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Jim Chan
25-Jan-2011, 22:56
Hi all, I just recieved a maxwell hi-lux plus. :) When I was doing research, I found it somewhat difficult to justify spending $425 based on people's description alone. It was kind of hard to visualize just how much of a difference it would make. So, I thought you guys might appreciate some before and after photos using this screen, in case any of you are also considering upgrading your ground glass.

Let me tell you, it's totally worth it. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. :)

Stock screen on Shen-Hao 4x5
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_GQPzaBLJ3Ak/TT-xA4XNzzI/AAAAAAAAjoc/hpBZuh6ME24/s720/DSC_8991.jpg

Maxwell Hi-Lux Plus
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_GQPzaBLJ3Ak/TT-xCN2a0AI/AAAAAAAAjok/vRWC6TRhQag/s720/DSC_8997.jpg

Jim Chan
25-Jan-2011, 22:58
here are the same images again, but attached in case the image links break later.

Sanjay Sen
25-Jan-2011, 23:18
Wow, that is some difference! But then, $425 is a lot of money for a 4x5 screen.

B.S.Kumar
26-Jan-2011, 02:08
I use Sinar and Wista most often, and their screens are pretty good. If someone has a similar comparison between the Wista or Sinar screens and a Maxwell, I'd like to see it. If the difference is as dramatic, I would definitely buy one.

Kumar

Sevo
26-Jan-2011, 03:10
Did the Shen-Hao have a fresnel attached?

Lachlan 717
26-Jan-2011, 04:19
How much for a 7x17" version?

Ed Kelsey
26-Jan-2011, 11:27
Makes you wonder why these camera manufacturers put such crap screens on their cameras. Especially the Japanese cameras Ebony included.

Is Maxwell still in business? I sent him a Contax 645 screen a few years ago for his treatment and he never replied to emails or phone calls. That is, I never got the screen back treated or untreated.

John Koehrer
26-Jan-2011, 11:49
Wonder?
A $600. camera becomes a $1000 camera with just the screen.
If the mfrs. have trouble with cash flow at the lower price, the higher would just close them down.

IanG
26-Jan-2011, 11:59
It's worth doing the same comparisons yourselves with a plain glass screen, then screen and fresnel. also a good combo screen like the Wista's use, (or the Linhof combination).

I've done it and while my Wista's ahead even a plain screen is improved dramatically with a decent fresnel, and the Chinese now make excellent ones for 20/$32 including shipping for a 5x4 and larger sizes are available.

Ian

Ash
26-Jan-2011, 12:04
Ian, did you put fresnel on the lens-side or on the outside? If you put it on the lens side did you readjust anything for the focus offset? I'd try putting one on my cameras but I have trouble enough focusing on plain glass.

Kevin Crisp
26-Jan-2011, 13:13
Canham's screens are so good Maxwell said not to think about replacing them. And when you look and compare the two in person they certainly look identical.

dsim
26-Jan-2011, 13:14
I have the same for 8x10. Makes focusing a breeze.

IanG
26-Jan-2011, 13:33
Ian, did you put fresnel on the lens-side or on the outside? If you put it on the lens side did you readjust anything for the focus offset? I'd try putting one on my cameras but I have trouble enough focusing on plain glass.

On the back/outer side. I measured over4 stops difference in brightness about an inch in from the edge (long side) between my original Graflex screen and a new screen & fresnel.

The impact on ease of focussing is tremendous, but I'd add that a better glass screen can make a stop's difference to overall brightness. I've either re-ground or made new screens for all my vintage cameras and they are no so much easier to focus, maybe a few print sales and I can fit fresnels as well to a few :)

Ian

Henry Ambrose
26-Jan-2011, 14:39
Maxwell screens are kinda like a divorce.
Expensive but worth every penny.

Jim Chan, thanks for showing this.

B.S.Kumar
26-Jan-2011, 17:15
Makes you wonder why these camera manufacturers put such crap screens on their cameras. Especially the Japanese cameras Ebony included.


Don't know about the Ebony, but the Wista and Toyo screens are very good.

Kumar

Henry Ambrose
26-Jan-2011, 19:14
Ebony screens are very good.
Maxwells are great.

Brian Ellis
26-Jan-2011, 19:20
It sometimes seems that I've used almost every screen made, from a plain ground glass to a Beattie to three or four BosScreens to a Maxwell to the screens that were OE on a Tachihara, Ebony, Deardorff, and other cameras. As I've said here many times, the Maxwell is the best, BosScreens were second-best (but I don't think they're made any more), the rest weren't worth having. The Ebonys were the worst of all.

Rory_5244
26-Jan-2011, 19:49
Anybody compared a Maxwell screen to an Arca screen? I don't plan to get a Maxwell, I'm just asking out of curiosity. 8)

rdenney
26-Jan-2011, 19:50
I use Sinar and Wista most often, and their screens are pretty good. If someone has a similar comparison between the Wista or Sinar screens and a Maxwell, I'd like to see it. If the difference is as dramatic, I would definitely buy one.

I did not make before-after comparison photos, but I did perform a detailed review of a Maxwell Hi-Lux screen compared to a Sinar screen and Fresnel. If you dig down to the later pages, you'll see that I did include a photo of the screen in use, plus a closeup showing how invisible the Fresnel pattern is in a high-magnification situation. Also later in the thread, I included a field report describing what I could see in high ambient light even without a dark cloth. I did not make measurements of the Sinar screen, but I do not judge it to be particularly brighter than any other high-quality ground glass, very likely the one in the comparison shown above. The Sinar Fresnel was unsuitable for very short lenses.

The review and the resulting commentary is in this thread:

Rick's thread reviewing the Maxwell screen (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=52905)

Rick "for whom it's a good value despite the high cost" Denney

B.S.Kumar
26-Jan-2011, 20:09
Rick,

Thanks for the link to your review. I should get one soon.

"Always hoping Rick will chime in with the answer" Kumar

Leigh
26-Jan-2011, 20:40
Given the OP's original comment, I presume that these are still available.

Could someone please post a URL or vendor reference?

Thanks.

- Leigh

rdenney
26-Jan-2011, 20:53
Given the OP's original comment, I presume that these are still available.

Could someone please post a URL or vendor reference?

Thanks.

- Leigh

http://www.mattclara.com/maxwell/index.html

The site is unofficial, but as far as I know the information shown is correct. This is how I contacted him last year.

Rick "telephone is best" Denney

Leigh
26-Jan-2011, 21:02
Thanks, Rick.

I can't use the phone, so that's not an option.

- Leigh

letchhausen
27-Jan-2011, 23:48
I sent an email recently but haven't heard a word. I prefer email because between work and school I rarely have time to think about a phone call much less make one....

Steve Hamley
28-Jan-2011, 09:12
If you don't have time, calling Bill on the phone is not something you want to do!

Cheers, Steve

John NYC
28-Jan-2011, 17:19
The Shen-Hao stock screen (which is what is shown as the point of comparison) is one of the darkest most horrible things I could imagine. When I had my Shen-Hao, I replaced it with a $42 Canham screen (perfect fit out of the box) and it was much brighter. I'd like to see a Canham screen (non-fresnel) compared to the Maxwell fresnel. I'm sure there will still be a difference, but I never had any problem working with the Canham screen with down to a 90mm lens.

engl
29-Jan-2011, 07:48
Does anyone know how the Maxwell screens compares to the Chamonix 045N-2 stock GG+fresnel combo?

Few things seems to be as universally agreed upon as the superiority of Maxwell screens. Getting one is probably not a waste of money, but with stretched finances, I don't have the luxury of getting all great things at once :) If it is not a major step up from the Chamonix GG+fresnel, the Maxwell screen could wait a year or two...

Peter De Smidt
29-Jan-2011, 09:01
Engl, I owned a Chamonix, and I have a Maxwell on my Toyo. The Maxwell is better, but the Chamonix is very usable. If I were you, I'd wait.

rdenney
31-Jan-2011, 06:48
Does anyone know how the Maxwell screens compares to the Chamonix 045N-2 stock GG+fresnel combo?

Few things seems to be as universally agreed upon as the superiority of Maxwell screens. Getting one is probably not a waste of money, but with stretched finances, I don't have the luxury of getting all great things at once :) If it is not a major step up from the Chamonix GG+fresnel, the Maxwell screen could wait a year or two...

We each have to decide our own priorities. At 90mm, maybe it's not that important. My Sinar Fresnel (which I would expect to be as good as or better than a Chamonix Fresnel) works okay at 90mm and longer. But with shorter lenses, it caused ghosted double images at the edges, making it impossible even to compose the image reasonably with 65mm and 47mm lenses. Lenses this short are not that commonly used and the stock Fresnels are not designed for them. If you use moderate and longer lenses, you might never really need what a Maxwell screen brings, though you would still enjoy the brighter image.

Most Fresnel lenses are quite course, and focusing through a Fresnel using a loupe can be really annoying, especially at smaller apertures. That is why the Sinar Fresnel is a snap-in accessory--it can be easily removed for critical focusing. The Maxwell does not interfere with focusing at high magnification. If you require that, then you'll appreciate it when you are able to afford it.

Many of us spend quite a lot on additional lenses we may rarely use and on cameras with prettier machining or more compact folding. But I found the Maxwell screen, which costs the same or less than many of these other expenditures, to make a much more significant improvement in the experience of using the camera. That's worth a lot to me, at least when I'm not having to choose between that and the mortgage, utility payments, and groceries.

Rick "who made a lot of pictures successfully without it, but who really enjoys having it" Denney

Ivan J. Eberle
31-Jan-2011, 09:34
I'd like to try one, but for what's essentially a fancy sheet of plastic that's a hell of a lot of money. I bought an entire pristine Sinar Norma including bag bellows and a snap out fresnel for only slightly more money than a Maxwell screen.

rdenney
31-Jan-2011, 11:27
I'd like to try one, but for what's essentially a fancy sheet of plastic that's a hell of a lot of money. I bought an entire pristine Sinar Norma including bag bellows and a snap out fresnel for only slightly more money than a Maxwell screen.

Have you priced a Hasselblad Acute-Matte screen recently? And yet I know many 'blad owners who would not consider any alternative. (They often buy them used, however).

Rick "who would have bought his Maxwell screen used if anyone who owned one had been willing to part with it" Denney

mandoman7
31-Jan-2011, 14:05
Many of us spend quite a lot on additional lenses we may rarely use and on cameras with prettier machining or more compact folding. But I found the Maxwell screen, which costs the same or less than many of these other expenditures, to make a much more significant improvement in the experience of using the camera. That's worth a lot to me, at least when I'm not having to choose between that and the mortgage, utility payments, and groceries.

Rick "who made a lot of pictures successfully without it, but who really enjoys having it" Denney

Well said. Its kind of like spending as much on a chair as you did on your whole house. Mine ended up being around $400 IIRC, but I find I can actually focus without a black cloth fairly often. Its hard to put a price on the advantages of composing and focussing with a decidedly better view, but it will impact your output.

Leigh
31-Jan-2011, 14:41
...but for what's essentially a fancy sheet of plastic that's a hell of a lot of money.
And a diamond is just a fancy chunk of carbon. :eek:

Your point being???

- Leigh

engl
31-Jan-2011, 15:31
Engl, I owned a Chamonix, and I have a Maxwell on my Toyo. The Maxwell is better, but the Chamonix is very usable. If I were you, I'd wait.

Thanks for the advice, I think that is what I'm going to do.


We each have to decide our own priorities. At 90mm, maybe it's not that important. My Sinar Fresnel (which I would expect to be as good as or better than a Chamonix Fresnel) works okay at 90mm and longer. But with shorter lenses, it caused ghosted double images at the edges, making it impossible even to compose the image reasonably with 65mm and 47mm lenses. Lenses this short are not that commonly used and the stock Fresnels are not designed for them. If you use moderate and longer lenses, you might never really need what a Maxwell screen brings, though you would still enjoy the brighter image.

Most Fresnel lenses are quite course, and focusing through a Fresnel using a loupe can be really annoying, especially at smaller apertures. That is why the Sinar Fresnel is a snap-in accessory--it can be easily removed for critical focusing. The Maxwell does not interfere with focusing at high magnification. If you require that, then you'll appreciate it when you are able to afford it.

Many of us spend quite a lot on additional lenses we may rarely use and on cameras with prettier machining or more compact folding. But I found the Maxwell screen, which costs the same or less than many of these other expenditures, to make a much more significant improvement in the experience of using the camera. That's worth a lot to me, at least when I'm not having to choose between that and the mortgage, utility payments, and groceries.

Rick "who made a lot of pictures successfully without it, but who really enjoys having it" Denney

Thanks for the input. I'm probably a good candidate for a Maxwell screen, I'll be using a 75mm lens, I like to use a 10x loupe (together with a 4x), and use a folding hood when not wanting to use a darkcloth in urban settings, so brightness helps. Guess it's good to have something to look forward to...

Ivan J. Eberle
31-Jan-2011, 15:44
My point being that there may be found entire exquisitely machined cameras that come bundled with perfectly adequate fresnels installed for similar money. Faced with the decision to buy a Maxwell to install in one of my technical fields, to try to make it better with wide angles, I bought a really terrific monorail even more ideally suited to wide angle use, instead.

Jeffrey Sipress
31-Jan-2011, 16:37
I need to know if you used a digital camera to take the two comparison shots, and if so, the exposure needs to be on manual to assure the same exposure for both, for a true comparison.

Oh, and my ear is still healing from the chewing Bill gave it when I ordered my screen.

engl
31-Jan-2011, 17:19
Few things seems to be as universally agreed upon as the superiority of Maxwell screens.

I'll make an addition to this. It seems equally well agreed upon that Bill Maxwell talks a whole lot :) If ordering from Sweden, I guess I should factor in the cost of a long international call as well.

Jim Chan
31-Jan-2011, 22:24
Wow, didn't realize I caused such a stir. :)

Couple answers to some of the questions that came up:

1) The stock screen did not have a fresnel on it, as you probably already figured out already. I'm not sure how much of a difference is attributed to the fresnel compared to any other qualities of the screen. I do know that the fresnel that Bill has engraved into the screen has much finer lines than other fresnel's I've seen though. I hardly notice any lines at all with my 4x rodenstock loupe.

2) The photos were taken with a nikon d700 on manual. The exposure settings are exactly the same in both photos, and is representative of what was actually seen in real life.

3) Yes, you can still order the maxwell screen from Bill. I ordered it back at the end of november. If you visit the mattclara website linked earlier in this thread, you can find his email address. He was pretty responsive to email when I was ordering. Afterwards, not so much. :)

4) I didn't find that Bill talked too much. He was very helpful actually. He called while I was at work, and I just let him know that I didn't have a whole lot of time. He answered my questions and we got down to business putting in the order, and that was about it.

5) I agree the screen is amazingly expensive. But likewise, it works amazingly well. I also like the fact that there is a protective glass to prevent scratching on the fresnel itself, and doesn't cause any change in the focus plane.

ilsiu
1-Feb-2011, 02:37
I'll make an addition to this. It seems equally well agreed upon that Bill Maxwell talks a whole lot :) If ordering from Sweden, I guess I should factor in the cost of a long international call as well.

Just a tip for non-US residents: Google phone calls to the US are free, no matter where you're calling from :)

rdenney
1-Feb-2011, 06:17
My point being that there may be found entire exquisitely machined cameras that come bundled with perfectly adequate fresnels installed for similar money. Faced with the decision to buy a Maxwell to install in one of my technical fields, to try to make it better with wide angles, I bought a really terrific monorail even more ideally suited to wide angle use, instead.

It was a monorail in which I installed the Maxwell screen. The monorail makes short lenses easy, sure enough, but you still have to be able to look through them. I often work right to the edges of coverage and it's really frustrating not to be able to see where that is. The Sinar Fresnel, like many, is not adequate at all for that purpose with my 65 and 47mm lenses. The only camera I can think of where it might not be as much of an advantage is a box camera with no movements, which can be focused in the center (or by scale) and for which the composition can be checked with a viewfinder.

Rick "noting that the screen is deeply recessed on monorails, too, preventing a tilted loupe right at the edges" Denney

mitch.goddard
22-Feb-2011, 00:04
Sorry to make my first post here one that digs up an old thread, but I just wanted to thank you for posting the comparison shots. I talked to Bill earlier (he did most of the talking, obviously) and will be ordering the Hi-LUX Plus screen for my Sinar, but was curious about exactly how much of a difference it would make. I had planned on taking some comparison pictures just like yours, and I'm glad to see now that it makes quite a difference.

Sal Santamaura
22-Feb-2011, 09:15
Sorry to make my first post here one that digs up an old thread...First, welcome to active participation. Second, three weeks hardly qualifies as "old." :) Third, there's no need to apologize. You did exactly the right thing! This is not a chat room; it's an archive. Adding relevant posts to existing threads, no matter when they were started, is the best way to make searches more efficient and effective.

letchhausen
19-Mar-2011, 00:18
Called Bill today and ordered the Plus screen for my Ebony. Bill apologized and told me that he's been very busy and it would be two weeks until I got it and I told him that he's got Steve Jobs beat since the iPad2 is 4-5 weeks out.

I'm looking forward to this screen!

JosephBurke
19-Mar-2011, 07:56
Bill makes a fantastic product and "if" it doesn't arrive within the timeframe mentioned you may need to give him a ring. Just sayin'......he will get it to you but it may take a bit longer than stated.
--Joe Burke

Nathan Potter
19-Mar-2011, 09:39
OK, I'm confused. It sounds as if the Maxwell screens come with a Fresnel that is integral to the GG. Is the Fresnel permanently attached? Is it a plastic Fresnel? And can one request different focal length Fresnels? I suppose I should call Bill but I don't need a dissertation on screens.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Sal Santamaura
19-Mar-2011, 10:39
OK, I'm confused. It sounds as if the Maxwell screens come with a Fresnel that is integral to the GG. Is the Fresnel permanently attached? Is it a plastic Fresnel? And can one request different focal length Fresnels?...Up through 5x7, the Hi-Lux 4.7 Brilliante Matte screen is an integral acrylic focus screen / fresnel with a clear glass cover sheet. Its frosted side (facing the lens) and extremely fine fresnel rings (facing the photographer) are incorporated into a single casting.

Larger than 5x7, Bill is unwilling to rely on unsupported acrylic to remain flat. Therefore, he sells only fresnels in those sizes. One uses them in conjunction with an actual ground glass screen. In my wholeplate and 8x10 cameras, I have Maxwell fresnels over Satin Snow ground glass screens. The 5x7 and smaller integral systems are slightly but noticably brighter than my larger Satin Snow / Maxwell combinations at identical lens apertures. The acrylic fresnel is unprotected in this configuration and can be scratched if one is not careful. I opted to take that risk rather than having the wholeplate and 8x10 cameras' backs milled out so their fresnels could be placed between the ground glass and lens.

Bill offers different focal lengths in the smaller screens. Standard is 4.7 inches; I don't know the exact length for his wide-angle screen, but it would less than 4.7 inches. The fresnel for my larger cameras has a focal length of 10.5 inches. I'm not sure if he offers any other focal lengths in the large fresnels.

Nathan Potter
19-Mar-2011, 11:50
Sal, great thanks. I now see what he offers. The fine fresnel rings (higher frequency) would be attractive perhaps to aid focusing. Seems one could add a soft material to a loupe bottom to avoid scratching the plastic of the fresnel. It would appear that most of the improved brightness mentioned comes from the addition of the fresnel and maybe less from the structure of the grind on the GG screen.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Sal Santamaura
19-Mar-2011, 13:35
...The fine fresnel rings (higher frequency) would be attractive perhaps to aid focusing...Yes, they're almost invisible under a Toyo 3.7x loupe.


...Seems one could add a soft material to a loupe bottom to avoid scratching the plastic of the fresnel...My Toyo loupe has a soft rubber screen protector on the bottom, but I don't know how effective it would be protecting the Maxwell acrylic fresnel. I'm -6 diopters nearsighted so, with the larger cameras, I simply peer over my eyeglasses to fine focus. That's about equivalent to 2.5x magnification. :)



...It would appear that most of the improved brightness mentioned comes from the addition of the fresnel and maybe less from the structure of the grind on the GG screen...The Satin Snow ground glass without fresnel is substantially brighter than most plain ground glass screens. Any fresnel added to it will only equalize brightness of the edges to that in center, i.e. reduce "hot spot." I'm afraid that you'll need to phone Bill for a dissertation if you want to know more about how his choice of specific acrylic and frosting pattern work to get a brighter image than ground glass. :) I can tell you that, measured with a Pentax digital spot meter at the center of both my 5x7 Maxwell integral screen and 8x10 Satin Snow ground glass, at the same lens aperture and pointing at the same object in constant full sunlight, the Maxwell is 1/3 stop brighter. It doesn't seem like much and probably wouldn't matter a lot in sunlight, but really helps when illumination levels are lower.