Yet another scratches on the lens thread

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by raj82, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I recently bought a 3.5E Planar on eBay. It was CLA'd by Harry Fleenor a month before I got it (It came with the original receipt). Everything seems to be in great working order, except that there are some light scratches on the taking lens, which the seller conveniently forgot to mention.

    I put a test roll through and here are some shots from it.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/818161/test1.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/818161/test2.jpg
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/818161/test3.jpg

    I got the roll of Tri-X processed and scanned at a nice lab in San Francisco.

    I've heard that light scratches shouldn't affect picture quality but that they can lower contrast. Looking at these shots, it seems that they lack some "punch." So I have a few questions:

    - Could this lack of punch be attributed to the scratches?
    - Or is it the exposure? Developing? Scanning?
    - If my camera does have lower contrast, can I bump it up in post? I mean I know it would be ideal that the lens would be contrasty, but if not, is it fixable later? With my naive mind, it would seem that you can always add contrast, but can't remove it as easily.

    These images just seem so...gray.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Except for the third one where there is some flare (you didn't use a lens hood, did you?) I see nothing to complain about. Try a lens hood, a tripod, and FP-4... you may be happier with the results.
     
  3. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    I can never understand this: if you shoot film you must at least develop it yourself. Sending it out just isn't viable.
    And you never know what you'll get back.

    If i was developing for others, as a business, you bet I'd be reusing developers and fixer, stretching them all the way. That's how it goes.

    Also, in the same vein, i will not judge a lens' performance from a bad low rez image. It just can't be.
    But if I was you, i'd co tact the seller and ask for a partial or total refund.
     
  4. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Your exposure and development technique and process can affect "punch" and contrast more than some light scratches on the lens. I have about 7 Rolleiflexes, most with pristine lenses. My favorite one is a 2.8E Planar I bought in a small shop down an alley in Beijing. The taking lens lacks most if any coating and has light scratches. Yes it has a bit more moderate contrast but it's signature and character is the best of all my Rollei's in my opinion.

    I'm local to you (assuming you're in the Bay Area?) if you want to get me your next roll or two I'll develop (likely in D-76 or HC-110) and scan them with my Nikon 9000 and of course give you back the negs and the scan files. Might be fun.
     
  5. raj82

    raj82 Member

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  6. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    Brian,

    I didn't use a lens hood on any of these. However, I did just get a lens hood so I'll be using it form here on out. I'll definitely try the FP-4 as well. Thanks!
     
  7. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    They look like nicely toned, normal shots with plenty of contrast. Are you looking for soot and chalk?

    Get a hood, try slower film if you want more contrast natively, or just bump it up in post. As you say, it's easier to add contrast than take it away once it's in the negative or scanned.

    That lens looks fine, it likely is not reducing contrast very much if at all.
     
  8. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    Thanks! I haven't developed it myself because I'm one of those newbies that started on digital and am now finding the joy of medium format film. I was planning on taking a class to learn how to develop it myself, but I now think it would be fun to teach myself. I found a guide on Ilford's website that I'll be using to develop some test rolls. Thanks for the comments!
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    The condition of the lens is not unusual for a used Rollei of that age. Mine is about the same and I have never experienced a concern that it has affected the image quality. I, personally, wouldn't be concerned (or complaining, either)... even if I were in your shoes as the buyer/new owner.

    Enjoy that camera... it will be a good photographic tool with which to work.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2014
  10. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    Richard,

    Wow, thank you for the offer. I'll definitely take you up on that. I'll send a PM.

    Btw, this image of yours is amazing:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/rich8155/1369675200/
     
  11. momus

    momus Member

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    1st shot- looks OK to me. You're not going to get punchy images in those lighting conditions and at wide apertures.

    2nd shot- a little missed focus and/or you need a little more stopping down of the lens. You have the focus on his chin and sun glasses. Half of his shirt looks nice and contrasty though, not so much the part that is further back. At wide apertures this is acceptable, but it gets borderline in the face. It's a good image, but me, I would want the front of the the face to be fully in focus on a portrait, so maybe one more stop of aperture.

    3rd shot- looks like a little bit of missed focus again, not enough stopping down, along w/ flare from back lighting. No punch to be found there. You are using a good hood, right? I always use a yellow filter w/ Tri-X in all my cameras to get that added contrast, and to lower the skies' brightness. Notice what is in focus from the grass at his feet, and what isn't.

    Focusing TLRs w/ the little magnifiers takes some practice. Or, get better light and stop it down. Remember, a medium format camera has a LOT less DOF wide open than 35mm. Small cleaning marks on the front of a lens usually have no effect on anything. If there's a lot you will get less contrast, but that can easily be addressed in developing, using filters in good light, or on the printing end.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2014
  12. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    raj82,
    You're hooked now! Most folks don't or can't afford to start out with a Rollei as their intro film camera. I think I understand your worry, but from the looks of your lens picture you'll have nothing to worry about. Now, on the other hand, if you paid top dollar, premium collector price for your Rollei I'd then contact the seller. Otherwise I'd just enjoy it and know you shouldn't have a problem for a long ways down the road since Harry went over it. I took two of my Rollei's for a walk this morning. JW
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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  14. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I've seen far worse lenses giving good images. That one looks pretty good.

    The third picture looks like pretty flat light, that would account for lack of contrast too. Don't notice any shadows to speak of.
     
  15. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    I definitely am hooked! But this isn't my first film camera. I have a Hasselblad that I don't shoot with often because I don't own a lens and renting one is a pain. I also have a Contax T3.

    This is just my favorite film camera. I definitely didn't pay top dollar, I got a pretty good deal on it (I think). Thanks!
     
  16. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    A Hassy with no lens is like a beautiful girlfriend with no sex drive! GET A LENS! You should be able to pickup a cheap 80mm Planar for it if you watch the auction sites. I just bought a real pretty chrome "T" star (no scratches) off eBay for $225.00. I didn't really need it that bad, but it's now mounted on an older ELX. Back to your Rollei lens.....I think you'll be happy with your results when you get used to using it. Truthfully, I really can't see any difference between my Rollei shots and my Hasselblad shots. My old 500C with the 80mm lens isn't that much bigger than my Rollei 3.5F and it gives me interchangeable backs to boot. So, most of the time I take my Hasselblad on trips instead of any of my Rolleis. Different strokes for different folks I guess. Still, I won't part with a couple of my Rolleiflex's. JW
     
  17. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    One of the reasons I enjoy the Rolleiflex over the Hasselblad is because of the quietness. Since there's no mirror to slap up, I can take photos without drawing too much attention to myself and at a slower speed to boot.

    The other big reason is the exact opposite of what you like. When I have a full system, I'm constantly thinking about which lens I should bring, which back I should bring so I can have my choice of color or black and white film. If I don't have the choices as I don't with the Rollei, my thought process is "Well, this is all I have, I have to make it work." The lack of choices are freeing.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    To see a great body of work created with just the standard focal length of the Rolleiflex, look up John Gay, in particular, his book England Observed.


    Steve.
     
  19. raj82

    raj82 Member

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    Steve,

    Thank you for sharing. That looks to be some amazing work! I love finding work like this.