My Mamiya Won't Focus to Inifinity!

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Andrew Laverghetta, Sep 27, 2006.

  1. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was thinking it might have something to do with the lens but I still have no idea since it is a Mamiya lens and I got it as a bundle from KEH.com.

    The camera is a Mamiya 645E and the lens is a Mamiya-Sekor 80mm f/2.8 N. Is there anything about this lens/camera combo that causes it to not focus to infinity? I don't think it's even infinity unless infinity is actually pretty close. I live in an apartment building that used to have a fraternity house inbetween the other matching apartment building and I can't focus on things that are past the frat house, like trees. They look decently close with the split prism or even in focus but when I actually look at the sharpness of trees and anything else, nothing really LOOKS in focus. I have the diopter set to -1 though, could this have anything to do with it? I know that when you have lens adapters it can offset infinity focus or certain macro attachments but the diopter is the only thing I can think of. I haven't had a chance to really check out the negatives to see if I'm just hallucinating (I doubt it) but I have also managed to do what I could to get the infinity stuff in focus by stopping down to say f11 and by using the depth of field preview.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!

    Andrew Laverghetta
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Have you taken any pictures with it and developed them yet? you don't mention if you have actually taken pictures with the system to see how they come out on film. The diopter could have alot to do with what your preceiving in the viewfinder.

    Dave
     
  3. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,814
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    Hi, just adjust the diopter so that the lines in the circle in the middle of the frame is sharp, ie point the camera at the sky is easiest. Then everything should focus properly.

    Jon
     
  4. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,378
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It is possible that the infinity stop in the lens has moved with time. Possibly a loose screw holding the stop.
    You could check by using a piece of ground glass or frosted mylar at the film plane & check focus that way. For what it's worth infinity is considered to be 1000X the focal length of the lens. I usually just use the trees two blocks away & check for sharp branches/leaves.
     
  5. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have shot a few rolls with it and developed maybe 3 our of 5 or 6. I have looked at the negatives with a loupe and a 50mm lens backwards and I haven't really noticed problems when I look at the negatives I haven't really noticed but I think that's largely because I haven't printed the ones where it was an issue. It does seem odd though that it stops focus so closely. When I turn the focus dial it does stop at the infinity mark though, unless the part that was mentioned is inside and not related to the scale on the outside of the lens.

    I'll see if I can check the negatives out quickly.

    One shot that I took included something in the foreground, the bank of the lake I was at plus part of the shore further away that wasn't in focus when I looked but I also stopped down to about f11 or f8 and the negative is in focus. The thing that's weird is that the split prism will just get in focus but not look like it's sharp. I guess I'll just have to shoot some more and figure it out. I didn't know if it might be a common thing or if I should have a different lens instead of the one I have now.

    Thanks for the replies so far!

    Andrew
     
  6. Mike Kovacs

    Mike Kovacs Member

    Messages:
    274
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Is the focusing screen loose or upsidedown?
     
  7. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Too bad the prism doesn't come off! Then you could check the focus at both the film plane, and the viewfinder to see which one is off.

    I use a small microscope for this when repairing other cameras. http://www.radioshack.com/product/i...kw=microscope&kw=microscope&parentPage=search

    Set it at 100x and focus on the ground glass. I also found that I can get very close with the built in magnifier of the waist level finder for many models, but the microscope is the final test. I have a ground glass out of an old TLR that I use at the film plane.
     
  8. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Being the econobox that it is (though still a very good econobox) the prism and all that junk can't be moved. The film is loaded with inserts and not backs/magazines so it'd be a pain in the rear to find out if the film plane image was in focus or not. I really didn't want to use part of my roll of film that I've got now to figure something out but I guess I can do that. I might just go and do that once I finish typing this. I'll shoot as close to 2.8 as possible focused to "infinity" as it says on the lens and see what comes out when I develop them. May take a while though, my next week is spoken for. Stupid college haha. Gets in the way of my creativity. :smile:

    Thanks again!

    and greg, that's one heck of a fun looking microscope for only that price! I'll have to look into that!
     
  9. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,814
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    Location:
    Elk, Califor
    Shooter:
    Plastic Cameras
    Hi, I have 2 645E's and enjoy using them. Very easy to use and a pleasure to focus. Maybe you should just call keh and send it back (or exchange it) if you are having trouble with yours?

    Jon
     
  10. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The 1000s is also a very nice machine (just in case you do go for the exchange option). At the price of a Pro or Super, they might be willing to do an even trade for one of those.
     
  11. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

    Messages:
    1,325
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Location:
    Louisiana, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As someone mentioned earlier, it may be you only need to readjust the diopter correction to fit your eyes. The camera may actually be focusing correctly. This happened to me recently with a Canon EOS 1n that I bought from KEH and couldn't focus. Not being familiar with the camera, I didn't realize the diopter correction was under the removeable rubber eyepiece.
     
  12. CGross

    CGross Guest

    I have this issue but with a C33 I recently aquired. I have been sorting through any info I can find about this on the internet. One post mentioned using a ground glass on the film plane and focusing on that and then check the view finder to see if they are the same.

    Dave, would you be able to give me a piece of ground glass that would fit within the film plane on my mamiya? If I gave you the dimensions?

    I would assume the easiest thing to do is focus the taking lens on the ground glass, then adjust the focusing screen if they are not the same. Does anyone know what the up and down movements of a focusing screen does.
    For example. If the film plane is focused and the focusing screen is out of focus do I move the screen down or up? Or is this one of those "you will only know if you play with it" things !!!
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Snowy,

    The c330 and the E is a different beast, but I can make a piece of glass to fit in your camera to check your focus on the film plane, it would not be a problem.

    Dave
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Don't forget to buy a microscope!
     
  16. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have the diopter set at -1.5 because that's the way it looks best to me. I use the split prism to focus on something that's pretty flat and has details and then set the diopter to how it looks the sharpest. Is that not correct? I have a Canon 20D and a Canon EOS Rebel GII for 35mm for my portraits and 35mm film. The Rebel doesn't have diopter adjustments and it looks pretty sharp when I focus, the 20D is pretty much the same though it does have diopter but I don't think it's changed from normal. This is the only camera that doesnt' appera correct when I look through it while set as 0. I've got film drying in my bathroom now though so I will break out my lens and check it out pretty soon. I shot something that appeared out of focus at f/2.8 while focused at infinity to see what's up with that. Also, I can't really go through the hassel of sending it back because of how much time it would take and such. Most of my work is stuff that's fairly close to me anyways.
    Thanks!
     
  17. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    On all my lenses, the distance markers are pretty close to whe the image is in focus. You might want to measure the distance to an object, and then check to make sure that the object really hits focus at the measured mark. All in all, I really don't like the 80mm, it's my least favorite lense. I've made some great images with it, but it just doesn't do a lot for me. I guess what I'm saying is that if it is the lense, I wouldn't spend much money on it. Pick up a nice 110mm f2.8 or the 150mm f2.8. Having a second lense would help you determine if it was the camera or the lense that was out of whack. If it's the camera, then you might have to get it serviced, someone might have messed it up. if the E is like the Super and Pro, there is a small release button inside the lense mount. Pushing this button lets the focus screen come out through the lens mount. You might need to make sure the screen is installed correctly. Then you will have to see if the mirror is in the right place. I think there are little rubber cushions on each side where the mirror rests, if those are worn or gone, you might get this same focus problem and it will mess with all your shots.
     
  18. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hmm, on a quick inspection it looks like the infinity 2.8 shots are in focus without loupe inspection or at least without thorough loupe inspection. Is it possible to put the lens on incorrectly? I sure it's on correctly but I just thought I'd bring it up since I didn't have a manual when I got the camera but I thought I got the lens on the right way.
     
  19. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    No, I have never been able to put the lense on incorectly and have it stay attached to the camera body.

    Line up the red dot on the lens, to the red dot on the body (down near the shutter release), insert lens and twist until it locks.

    I just want to check something....

    The shots with the lens at infinity are in focus? If so then your mirror or ground glass are out of place.

    If the shots are in focus in the viewfinder, and on film then the lens is out of whack and should be easy to fix.
     
  20. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    yeah, it seems that the infinity at 2.8 are in focus, the shots where I stopped down a lot are in focus but I think that shots that are close at 2.8 or maybe 4 as well are somewhat soft but focus gets better as I get closer to inifnity. I believe that's what's happening. So you say mirror or ground glass? I don't figure there's anything I can do myself is there?

    I checked it out last night and I dont' see anything that's glaring at me as obviously off though I'll definitly check it again. I looked at the mirror and it just rests on one prong when it comes back down.

    Ahhhhh! I just looked at it again and it looks like the ground glass is slightly lower on the left side when looking at the camera! I hadn't noticed that before. I know people mentioned about trying to take it out but this camera isn't supposed to be able to have changable gg's is it?

    And about thinking I might put the lens on incorrectly, I didn't realize that you didn't have to fit the little groove around the metal peg outside the lens while you were putting it on. I didn't realize that as you twist the lens on it will fit itself in haha. Shows you how much I've taking that lens off.

    Anybody think they may be able to throw together some checks and possible solutions to getting this thing back up there? I'm also not sure which side should move; I don't know if the right should come down or the left should go up. I just would really love to keep it out of "the shop" where I would have to pay somebody to do something like this unless it's really necessary.

    Thanks for your help everybody!

    Andrew
     
  21. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Attached Files:

  22. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,378
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Without having the camera in hand, it appears that it was subjected to some sort of impact that dislodged the screen. Perhaps in shipping?
    Rather than mess with it I believe you should return it to KEH & have them repair/replace the unit. That is Before you attempt to correct it.
     
  23. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    So based on everything here and a phone call with KEH, especially keeping in mine that the focusing screen is supposed to be permanent and my unusual setting for the diopter, I'll be sending it back to get it fixed or whatever they can do asap.

    Thanks!
     
  24. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

    Messages:
    775
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yes, the ground glass is definitely out of whack. See if they will trade you a complete Pro or Pro TL for this body. Then you would gain removeable backs, removeable prism, different screens, different winders, etc. The Super would be good too, and it has a 1/60 mechanical setting in case the battery dies.

    Heck, I would even trade it for a good 1000s. You can't change the backs, but you still get two (or three) winding options, several view screen options, and several finder options. They are like a tank, I'll probably never get rid of mine.
     
  25. Andrew Laverghetta

    Andrew Laverghetta Member

    Messages:
    51
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    so what's the benefit to having different screens? Also, I'm fairly satisfied with the winder on this camera, it feels pretty comfortable and I don't really want to put money into other winders when I'm fine with what I have.

    I'm not sure about the backs and prism though. The backs might work well but I'm still not sure as to why I might want to change the prism unless it was just to take it off and maybe use something else like a loupe to check focus though it's a pretty small spot to put a loupe or something similar on. I think the 1/60 mechanical shutter w/o batter sounds good though.

    I'm hoping to send it back today to probably just get it fixed unless I see that they have something that's similar that I could trade for.

    Thanks!
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,811
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    IMHO the advantages (other than cost) of the 645E are:
    1) lighter in weight;
    2) can use the thumb operated Rapid Winder; and
    3) built in diopter correction in the finder eyepiece.

    The biggest reason to want interchangeable screens is so that you can install a grid screen. The second reason - some screens are better for extreme closeup and other specialised purposes.

    Interchangeable backs speak for themselves.

    It is handy to be able to switch to a waistlevel finder if you are photographing tabletop or ground level scenes

    The build quality of a ProTl is heavier and more durable

    If it matters to you the TTL flash capability on the ProTl is good

    Just a few observations from an owner of one "Pro" body and two "Super" bodies

    Matt