Focusing Lupe Comparisons including "New" Lupe

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by naturephoto1, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Well, I wanted to let everyone know that I received the Schneider 8X Lupe. First of all, I was in error the housing does appear to be made out of plastic. The lupe is smaller than I would have thought, has good optics, and weighs a remarkable 1.2 oz including the neck strap.

    I have run some non scientific tests of this lupe and a series of others that may be of interest to read. First I set up my Linhof Technikardan 45S with a new Satin Snow GG and a grid overlay, Linhof Fresnel, with a hybrid BlackJacket Dark cloth, mounted on one of my smaller Gitzo Carbon fiber tripods- the 1257LVL. The camera was mounted via 2 Arca 3" QR plates to a Kirk 2 1/2" Arca Type QR which was attached to a Markins M20. Let me make comment however that in the tests I did not lock the controls of the camera.

    I used 3 lenses to test the set-up a Rodenstock f6.8 90mm Grandagon N MC, Rodenstock f9.0 300mm Apo Ronar, and a Nikon f11.0 500mm ED T Telephoto lens. All lenses were used wide open to check the ease of use of a series of lupes with these slower optics. Most of the tests were conducted using the Rodenstock f9.0 300mm Apo Ronar and the Nikon f11.0 500mm ED T Telephoto.

    I compared the focus and ease of focus of the following lupes: 1) Schneider Kreuznach 8X Lupe, 2) Wista 7X Hood Lupe, 3) 5X Leica Universal Lupe, 4) Fujifilm Professional 4X Lupe, 5) Rodenstock 4X Lupe, 6) Horizon 4X Lupe, and 7) Rodenstock 6x6 3X Lupe.

    I am quite near sited and wear glasses, but frequently will focus my cameras including my Technikardan 45S without them. All the tests were focused with my left eye without glasses.

    I focused on several items outside, one the key hole of a lock to an outside door to my garage that was about 2/3 out from the center and a set of shutters on the house behind my home which were between center and about 1/3 out from the center.

    I found that the Schneider 8X lupe is usable with these lenses, but with some difficulty. This narrow field Lupe optics are sharp, but it did pick up more grain of the ground glass and the Fresnel Lens. This is short with low eye relief and requires the viewer to be looking right down the lens axis otherwise there are abberation problems. I have to decide for myself how I want to use this new lupe, I may carry it on ocassion and/or for the lightest weight backpacking lupe.

    I was unable to adjust the focus of my Rodenstock 6 x 6 3X lupe for ground glass focusing.

    The Wista 7X Hood Lupe which has been my go to Lupe for years performed quite well with a good distance from the ground glass, but relatively narrow field of view. The optics are sharp, but picked up less grain from the ground glass and the Fresnel Lens that the 8X Lupe but a little more than the 5X and the 4X Lupes.

    The performance of the Rodenstock and the Fujifilm Professional 4X Lupe were similar but not up to the performance of the Horizon 4X and the Leica 5X Lupes. The Horizon and the Leica seemed close in performance, the Leica perhaps slightly better. Of all the Lupes the Leica is the most expensive and probably the best constructed.

    The surprise of all the Lupes is the Horizon which was a gift from one of my friends at Bogen Photo (they used to be the distributor) and this one needed the skirt to be glued back in place. The Leica Lupe may be slightly more magnification at 5X than the Horizon at 4X. From what I was told by my friends at Bogen, and I can not confirm this, this Russian Lupe is actually made from Zeiss Jena optics. Judging from the performance, I believe it. This is a great inexpensive Lupe (plastic housing) if anyone is looking for one. It has a Square skirt and a tremendous field of view. The image was quite bright, extremely sharp and contrasty with very good color, and quite detailed.

    For me at this point, I believe that my first choice for lupes will either be my Horizon 4X or my Wista 7X Hood Lupe, with the Schneider 8X lupe selected primarily for light weight backpacking or to supplement the Horizon. Now all I have to do is to make a neck strap for the Horizon and I am in business.
     
  2. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    Serious loop action. I suspect being near sighted you can see more cleary close up than most people. Do you have problems with the naked eye close up on the gg? I'm dreadfully near sighted and I don't use a loop because thats where my vision sings!
     
  3. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Harrigan,

    No I do not have a problem. To take in the whole screen I have to step back. But to assure focus, and to maintain focus for the entire image and to try to maintain focus through the image, I rely on a Lupe or Loupe for focusing confirmation. You have to understand that much of my work can be enlarged to 24" x 30" and even 40" x 50" via a Chromira or LightJet printer. In the case of a 56mm x 112mm Horseman reducing back, we have the ability to print 4' x 8' (but I have no idea how anyone would frame this size).

    Rich
     
  4. Ray Heath

    Ray Heath Member

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    wow, so a 'lupe' is not just a magnifying glass?
     
  5. User Removed

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    My goodness! I've never seen anyone take focusing loupes so seriously! HAHA!

    Personally, I've never seen the purpose of using one because I see just look at the ground glass and see if its in focus or not. If its a hair off, I always stop down the lens so its never a problem.

    Maybe I will try using one the next time in the field, see if my prints come out sharper or if it helps. I just really dont want to carry extra crap in the field with me.
     
  6. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Ryan,

    I can appreciate the idea of not wanting to carry any additional stuff or weight into the field. You and the UL and 8X10 photographers carry a tremendous amount of weight without a doubt.

    I too try to stop down, but I try to get the focus as accurately as I can and If I can use tilts to maintain the focus, so much the better. If not then I generally use the trusty Linhof guide included with my Technikardan 45S to maintain focus if needed. If I do not want to maintain focus...... And don't forget with making such large prints from 4X5 I want to be as close to dead on focus as I can.

    And by the way, that Horizon Lupe weighs only about 3.6 oz., not that much additional weight for 8X10 and ULF shooters. But if you are only contact printing, focus is not quite as important.

    Rich
     
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    I'm actually going to be shooting some 4x5 on my upcoming trip to Iceland with the intentions of enlarging them to 16x20. I have not shot 4x5 for many years, so it's become somewhat difficult to view such a tiny image on a tiny ground glass. The idea of using a loupe might be a good idea, since I want very sharp negatives for enlarging (ACK!).

    I'm not sure what a decent loupe costs, so any suggestions for a very basic one that just "does the job", so to say?
     
  8. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Ryan the toyo loupe is excellent. That is the one I use. Jim from Midwest is where I got mine. I am planning on gettting another.
     
  9. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Ryan,

    The Horizon 4X Lupe that I discussed above probably has much better optics than the Toyo 3.6X Lupe. It is not as tall as the Toyo, and has a B&H Photo price of only $41.95.

    Rich
     
  10. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    My vision sucks big time but the only time I can utilize my amplified near sighted clarity is for focusing the gg and for spotting. Regardless if you are worried about it then use a lope. As Rich has noted lupes are not equal and it really takes some good optical design to make a good lupe. I must admit I do own one but I've not used it for focus on any format in years. I shoot 4x5 commercial architecture and my images get drum scanned or topaz scanned and blow up very large at times.
     
  11. Harrigan

    Harrigan Member

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    Boy...i'm having some serious problems spelling lupe or was it loupe! Ahhhh!
     
  12. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    I like the Cabin (Mamiya in the USA) 4x loupe. Cheap price as the Cabin ($$$ as Mamiya, same thing!), comes with clear and dark skirts. Metal construction. I think you have to go outside the USA to buy it in the Cabin brand. I compared it side by side with the Schneider and didn't hesitate a moment to forget about the plasticky Schneider.

    I find if I go past 4x that I just get grain from the ground glass interfering with my focus judgement.
     
  13. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Mike,

    For some applications, size, weight and expense are a contributing factor. That is/has been part of my reason for this search.

    As an example, no matter how good the performance of my Leica 5X Lupe, and as nice as it is with the rubber protector for the negatives/transparencies/ground glass, I would be reluctant to take it in the field for fear of damage or loss. It has a plastic housing and it is a beautiful, expensive, and exceptional performing lupe.

    The size and weight issue is something for consideration for those carrying a lot of heavy gear- large format 4" x 5" and larger, a battery of lenses, film, dark cloth, meter, tripod, etc. any distance. And if you are backpacking with the equipment size and weight become a major issue and that very nice Cabin Lupe that you have may be too large or heavy to take.

    As I have indicated the Horizon 4X Lupe or the Wista 7X Hood Lupe seem to fit my needs. Additionally Baxter Bradford responded to the previous thread and indicated that he believes that the 8X Schneider Lupe may the same one that he has been using very successfully for the last 2-3 years. That is a tiny, extraordinarily low weight lupe and I will have to examine its usage more carefully. It may very well prove a really practical item, certainly for certain applications. And that lupe is so small that there is very little flex to the what appears to be plastic housing- so it should prove to be quite strong, but I wouldn't recommend dropping or "running over" any lupe.

    Rich
     
  14. Campbell

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    I'm surprised that Ansel hasn't smote (smighted? smitten?) you down from afar for this practice. First, depth of field doesn't automatically fix all focusing errors. For depth of field to "work" something has to be in focus. How do you know anything is in focus? Or even if something is, how do you know it's what you wanted to be in focus? Second, you'd be surprised (I think) to see the difference between getting something in focus with just your eyes and getting it in focus with a loupe. I use magnifying glasses to rough focus and then fine focus with a loupe. It's rare that I don't make some slight change from what appeared to be in focus with the glasses and what is in focus with the loupe. Granted, my vision is no doubt not as good as others but it isn't bad either, especially for close ups with magnfiying glasses. Third, you don't want to carry extra "crap" in the field? In mentally going through the "crap" that's in my pack I can't offhand think of anything smaller and lighter than my loupe except maybe the pencil I use to make notes.
     
  15. TomWB

    TomWB Member

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    My Agfa 4x loupe that I got before you were born might have cost me $5. It works when I use it, I don't always use one, like you. If I lose it in the field or step on it, no big deal. I read a post here or photonet a while back where someone suggested using the cheapo magnifying eye glasses at drug store....lots of options if you need one. I believe the Agfa is no longer made, but there are copies around ive seen at BH and Freestyle

    Price some of the loupes, incredible, i'd rather spend the money on lenses or film. But the way some of these guys talk, they must get boners when looking through the loupes, perhaps I should take an expensive one for a test drive...
     
  16. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Tom,

    From what I understand the Agfa Lupes were never known for having terribly good optics. Good sharp optics definitely help in getting and maintaining sharp focus. The Horizon Lupe that I have suggested is very sharp, has tremendous coverage of the ground glass, is what I would consider not that expensive and only sells for $41.95 new from B&H photo and for considerably less on eBay.

    Rich
     
  17. User Removed

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    I have preety good eyes and can see the ground glass just fine to focus. However, I've only been making 8x10 contact prints, but can take a loupe to the negatives or prints and they are tack sharp.

    With shooting 8x10 and 11x14, I don't want to carry more stuff into the field then needed to make an image. Some people carry calculators, notebooks, rulers, ect...and I've never found that stuff to be needed. Although a loupe is not big, nor heavy...its just one more thing that has to drift around at the bottom of the pack. Every little thing adds up.

    I'm still going to try one out when shooting 4x5 this summer, because I think it might be useful when viewing the tiny ground glass.

    Regards,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  18. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

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    Sure thing - to each his/her own preferences. I spend most of my photography time shooting nature photography in the field, so its a concept not lost on me. In my case, my HEAVY Calumet monorail is the real hindrance, not 1 oz more of weight of loupe. :smile: My medium format SLR is much more portable though I do love those big 4x5 transparencies.
     
  19. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    When I was hauling LF (4x5 Arca Swiss and Speed Graphic) I used a linen tester I got from a girlfriend and it worked well for me. Neither cameras, linen tester nor girlfriend is around my house anymore so take it for what it's worth. :D
     
  20. roteague

    roteague Member

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    It might be a tiny format and a tiny screen, but I'm willing to bet that I make much bigger prints with my tiny camera than you do with your big one. 16x20 - what a tiny print. :tongue:
     
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    Bigger is not always better my friend :wink:
     
  22. naturephoto1

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    Gee Robert,

    Not only are we printing larger, but we are still holding focus, sharpness, fine grain, and color. :D

    But, as we know printing color (particularly from transparencies) and B&W are different animals. :surprised:

    Rich
     
  23. photobum

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    After reading the hit on the Agfa loupe I had to write. I have an el-cheapo plastic Agfa loupe that was a give-a-way because of all the film I bought at my supplier. I also have a lecia loupe that cost as much as a good used car and a Toyo 3.6 that's in between. For focussing a GG the plastic works as well as the Leica and I don't have to worry about lost, drop or theft. The el-cheapo goes everywere the Toyo near the van and the Leica lives in the darkroom.
     
  24. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Photobum,

    Use what you like as your lupe. I reported what I saw and found to be the easiest and best performing lupe for me. As I said, I was quite pleasantly surprised with the quality of the Horizon 4X Lupe (about the same price as the Toyo Lupe). I found that it performed better than the more expensive 4X original Rodenstock and Fujifilm 4X Lupes. I found that this lupe was easier to focus as I described with a sharper ground glass image which does make it easier to focus and maintain focus. As I also suggested, the Leica 5X Lupe may have performed slightly better but this may have to do with the slightly higher magnification. I have no doubt however that the Horizon would perform better and be easier to focus and use and maintain focus than the Agfa Lupe.

    Additionally, I doubt that you enlarge your transparencies as much as I; I frequently make 24" x 30" and larger prints from a Chromira printer. I need to maintain the critical focus that a better quality lupe provides for making such large prints.

    Rich