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Thread: setting toho standards parallel

  1. #1

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    setting toho standards parallel

    hello all - this is my first post on this forum, although I have read posts for quite a while before making the leap into LF. Thanks in advance for any help.

    I have a toho FC 45 that I have been having great fun playing with, learning about the practicalities of LF. I have 3 questions. I have searched through the archives, but hope I haven't missed if these questions have been asked before.

    1. alligning standards. people talk about the detents on the toho, but the only detents I can feel are the swing detents. similarly the rise and fall have clearly marked white lines to align with the matching marks on the clamps. Am I meant to be feeling or seeing anything when the standards are set perpendicular to the rail (ie no tilt).

    2. people have also mentioned using torpedo levels to level the standards, and I was going to head down to the local hardware store. Are these people meaning small torpedo levels that come with a square bracket attached to set the standards vertically, or am I missing something in the technique.

    3. fill flash. I know apertures are small, but I belive at f22 or even 32 I could give enough flash for -2 stops of fill at a couple of feet. I assume the tiny plug extending out of the copal shutter is a male pc sync connector? is there a cord to direct this to my sb-28 in manual mode, and if so, does this type of cord have a good name or description?

    Thanks again & happy shooting (I'm pretty jelous of the autumns you northern hemisphere guys get).

  2. #2

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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    just an update - I found I could find the neutral detents for swing by applying gentle pressure to the right as I moved the standards - the detent then becomes very positive and clear.

  3. #3

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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    Hi Brent,

    I find a torpedo level is a very useful accessory to ensure that the standards are truly vertical... and, for that matter, that the camera is level.

    Just look for one of those small 4 - 6 inch levels... the pocket ones are fine as well.

    Sorry... can't help you with the fill flash question though.

    Cheers
    Life in the fast lane!

  4. #4

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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent McSharry View Post

    1. alligning standards. people talk about the detents on the toho, but the only detents I can feel are the swing detents. similarly the rise and fall have clearly marked white lines to align with the matching marks on the clamps. Am I meant to be feeling or seeing anything when the standards are set perpendicular to the rail (ie no tilt).

    2. people have also mentioned using torpedo levels to level the standards, and I was going to head down to the local hardware store. Are these people meaning small torpedo levels that come with a square bracket attached to set the standards vertically, or am I missing something in the technique.

    3. fill flash. I know apertures are small, but I belive at f22 or even 32 I could give enough flash for -2 stops of fill at a couple of feet. I assume the tiny plug extending out of the copal shutter is a male pc sync connector? is there a cord to direct this to my sb-28 in manual mode, and if so, does this type of cord have a good name or description?
    Welcome to the forum Brent. I have a Toho, about 1 year old. Mine has slots on the standard carriers into which a small block on the standard fits to achieve zero detent. To rotate the standard the block is pulled out of the slot. Is this how yours is configured? I found it a bit cumbersome at first, but now that I am used to the camera I am very happy with it.

    You are correct about the torpedo level.

    You might be interested in a cheap studio flash, which would also allow you to use light modifiers such as a softbox. There is a US company that sells low priced but good quality flash. Here is their site. The web-site is a bit cheesy, but apparently the products are good value.

    http://www.alienbees.com/flash.html

  5. #5

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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    I think perhaps you've figured out what we mean by detents. Let me just note that there is still a slight amount of play even when the standard is in a detent, so you still have to check, and possibly make small adjustments, to be sure the standards are parallel. The difference may be quite small, but it can yield a slight tilt or swing in the subject plane which shows up as a lack of adequate focus across the field. For me this has only been noticeable with wide angle lenses, particulary my 75 mm lens. In my case, the front standard seems to be slightly off in the tilt detent, andit is pretty difficult to get the tilt positions perfectly aligned in the detent positions. So I often leave the front standard out of the tilt detent.

    To check if the standards are parallel, turn the tripod head so the camera is facing downward and the rail is pretty plumb. Put a level on the gg and further adjust the tripod and/or make small adjustments of the rear standard until it is level. Then do the same with the level on the front standard. If you use a torpedo level, you could place it across the lens front mount, for example.

    The flash connector on your shutter is a standard PC type connector. You probably want a PC to PC cable. Both ends should be male, i.e. will have a pin that fits into an opening on the lens or flash. Flashes differ in what kind of plugs they accept. I don't know about the SB-28, but my Nikon SB-800 does accept a standard male PC plug. If yours doesn't, you will need some way to convert, but such converters are readily available. It can get a bit confusing, but a good photo supply store should be able to help you find what you need.

    One potential problem is the voltage of the flash. Unlike modern automatic cameras, large format lenses can probably take the voltages in older flashes. That probably isn't a problem with the SB-28 which is designed to be used with automatic Nikon cameras. But if you have any concerns about that, Wein makes a converter which will reduce to the voltage to a safe level. Your lens/camera of course has no automatic flash features, so you probably control exposure the old way by setting the f-stop based on the flash guide number for the film and the flash distance. With multiple flashes or in more complicated situation, it would be best to use a flashmeter.

  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    A very handy thing to have with any kind of camera that doesn't have its own scales and levels is a clinometer compass like this one--

    http://www.suuntowatches.com/Suunto-Tandem.pro

    This will let you get the standards parallel or measure the angle of tilt or swing so you can do things like tilt or swing on the rear standard, then apply the opposite tilt or swing to the front standard and zero the rear standard, like on a Sinar. You can also set the standards parallel when the rail is tilted, or measure the angle of inclination of the focal plane for use with the Rodenstock calculator.

    Short of that, I find this angle-finding level very handy. You can find them in a hardware store--


  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    I've been using a Toho for 4+ years now. I have to admit, I don't ever bother to try to get the two standards to be precisely parallel.

    What I do instead is to optically align for each setup. That is, I define a plane of focus in each setup and align to that.

    For example, I often first level and plumb the back standard (film plane). Then I'll pick on, say, a tree. Using a loupe, I rack the focus for the "far" (bottom of ground glass) then tilt the front standard (lens plane) to bring the bottom of the tree (top of ground glass) into focus. A couple of iterations and I'm done.

    Note that the two standards may or may not be parallel at this point. Instead, they are set correctly for the particular setup. And that's what actually counts, is it not?

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8
    Photographer, Machinist, etc. Jeffrey Sipress's Avatar
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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    Bruce, I agree 100%.

  9. #9

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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    Bruce, I do exactly the same with mine.

  10. #10

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    Re: setting toho standards parallel

    Bruce,

    You make a good point. But that seems to me to make every picture a tilt/swing exercise. So you would first have to choose an exact plane of focus and then determine the bounding planes about it delineating the DOF region. That takes additional time, choosing more reference points, and usually it is not necessary. I just choose near and far points and determine the f-stop using the focus spread. (First setting the exact focus plane would require an additional step.) The reason to have the standards parallel is to eliminate the possibility of an inadvertent tilt or swing. If I had to adjust for that before I took a picture, it would not save me any time, but I don't. The only time the standards are not parallel is when I use a tilt (or rarely a swing), in which case I have to put them back in the parallel positions. I know pretty much where the zero tilt positions lie, and it is easy to get back to them after I do use a tilt. Swing zeroing is a trifle more difficult, but since I seldom use swings, it doesn't really matter.

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