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Thread: Tips on focusing (4x5)

  1. #1

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    Tips on focusing (4x5)

    I have a strong case of soft images. No matter how hard I try I cannot seem to focus my shots properly. Granted, my eyesight is not the best, but still, I really work hard in trying to get the sharpest image possible. Any tips on how to focus? Especially from guys like me who have poor eye sight.

    Thanks.
    --Mario

  2. #2
    David Schaller
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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    My eyesight has gotten worse, and the "progressive" lenses are not adequate anymore. I've been doing two things I never used to have to do. One is use a loupe. I use a cheap 4x plastic one, which if I lose I can easily replace. The other thing is to put my nose right up on the ground glass, using no glasses or loupe. Between both of these methods I'm getting fewer mistakes. I do try to see it all in focus by f16, then stop down one or two more stops(with 4x5) to be safe. If you search this forum there are many past threads on this topic.

  3. #3

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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    Most people focus for max sharpness... But this also means that in focus, that something small becomes smaller (like a wire, twig on a tree, etc) might vanish to the eye when in perfect focus... Combine that with grain on a GG, dimmer light, angle of tilt on movements where the loupe now does not sit flat on the GG but would have to be tilted for max light to be seen, make it harder...

    Here is something else to look for... When a lens is in focus, it is not only sharpest (resolving fine detail), it also has the greatest contrast, color saturation, color separation, edge sharpness/harder edge on outlines, overall brittleness, brightness (when color/contrasts pop), less diffuse/mushy look, etc... So there are other things to spot, so set-up your cam in the yard some afternoon, focus on many different things, and when you are close to the focus points, slowly roll the focus back and forth and see if you see a difference in those other qualities, too... Become aware of these, and incorporate these into your focusing procedure, so you have other points to check against... That way, you might have a few things to look for, and you will soon combine these in total...

    Different focus aids/GG's work different for different people, so test different ones to see what helps you the most... But some of the other qualities listed above, different viewing distances may work better/worse, than right up against the GG, so try different viewing distances too...

    Good luck!!!

    Steve K

  4. #4

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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    A loupe is a necessity even for those of us with very good vision.
    A pinpoint light source is very handy. AN led flashlight with a single LED , like one of those cheapie key rings, placed at preferred point of focus provides an excellent source on which to focus, day or night. If there are specular highlights on or near the preferred focus point, also make excellent focusing points.

  5. #5

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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    I have some astigmatism, so whatever magnifier I use, I have to include my prescription glasses in the mix.

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    Unless you are focusing beyond infinity, frequently out-of focus negatives have something unintended in sharp focus. While diagnosing a fuzzy image problem don't forget to evaluate your tripod and aperture selection also. See the articles on 'how to focus a view camea' and 'how to select the aperture.'

  7. #7

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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    Get one of these and never look back: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hening-Type-...EAAOSw9N1VywPw

  8. #8
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    Is it possible that your ground glass/Fresnel are not positioned correctly? I recently saw a camera with the ground glass installed backwards, so not possible to get an in focus image on the film plane.
    my black and white photos of the Mendocino Coast: www.jonshiu.com

  9. #9

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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rael View Post
    Get one of these and never look back: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hening-Type-...EAAOSw9N1VywPw
    Nice. Pricey. But I guess worth it if it is as good as you say it is. How does this differ from a loupe?
    --Mario

  10. #10

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    Re: Tips on focusing (4x5)

    Some lenses exhibit focus-shift when stopped down. My old 210mm Heliar lens had it.

    Focus wide open, then stop down the lens gradually while looking through an inexpensive loupe or strong reading glasses.

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