Getting a grain focuser?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by audungk, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. audungk

    audungk Member

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    I am sorry if this question has been asked before, but will it help for my printing to get a grain focuser? I am mostly doing 6x6negs enlarged to 20x20 (cm) and it seems that my prints are sharp, but would a grain focuser be a good thing?

    And, if so, do i need a special one for medium format (6x6)?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    You do not need a special one for 6x6cm. They are very useful. You are making rather small enlargements which may help.
     
  3. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Possibly the best thing in a darkroom after an enlarger and trays, is a grain focuser.

    I've used all sorts from ones costing hundreds of dollars in a lab, to my personal one which I paid $5.00 secondhand.

    http://www.adorama.com/PAFFMC.html?sid=11575070301998559

    Paterson Micro Focus Finder which is in the above link, is the one I use on a daily basis in my own dark room.

    By the way, welcome to the forum.

    Mick.
     
  4. Markok765

    Markok765 Member

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    Same one that i use
     
  5. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Bestwell

    You will not go wrong with a Bestwell Magna Sight. These are individually calibrated, and can go from the center of the print to the edges with little loss of brightness or focus loss. Quite reasonable also through B&H.
     
  6. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    You might have good eyes, but a focus aid will make sharper prints more often.

    I second the nomination of the Magna Sight. I modified mine using the late Barry Thornton's suggestion to attach a close up lens to the viewing lens. You can no longer focus without putting your eye right to the the eyepiece, but oh does it make for sharp focusing! With this setup you don't actually focus the grain, but instead find a sharp image line and watch it pop into focus as you adjust the enlarger.
     
  7. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    When I was in my 20s, I didn't need a grain focuser. When I was in my 30s, I got one of the Patterson ones, even though I still didn't really need it. Now that I'm nearly a geezer, I need it. So, the answer to your question is - it depends. But having one would never hurt.
    juan
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I'll second that. I find it easier to focus with than without, and have since I got my first one maybe 35 years ago. I've tried several and all are so much better than nothing that I'd recommend buying one. Are the top-price ones that much better? Don't know: I've never had one. But if you can see the grain the the print, with a magnifying glass if necessary, they're sharp enough, and my prints are sharp enough.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com)
     
  9. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Like Juan, I didn't need one long ago. As a veteran geezer, I do. The favorite is a cheap one that functions like the Patterson Mick linked to. An old Mitchell Unicolor that can be used anywhere in the image area is good for checking enlarger alignment. A 14 inch tall Patterson lets me reach the focusing knob when making big enlargements. The Pattersons let one focus on the grain instead of on the less magnified image like the Magna Sight or the similar ancient Baush and Lomb..
     
  10. audungk

    audungk Member

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    Seems like i should look for one... After studying some of my prints up close, I have a feeling there is room for improvement...

    Well, not too many on the used marked i Norway, gonna put up a wanted ad, and check ebay!

    I really appreciate the help!

    Thanks!
     
  11. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    D*mn - I just threw mine away!

    It refused to stay focused, so I had to remember to adjust it before I used it. Every time. In the end I decided that I should try the built-in focussing aid (split line) in the neg carrier - both of my enlargers have them - and found I got better, sharper prints that way.
     
  12. Glenn Mathison

    Glenn Mathison Member

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    Like Mick, I have the el-cheapo patterson and it's great.

    Note that I also have a split line auto-focus thingy on my enlarger neg tray but when I compare it against the focus scope there is a clear difference in favour of the focus scope. Apart from my RH analyser it's the most appreciated thing in the darkroom to make my life easier.
     
  13. jolefler

    jolefler Member

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    So, can you check/calibrate the Magna Sight?

    I haven't used one yet, but picked up a second-hand unit to help with alignment of my 2D with carrier & cold light back. Is calibration necessary?
     
  14. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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  15. audungk

    audungk Member

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    got hand of one today, and did some tests... 9 out of 10 focused by eye, is not "correct"... Seems like it was wise getting one...

    Cool thing is, thou: After getting a great deal on a Paterson major focusfinder, i get an email from a guy who has another. Think i'll be keeping both, the manual (yep, i read them..) for the paterson states that its suited for 3 1/2 enlargements and up.... Got hand of a 70x70cm tray today, so it might come in handy...
     
  16. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Has anyone heard of a binocular grain focuser?