lens. I have a Linhof select S/K Xenar 150 4.5 and Linhof select S/K Angulon 90 6.8. I also have a 300 but I haven't shot with that yet. The lenses appear to be uncoated and the same vintage as the camera... mid fifties.

    The film is Kodak 400 NC and I had it developed and scanned locally. The scans are OK but not that high a res. Checking the negs with a lupe sharpness appears close but not perfect in the best two (of 8) frames.

    Here are my thoughts and questions:

    Color neg just isn't that sharp and I should do another test with B&W with the camera on a tripod.

    Are negatives just not as sharp as what I've come to expect with digital?

    With focus so close... but not quite, could it be back alignment?

    Could it be film flatness in the back?

    Are the lenses soft?

    Do I really suck this badly at photography?

    I guess the next step is to do a real focus test with the camera on a tripod and shoot both 120 and 4x5... and process the 4x5, ha.

    Sorry for the long ramble here. I know there's testing to be done... I was just so looking forward to seeing this film. To have it come back overlapped, soft and frankly... boring... is more than a little disappointing. I fear it's taking a little wind outa my sails for LF... but, not giving up yet. I'll mix some chemistry this weekend and see how the 4x5s look.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks, Dennis

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    put it on a tripod
    focus using the ground glass (on some newspaper or something with fine detail)
    shoot some 4x5's
    check the rangefinder and see if the focus matches
    process them and use a good loupe to check the results

    it could be the ground glass was replaced incorrectly or something like that but not as likely

  3. #3

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    Mar 2012
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    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    I agree with Vinny. Furthermore, make sure the lenses are stopped down at least to f11, better f16-22. At these values, they should give best results.

  4. #4

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    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rollinhofuji View Post
    I agree with Vinny. Furthermore, make sure the lenses are stopped down at least to f11, better f16-22. At these values, they should give best results.
    If you are doing a sharpness test, wouldn't you want to keep the aperture closer to wide open? Shooting at f22 wouldn't tell you if what you focused on is actually in focus. But Vinny's advice is right on...

  5. #5

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    Portland, OR USA
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    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    I can almost guarantee that anyone's first experience with a LF camera will be frustrating or disappointing. (Fascinating results, perhaps, but usually not perfect!) There's a big learning curve and a dozen ways to go wrong on any one exposure. It takes time and practice to work the mistakes out of your routine. Once the painstaking parts become intuitive, your average will improve.

    It wouldn't surprise me a bit if you find your rangefinder out-of-synch with ground glass focus. It surprises me even less that hand-holding a 4x5 gave you fuzzy results. Vinny and Rollinhofuji have it right, take their advice.

    And don't give up!! The results are worth the effort.

  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    Don't bother repairing the Rollex back. That's how it is. It was made for film that was thicker or maybe had thicker paper behind it, and it doesn't actually measure the film travel like the later Super-Rollex backs, so it can't compensate for the difference in film/backing thickness. You may find some films that work with an old Rollex back, but you'll have to experiment.

    Long ago I posted about this issue either here or on apug.org, and if you can locate the old thread, there may be some info there about what modern films will work with a Rollex back.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    10,360

    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    All of your lenses are coated. They are not multi-coated. Your back requires a minor modification, if the parts are still available then Nippon Photoclinic in NYC can modify it for modern films.

  8. #8
    Guilherme Maranhão coisasdavida's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
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    São Paulo, Brazil
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    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    My first experiences with my Tech III were the same.
    Later I found out I had to really use the focus lock before taking my eyes out of the rangefinder.
    That solved most of my problems.

    But I went through what Vinny suggested first.

  9. #9

    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    Coated or un coated, in this case there may be zero difference in sharpness. There are many, many images from before 1900 made with un coated lenses and they produced SHARP images..

    +1
    on Vinny's recommendation.

    Put the camera on a tripod, focus using the ground glass and a magnifier (loupe), carefully install the film holder, gently pull the dark slide allow everything to settle and release the shutter with a CABLE RELEASE...

    Hand held 4x5 is not the best way to figure out lens/camera performance of sheet film camera system. Do not treat a 4x5 press camera like a hand held digital, not gonna work.

    Do not get discouraged, figure out what went wrong step by step one at a time. There rewards will be there.



    Bernice



    Quote Originally Posted by DLee View Post
    Hi, I've had a Linhof Technica III v.5 for years and I finally got around to shooting some film with it.

    I've been shooting 4x5 sheet and 120 with the 6x9 Rollex back. The first film that I've had processed is the 120 from the Rollex. Sure enough the Rollex overlaps... so I'll be sending it in for a possible adjustment.

    The overlap is disappointing but I halfway expected that. What I didn't expect is the image to be kinda soft. Granted all the shots were made handheld and focused with the rangefinder, but there really isn't anything sharp in the image. Real close... but not quite. IF the rangefinder focus was off I would expect to see sharpness in front or behind my subject - but I don't. I didn't use any movements and shutter speeds were kept around 1/250 minimum.

    The lenses I have are matched cam with sr. #'s to both camera and lens. I have a Linhof select S/K Xenar 150 4.5 and Linhof select S/K Angulon 90 6.8. I also have a 300 but I haven't shot with that yet. The lenses appear to be uncoated and the same vintage as the camera... mid fifties.

    The film is Kodak 400 NC and I had it developed and scanned locally. The scans are OK but not that high a res. Checking the negs with a lupe sharpness appears close but not perfect in the best two (of 8) frames.

    Here are my thoughts and questions:

    Color neg just isn't that sharp and I should do another test with B&W with the camera on a tripod.

    Are negatives just not as sharp as what I've come to expect with digital?

    With focus so close... but not quite, could it be back alignment?

    Could it be film flatness in the back?

    Are the lenses soft?

    Do I really suck this badly at photography?

    I guess the next step is to do a real focus test with the camera on a tripod and shoot both 120 and 4x5... and process the 4x5, ha.

    Sorry for the long ramble here. I know there's testing to be done... I was just so looking forward to seeing this film. To have it come back overlapped, soft and frankly... boring... is more than a little disappointing. I fear it's taking a little wind outa my sails for LF... but, not giving up yet. I'll mix some chemistry this weekend and see how the 4x5s look.

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks, Dennis

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    53

    Re: 1st images with Linhof III v5 not that sharp...

    i agree with Vinny. Use ground glass rather than the rangefinder. So many things can go wrong with the rangefinder, such as a bent cam

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