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Thread: Focusing Screens

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Focusing Screens

    Since I am in my late 50s and my eyesight isn’t as good as it once was, I have read with great interest all of the many discussions in this forum (and the other LF forum on a different server) concerning using specialized focusing screens.

    It seemed to me while I read through these comments that there were three basic types of focusing screens being discussed – Fresnels, screens from manufacturers that create special kinds of frosted or ground glass surfaces, and “sandwich” types that put wax or a wax-like substance between two pieces of glass. There were also variations in which, for example, a special frosted glass screen was combined with a Fresnel lens.

    It also seemed to me that there were basically three sources of such screens – those made by third party manufacturers such as Maxwell and Satin Snow, those sold with cameras or by camera manufacturers such as the Linhof Super Screen or Wisner Fresnels, and those created by individual photographers using a variety of techniques, but very often by purchasing Fresnel lenses not made specifically for use with a camera and adapting them. (This is not to mention those intrepid photographers who grind, sand blast, acid etch, or Vaseline their own!)

    To assist newcomers to LFP like me who may be interested in learning more about this kind of product, I’ve pasted some URLs below as a starting point. (I am quite sure that these are not exhaustive of the field.)

    There is no URL for the Velveteen View Screen so I’ve left the inventor’s email address instead with his permission. He has indicated he'd be happy to send anyone who is interested more information about his product. I’ve also posted the email address of Bill Maxwell because the Maxwell URL listed is “unofficial.” I am not sure if “BossScreen” is the same product as “BosScreen” but I suspect it is. Both are mentioned in comments on this forum but I couldn’t find a URL for “BossScreen,” only for “BosScreen.”

    If you know of a good source of focusing screens that I’ve left out please add it in your comments.

    FOCUSING SCREENS MADE BY THIRD PARTY MANUFACTURERS

    Beattie Intenscreen
    www.intenscreen.com

    BosScreen
    www.stabitech.nl/Bosscreen.htm

    BrightScreen
    http://www.brightscreen.com/view.html

    Maxwell Precision Optics UNOFFICIAL website
    www.mattclara.com/maxwell/index.html

    Maxwell Precision Optics
    Contact Bill Maxwell <maxwellprecisionoptics@yahoo.com>

    Satin Snow
    www.satinsnowglass.com

    Velveteen View screen
    Contact Greg Garret <garretart7@yahoo.com>

    EXAMPLES OF FOCUSING SCREENS MADE/SOLD BY MANUFACTURERS FOR THEIR CAMERA

    Ebony Fresnel Lenses
    http://www.ebonycamera.com/acc.html

    Canham Fresnel Lenses
    http://www.canhamcameras.com/accessoryf.html

    Linhof Super Screen
    www.linhof.de

    Sinar Fresnel Lenses
    http://www.sinar.ch

    Wisner Fresnel Lenses
    http://wisner.com/Page19.html

    Wista Fresnel Lenses
    http://www.wista.co.jp

    EXAMPLES OF GENERIC FRESNEL LENS THAT CAN BE ADAPTED FOR USE AS A FOCUSING SCREEN WITH A CAMERA

    3DLens.Com
    http://www.3dlens.com

    Edmund Optics
    http://www.edmundoptics.com

    One final comment: In reading the various reviews, opinions and comments about these products I found a lot of concern about how their use would effect focus. Since I ended up buying a Maxwell based on what I saw as a slight preponderance of positive reviews for his screen, I thought I should check with Bill Maxwell about this issue. He wrote back:

    “The focusing surface of your new screen faces the lens of the camera. The Fresnel is on the backside of the screen and therefore has absolutely no effect on the original focus. That reference that you mentioned is only valid if there is a Fresnel (or other clear element) in front of the focusing surface (on the lens side), which would change the optical path length. A compensation would have to be made if a classic 'ground glass / Fresnel sandwich' was used as a focus screen. My screen is a modern 'one piece' focus screen with a clear cover glass on the backside and focuses at exactly the same focus plane as a plain ground glass. You may want to pass this information on to some of the groups to correct this misinformation that passes for knowledge on the Internet.”

    Best wishes,

    Craig

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    10,140

    Re: Focusing Screens

    "Linhof Super Screen
    www.linhof.de"

    The Super Screen is no longer available and was never marketed through Linhof Germany. So the above reference is wrong.

  3. #3
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
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    Elk, California
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    1,238

    Re: Focusing Screens

    The screen on my cambo says "BOSSCREEN" on the back.

    Jon
    my black and white photos of the Mendocino Coast: www.jonshiu.com

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
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    Milton Keynes, UK
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    15

    Re: Focusing Screens

    I've found a 5" x4" Fresnel reading magnifier useful in raising the brightness away from the centre of the groundglass. I bought mine off the web, but have since found them in bookshops for as little as &#163;2, and this allows me to experiment with one or two in series depending on what taking lens I'm using.

  5. #5

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    Mid-West-ish
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    Re: Focusing Screens

    Thanks for keeping this information handy. My father is recently retired, but he still likes to do the occasional family portrait gig. He's been having tons of trouble with magnifiers. He's looked at the stores, but he hates the web. I can do a little research and hopefully help him out.

  6. #6
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Jun 1999
    Location
    Everett, WA
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    2,961

    Re: Focusing Screens

    *erk* Beattie Systems is closed, and the link for them is no longer valid.

    I have an Brightscreen in my Graflex Super Graphic.
    Last edited by Brian C. Miller; 29-Mar-2011 at 11:51. Reason: Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages through the remains of my brain.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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    303

    Re: Focusing Screens

    Yanke Optics 4x5 camera screen (Fresnel+Ground Glass).
    From China/Ebay. Brilliant! Pun intended.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Carmel Valley, CA
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    1,033

    Re: Focusing Screens

    5 years old post that someone Googled earlier today, apparently.
    Much has changed in just 5 years.
    Not 100% certain but it may be that Edmund Scientific and Maxwell are the only two non-camera-manufacture-sources listed sources referenced above who are yet in the business of providing screens?

    There are others who've since sprung up, however, not listed.

    Seems time for a refresh or update of this information. Other threads on the topic of Maxwell screens have generated page after page of discussion.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    deep South
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    23

    Re: Focusing Screens

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    *erk* Beattie Systems is closed, and the link for them is no longer valid.

    I have an Brightscreen in my Graflex Super Graphic.



    well, they may be closed but the link is still open?

  10. #10

    Re: Focusing Screens

    Quote Originally Posted by C.T. Greene View Post
    well, they may be closed but the link is still open?
    Not sure if they are. Afraid more and more companies will end up disappearing. All we need is one good one to stay around. (side note:for the times I grab my dslr, wish they came with the focusing screens standard)

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