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  1. #1
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    how to use a grain focuser?

    I know the grain focuser is to finely focus the enlarger before printing, but how do I use it?

    Sorry for such a novice question but I am.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  2. #2
    optique's Avatar
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    Good question, because using the focuser on 4x5 negs going to 8x10 size, I can not see grain. Are my eyes bad?

    Otherwise, I use the focuser on finely detailed elements, like tree branches, or person's hair, to focus.

    Tri-x in Diafine if that matters.
    Steve.

  3. #3
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    You place the neg in the carrier and into the enlarger. Place the easel on the baseboard and then the focuser onto it so that you have the focuser the proper distance from the surface of the easel where the paper will be. Turn on the light and focus. Then mark your focus , turn the enlarger off, place your paper and then get to it.
    Thank you.
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  4. #4

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    With the Paterson grain focuser you simply focus the black line in the focuser by moving the moveable part of the focuser. Do this under the enlarger light at full aperture without a neg. There's a screw which enables the correct adjustment to be set.This adjusts the focuser for your eyesight. Put the neg into the carrier then the rest is done by the bellows adjuster on the enlarger to get the neg's grain in sharp focus. Do this also at full aperture. I'd take it beyond what you think is the sharpest grain focus and then move the bellows back into focus. Once you have done this on a couple of negs, it becomes second nature to do it correctly.

    Finally adjust the lens aperture to expose the paper at a reasonable number of seconds, say between 5-10 secs. Unless your eyes are perfect a grain focuser gets your print into focus much better. Try focussing by eye then use the grain focuser. Unless you have an exceptional talent for focussing by eye I guarantee that the grain focuser will pull the grain into focus to an extent that the naked eye will fail to do.

    pentaxuser

    pentaxuser

  5. #5
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by optique View Post
    Good question, because using the focuser on 4x5 negs going to 8x10 size, I can not see grain. Are my eyes bad?

    Otherwise, I use the focuser on finely detailed elements, like tree branches, or person's hair, to focus.

    Tri-x in Diafine if that matters.
    Steve.
    Steve, it depends on what sort of grain magnifier you have.

    When I moved up to 5x4 I was using a Paterson Focus Finder - it worked fine on 35mm & 6x6.
    However on 5x4 there was no grain to see at 10x8 or even 12x16.
    However, if you moved the magnifier around the print you can find details/edges/something to use to help you find focus.

    After a while of doing this I got really fed up with it, so I crumbled and bought a Peak Focus Finder - and the grain has returned even on 5x4 - but they are expensive.

    If you can manage with your standard focus finder and edge/detail/something to focus on then stick with it and save your money.

    It might be worth keeping an eye on E-Bay - they do occasionally show up.

    Martin

  6. #6
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    My question is even more basic...the grain focuser looks like a small microscope with a mirror. If you look through the ocular you see the mirror so how do you see the grain in the negative?
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  7. #7
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    The image projected by the enlarger appears in the mirror and you then adjust your enlarger lens bellows until you have the focus down in the grain focuser eyepiece.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
    APUG BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE
    DE Darkroom

    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  8. #8
    stradibarrius's Avatar
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    That's what I was looking for!!
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  9. #9
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    I've been using one for a while now and it works fine, but one thing I'm curious about. The grain (at least that's what I hope I'm focusing on) is almost wormy looking, which is not what I expected. I'm sure it's the grain, because I can see the details are at their sharpest when the little "worms" are at their sharpest.
    For 35mm I focus on top of the paper using the red safe light filter on the enlarger. For the 4x5 I use a throw-away piece of paper and no safelight. Once it's focused I change paper (remembering to turn the enlarger light off, of course).
    If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
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  10. #10

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    I was going to ad...Use an old piece of paper to put the focuser on and do not focus on the easel. Paper is thicker than film grain so have some in there for the test focus then put your real paper in after not touching the enlarger bellows.....also, focus at your desired f-stop if possible. Grain that is sharp at the widest aperture is not sharp at smaller apertures. It may be minimal but it is not the same. It does make a difference if you are shooting 120 film and going up to a 16x16 or 16x20 print size. Or do the reverse and focus a neg at f16 or f22 and get the grain tack sharp then open up to the widest aperture and check the grain. It will be different.
    Last edited by Brickbird; 02-13-2009 at 09:40 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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