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  1. #1
    panchromatic's Avatar
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    Ground Glass, Good or Bad?

    Now I've read absolutely nothing but fantastic reviews and feedback regarding satinsnows gg. Now as a recent father to a 4x5, when does one need a new gg? (with the exception of a broken one) What are the characteristics of poor gg?

    I seem to be at a loss. The one I have in my crown graphic i just cleaned, and when under a darkcloth(homemade) its bright, except when i stop way done, then its hard to see.
    --Ryan

    "The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." ~Ansel Adams

  2. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Hey Ryan,

    There are many different grades of ground glass out there, there are two things you want in a ground glass....

    1. Bright, this allows you to see the maximum field of view that you will be commiting to the film.

    2. Smooth, low grain, this is very important to me, smooth fine grained glass allows me to be able to see the details I am going to commit the film.

    If I can help, just drop me an email...the most important thing you can do, is make sure it is CLEAN, and I will repeat, Make sure what ever glass you have is CLEAN, when working with LF cameras, the most important thing is CLEAN..

    Sorry, not trying to be stupid, just wanted to make sure you know, CLEAN is a priority..you can't shoot what you can't see..

    Dawn Dish Washing Soap is the best cleaner I have found for ground glass, the liquid type and use as hot of water as your hands can stand. to ensure all of the dirt and the oils from your fingers are removed, then after that make sure and only hold on the edges, until it gets back home in the back of the camera, then cover with something to ensure nothing gets on the glass, even finger prints on the smooth side of the glass can cause problems.

    Welcome to the LF family have fun..

    Dave

  3. #3
    laz
    laz is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by panchromatic
    What are the characteristics of poor gg?
    It's not a Satinsnow!

    (okay Dave? how about sending a check for being your PR guy? )

  4. #4

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    To answer your question directly ground glass is good. Never bad.

    I knew I needed one when I impaled my 5x7 on the back of a bar stool. Other than that I would not have even thought about it.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  5. #5
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    I have over 100 different examples of what is called ground glass here in the shop, most of them are sand blasted, which provides a usuable ground glass, the problem I find with most ground glass is with sandblasting, they are using a very large strata to blast with, which creates large light gather pits on the surface of the glass, these can be distracting, with several tiny "Hot Spots" I have also delt with coated glass, under dark field illumination, the glass exhibts uneven light transmission, and of course we all know the draw backs of fresnels, yes they brighten the image, but at the expence of concentric rings in the viewing screen.

    Ryan, the best advice I can give you, if your comfortable with the screen you have, then by all means go and shoot with it, good ground glass means many different things to many different people, it is really hard to define what is good and what is bad in terms of ground glass, if you can focus your shot, they you probably have the ground glass you need.

    Like I said, if I can help, just let me know, and if not, if I can answer any questions, drop me a note and I will be happy to help in anyway I can.

    Most of all, have a great time shooting your new baby.

    Dave

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    BEFORE YOU CLEAN ANYTHING--

    If your groundglass has a grid on it or format markings, clean it very carefully. You may want to check with the manufacturer or authorized service if possible. These grids are sometimes decals that can come off with something like Windex or a solvent or hot water. I've done it.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    A fine grained ground glass is much easier to focus with a loupe. You tend to see more image and less ground glass grain.

    As far as your original question, My Satin Snow is a marked improvement in brightness, evenness and finer grain than my Toyo OEM glass but when I installed the SS GG, I carefully packed the Toyo in the packaging that the Satin Snow came in. Some day, when I put my stupid elbow though the SS, I'll be plenty glad that I have the Toyo (and a couple of Band-Aids) handy.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  8. #8
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    BEFORE YOU CLEAN ANYTHING--

    If your groundglass has a grid on it or format markings, clean it very carefully. You may want to check with the manufacturer or authorized service if possible. These grids are sometimes decals that can come off with something like Windex or a solvent or hot water. I've done it.
    Opps good point David, I forgot,

    Normally the Crown Glass does not have a grid on it, at least it did not from the factory, but it could have been replaced over the years with a newer screen, the normal crown glass was clean with no grids, so it did not hinder the press photographers who used these cameras hand held..

    But as David said, make sure you are careful if there is a grid on the screen.

    Dave

  9. #9
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    BEFORE YOU CLEAN ANYTHING--

    If your groundglass has a grid on it or format markings, clean it very carefully. You may want to check with the manufacturer or authorized service if possible. These grids are sometimes decals that can come off with something like Windex or a solvent or hot water. I've done it.
    would that be large-format good advice number 154?

    Matt

  10. #10
    panchromatic's Avatar
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    i'm always amazed at the great responces I get from this site, especally in remarkable time!

    Thank you for the tips in cleaning and such, it could possibly the original GG since it does not have the grid. Now that I think of it, a grid would be a nice thing to have. With this camera on my tripod I don't have a level and it would be great to make sure your horizon something dominant is vertical. I also imagine it would be great if your trying to correct perspective if you have converging lines.

    Dave,
    I notice you do not offer the option to have a grid put on at time of cutting, but that I would have to do it afterwards. Do you plan on offering this service in the not so distant future? I really like the idea of having a spare gg so i'll order one soon enough, though if you plan on offering a grid service then I will wait for that

    Thank you again!
    --Ryan

    "The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance." ~Ansel Adams

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