Ease of focusing Hasselblad vs. Rolleiflex

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jackbaty, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. jackbaty

    jackbaty Member

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    I've tried everything I can think of and still find my 500C/M difficult to focus consistently. Using the 45 degree prism and an Acute Matte D screen has improved things, but I still struggle with getting things focused as quickly and accurately as I'd like.

    I would be interested to hear how focusing a Rolleiflex compares. The only other TLR I've used is an old Minolta Autocord, which I found a bit easier to focus than the Hasselblad, but it has since broken.

    So pretending everything else is equal, which do you find easier to focus, the Hasselblad 500C/M or the Rolleiflex.
     
  2. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    For me, both cameras are about the same.

    Footprint is different for each hence one may be easier to handle with your hand than the other.

    The ladies seem to like Rolleiflex the best. Maybe because it's smaller, less intrusive, they get more comfortable with the Rollei. For a pro model it doesn't make any difference.
     
  3. kreeger

    kreeger Subscriber

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    Jack,

    Do you have this problem with all the lenses, or just one? Describe what lens you're using. We may have some ideas.

    In practice I find I use the depth of field scales on my older C series lenses help a lot with sharp focus zones.

    I've used both the 2.8F Rolleiflex and 500CMs, and also the Rollei SL66, which I found THE most difficult to focus reliably. I prefer the Hasselblad over all. I use the Acute Matte in my 500ELX, and the Beattie in the 500CM.
     
  4. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    What's wrong with the autocord that you don't want to have it repaired?

    I have the same trouble with my blad's, got to be on a tripod and have plenty of time to dial her in. I have a little less trouble with the 150, but the 250, 80, and 50 give me about the same amount of grief.

    Have a Koni Omega 100 that's faster than my 35mm stuff to focus, guess which gets used the most? :smile:

    Mike
     
  5. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    and I am opposite...

    I hold the SL66 first (I have the "E" type, and the screen is nice and bright - and the focusing knob on the side is - for me - much easier than the front focusing of hasselblad..)- then the rollei 2,8, and I just cant focus proberly with the hassy....

    Maybe ones eyes makes the difference? I can't focus with a leica either (which is a good thing, as I don't have to even consider that camera....:blink:)
     
  6. SWphoto

    SWphoto Member

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    If you want to repair your Autocord, the man to contact is Karl Bryan: karl.kathy "at " frontier.com

    He did a great job with mine, reasonable.


    Rick
     
  7. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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    And if you don't want to pay to repair it, pm me. I've been dabbling in camera repair this year. I'm always looking for interesting cameras to work on. :smile:
     
  8. jackbaty

    jackbaty Member

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    Thanks all. It's probably a number of factors. The first time I used the 45 Prism everything from my first half-dozen rolls was way out of focus. Then I realized it had a diopter adjustment :smile:. I have the 150mm and the 80mm but I almost always use the 80. I suspect the screen I'm using may be another problem. I mostly shoot people, and they typically don't come with nice, straight vertical lines, so I find myself trying to eyeball good focus _outside_ of the center split image. I'm wondering if I should try a screen without the split.

    So then the Rollie will be similar to the Autocord, focusing-wise? I do intend to fix the Minolta someday. Unless someone tells me that the Rollieflex is significantly easier to focus, that's probably what I'll do.

    I love everything about the Hasselblad - except focusing it.
     
  9. mesh

    mesh Subscriber

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    I to have found the Hassy somewhat difficult to focus reliably and quickly... I know this sounds like lame advice, but really it's practice, practice, practice... you just get used to seeing images 'pop' with the acute-matte after time. It's just such a different experience from most other cameras I have used. My limited experience with the Rollei is that's it's about the same to focus and likewise the Bronica SQ. The only camera I have tried in that (similar) format which is quicker IMO is the Mamiya 7.

    How long have you been using your Hasselblad? It could just be you need some more time...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2010
  10. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I've owned a Hasselblad and Bronica SQ-A before. I've just recently acquired a Mamiya C330. So far I absolutely love this camera. I find the C330 so much easier to focus than either the Hassy or Bronny. I'm looking to upgrade the screen to have an even brighter and easier time focusing. I do not have any experience with a Rolleiflex TLR though.
     
  11. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I've got a Hassy 500c/m and a Rollei 3.5E, and two different Bronica models -- and I'm wondering if you, like me, would benefit from using a focusing handle on your lens? The Rollei is, in part, easy to focus because the knob is so easy to manipulate and rock back and forth. On my C Hassy lens, grabbing the narrow focusing ring can be less than easy, much less moving it easily back and forth. Try a handle -- it might really help you.
     
  12. kreeger

    kreeger Subscriber

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    Gandolfi, I agree about eyesight differences! The camera itself may need to be calibrated by a technician to ensure the viewing screen is aligned correctly. I had an RB67 once that was horrible in that regard until repaired.
     
  13. ooze

    ooze Member

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    I have a 501C with an acute matt screen and a Rolleiflex 2.8GX with Beattie screen. Whilst both are very bright, I'd say the Rollei is a tad easier to focus. Not enough to loose my sleep over it though.
     
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  15. jerry lebens

    jerry lebens Member

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    Have you tried taking the reflex viewer off the 'Blad and using the OE flip up viewer? That way you'll be using an almost identical system to the Rollieflex - then you might see whether it's a problem with the different focussing mechanisms or the style of viewer.

    Although I have a reflex, I tend to use the flip up viewer most of the time, I find it lighter and much more adaptable. I've never found a problem dealing with the inverted image. It takes a little practice but, once you've got the knack, it's easy.

    Regards
    Jerry
     
  16. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    It depends, I'd say. :smile: It depends on eyesight of course but also on what screen you have in the camera. A Rolleiflex with an original screen can be iffy to focus. A Hasselblad with an Acu-Matte or a Rollei with a newer retrofitted screen (in my case a Mamiya RB screen) is equally easy to focus for me. I don't think you would gain a lot by getting a Rollei if you already have an Autocord.
     
  17. jackbaty

    jackbaty Member

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    I have considered a focusing handle, as that might help speed things up. I find that I spend extra time determining which direction to focus (since I frequently forget to eyeball the scale first.) A handle might make it behave more like the rangefinder lenses I'm used to.

    I've had the Hasselblad for a little over a year, so it could very well be that more practice is all I need, but I certainly appreciate the comments and suggestions here.
     
  18. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    It's worth remembering that brightness of screen may not help with focusing. I have a Maxwell screen installed in my Rollei 3.5E, and while it's wonderful to compose with, I'm not convinced it's actually easier to focus with in general use than the darker/coarser Rollei screen I originally had in it. The Rollei screen popped in and out of contrast more, so it was quicker to focus. I can certainly focus the Maxwell screen in lower light than I could the Rollei screen, but focusing is slower, and has less of an immediate pop-in/pop-out feel in good light than the coarse Rollei screen did.

    I've never owned a Hasselblad, but I've used other similar format cameras [Bronicas, Mamiya RBs, etc] and I don't remember finding them any easier or harder to focus than the Rollei. I prefer the handling of the Rollei, though.
     
  19. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Jack,

    I notice that the subscriber picture (if that is you) is wearing glasses. I have a couple of Hasselblads and use the PM5 viewfinder and Acute-Matte screen. I have rubber eye cups on them but also had sent my reading glasses Rx to Hasselblad and purchased the appropriate eye piece so I don't need the glasses to focus. I don't know if they still offer that service but you may want to inquire about that. The focusing handle only works with a few of their lenses.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  20. R gould

    R gould Member

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    I have never used a Hassy, but I have a Bronica etr ,also rolleiflex automat and rolleicord va2, and I find the rollei's much easier fo focus, they seem to snap into focus,while the bronny takes time to focus accurately, I prefer the rolleis,Richard
     
  21. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    I don't know the hassi, but I use a Rolleiflex 3,5F with it's original screen for many years. It is my most used camera. Focussing is easy, with and without the manifying-glass.
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    That is not Hasselblad's fault. That is an Operator Assisted Failure [OAF] and can happen with any viewfinder on any camera.

    Your screen is not aligned correctly or your 500C/M is out of alignment. A factory trained Hasselblad repairman can correct that easily.

    Yep, see a Hasselblad repairman and you camera problems will go away.

    Steve
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I think you are probably spoiled by small format. Medium format cameras are generally more difficult to focus (and large format harder still). With small format, the lenses are generally faster, the viewfinders are generally brighter, and they have more depth of field, which covers less than perfect focus, giving you more confidence to just take the shot because you are not second guessing your focus. I find Hassies and Rollies to focus with about the same difficulty if they have comparable focusing screens. I find the Rollei's side focusing knob to be a bit easier to use with a WLF and no hand grip, though. If I have a hand grip, I don't find a focusing helical any more difficult to use than the side knob on a TLR. I also find that WLFs are generally brighter than prisms.
     
  24. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

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    Had the same experience with a Hassy and Accute-Matte screen.
    The problem is, as mcgrattan already said, that very fine screens (Accute Matte), while very bright, are also much more difficult to focus, particularly for us who have less then perfect vision (read: "old farts") :smile:
    A coarser (and darker) screen is much easier to focus because the subject "pops" in and out of focus, i.e. it's a lot easier to find the EXACT moment/setting when something is in focus.

    You can compare your problem to focusing with plain glass (not ground glass). It would be very difficult to see when something is in focus. The screen would be very bright, though :smile:

    My situation with the Hassy + AccuteMate finder improved somewhat when I used the other eye for focusing, and even more when I used the (eye)glasses.

    I prefer plain ground glass (with fresnel), though - which is what I have in my Mamiya C330, Rollefilex and other TLR cameras.
    At least it's easy to see when something is or isn't in focus, dim as some of those screens may be.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2010
  25. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    What??? You must be kidding...

    The split image needs straight lines. No straight lines, and it's just a thing in the way.

    How you arrive at the conclusion that the screen is out of alignment is a minor mystery.


    I would love to see what your explanation for that 'advice' could be.
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I am not kidding. I was in Samys last year when a Hasselblad owner had that complaint. The repairman said it was because the ground glass was not in alignment. It took him only a few minutes to fix the problem. Some of the split screen problems are from alignment issues; some are the screens themselves; some people are not happy with a particular split screen. The reasons vary.

    Steve