A little discouraging
I just made 2 prints, 8x10 size. When I was washing the first one, I thought it looked soft and a little out of focus. So I went and re-focused the enlarger and made a second print. It was quite noticeably better. The only difference was how far my eye was from the focusing sight. I confirmed then when my eye was closer like the first time, I end up at a slightly different "best" focus point. My eyes are not very good anymore and they are getting worse. Time for some prescription reading glasses I'm afraid. Do you all think that will solve this problem, or will it still matter... am I going to have to "calibrate" on my eye's distance from the grain focuser?
This makes me worried about focusing my cameras too. I keep my glasses ( near sighted correction ) on when I focus the camera... so what "distance" should be correct when looking through an SLR viewfinder? Maybe it's a good thing I like to use old scale focus cameras too!
You need a grain focuser. I use this
Peak Critical Enlarging Focuser Model 1
I've not used a grain focuser, but had a telescope in high school. With perfectly good (corrected) vision, the distance between my eye and the optic made a difference in focusing. This is normal to a point.
Presbyopia can complicate things. You may have to find the right distance, but once you do, I think you'll be fine with your grain focuser and viewfinders.
I have and use a Peak 1, its amazing and I would argue one of the best, if not the best grain focuser I have ever used. It is a bit pricey but used ones pop up from time to time.
If you would like a bit more distance from the eyepiece (more eye relief) then you can try the magnasight, it has a very large viewing area but the image is not as magnified. Barry Thronton states and illustrates in his book the edge of darkness that he uses a modified mangasight with a drop in lens for increase magnification.
If you want lots of manification, you can get a microsight I think its like 25x. Both manga and microsights are very affordable.
Many of the later film cameras have built in diopter adjustments, for varying vision needs.
For my Canons, the instructions are to focus on something at a known distance, and then adjust the diopter until the focusing aids are clear.
I also find that the split prism works best for me, as I age. Though with slower lenses, the prism can get dark and I need to use the rest of the screen.
Thanks for the replies.
I should have been more clear. I am using the magnasight focuser, and I don't have much experience with it yet. The print that came out well was when my eye was about 6 or 8 inches away, and the one that did not come out well my eye was closer, maybe 3 inches. I've only been using the magnasight for a little while... before that I was holding a magnifying glass up to my eye and leaning over the print while focusing.
Also, now that I think calmly about it, my worry about the SLR viewfinder is overblown. My negatives are sharp and my notes about focusing match my experience printing ( i.e. occasionally I've taken a second shot when I thought the focus was slightly off, and the notes match the negatives perfectly. )
And yes the split prism and the "shmmery" area around it are excellent...
I got a little upset by seeing this difference and over-reacted.
I will also consider getting a nicer grain focuser! And some reading glasses too!:cool:
The magnasight is a good one, maybe you can try opening up your lens a bit more to let in more light or dimming your safe light. You might even be able to hold your magnifying glass above the magnasight.
Look for areas that are easy to focus on such as sharp or contrasty edges in the image. Things like text or building edges etc.
Yes. I always do search around to find good edges or contrasty areas... you're right. The second time, I turned the safelight off and that could easily have contributed to better focus. I'm going to go to the drug store and check out some of those reading glasses. I have a feeling those in combination with the magnasight might be the answer, and maybe to always turn the safelight off for focusing.
Originally Posted by Newt_on_Swings
I've had several prints that didn't quite look right since I started using the magnasight. So, it's time to deal with this so I don't have to worry about it!
I can no longer read easily at normal reading distance so checking focus by the naked eye is really out of the question but with a Paterson grain focuser it makes no difference whether I use glasses or not except to the extent that the focus thread across the top of the Paterson eyepiece would have to be altered depending on whether I use glasses or not.
The point I am making here is that once the Paterson is set up for either glasses or naked eye the grain will come into focus either way albeit the sliding focus section will need to be set differently for glasses and without glasses.
I had thought that all grain focusers work the same way and thus getting the grain into focus is independent on your visual acuity once the thread is correctly sharp.
I can of course get the neg into perfect focus with the grain focuser without glasses but should I then take my eye away from the eyepiece and look at the neg projection it will appear fuzzy but it is my "old eyes" that are at fault and not the grain focuser.
If I were to move my eye further away from the eyepiece then eventually the neg becomes clearer in the same way that a newspaper become clearer if I hold the paper at arms length and not the usual 14 inches normal reading distance
I suspect your problem stems from this as well. However if you use the focus thread or whatever the Magnasight uses for your eye and focus this without glasses then the grain will come into focus at that point that the neg is perfectly focused.
So it should be possible to focus the Magnasight with your eye close to the eyepiece and get the neg in perfect focus.
When the grain is in focus and you take your eye away then ignore the fact the the projected neg will then appear to be slightly fuzzy due to your eyesight. It isn't fuzzy of course it is your eyes that aren't working as they once did when you were in your youth
I have a magnasight focuser, dont use it any more. I started using a Paterson which is a bit more critical. My eyes are getting to the point where I use my glasses almost all the time now, and not just for reading.