Focus Finder for 5x4 Negs?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Martin Aislabie, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I have recently moved up to 5x4 and are having difficulty precisely focusing my enlarger.
    With 35mm and 6x6, my Paterson Focus Finder was OK, I could still see the grain in the negative and focused on that.
    I am unable to do the same on my 5x4
    Any advice
    Thanks
    Martin
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Focus on something else. You'll have trouble finding grain. Look for lines?
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Well the situations worse still with 10x8 negatives, I bought a focus finder 18 months ago from Nova Darkrooms, a Nova Hocus Focus. It's excellent far better than any other focus finder I've tried.

    Ian
     
  4. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Member

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    I've always found the Peak focus finders work fine with 5x4, even if you can't see the grain (which is why we use large format right?) the image is clear enough to focus on fine detail. They're not cheap though!
    Not sure if you are UK-based, but here is a source: Robert White
     
  5. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I have been looking at the Peak Focus Finders on the Robert White Wed Site - but at 137 + VAT I didn't want to go and buy one and find I was no better off than with my cheapy Paterson unit.
    From what you say I still wont be able to see the grain but with the Peak unit I can go and look for other details on the neg to concentrate on.
    Martin
     
  6. haris

    haris Guest

    Maybe to try something like http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/en/produkte/2_1_produktanzeige.asp?nr=4005

    It makes you to focus not on grain, but on part of the image. There are simillar products from other manufacturers (for exaple I have simillar, but smaller Meopta same type focuser, and for me it is better then Kaiser's, clearer image and easier to focus), but Kaiser is still in production, and I don't know if others are still in production. For example, Meopta not make them anymore. So, either Kaiser new or serach for secondhand...
     
  7. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    Another vote for the Hocus Focus.
     
  8. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    The Hocus Focus enables you to focus with the enlarger head high up the column without having to put your eye close to the eyepiece of the focusing implement and stretch up to reach the focussing knob. The point of the Hocus Focus can be placed anywhere on the baseboard even in the very corner and the image can still be seen to focus. It works well when placed on areas of high contrast where there is a tonal difference in the areas of light and dark in the image.
     
  9. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    I have used all the focus aids so far mentioned and my experience is that the Paterson units work as well as the Peak units despite the big difference in build quality. The Paterson is available in 2 heights which can be helpful and they are plentiful and cheap on the second-hand market. As others have said, if the grain is not visible then focus on detail that is.

    http://www.patersonphotographic.com/patersondarkroom-details1.htm#low
     
  10. keeds

    keeds Member

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    Hocus Focus works great for me for 35 --> 6x6 --> 4x5
     
  11. matti

    matti Member

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    In these cases I focus on the dust! Actually I see grain with my Micro-sight on 4x5-negs.
    /matti
     
  12. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Is anyone selling the Hocus Focus in the United States?
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    One warning about the Hocus Focus - you have to actually hold it in place with one hand. That may not seem like much of a problem, but it is finicky enough that I cannot hold it with my (limited dexterity) right hand. As I have difficulty adjusting the focus wheel on my enlarger with that same (right) hand, it means I have a lot of trouble using it.

    It would be great if it could be just placed on the easel, but it can't.

    If anyone knows of an adaptation that would allow one to use it "hands free", I'd love to hear of it.

    Matt
     
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  15. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I agree with Dave, I have both Paterson focus finders, as well as the top Peak model.

    When enlarging 4x5 TMax 100 I have great difficulty with either to find any grain, basically because there isn't any at normal enlarging heights.

    The Paterson focus units are very well made and do a perfect job, but the Peak is really easier to use if your light gathering ability with poor eyesight is a concern.

    I do have quite bad eyesight these days and have found the Peak unit to be far easier to use. That said the other day with a student I was using the smaller Paterson focus aid with 4x5 TMax100 and found a line and focused on that.

    Think of the Paterson units as VW Beatle cars, they do the job perfectly. The Peak unit could be referred to as a Mercedes Benz, it does exactly the same thing, but some people say it does it better, your choice.

    Mick.
     
  16. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    Having used both the Paterson Major Focus Finder, which is good and the Peak 2020 Focus Finder II, I much prefer the Peak. It just seems to 'snap' in and out of focus better then the Paterson model I had. This made it more positive for me at the point of focus.
     
  17. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    One of the things I find difficult with the Paterson Finder is it realy only works well on the central part of the image.
    Move out towards the edges of the picture and it just stops working.
    What are the Peak units like for being able to see right into the corners?
    Thanks
    Martin
     
  18. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I tried the Paterson finders 30 or 40 years ago, they are barely acceptable for use, I do own a more recent model it came free with a 10x8 enlarger.

    When I read about & looked at the Hocus Focus I was very sceptical but a US member of APUG asked me to get him one (I was in the UK at the time, UK sellers have minimum orders & high postage for overseas purchases) so I ordered one for myself at the same time. I'd tried a number of different focus finders and didn't expect much from the Nova product, but I recently started to have to use glasses for reading, focussing an enlarger is a problem.

    So I tried the Hocus Focus and its brilliant, easy and versatile, works at the edges and you don't have to peer through an eyepiece or magnifying glass. I tried the Peak & Kaiser focus finders and they were on a par with the Paterson's.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2008
  19. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    Their top of the range model works well into the corners, but why would you want to focus them seperatly, surely if the centre is sharp then the edges will be at their sharpest too?
     
  20. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    If they're not then the enlarger system is out of alignment somewhere.

    When Odyssey Sales installed my Devere enlarger the engineer used the Peak 2000 (top of the range) simply to check the enlarger was in complete alignment, at the baseboard, lens and negative stage.
     
  21. Dave Miller

    Dave Miller Member

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    That's my point Trevor, if the system is set up correctly centre focus should be all that's needed.
     
  22. haris

    haris Guest


    Well, I would try next: Melt some candles in let say small ashtray or anything with diameter for example 3 to 5 centimeters and let say 1 to 2 centimeters high. While candle wax is liquid put in it something, let say some metal parts, to make it heavier. Also while wax is not cold and stiff, that is while it is still soft, but not liquid and hot, put in center your Hocus Focus and try to hold it (or support it somehow) to be "perfectly" (as much as can) aligned. When wax is completely cold and stiff you will get as result your Hocus Focus fixed in wax base.

    In fact, as I have Hocus Focus too, I will try this :smile:

    Of course, if you can and know, or have someone to make for you real plastic or metal base for Hocus Focus, it would be better.

    Regards
     
  23. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Haris, use "Plasticine" then you have more flexibility.

    Ian
     
  24. haris

    haris Guest

    Yes, Ian, thank you, I thought on plasticine too.

    I mentioned wax as something easiest I can remember. If one can make base (process, melt and cool) for example of heavy rubber or anything it would work, of course. So, anyone, please feel free to adjust my idea to suits your needs :smile:
     
  25. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    There's a Peak 2000 for sale on e-bay U.K. right now at a "buy it now" price of £95. It's under "Enlarger Equipment". It's not new but the seller in Looe, Cornwall has a 100% record. I think he asking £8 for postage. Worth a look?

    As I understand it the Hocus Focus isn't actually a magnifying device or so the seller of one on e-bay says but is claimed to increase light intensity by about 3 stops. Again the sale price if I recall was less than Nova's but I can't recall if it was "buy it now" or an auction.

    pentaxuser
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Thanks haris, and Ian, for the excellent suggestions.

    Matt