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Thread: Vitax de-focussing knob

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Vitax de-focussing knob

    I dont understand what am I supposed to do with this knob. I focus on something, then turn the defocus know. But I can re-focus the image by moving the standards. I have not shot, just looking at the effect on the gg.
    So my question is: one must focus on a subject, then defocus and leave it like that, or once the defocus knob has been turned, one is supposed to re-focus on the subject?
    Any enlightenment would be greatly appreciated
    By the way, the vitax is mounted on a sinar board, without cutting the flange (no magic trick here). I use it with a sinar p 8x10 and it is strong enough.

  2. #2

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob


    either way works, you just choose which way works for you. I usually just leave it at 0 and adjust by focus and f/stop.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob

    I have found the same fact; if you use the "soft focus" on a Vitax or Dallmeyer petzval, you can still refocus and remove all that softness. To me, it appears to do little, yet I still read in period publications about the soft focus features on these lenses. I still haven't looked carefully at negatives with a loupe, perhaps the effect is minor and I'm missing it with wet plate. The rear element was invented by Petzval to make more corrections for the front element, so you would think altering the lenses that "correct" would do more...

  4. #4
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Stuck inside of Tucson with the Pixie Hollow Blues again...

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob

    I've had similar experiences with my 13.5" Vitax, but noticed that the edges remain softer with the soft focus dialed to full and the center refocused. My speculation is that moving the inner element increases the field curvature, as it's more out-of-focus than an aberrational soft-focus. I do find it a lovely Petzval to use, regardless.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob

    Glad not to be the only one. I will first opt for refocusing after setting the diffusion knob. Not refocusing makes the image out of focus, which for me does not mean "soft". Maybe on the 1 is enough without refocusing... Will see... Thank you guys.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Western, PA.

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob

    Hi Folk's

    This is what I have noticed both on the G.G. & negatives when using this feature either w/ Dallmeyer's, Eastman Portrait, Vitax's.

    If you look (you have to look) both on G.G. & negatives. The center of the negative(The REALLY sharp part) will be well just a little less cutting sharp.

    I think the portrait artist was pleased to have this center area of the Petzval lens less sharp. To any degree. This Petzval lens as you well know is among the sharpest in the central portion of the projected image. so any softening of this area was a big plus.Who wants the crows feet, forehead wrinkles, pimples, warts and all the rest to be Petzval shard.

    I Don't believe that fuzzy type lenses had been invented at this point.. so the designers idea of SOFT FOCUS was quit a bit different than ours.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Milford Pa.

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob

    it takes bit of study to see the subtle differences.

    it is most easily seen on the highlights......have fun.

    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

    My YouTube videos gallery

  8. #8
    multi format
    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Re: Vitax de-focussing knob


    you can also use the defocus knob to remove the bite
    if you have the lens stopped down ( too much light for 3.8 ) .
    the rear group moves around in the barrel, and gives a much better
    effect than just focusing infront of the subject ...

    have fun, i love my vitax too ...

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