Ground Glass, Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by panchromatic, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    Now I've read absolutely nothing but fantastic reviews and feedback regarding satinsnows gg. Now as a recent father to a 4x5, when does one need a new gg? (with the exception of a broken one) What are the characteristics of poor gg?

    I seem to be at a loss. The one I have in my crown graphic i just cleaned, and when under a darkcloth(homemade) its bright, except when i stop way done, then its hard to see.
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hey Ryan,

    There are many different grades of ground glass out there, there are two things you want in a ground glass....

    1. Bright, this allows you to see the maximum field of view that you will be commiting to the film.

    2. Smooth, low grain, this is very important to me, smooth fine grained glass allows me to be able to see the details I am going to commit the film.

    If I can help, just drop me an email...the most important thing you can do, is make sure it is CLEAN, and I will repeat, Make sure what ever glass you have is CLEAN, when working with LF cameras, the most important thing is CLEAN..

    Sorry, not trying to be stupid, just wanted to make sure you know, CLEAN is a priority..you can't shoot what you can't see..

    Dawn Dish Washing Soap is the best cleaner I have found for ground glass, the liquid type and use as hot of water as your hands can stand. to ensure all of the dirt and the oils from your fingers are removed, then after that make sure and only hold on the edges, until it gets back home in the back of the camera, then cover with something to ensure nothing gets on the glass, even finger prints on the smooth side of the glass can cause problems.

    Welcome to the LF family have fun..

    Dave
     
  3. laz

    laz Member

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    It's not a Satinsnow!

    (okay Dave? how about sending a check for being your PR guy? :D)
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    To answer your question directly ground glass is good. Never bad. :smile:

    I knew I needed one when I impaled my 5x7 on the back of a bar stool. Other than that I would not have even thought about it.
     
  5. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I have over 100 different examples of what is called ground glass here in the shop, most of them are sand blasted, which provides a usuable ground glass, the problem I find with most ground glass is with sandblasting, they are using a very large strata to blast with, which creates large light gather pits on the surface of the glass, these can be distracting, with several tiny "Hot Spots" I have also delt with coated glass, under dark field illumination, the glass exhibts uneven light transmission, and of course we all know the draw backs of fresnels, yes they brighten the image, but at the expence of concentric rings in the viewing screen.

    Ryan, the best advice I can give you, if your comfortable with the screen you have, then by all means go and shoot with it, good ground glass means many different things to many different people, it is really hard to define what is good and what is bad in terms of ground glass, if you can focus your shot, they you probably have the ground glass you need.

    Like I said, if I can help, just let me know, and if not, if I can answer any questions, drop me a note and I will be happy to help in anyway I can.

    Most of all, have a great time shooting your new baby.

    Dave
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    BEFORE YOU CLEAN ANYTHING--

    If your groundglass has a grid on it or format markings, clean it very carefully. You may want to check with the manufacturer or authorized service if possible. These grids are sometimes decals that can come off with something like Windex or a solvent or hot water. I've done it.
     
  7. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    A fine grained ground glass is much easier to focus with a loupe. You tend to see more image and less ground glass grain.

    As far as your original question, My Satin Snow is a marked improvement in brightness, evenness and finer grain than my Toyo OEM glass but when I installed the SS GG, I carefully packed the Toyo in the packaging that the Satin Snow came in. Some day, when I put my stupid elbow though the SS, I'll be plenty glad that I have the Toyo (and a couple of Band-Aids) handy.
     
  8. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Opps good point David, I forgot,

    Normally the Crown Glass does not have a grid on it, at least it did not from the factory, but it could have been replaced over the years with a newer screen, the normal crown glass was clean with no grids, so it did not hinder the press photographers who used these cameras hand held..

    But as David said, make sure you are careful if there is a grid on the screen.

    Dave
     
  9. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    would that be large-format good advice number 154?

    Matt
     
  10. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    i'm always amazed at the great responces I get from this site, especally in remarkable time!

    Thank you for the tips in cleaning and such, it could possibly the original GG since it does not have the grid. Now that I think of it, a grid would be a nice thing to have. With this camera on my tripod I don't have a level and it would be great to make sure your horizon something dominant is vertical. I also imagine it would be great if your trying to correct perspective if you have converging lines.

    Dave,
    I notice you do not offer the option to have a grid put on at time of cutting, but that I would have to do it afterwards. Do you plan on offering this service in the not so distant future? I really like the idea of having a spare gg so i'll order one soon enough, though if you plan on offering a grid service then I will wait for that :smile:

    Thank you again!
     
  11. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Currently Ryan,

    No I do not plan on offering grids, that is why we have put up the grid templates and a couple of ideas to use them, the problem is, the cost involved in setting up the gridding, people don't want to pay the extra for, myself personally have always used a pencil and a ruler to add grids to my glass when I needed them, but as a landscape type photographer, don't need them very often.

    To add a gridding option would just about double the cost of the screens, I am working on a couple of different ideas, but very seriously doubt I would add that option anytime soon.

    Thanks again, good luck with your new camera.

    Dave
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think we're up to #134 now.

    I agree with Dave on just penciling in the grid lines. That way you can have whatever lines you need and if you use rollfilm holders, you can customize the marks exactly to your rollfilm holder. They all seem to be a little different from each other (like Linhof's 6x7 is a little larger than Graflex's 6x7, for instance).

    If you have a camera with asymmetric tilts, though, you want the manufacturer's grid lines, since they also tell you where the tilt and swing axes are.
     
  13. ggriffi

    ggriffi Member

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    Ryan,

    As someone else who just joined the LF crowd, I bought a pair of Satinsnow gg's (should have them any day now). I had just basically read what everyone else said about them. The way I figure it, it just eliminates one excuse for a bad shot. :confused:

    g
     
  14. panchromatic

    panchromatic Member

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    I like that :D
     
  15. Gim

    Gim Subscriber

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    I have received my satinsnow gg and will replace the one I have because it is a better glass. I have always read that you should have a spare gg because they can and will break, especially when you need them the most. For the price of Dave's gg you can't go wrong. Think about it at the end of the long trail and your glass is broken. With what we have invested in money and time, use the satinsnow and your current glass as a spare.
    jim
     
  16. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Heck, I have good ground glass and still can't take a good picture!!!!!

    :D

    Dave
     
  17. Gim

    Gim Subscriber

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    Its the journey
     
  18. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    I do up my grid lines on the computer and copy them to "transparency film" (like for overhead projectors) then fit it over the ground glass. Got a whole bunch with different patterns.

    After using SatinSnow, I have been in the habit of putting SS in a camera when I get it and keeping the origional glass as a spare.
     
  19. lee

    lee Member

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    in all my years of largeformat I personally have never broken a ground glass. I had a roommate years ago break one of mine but he ground a piece of glass for me. This is like over 30 years ago.


    lee\c
     
  20. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    My experience is the same as Lee's...I have never broken one in my life...
     
  21. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I shoot a lot of rollfilm in my view camera which requires me to remove the GG for each shot. Every time that I'm holding the back in my notorious butterfingers looking for a safe place to put it down, I swear that I can hear Dave whisper in my ear... "Drop It" :smile:
     
  22. lee

    lee Member

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    of course now that Don and I have said that we both will break one this year.

    lee\c
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi ryan

    i've a pacemaker speed graphic and originally the ground glass was gridless. i'm with c-j and drew a grid on paper, brought it to a copy store and had it xeroxed onto clear film ( i think it cost 30ยข ) it sits on top of my ground glass. it was suggested to me years ago to draw with pencil on the glass, but i didn't bother.

    have fun

    - john