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  1. #1
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    How do you focus you enlarger?

    I've been printing for over 33 years. I learned in college how to print. I was taught to focus with the lens wide open then stop down to the desired f stop. I just recently tried to focus with the lens stopped down. I don't notice a difference. How do you focus. Does it really matter?
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  2. #2
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Wide open will give you a better idea that it really is focused, i.e. small errors are more apparent. You can get it right focusing stopped down but it's a little harder, especially with a dim negative.

    Focusing wide open is bad if your lens has focus shift but no decent enlarger lens will.

  3. #3
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    So good lenses..

    Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
    Wide open will give you a better idea that it really is focused, i.e. small errors are more apparent. You can get it right focusing stopped down but it's a little harder, especially with a dim negative.

    Focusing wide open is bad if your lens has focus shift but no decent enlarger lens will.
    So all good lenses will hold the same focus throughout different magnifications?
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  4. #4
    Rom
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    I don't know if it's a good idea but i just use a piece of film where i made some scratches with my scissors. Then i focus wide open till i get the scratches focused.

    After i just gently put the neg that i want to enlarge.

    Seems to work for me. I never enlarge more than 30x40cm
    All the best,
    Rom
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  5. #5

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    I focus wide open but then I use no focusing aid.

  6. #6
    Rafal Lukawiecki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    So all good lenses will hold the same focus throughout different magnifications?
    I can't speak for too many enlarger lenses, but the ones I use hold their focus as you stop down, that is, they seem to show no focus shift: El-Nikkor 150 (both the old, knurled one, and the superior new one), Rodagon 150, Rodagon 135, and Apo-Rodagon 80. Like others here, I find it easier to focus wide open, in my case with a Peak magnifier, then to stop down. This way I can see if anything is not parallel, for example, focus at one edge might be off while the other is fine if I titled the lens stage without returning it properly to zero, or if there's an issue with the way I inserted the carrier. I also re-check focus after stopping down and before making exposures, in case anything has shifted etc.
    Rafal Lukawiecki
    See rafal.net | Read rafal.net/articles

  7. #7
    wildbill's Avatar
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    I use the focussing knob.
    www.vinnywalsh.com

    I know what I want but I just don't know how to go about gettin' it.-Hendrix

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Dense negatives are focused with the lens wide open, and thinner ones at whatever aperture is appropriate with the grain focusing device.

    Using the grain focusing device it's best to focus on an area with lots of grain, high mid-tones to highlights. For someone like me, with eye sight that is steadily declining, the grain focusing device is an amazing resource.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9

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    My eyes are perfect and I still use a grain magnifier. I wouldn't bother printing without one.

  10. #10
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    wide-open, no filtration and grain focuserthenfiltration and stopping down to tthe sweet spot.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

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