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  1. #21
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserious
    David,

    This certainly occured to me. But shooting at F/11 @ 1/250th I should be able to get pretty damn close to this. I'll try using a higher F-stop, but somehow I'm not convinced the problem isn't in the camera itself.

    I consulted on this matter with Philip Cohen, a personal friend and a well known commercial photographer. He brought to my attention that the problem could very well be mirror slapping - apparently a known ailment of the Bronicas. Seeing as mine is an Sq-a, long discontinued, it is quite possible that the dampner has hardened and the shock is causing the lack of sharpness. I plan on doing a test later this afternoon, shooting newsprintg as well as a live model, comparing frames with and without pre-lock. I will post my results.
    Strobes will give you a smaller f-stop and will eliminate any mirror slap/shutter vibration issue. The longest studio strobe exposures are on the order of 1/350 sec., and that's only if you're using a LOT of power. More typical exposures are going to be on the order of 1/750 sec or shorter with studio strobes, so you won't need to think about MLU or anything. Rent or borrow some studio time, use your Bronica, and you'll see the difference.

    Here's an example--Bronica S2a (much older than yours), kind of dirty 21cm/4.5 Heliar (threads are stuck, so I've never been able to clean it properly) at f:22, Norman strobes--



    Detail attached. A modern lens like even the 60's 200mm Nikkor would have been sharper, but the sharpness effect comes mainly from using Hollywood style lighting with strobes (and I was using the Heliar so it wouldn't be too clinical, but it's still pretty sharp).

    Also the suggestion about groundglass and back registration is a good one, if you find that you are having consistent focus problems. You can test by setting up a tape measure, marking the focus point with a flag or what have you, shooting wide open, and verifying that the image on film is in focus where it should be.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dtl.jpg  
    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

  2. #22
    Gary Holliday's Avatar
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    I don't believe simply buying a Hasselblad over a Bronica will solve your problem. There are no differences between the two that anyone can notice. However owning the Hasselblad myself, it is a sexier camera and is clearly better than a Bronica!

    I don't think you should be focusing on eyelashes. Mine are almost a centimetre long and curl. If you look at how far away someone's eyelashes are away from the eye and from a side on position, you will notice. Always focus on the eyes. Your viewer will look at the eyes in a photograph or when you are talking to someone. Use the little white square reflection in the eye to focus on. It's contrasty in there and is easy to focus on.

    Once you have focusing mastered, I would seriously look at your mirror. Medium format mirrors are huge and will vibrate, so lock your mirror and shoot after you subject has blinked. You don't need to be looking at the viewfinder to do this. Maybe a service will help if you camera is old.

    After that, check your enlarger and make sure it is set up correctly and you are focusing at the paper height using a properly set up focus finder. Use a decent aperture f8 whatever on your enlarger. Condenser enlargers are super sharp.

    Sharpness is also a perception. Anything very contrasty will look sharper. Unsharp masking used to "sharpen" an image in Photoshop is actually an optical illusion. It just increases the edge sharpness of each pixel and gives the perception of sharpness.

    Good luck on your quest.

    Edit: also....after buying the hasselblad, my portraits were far too sharp, I had to buy a softar to calm things down...damn high quality lenses

  3. #23

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    I own Bronica equipment.

    Excellent points of consideration have already been offered. There is one thing that consistantly remains the same and has not been addressed. That is the enlarger. The sharpest negative in the world will look like crap on a print if the enlarger is not aligned. Beyond that even if the enlarger is aligned what about the enlarging lens? Is it a good lens used at it's optimal aperture?

    If you want sharpness from an enlarger, a condenser enlarger will give greater apparent sharpness and greater local contrast then a diffusion enlarger. I know because I own and use both types. In saying this I am simply reporting the facts and don't want to get into a pissing match over someones injured sensibilities.

  4. #24

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    Gary,

    Sorry we must have been typing at the same time..you beat me to the draw this time...drat!!!!

  5. #25
    rbarker's Avatar
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    A couple of other points you might check are the film path and focusing screen position. Irregularities on the rollers can place the film outside the intended focal plane. Similarly, a mis-installed or mal-aligned focus screen would shift the plane of sharp focus.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  6. #26
    gnashings's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r-brian
    ...Thoughts that come to my mind is whether your focusing screen is out of sync. What you see as in focus on the screen may not be what is getting to the film. Is the screen the original or replacement? Is it seated properly? Did the mirror get knocked out of alignment?...
    (above bold-type added by myself)

    I don't own a Bronica, but it is one of the brands I have researched fairly extensively when deciding on a mainstay MF system, and I am surprised no one has suggested this earlier - and when Brian did, no one seemed to take notice. From what I understand, the focus screen alignment has been the bain of the existance of many a Borni owner, making a bad name for an otherwise excellent system, with excellent glass available.
    This apparently is NOT limited to repaired cameras and replaced screens - from what I gathered in my research, it has been known occur with brand new cameras. From what I understand it is simple problemto remedy, but due to the precision involved, best left to someone who has camera-repair experience tomake sure its right once and for all.
    As someone who has shot a lot of HP5+ and TriX, I assure you the film is not the weak link, and Rodinal certainly is not the culprit. And given the way you descirbe your work-process and thorough apporach (and years of learning and practice), I certainly doubt its you. I hope you find a solution, its sad to see something like this taking the wind out of the sails of someone so enthusiastic! Best of luck,

    Peter.

    PS Of course, if you really want a Hassy... well, you will have a Hassy - as has been already pointed out, logic has little to do with it, they are pretty magical things!
    Last edited by gnashings; 04-21-2006 at 02:33 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: because I can't type today

  7. #27

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    I had serious focusing problems with my Pentacon six TL bodies which all started following replacing the original screens with the Exakta 66 screens. Never been able to align them properly. Since 6 m moved to Bronica EC with no problems of sharpness anymore. My lesson: don't touch those screens if they are properly aligned.

  8. #28
    raucousimages's Avatar
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    I shoot a Hassy but I know for a fact that Bronica lenses can be razor sharp. Is it possible that your back is out of alignment or damaged? Or do you have a problem with your eyes, when was your last eye exam. I know a dental tech who had glasses made to help him in focusing close up. Try shooting with a identical camera (rent or borrow) and print on another enlarger and see if you have the same problems. This might help eliminate some possible causes.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  9. #29
    glbeas's Avatar
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    When you are processing the Tri-X in Rodinal you might try modifying your technique to semi stand. Excessive agitation makes the neg look mushy compared to one with acutance effects from stand developing. There are quite a few threads to search for on that subject.
    Gary Beasley

  10. #30
    Petzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iserious
    One problem has persisted throughout. Despite my efforts, I just can't seem to get a print (or negative) that is simply "tack sharp". A portrait printed to 8x10 from a 6x6 negative where you can literally make out each and every eyelash.
    Have you tried shooting a building at f/11? Is that sharp? Can you make out every detail?

    You say you take pictures at 1/125 s to 1/250 s. Given the mirror slap of the SLR, I wouldn't vouch for the maximum sharpness of such images. I wouldn't even vouch for that if the mirror slap was not there when they are hand-held. If your images are sharper from a good tripod with the mirror pre-released, then you know where your problem is.

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