Beattie Screen for LF?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by bmac, Jun 4, 2004.

  1. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Is anyone using a beattie screen for LF work? If so, what is your opinion of it? they advertise +4 stops brightness in the viewing screen. That would be nice for the times I shoot in dark conditions.
     
  2. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    I installed one on my 8x10 'dorff several years ago. It helps. The good news is it's brighter, the bad news is it's brighter head-on only. Like a cheap lap-top screen you must be on-axis. It also helps if you are back far enough to use binocular vision on a single spot. This usually leaves out those of us over 45. However, my optician and I have managed to stay one jump ahead of the aging process, and if I'm wearing the correct glasses I can get the best out of the Beattie screen. It goes BEHIND the ground glass (closer to YOU), with the engraving away from you.
     
  3. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Are you saying that it isn't much help when focusing with a loupe? Or am I confused by your back far enough for binocular vision comment?
     
  4. rjs003

    rjs003 Subscriber

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    Brian
    I have one installed on a medium format Tlr and there is a big difference. Pricey, but good.
     
  5. Leon

    Leon Member

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    i also have one on my 6x6 slr - it has made a world of difference although only head on, as per deckled edges respnse
     
  6. mikeb_z5

    mikeb_z5 Member

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    I use one with my 4x5. It does help even with a loupe. Although I find myself backing up about 2ft or so get get a better look at the whole glass.

    Mike
     
  7. mikecurrie

    mikecurrie Member

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    Hello! I have a Bright screen on a 5x4 Sinar and it has made all the difference when using the slower lens, however as previously stated generally you have to view head on.
     
  8. gma

    gma Member

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    I have always used a loupe for critical focus. My eyes are too old to look close enough at the whole 4x5 to focus. Does anyone else ever wipe the ground surface of the glass with a very thin coating of WD-40. It makes the image a lot brighter.
     
  9. Deckled Edge

    Deckled Edge Member

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    While I usually use a loupe, I don't always. For initial focus, without the loupe, the Intenscreen is best viewed head-on--so much so, that with your eyes close to the screen the distance between your eyes (parallax) lessens the brightening effect. As you move away from the screen the parallax decreases and the brightness becomes more apparent. When using the loupe, you only use one eye, so this becomes moot. On the other hand, when using a loupe, the increased brightness is much less apparent and I doubt if you could appreciate 2 stops of brightness, let alone the advertised 4 stops. You might do just as well with a higher quality precision ground glass.
     
  10. bmac

    bmac Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have old ground glass on all of my LF cameras, and am still trying to figure it all out. The main thing I am looking for is a clearer (not necessarily brighter) view when I stop the lens down and do final critical focus with the loupe. FYI, I'm using a Toyo loupe to focus.
     
  11. gma

    gma Member

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    Maybe you need finer ground glass than the old glass you are using. It is very easy to grind glass for a new screen. Use two pieces of glass precut to size and put a small amount of fine corborundum grinding compound ( for automotive valve grinding ) on one of the sheets. Press the two pieces together and move in a circular motion applying even pressure all over the surface. You can check the progress by washing and drying the glass. You will see exactly where you need more work. When finished you will have two new screens. I saw this on another website. It works great.

    You can also use a piece of "Lexan" polycarbonate plastic. You can achieve a fine texture with #320 or #400 sandpaper and/or auto finish rubbing compound.
     
  12. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Try vaseline ...

    I've had the same problems on occasions, particularly in low light. Did a bit of investigation and Prof Leslie Stroebel suggests that at high magnifications (most esp in low light) the surface of the ground glass can interfere with focusing the image.
    He suggests 1. using a lower mag loupe i.e 4x rather than 8x
    and 2. try a small smear of vaseline on the critical spots for focusing on the ground glass.
    Must say, I haven't tried the 2nd suggestion yet myself (still trying to get someone else to buy a pot :tongue:) but using a lower mag loupe definately helped.
     
  13. bmac

    bmac Member

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    The Toyo I use is a 3.6, so I dont think magnification is the problem. I think it is a combination of my poor night vision (low light) and my cruddy groundglass. I can't do much about my night vision, but I have ordered an acid etched ground glass to see if that makes much of a difference. Maybe we need to invent the autofocus 8x10 :smile:
     
  14. AllanD

    AllanD Member

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    Have a look at www.largeformatphotography.info/gg.html

    I have a screen made by a US company called Brightscreen (www.brightscreen.com) I'd say that I gained a stop on the original Linhof two part ground glass and fresnel, but the image is "coarser" and the frensel is part of the screen, not a removable addition. On balance, it is an improvement, but not as much as I had hoped.

    Do you already use a fresnel, or are you using just a plain GG ? A fresnel lens will spread light across the viewing screen more evenly, making the image appear brighter. Beatie sell these as seperate items and they are relatively cheap (compared with the actual Beatie screens). Would that solve your problem ?
     
  15. Jan Brittenson

    Jan Brittenson Member

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    I got a Beattie screen for my 4x5 Toyo Field, and decided it just didn't work for me. With my Nikkor 75/4.5 it was impossible to see the entire frame at once; I had to move my head around and try to mentally piece together what I was seeing. While I prefer a bellows hood in the field, I like to use a reflex hood sometimes, and it won't allow seeing more than the central area. It worked very well on 150 and up though, but so much of my shooting is wide angle that it just wasn't usable to me. Oh well.
     
  16. JohnArs

    JohnArs Subscriber

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    Hi Brian

    You can improve your night vision take vitamin A and D or only A and it will improve!
    But it can take at least 2-3 weeks till it gets better!
    Maybe it helps more then a new screen!
     
  17. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Does this really work? Which surface are you wiping, the lens side?
     
  18. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I've thought about trying the Velveteen screen, but the manufacturer has quit making them "temporarily". Has anyone else used this product?
     
  19. gma

    gma Member

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    Matt,

    WD-40 on the ground glass side very, very thinly applied with a cotton ball will give some gain in brightness. I haven't seen that it changes the plane of focus at all.

    gma
     
  20. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    The bad thing about fresnel screens is they have to be matched to the focal length of the cameras lens to get a good full frame view. If you wanted to go crazy with the situation you could get a separate focusing back for your shorter focal lengths with a matched screen mounted on it.