Peak grain focuser: what's SOOO special?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by DanielStone, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    what is it that causes the Peak(and Omega) grain focusers so darned expensive? I've been using a microsight for a while, but is the Peak going to be THAT much better?

    some I've seen lately on the auction site have a blue filter, supposedly for b/w film(makes some difference supposedly).

    can you let me know? I like to have the best if I can get it, especially since I plan on using it for years to come.

    thanks

    -Dan
     
  2. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The one with the large mirror (Peak 1) lets you see if the edges are sharp before you make a print, therefore worth the money in my opinion.
     
  3. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    "Experts' opinion seems to vary. Gene Nocon was convinced that the blue filter made a difference. Tim Rudman is more sceptical. Nocon gives two examples in his book on printing. One print focused with the blue filter and one without. I couldn't see any difference in the two but that may have been the fault of reproduction in the book.

    I am sure he saw a difference otherwise he wouldn't have said so but did he? If the difference was that clear then why do others who have tried the blue filter seem less convinced?

    The jury would seem to be out here but that true of quite a lot of things about photography.


    pentaxuser
     
  4. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    "Experts' opinion seems to vary."

    Well, Nocon and Rudman ARE experts, for starters,
    but because they have a different view on the matter doesn't mean the Peak is no good,
    and the blue filter worthless. Don't preach the controversy, dig down to how they work,
    and try to understand what they are talking about.

    For me, the Peak is good VALUE for four reasons.
    First, it is expensive. I coddle it, and have done for decades.
    Second, it is wonderfully made. Even if I DIDN'T respect it, it would still be in good shape.
    Third, it has an accurate, adjustable eyepiece and excellent reticle. Most problems with the Peak come from folks who haven't focussed it !
    Fourth, the big mirror is very good.
     
  5. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    The most expensive model, the Peak 1, is made of metal rather than plastic, has better optics, and allows the eyepiece to be adjusted to different angles in relation to the larger mirror to allow critical focus in the corners in addition to the center of the image. This is very important with large prints where misalignment and poor enlarging lenses are more noticeable.
     
  6. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Don't own one (yet), but wonder if the effectiveness of the filter might relate to the spectral sensitivity of the paper? I believe the old traditional stuff was pretty much blue sensitive, but VC papers might alter that situation. Just a thought that popped into my aging brain!
     
  7. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    For me it's absolute clarity in grain focusing.
     
  8. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I got mine used and did not include the blue filter, nor have I ever used one. The focuser is still incredible without it.
     
  9. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    case settle. I'm going for it!

    I'm saving my pennies :smile:.

    blessings,

    -Dan
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    dfcardwell, I wasn't saying that these two experts' opinion varied on the Peak. Merely their views on the blue filter which is why I only quoted that part of the OP's thread. I am sure you are right about the Peak's quality and attributes.

    pentaxuser
     
  11. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Occasionally they come up used. My friend just picked up the Peak 1 on the LF forum for $70 USD. A few scratches on the mirror but nothing to alter performance. If it were worse a new mirror is only $20.
     
  12. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    I agree, I got mine on ebay for $56. They can be had for very little if you shop around and be patient. Don't let the fact that you don't have one yet interfere with your image making, though. Yes, it is nice to have one, but it should not prevent you from working at all.
     
  13. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    greg,

    i will still print until I can afford to get one :smile:! just at a reduced rate, one being paper cost( pringting mostly rc right now, expired or free 'given' paper mostly).

    works for me:smile:.

    thanks

    btw, ebay is where my focus lies for these

    thanks

    -Dan
     
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  15. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I found one on largeformatphotography.info I think. For cheap. Great shape, the top of the line model, for somewhere between $50-75. I forgot. I watched ebay for awhile for one. Should be able to get it for <$100 there.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    A very wise man ... being able to see the grain at the edges, not just a small area in the center makes it worth it.

    Steve
     
  17. moouers

    moouers Member

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    I'm going to be picking up a device to help with focusing as well. What's the difference between a Peak and a Bestwell Microsight? I was looking at a Peak 3 or Microsight 25x...Peak is only 10x but costs more. Is there going to be a big performance difference?
     
  18. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    are there multiple version of the peak? is the omega one the same as the peak?

    thanks

    Dan
     
  19. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    There are 3 versions of the Peak. 2000, 2020, or 2030. Also known as I, II, and III. The 2000/I can look 30 degrees off axis. The II does 20 degrees and the III does 10.

    The Omega is a rebranded Peak I'm pretty sure. Don't know which model though. The I has about a 3" long mirror.

    peak focusers
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'm not sure what the history is, but I'm fairly sure these were sold under the Omega brand long before there was a Peak brand of photographic optical accessories, though it may be that the manufacturer has been the same all along.
     
  21. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    Very well. The designs are similar (the same?) so I assume someone is rebranding someone. :D

    I have to admit, Omega/LPL/Saunders/whoever is very confusing to me. What's the history there?
     
  22. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Member

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    My former employer had the Peak brand, the one I bought is Omega, but they are identical.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's all pretty confusing. Maybe someone like Bob Salomon, who has had a long career in the business as a photographer and as a wholesale rep for various photo companies can sort it out, but he isn't active on APUG (try the LF forum), or perhaps Henry Posner from B&H might respond, if he sees this thread. Omega has been around since before WWII and is now part of OmegaSatter. Saunders is postwar, I think, but bought up various other companies along the way, and I think now they are part of Tiffen, or at least parts of Saunders are distributed by Tiffen. LPL is more recent, and then there are enlargers that are Omega/LPL and Saunders/LPL. I think I noticed Peak Loupes sometime in the 1980s, but it's possible that they manufactured other things before that or maybe they were a company that OEM'd products for Omega.
     
  24. henryp

    henryp Member

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    I wish I knew. I recall noticing that it seemed the same grain magnifier was available from more than one brand, but at the time I don't recall I ever really knew who mad what.
     
  25. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's all a deep mystery, I guess.
     
  26. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    LPL Co., LTD. is in (or was) Tokyo Japan, as I understand it they effectively sold their enlargers as either LPL in countries like Australia, but in some other countries as in the USA, they used a local distributor who had their enlargers branded with the USA name, hence Saunders/LPL

    We had a few visits from LPL Japan people in the eighties to Australia for photographic industry trade shows, which were held less sporadically then, than they are of late in this country.

    Peak loupes and associated equipment is, to the best of my knowledge, a small Japanese private company that manufactures some quite interesting optical equipment. One sphere of their business is magnifiers, of which the enlarging, or grain magnifiers, form part of that business. Their name is Tohkai Sangyo Co Ltd, they are in Tokyo Japan.

    I believe that the Peak equipment is/was also distributed in countries like the USA in the same manner as LPL did with their enlargers.

    Mick.