Hasselblad cross hair focusing screen

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jglass, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    Is there a trick to focusing with the screen with cross hairs that don't meet in the middle, no split prism or anything? The screen is bright, I think an early acute-matte, but jeez, with no split prism, it's hard to get critical focus even with the magnifier. Just wondering if any of you have a trick for this.
     
  2. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    The trick I used was to buy a split prism screen. Apparently some people like the standard screen, since it's the most common, but it's never been my first choice. The micro-prism screens work well too, I have both.
     
  3. amac212

    amac212 Member

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    I find that it's easiest to find the critical focus dead center in the glass, but even then, I always have to use the pop up magnifier.
     
  4. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    You don't happen to have a clear screen, do you?
     
  5. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    Yep, my first idea is to get a split prism screen, but I was hoping this was easier than it looks.

    QG: what do you mean?
     
  6. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    There is a clear glass screen. Cross lines, and a Fresnel lens underneath, but no matte, diffusing structure.
    Consequently very bright, but - unless you know how - impossible to focus.

    I don't think your screen is one of those, but nevertheless, difficult to focus, and bright... Might have been.
     
  7. EdSawyer

    EdSawyer Member

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    That sounds like an aerial image screen, that QG is describing. Best used for macro and the like. Agreed, bright but with no DOF info and tricky to focus for sure!

    -Ed
     
  8. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    That sounds pretty neat. What do you do, keep your eye focused on the cross hair while focusing the lens to the aerial image? Is it good for macro because of the bright image?
     
  9. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It's excellent for high magnification photography, not because the image would be bright at such magnifications, but because then you don't see a thing with regular screens.
    It of course also works in long range photography, but then a regular screen is easier to use.

    You don't try to see whether both the reference lines and the bit in the subject you are focussing on are sharp (they always look sharp when you look at them), but while focussing you move your head slightly for left to right. The reference lines move relative to the bit you are focussing on, untill they and that bit are in the same plane. A perspective/parallax thing. So if they move together, but not relative to each other, you have that bit in focus.
    Very accurate, and (with a little practice) very easy to do.
     
  10. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    Hate to bring this back on track, but can anyone tell me about any experience with the available bright screens (Acute-matte, etc) that have some sort of split image focusing? Is there a source for these other than the auction site and KEH?

    Thanks
     
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    The Acute Matte screens, though bright, are a bit difficult to focus. The split image rangefinder helps tremendously. But you need to be comfortable with that thing sitting in the middle of the screen all the time. And - like all split image rangefinders - it blacks out with slow lenses beyond f/4) and if the exit pupil moves away too far (close-ups).
    The 'regular' one has a line grid (also helpful, but for other things, of course) and the split image rangefinder.

    These things cost a lot, but are worth it. But best for your wallet not to buy new, but find a good used .
    one.

    That auction site is a good place to find one. But mind that they indeed sell what they say they sell. all too often they have a box of the screen you want, but not the screen that goes with the box.
    KEH and other places like KEH would be a safer place to buy from, but probably a bit more expensive (though prices on that auction site do regularly go up far too high too. Bidding frenzy, and all that).
     
  12. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I agree with Q.G. and his advise. I really struggled with the cross-hair Acute Matte screens myself, until I got a split-image rangefinder version of it. Shocked by the expense (and faced with refitting three Hasselblads), I tried a cheap Chinese version.

    Upon arrival, I opened the box, and at first sight, they looked terrible, really cheap! I tried them anyway, and they are so far off from an Acute Matte screen that a comparison seem ridiculous. However, I must say, I was surprised by the focusing accuracy achieved. I was able to focus repeatably more accurately than with the Acute Matte Cross Hair, despite them being several stops darker.

    If you don't mind a mediocre finish and a dark screen (most likely not working with slow lenses), they may be an option for accurate focusing in bright lighting situations, such as landscape photography.
     
  13. Theo43

    Theo43 Member

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    I got a new Kiev split image screen, which fits the Hasselblad exactly, for MUCH less than a Hasselblad would have cost. I got mine complete and assembled in its metal frame, but those I see for sale now appear to be only one of the two sheets and without frame, for example

    http://cgi.ebay.com/FRESNEL-FOCUSIN...ilm_Cameras&hash=item1e5fee69aa#ht_1623wt_907

    http://cgi.ebay.com/FRESNEL-FOCUSIN...Film_Cameras&hash=item2eb2199a4b#ht_823wt_907

    You would have to take yours apart and replace the existing sheet with the new one. This should not be too difficult and is certainly worth the effort.
     
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  15. thedancefloor

    thedancefloor Member

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    I've got the cross-hair Acute Matte screen myself, and I've grown to like it. I think that if you practice with it you'll get great at focusing with it.
     
  16. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I have it also and I actually liking to like it. Once you get use to it you can focus anywhere in the screen, it just takes practice and trusting yourself.
     
  17. jglass

    jglass Subscriber

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    So no trick to it, just stare at it till it seems focused? Seems like a stupid way to do it when split prisms are available, in my opinion. I'll give it a go, but I'll be looking for a split prism starting tomorrow. Good camera
     
  18. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    The thing with Acute Matte screens is that the optical trickery that make them extra bright also make them have a 'depth of focus', and combined with an eye that is able to focus itself to any plane inside that depth of focus, it can be difficult.
    You can't train your eye to focus on only one plane, and not another.

    And yes, using a split image rangefinder is the most acurate way to focus.
    But it needs clear lines, and the thing blacks out ratheroften.
     
  19. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    How do you do that? I bought one and it is just the plastic, no metal frame. How do I take my old one out and put the new one in the metal frame? It doesn't come out ... or doesn't seem to!
     
  20. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It's not worth the bother, Katie.

    But anyway: The original screens have two metal frames, one inside the other. The edges of the outer frame are bent over the edges of the inner frame, and you will have to bend those sides back again. Doing so, you risk breaking the (cover) glass contained in most Hasselblad screens. But should you get lucky, you can take the two frames apart, and take the screen assembly out and replace it with the Kiev thingy.
    To reassemble the thing, you have to bend the edges of the outer frame over the inner frame again, without damaging the screen. It will work, but i bet not quite, and the screen assembly may well be too wide to drop in the camera again without you pushing hard on it.
    But before you reach that stage, you have to make sure the new screen sits at the right depth (and if not, figure out how the get it there - if you know where "there" is), or else focus will be off.

    Too much bother. Not worth it. The Kiev screens are no better than the old style Hasselblad screens with split image rangefinder.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 8, 2011
  21. Theo43

    Theo43 Member

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    I disagree. The hasselblad focusing screen is contained in a two part frame; just turn it upside down and you will see that the bottom part fits into the top part and is held there by the curved sides of the top part. The focusing screen fits into the bottom part. To disassemble it you do not have to bend the sides of the top part in any extreme way, just push a bit with your thumb until you can pop out the bottom part. The Kiev focusing screen is an exact fit, length, width and depth. Place into the bottom part of the frame and work the top part over it.

    As I said in my earlier post, I had got a Kiev focusing screen complete with metal frame, but in fact I had also got a frameless screen. Yesterday, for the first time, I put the frameless one into a hasselblad frame, as described above. It took me less than five minutes.

    You can still get a Kiev focusing screen complete with metal frame.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/FRESNEL-BRIGHT-...s=63&clkid=6231915003758045219#ht_1300wt_1141

    The Kiev frame is somewhat deeper than the Hasselblad frame (approx. 0.03") but it still fits nicely into the camera and seems to focus the image just fine. Note, the Kiev screen itself is the same thickness as the Hasselblad screen (It sits on a shim in the Kiev frame). If you have any misgivings about accurate focus with the Kiev frame, then just put a Kiev screen into a Hasselblad frame as described above.

    A new, unmarked, and unblemished focusing screen for a small fraction of the outlandish cost of a Hasselblad part. Damn right it's worth the bother!

    Ted
     
  22. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    SO I got the frameless one and plopped it in and missed focus completely on my first roll. Flipped it over and tried again and only missed on ONE shot. It rattles around in there without the metal frame ... but I need to use the split-focus screen with my 120mm portrait lens and prism. I have HELL getting good focus wide open using just the WLF. What to do!!!
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    A PME works better than a wlf for me. Each to their own.

    Steve
     
  24. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Get one of the old style Hasselblad screens with split image rangefinder.
    They go for little money, and do work.
     
  25. Theo43

    Theo43 Member

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    Katie, as you have found the hard way, the glossy side must face up.

    I can see, pun intended, three options:
    1. As Q.G. suggests, hunt down a relatively cheap split image Hasselblad screen.
    2. Get a split image Kiev with frame and see if it focuses properly for your needs.
    3. Put a split image Kiev screen into the Hasselblad frame (you could likely get a camera store technician to do this at little or no cost).

    Good luck,
    Ted
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2011
  26. André E.C.

    André E.C. Member

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    Katie,

    Just invest on either an old split from Hasselblad as Q.G suggested, or bite the bullet and get a Minolta made Acute with split, this eventually will save you alot of headhache.

    Decide well!:wink: