C330 focus problem...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jovo, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    After years of enjoying my C220, I decided to add a C330 and bought a used one from KEH. Lately, I've had disastrous results with negatives so out of focus that they almost qualify as high order fine art gallery bait! :wink: But, I can not figure out what is going on. On a typical roll, several negs may be sharp, but the rest will not be. I use a tripod, focus carefully, and stop down to at least f22. I think I turn the dial to the correct setting for each lens I use, and the problem seems to be independent of my lens choice, as it occurs with any of them (55, 80, 135). Any ideas about what the problem might be?
     
  2. viridari

    viridari Member

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    Perhaps the viewer?
     
  3. kerne

    kerne Member

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    So the the problem started recently? If you haven't messed with the GG and lost shims, I would imagine the problem might be somewhere in the film plane. Are the negs evenly out of focus, or irregularly out of focus? Any problem with the film winding mech? Has it been dropped, tweaked or twisted?
     
  4. VaryaV

    VaryaV Member

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    Hi John,

    I had the exact same problem with my C330.... take the viewfinder completely off the camera. Look underneath the viewfinder between the glass and the metal part, there is supposed to be a gasket (like light seal) that goes between the glass and the metal part. if the gasket is deteriorated and the glass is right up against the metal it may be causing a focusing problem. it makes the glass too far away from the mirror. if you look at the screws there is a little shoulder/shelf on them that shows how thick the gasket is supposed to be... the glass should be tight up against the screw. Clean the old gasket material out and put a new gasket on.

    I had the same problem and fixed mine this way. if yours is the same problem.
     
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  5. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Is the mirror damaged or loose?

    Is there a problem (some obstruction) with how the lenses are mounted to the camera?

    Are the out of focus negatives in focus at the wrong distance/on the wrong plane or are they blurred throughout?

    As mentioned above, the focussing screen shims can deteriorate.
     
  6. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Yup sounds like the focusing screen is out of focus with the film plane. Check the screen if it upside down?

    If not you'll have to adjust the screen's focus to cooincide with the film plane.
     
  7. Too old to care

    Too old to care Subscriber

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    If I am right, some shots are ok, others are not? Even at F22 with the extra DOF, I doubt that the shims would make too much difference. On my 330F there are screws (3 of them) under the finder that can be adjusted. However, they should be adjusted using something closer to f2.8 - 3.5 than f22. The screws adjust the height of the ground glass from the mirror. I have never messed with mine, but I suppose you could. Changing the dial from one lens to another does nothing other than change the focus scale.

    I think I would start to look for something else first. Look at the film pressure plate. Under the plate are two flat springs that old it against the film. The plate is held on by two screws recessed into the plate. Make sure that the plate is not stuck, and that it freely moves when you press in. Your problem may be film buckling due to lack of pressure. Also look for a loose mirror, or shims missing in the finder allowing the ground glass to bounce around.

    If all seems well, I guess you could mount a ground glass in the back against the film rails, focus on an object until that image is clear, than adjust the screws under the finder until the viewfinder also seems in focus. You could also screw up the adjustment really bad too. Just a bit of warning.

    Wayne
     
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  8. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Start with the basics. Are you using a waist-level finder? If so, is the flip-up magnifier coming up level? Can you focus your eye on the edge of the fine focus spot on the ground glass? If some frames are good, and the others are not, I suggest starting with the most variable element - the human. You can always remove the finder and use a loupe directly on the screen. Run your test wide open.

    Only once you are certain the screen is being brought to focus should you think about the mechanics. If you change lenses, are they seating correctly. Has the camera been dropped and the lens board out of true?

    Graham
     
  9. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    Thank you all for your suggestions thus far...a lot of things to try. I think Varya's suggestion is the one I'll try first. Since I have owned the camera it hasn't been dropped or banged around, nor are the lenses ill seated. I wasn't aware of there being shims, but there does seem to be some looseness to the viewfinder with neither the flip up magnifier, or the prism (which is what I use) attached to the camera. The fact that a few negatives are fine out of the 12 suggests to me that something that's loose occasionally falls correctly into place, but then falls out of place a moment later when the camera is moved.

    I have hired a shaman to recite some incantations and cast some spells on the thing. We'll see if that helps too! :whistling:
     
  10. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    In addition to the shaman, I’ve heard that it also helps to sacrifice a d-camera on a barbecue grill at the rising of the full moon.
     
  11. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    No need to wait for a full moon. The sooner the better. Then do another on the full moon.
     
  12. factus10

    factus10 Member

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    I had exactly the same problem with a used C330 I got from KEH. I did a little digging and found out about the foam gaskets that are supposed to position the ground glass.

    You want to take the finder off the top of your C330 and disassemble it. Likely you'll find the remains of the gasket foam. Mine was crumbly and sticky. I scraped it out with a fine straight screwdriver then cut replacement foam from stuff I picked up at the craft store. I don't recall what glue I used but it was a craft glue. Reassembled and a) my ground glass stopped rattling and b) my shots are in focus.
     
  13. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    You mention you always use the prism finder on your C330. do you get the same unsharp results using the waist level finder?...This should determine whether or not your problem's with the prism finder or the body.

    One other point.....you mention you always shoot at f22.....why is this?.....It's just that I don't know of any lenses that perform near their best at this small aperture. I'm not saying this is responsible for your problem, but it might add to it.....On my C330's I try never to shoot at a slower aperture than f11...this setting and f8 give best results on my Mamiya lenses.
     
  14. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    From my files , results of a fairly rigorous test,using Tech Pan film, a USAF test chart,Zeiss 100x microscope,etc.
    Optimum aperture first,then next best aperture.
    All black lenses : 55mm/4.5 : 8,11...........80/2.8 : 11,8..............105/3.5 :8,11...........135/4.5 :8,11...........180 Super/4.5 :5.6/8
    250/6.3 : 11,8
     
  15. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    I appreciate all your responses. I needed to use a Mamiya TLR, and decided to replace the light seals on my C220 after having taken the 330 apart, and found nothing wrong with the GG. But, I didn't trust it. To my astonishment, I got similar results with the 220, but only using the 135mm lens. Negs from the 80mm and 55mm lenses were fine. That was disheartening, but I decided to swap the viewing lens for the taking lens to see what that would uncover. No results yet as I haven't had time to experiment, and am now just using my P67 which is the better system, but not a light and flexible as the Mamiya. I'll let you all know what I discover. BTW, the one thing common to my use of the two bodies is the prism, but the OOF negs were only those with the 135mm lens so I'm hoping that will finally settle what's wrong. Here's a neg scan from the 80mm.
     

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  16. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Sounds like the viewing lens is out of alignment with the taking lens on your 135mm lens