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Thread: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

  1. #1

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    Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    I have just started to use my De Vere 5108 for the first time. I have dealt with 4x5 and 5x7 in the past but this is like starting all over. Other negs I have never had problems focusing on the grain. Easy. With the 8x10 I can't seem to do this. I'm just not sure of my focusing. I have printed a few and they turned out alright, perhaps because to the small aperture used on the enlarger lens. I have a Micro Sight III and a Magnasight which seems to work the best. Any tips friends?

  2. #2

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Here's a handy little tidbit about focusing;

    When a lens is in focus, it is not only sharp, it has maximum contrast, color saturation, separation, etc... With enlarging, you can find a major tone step, and focus until there is maximum contrast between the dark and light area, and focus until the dark, dense area (highlights) are darkest, and the clear areas are bright/clear...

    Try different f-stops and see if one is easier to focus with... And some focusing magnifiers are not so good, or very out of alignment... Have you focused the eyepiece to the crosshair inside to adjust to your own vision??? (And this will change if you wear glasses, and put them on or take them off...)

    You might not see the grain, but with the lens wide open, sometimes the image edges will have a slight "sparkle" or other effect when focused with some lenses/enlargers/materials... Spend some practice time and some test strips and try to nail it wide open... You will eventually find some "marker" of a visual clue when in focus...

    The above theory works on a camera GG also... Often you can focus until the colors are most saturated/contrasty/"pops"/more of a tone step, etc... Usually easier than finding something small with fine detail to squint and focus on...

    Steve K

  3. #3

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Thanks for the tips Steve. I figured it out I think. I have never tried making prints this large. I had the focusing magnifier on the edge of the print. Moving to the center made all the difference. Seeing the grain was easy. Sometimes it's the simplest things! Thanks again, Terry

  4. #4

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Place the magnifier about 1/3 to 1/2 the distance off center, as this is the "hyperfocal" focusing point, as there is a minor difference between the distance on-axis, and the edges... (Most lenses are corrected for it, but....)

    Good Luck!!!

    Steve K

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Quote Originally Posted by dentkimterry View Post
    I had the focusing magnifier on the edge of the print.
    What lens are you using. A 300mm should be just as sharp at the corners as the center even when focusing at f5.6. If its not sharp with the magnifier, it won't be sharp in the print.

  6. #6
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Are you using a glass carrier?

  7. #7

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Lens is 240mm Componon S. I am using a glass carrier.

  8. #8

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Check your alignment; if you have any issues with that, let me know I can walk you through it. The initial front/back is done with the baseboard, alighment between the negative and lens stage can sometimes be a bit tricky. L

  9. #9

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    I did have alignment issues. The mount for the baseboard is not exactly square with the column. Started over plumbing the column. then re-adjusted the baseboard. A level on the column, baseboard, negative stage and lens mount all jive now. I can now focus anywhere on the image!. Thanks for your help!
    Luis, how do you adjust the alignment between the negative and lens stages? The manual is not very clear.

    It seems to me that this enlarger should have a bracket off the column to the wall. Anyone have experience with this?

  10. #10

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    Re: Focusing issues. 8x10 negs

    Just figured out something else. My easel doesn't sit level. Little high on one side. Have to try and shim the other side I guess.

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