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  1. #1
    photo_griz's Avatar
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    New RB67 needs a focusing screen.

    Hi all,

    I've been a lurker for a while and frequently use the forums to help with improve my photography and make purchase decisions. For instance, based on what I've read here, and knowing my own preferences and budget, I decided to purchase an RB67 ProSD. It arrived today and it is a thing of beauty. I am so excited to get shooting with it.

    I put together the kit from a couple of different sources and it includes the SD body, 50mm C lens, WLF, and a 6x8 back. However, it didn't come with a focusing screen! Choosing a focusing screen is no easy task when I really have no experience with this type of composing, but I purposefully chose a camera with a WLF to give me a break from the world of viewfinders. I am looking for suggestions for the type of focusing screen to buy, and I am sure the type of photography matters. so here is a breakdown of what and how I plan to shoot.

    Yes I will:
    Shoot landscapes in color (Velvia, Ektar, and Portra VC) and black and white (TMax 400).
    Shoot architectural scenes.
    Often shoot in low light with very long exposures.
    I frequently use filters and grads now (35mm RF and SLR) and anticipate doing so in the future.
    Desire to get the maximum sharpness and DoF possible with the 50mm.

    No I won't:
    Work in a studio.
    Shoot portraits of people or animals.
    Do macro.
    Do candids or street photography.

    While I have pretty good knowledge overall of photography, I really am a newbie to the WLF format. For instance, how can a focusing screen for this setup have a rangefinder spot? Is this just a term for a spot that looks like a rangefinder spot?

    I'd love to say money is no object, but one of the reasons I chose the RB was because it was one of the least expensive ways to get world class results in 6x7 format. (yes I know I could get a Fuji RF, but I wanted something different to try).

    Thanks in advance for the advice

    Chris

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by photo_griz View Post
    Hi all,

    I've been a lurker for a while and frequently use the forums to help with improve my photography and make purchase decisions. For instance, based on what I've read here, and knowing my own preferences and budget, I decided to purchase an RB67 ProSD. It arrived today and it is a thing of beauty. I am so excited to get shooting with it.

    I put together the kit from a couple of different sources and it includes the SD body, 50mm C lens, WLF, and a 6x8 back. However, it didn't come with a focusing screen! Choosing a focusing screen is no easy task when I really have no experience with this type of composing, but I purposefully chose a camera with a WLF to give me a break from the world of viewfinders. I am looking for suggestions for the type of focusing screen to buy, and I am sure the type of photography matters. so here is a breakdown of what and how I plan to shoot.

    Yes I will:
    Shoot landscapes in color (Velvia, Ektar, and Portra VC) and black and white (TMax 400).
    Shoot architectural scenes.
    Often shoot in low light with very long exposures.
    I frequently use filters and grads now (35mm RF and SLR) and anticipate doing so in the future.
    Desire to get the maximum sharpness and DoF possible with the 50mm.

    No I won't:
    Work in a studio.
    Shoot portraits of people or animals.
    Do macro.
    Do candids or street photography.

    While I have pretty good knowledge overall of photography, I really am a newbie to the WLF format. For instance, how can a focusing screen for this setup have a rangefinder spot? Is this just a term for a spot that looks like a rangefinder spot?

    I'd love to say money is no object, but one of the reasons I chose the RB was because it was one of the least expensive ways to get world class results in 6x7 format. (yes I know I could get a Fuji RF, but I wanted something different to try).

    Thanks in advance for the advice

    Chris
    The plain screen works fine for most types of photography. My personal preference though, is for the horizontal split-image type. Not even the 360mm lens causes it to 'black-out'.

  3. #3
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Grant View Post
    The plain screen works fine for most types of photography. My personal preference though, is for the horizontal split-image type. Not even the 360mm lens causes it to 'black-out'.
    I have the vertical version, works great for me.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #4

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    I have the vertical split image screen (I would have preferred horizontal, esp for landscapes, but someone was selling the vertical for what I could afford to pay). In the end I haven't found it that useful - I usually end up looking at the matte part of the screen to focus. Also in low light I find the split prism it is not much good. I guess there is no real disadvantage to having it though, as most of the screen is still the plain matte.

  5. #5
    arealitystudios's Avatar
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    Congradulations on taking a leap with the RB67. I just bought one myself about six months ago (a Pro SD as well) and have no regrets about it at all.

    I just have the plain matte focus screen and it works just fine for me. The viewing glass is just so huge on the RB67 that I don't feel like I need any additional assistance to get crisp clear focus, even in low light. There is a pretty obvious "snap" when an image comes into focus.

  6. #6
    MattKing's Avatar
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    A grid screen may or may not be to your taste - I like them.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  7. #7

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    Personally, I like grid screens. I mind them useful especially for architectural work, but it's only available as a matte screen (no rangefinder, no microprism). I'm older, and getting an exact prescription for my glasses for camera work has been challenging, so I prefer to have a split-image in medium format, WLF work. For a rangefinder screen, I prefer a 45 degree diagonal, but either horizontal or vertical is also usable.

    However, if you want a screen for 6x8, I think there are only 1 or 2 options unless you're OK with the inaccuracy of a 6x7 screen on a 6x8 back. My understanding is the 6x8 framing is not very precise.

    As to the split image, yes it really is a rangefinder, but it's done in miniature--there are 2 beveled sufaces cut into the screen, and the resulting images only come together then the lens is in focus/

    Charlie

  8. #8

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    Just the plain one works for me, though I also sometimes use the grid one for architecture. For me, to get the split image or microprism to work you have to get whatever you want in focus in the centre of the screen, then recompose. The plain one is clear enough that you can focus anywhere on the screen, or if you need it, the ground glass centre is good enough for critical focussing even in very low light.
    I sometimes find the grid too distracting but recently have been learning to use it and just ignoring it when I don't want it - I have gridded screens in all my SLRs and they are fine, I just find the blue lines on the RB grid screen a little too pronounced.

  9. #9
    photo_griz's Avatar
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    To all,

    Wow, you guys really stepped up with the good info!

    I'm not really that concerned with getting just framing just right on the 6x8. It is what came with the setup and I will probably get standard 6x7 backs when I can afford it. Thanks for the info on how the rangefinder prism works. I use a rangefinder in 35mm quite often so maybe that is good way to ease into using a WLF.

    I will shoot a fair amount of architectural stuff, but not for clients and not traditional. More abstract angles and detail shots, so I don't know if a grid would be something I'd like. I think subconsciously I'd be drawn to follow all the compositional "rules" and I hope I'm at the point where I can try to start breaking those rules..

    I do like the idea of the matte screen if I'm understanding it will give me a WYSISYG situation. Do you compose and focus wide open, and then stop down for the shutter release? Is the little pop up magnifier in place of a loop?

    I can't believe I have this awesome system on my table and all I need is a focusing screen to start using it (I even went and got 5 rolls each of Velvia, Portra 160, and Tmax (oooh, I'm going to be in trouble when the misses sees that)) and I can't make up my mind.

    Chris
    Last edited by photo_griz; 09-15-2012 at 01:26 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: adding

  10. #10
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photo_griz View Post

    I will shoot a fair amount of architectural stuff, but not for clients and not traditional. More abstract angles and detail shots, so I don't know if a grid would be something I'd like. I think subconsciously I'd be drawn to follow all the compositional "rules" and I hope I'm at the point where I can try to start breaking those rules..

    I do like the idea of the matte screen if I'm understanding it will give me a WYSISYG situation. Do you compose and focus wide open, and then stop down for the shutter release? Is the little pop up magnifier in place of a loop?

    Chris
    Chris:

    The biggest advantage of a grid screen (for me) is it helps me avoid the dreaded "tilted horizon" syndrome .

    The RB67 uses open aperture viewing and focusing - you need to press a spring-loaded lever on the lens to view using the lens stopped down.

    And the pop-up magnifier does indeed sort-of replace a loop. I say "sort-of" because, unlike a loop, it permits viewing of the entire focusing screen at once, rather than just a magnified portion.

    Have fun with the camera!
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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