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  1. #11
    jp498's Avatar
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    I've focused by eye for 20 years. The cheap grain focusers are annoying and I'd rather do it by eye. A Nice grain focuser is indeed nice, but expensive. I got a Peak brand one from someone unloading darkroom stuff on clist. It's the one to aspire to if you want an actual good grain focuser. I don't get sharper photos with it since I can focus fine without it. It just makes things a little quicker.

    Focusing by eye, you just rack the focus through the focus zone and iteratively back and forth like you would with an image on a ground glass. You watch what's happening and settle on a spot and it's good.

  2. #12
    winger's Avatar
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    I've focused by eye most of my printing life and only found the grain focusers to be helpful when I went to 4x5. But I don't need glasses, my safelights are red (and therefore slightly dim), and I open the lens all the way up to focus. I've also spent a great deal of time looking through microscopes and am used to focusing through something to find the focus.
    I agree that it's worth getting a really good one if you do it. Check the prints you've made to see if you can see the grain. If you can, then you're focusing the enlarger just fine.

  3. #13
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    A good pair of glasses will work wonders or even a handled magnifying glass should work to enlarge what you are looking at without blocking the stream of light from the lens. At home I use a Peak 1 grain finder, and it was well worth the investment, it performs fantastically, if you ever come across one at a reasonable price get it!

    As for tips, use a bright lens of smallest focal length you can for the format. eg 45mm or 50mm 2.8 lenses for 35mm. Focusing wide opening will give you a bright image to work with. The rest is practice focusing forward and back until the image snaps into focus. Try looking for spots on your image that have text, or detailed edged, which will make it a bit easier to judge how sharp it is.

  4. #14
    AgX
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    As a cheaper alternative to a focusing loupe one could use a groundglass viewer. A simple device made out of a frame, a mirror and groundglas.
    It yields the same image as seen on the baseboard, but is brighter and and more comfortable to view due to ist angled groundglass.

  5. #15
    marciofs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Aspen View Post
    Or, use your 50mm lens reversed. Makes a great, super high quality, high magnification loupe.
    Cool. i will try this one.

  6. #16
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Accurate focus through enlarger

    Quote Originally Posted by AgX View Post
    As a cheaper alternative to a focusing loupe one could use a groundglass viewer. A simple device made out of a frame, a mirror and groundglas.
    It yields the same image as seen on the baseboard, but is brighter and and more comfortable to view due to ist angled groundglass.
    This is the same effect a tool marketed as the hocus focus used to great effect. It is basically a question marked shaped piece of plastic with a frosted top and within the bottom portion rested a mirror, and the bottom tip allowed you to rest and tilt it any way you'd want on the baseboard. Easy and a quick way to get focus, but I still preferred the magnified view through a grain finder.

  7. #17

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    Why focus the grain without paper?

  8. #18
    AgX
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    Because the height difference due the paper should be negligable.

  9. #19
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by megzdad81 View Post
    Why focus the grain without paper?
    We had a long thread on this a while ago. Basically, it makes no difference.

    There was quite a discussion and in the end, I contacted three manufacturers of focusing aids. The two who answered said not to bother with paper under them as it makes no difference.

    Ralph Lambrecht also stated this as did Gene Nocon in his book, Darkroom Printing.

    There is a fairly wide depth of focus at the paper stage - much more than the depth of field at the negative. In order to make a difference in the focus position equal to the thickness of paper, the negative to lens distance would have to change a tiny amount. A much smaller amount than you could hope to achieve using the enlarger's focusing control and probably no more than the thickness of the emulsion.

    Another interesting test is one carried out by Barry Thornton in his book, Edge of Darkness. He set up his easel on a piece of 1/2" thick board, focused and made a print. He then made two more prints - one without the board and one with a second board. So 1/2" below and above the focused position.

    He claimed that he could see no difference in sharpness - and he was obsessed with sharpness!

    The conclusion was to use paper if you want to or don't if you don't want to as it makes no difference.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  10. #20
    baachitraka's Avatar
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    I cannot say anything about other grain focusers except scoponet 20x. I normally place it on easel and focus without paper.

    Focusing with paper has resulted in not so sharp print. :-( At-first I thought focus errors during shooting but I tried one more print by focusing without paper.

    I do not know, scoponet might have built-in compensation for paper thickness(I know they may lead lots of questions...).

    Negative: 135
    Enlarger: Durst 600 @f/8
    Paper: Adox Vario Classic.
    Print Size: 8x10 inch.
    Last edited by baachitraka; 03-23-2013 at 02:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    OM-1n: Do I need to own a Leica?
    Rolleicord Va: Humble.
    Holga 120GFN: Amazingly simple yet it produces outstanding negatives to print.

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