Need a new grain focuser...

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by brofkand, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    Hello again!

    I'm on the lookout for a new grain focuser. I have a plastic Paterson job, and it doesn't do a good job. It's pretty dim (being made of plastic) and doesn't really help focus anything. It's REALLY hard to tell when it's focused.

    Can anyone recommend a good focuser, one that will last? The ones we have in our lab at school are all-one piece of metal, and they seem to do the job well.

    Does anyone have experience with this one: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/4731099-Deluxe-Grain-Focuser?cat_id=1602 ? Is it any good? I don't want to spend a lot of money.
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  3. markbau

    markbau Member

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    Agree 100%. I messed around with cheapies and then took the plunge and purchased one and have never used anything else ever since. I particularly like the fact that you can move about the whole image area, even to the corners.
     
  4. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Scoponet.
     
  5. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I just picked up a Peak Focuser Model 1 for $25, shipping included. They come up on ebay all the time but rarely go for that cheap, though you can certainly get them for less than $100. If you look on other sites though, you might find one for a good price.
     
  6. Thomas Wilson

    Thomas Wilson Member

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    Peak, for sure. Once you adjust to the decrease in magnification from the cheapo grain focusing tools, the corner to corner range of the Peak makes short work of an alignment check.
     
  7. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    Look on ebay. I found a like new blue metal one for next to nothing.
     
  8. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I have used most of them and I can't say the focus I can find with my eyes is any different from that found with a focuser.

    Try it yourself: focus visually, then put in the focuser and see if any adjustment is needed. If not, then there isn't much point in the focuser. OTOH, I am 3 to 4 diopters myopic; if you are farsighted then the things may be a God send.
     
  9. largely

    largely Subscriber

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    I have several but the one I use most often is the Bestwell Magnasight. The large mirror and good optics means I can use it from a distance rather than having to stand on my head to get my eye close to it.

    Larry
     
  10. RJS

    RJS Member

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    Hocus Focus is a really inexpensive, fast focusing aid. You don't have to bend down, it works toward the edges - looks cheapo but is great.
     
  11. brofkand

    brofkand Member

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    I can't find this product anywhere. Where can I see it, and order it?
     
  12. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I'll have to agree with the Bestwell Magnasight. You'll see em in the classifieds for a steal at about $25Nice scopes.
     
  13. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    The Hocus Focus is availeble from Nova in the UK. Doesn't beat a Peak Model 1 though..

    Jaap Jan
     
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  15. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    I would reccomend the Kaiser Focus Scope. The best I have found and useable with both eyes like a slide viewer..


    [​IMG]
     
  16. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Peak with the long mirror so you can get into the edges and corners. Then you can use it for enlarger allignment too.

    Previously sold under Omerga grain focuser name.

    If you don`t care about edges, there is a 25x one good for center only. Forget the name. Has a round base
     
  17. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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  18. bill@lapetelabs.com

    bill@lapetelabs.com Member

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    I agree the Peak Model 1 is good, but I still prefer the Micromega Critical Grain Focuser it will work from any point on the easel and has a great diopter so that I don't need my glasses once it's set. It is also made of metal so I don't have to worry about it distorting in extreme heat. I still have my Scoponet and Microsite III both work well, but the eyepiece is fixed and will only work from the center of the negative. which is fine until you start working on 20x24 or larger.
    Bill
     
  19. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Not my experience. Maybe, my eyes are not as good as yours, but my grain focuser does a better job than I can do with the naked eyes. Having said that, I'm not sure that I actually need the accuracy of the grain focuser, because the depth-of-field blurs the difference between the two focusing methods.
     
  20. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    I have two grain focusers, one that costs me $50 at Calumet about 12 years ago (1st image below) and one that costs me more than $250, five years later (2nd image below).

    I mainly use the cheaper one, because it has a higher magnification (20x) and is very reliable. The other is better for focusing into print corners (the cheap one cannot do that), but I almost never need it anyway, and it's 10x magnification fails to resolve my film grain (MF and LF Tmax100 or 400 in D76 1+1 on 11x14 paper), which kind of misses the entire purpose.
     

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  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thanks Ralph, I have the first type of grain focuser and recently purchased a Peak grain focuser. I have not used the Peak focuser and I was wondering about the $250 flavor.

    You answered my questions.

    Steve
     
  22. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    No God send needed. I agree, a grain focuser is no
    more than an extravagance. I'm a little far sighted
    so use a pair of reading glasses, both eyes open.
    I've two pair, one for very close viewing.

    Be reasonable. Most focus with the lens wide open.
    If the image is judged to be as sharp as can be
    stopping down will only make it sharper.

    To put it a little differently; have you a sharp
    image on the easel? Does the image look sharp?
    Wish to be doubly sure it's sharp? Well then,
    stop down from wide open.

    Actually the matter goes even farther.
    Bad vision at any reasonable viewing distance?
    If so focus as well as can be done. The image will
    not look sharp to the eye but a sharp image on
    the easel may be assumed. Stopping down
    will only improve upon the projected
    image. Dan
     
  23. Gary Grenell

    Gary Grenell Member

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    I've been using the peak I for twenty years. A great tool! Perhaps I'm being picky but I try to remember to put the eyepiece cap back over it after my printing session while I'm doing cleanup with hot water and doing washing and toning. Moisture particles in the air at that time can certainly land on the eyepiece and it will begin to accumulate particulates, so I cover up the surface that is exposed upwards to the air.

    But more importantly, its an indispesible tool that will last a lifetime.
     
  24. sun of sand

    sun of sand Member

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    2 pages of mostly Peak
    1 original post containing "Don't want to spend a lot"
    FLOL, guys

    C'mon! WTF are you guys thinking. No need to prove your merit as a photographer in this thread by making sure everyone knows you afford yourself the best discernment can offer ..just prove yourself a good listener.
    the 1st post links to $250
    I'm sure that was a great help :laugh:

    Oh, Ferrari is good quality? OKAY.... lol

    I want you to know that this makes me extremely suspicious of you people

    Moisture particles on your peak? YOU WISH
    What is this
    A yahoo group for Peak 1 grain focuser users..Maybe I need to reread this thread HAHA
    I certainly have silicosis ..what can I do to avoid this particulate accumulation catastrophy
    Too many big words I should just indispensably transparently die


    I don't even know the brands I use
    I think one is a samigon and the other looks like that magnasight

    I've focused with eye only and when put the magnifier on I don't have to move anything ..cheap if you're able
    I don't know what kind of magnifier doesn't help to focus anything but I believe I'd call that either operator error or BROKEN MAGNIFIER lol


    but I'm just joking and now cannot give a fK about your problem
     
  25. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Well, in response to the post above, it is all about perspective. Your point is well taken. I would advise the O.P. to print by eyesight until they can afford a grain magnifier. But a cheap magnifier can be a pain to use - hence the suggestion of the Peak model. I have used several, and much preferred the Peak 1 model when I owned one.

    The "trick" I was taught is to remember not to focus on the easel, but to focus instead on an old sheet of photo paper.
    To spell it out: Take a "bad" print that you were going to throw away. Flip it over, so the white side of the paper is up. Place it on top of your easel. Turn on enlarger lamp. Now, focus on that sheet of paper - lens wide open. Stop your lens down to f5.6 or f8. Turn off the enlarger and remove the old print from the easel. Place a new sheet of photo paper on the easel. Turn on the enlarger and print away. Your image will be very sharp, unless eyesight is extremely poor.

    Jed
     
  26. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I got a peak on ebay for 40.00. DR equipment is not the hottest item these days.