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  1. #11

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    To clarify, by "not very sharp" do you mean "doesn't achieve critical sharpness when carefully examined", or "nothing in this photograph looks like it's in focus"? The first could easily be a limitation of the lens and the camera---as you noted, the Helomar isn't the highest-quality lens in the world, and there's the possibility of sample variation, and 6x9 folders often aren't superb at film flatness.

    But the second one would be more likely to be a symptom of a mechanical problem---pressure plate not working right, misaligned standard, something like that. (I've got a beautiful Rollfilmkamera that's completely unusable because the front standard leans by a good couple of degrees away from vertical. Obviously it's in pristine condition because no previous owner has been able to use it!)

    It might help to hold a ground glass against the film rails and experiment with the focus by eye.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  2. #12
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Looking at your example I'd say it's probably no better or worse than my Triotar which should still be around but I can't find it, I had to scrap the camera due to severe corrosion. It's corners sharpness that's usually the problem and your image it's not at all important, I'm usually after overall critical sharpness and I really shouldn't expect to much ftom a Triplet.

    Ian

  3. #13
    Erik Petersson's Avatar
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    Things are in focus. The film just lacks the wonderful detail that I know that T-max 100 can achieve. I have used the film a lot in 35mm. The negatives would exceed a 35mm negative when enlarged, but I would expect such a large negative to do much, much better.

    Then again, the lens would maybe not match the Nikkors that I use in my 35mm system even in ideal conditions.

    Hmmm, a ground glass. I might be able to remove the ground glass from my Kiev60 to check.

  4. #14

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    Hi,

    I have just returned from my holidays with 8 films to develop (if I can tear myself away from APUG long enough to do some developing!!!) all of which were taken hand held in a variety of folding roll film cameras: Ikonta, Nettar, Isollette, Agifold - even an ICA plate camera with a roll film back. If the majority of them don't give me images which look reasonably sharp at at least 8 X 10 I will be very disappointed!

    Obviously an old uncoated 1930s triplet lens can't possibly give you the sharpness of a modern 35mm computer calculated coated optic - but the fact that the enlargement is so much less can make up for a lot. What size prints did you produce? I see you don't have a darkroom. If you have had prints done by a pro lab at the usual sizes, 5 by 7 inch or so, they should be plenty sharp enough.

    You said you'd had the camera serviced? All the advice given about fungus / cloudy optics / lens out of alignment etc are all very valid comments, but wouldn't this have been spotted in the service? Who serviced it?

    I recently bought a Perkeo II from eBay and the first film through was terrible. The reason was someone had done an amateaur 'service' and when the front element was re-fitted, they didn't set up the distance scale. It was a mile off. I used a peice of ground glass and a small bright bulb at a measured 20 feet to set this up again - and the camera was restored to taking sharp pictures.

    I'd get it on a tripod in a dark room with a bit of ground glass across the film gate (no need to dismantle the Kiev... as someone has mentioned stick frosted scotch tape or tracing paper onto plain glass - or spray some glass with a thin coat of matt varnish) At full aperture, shutter open on 'T' , stick a black cloth over your head and focus on something very bright (a bare light bulb?) 20 feet away. It is a bit fiddly and takes patience - but rock back and forth until you get the best position and use a loupe if you have one - then check the lens scale and see if it is near the 20ft mark. Try it at 10ft, too. This is easier than checking infinity as then the depth of field is too great, especially with a slow lens. Trouble with very close distances too is that then the depth of focus increases at the film plane - which also makes it tricky to find the point of sharp focus.

    Let us know what you find.
    Steve

  5. #15
    Erik Petersson's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your advice. The other day I loaded the camera with some Provia400F, and will try to take photos on a tripod with a small aperture in the weekend, taking caution that the film is winded. I also have stabilized the pressure plate. When the result is scanned in a few days I will post it here.

    Unfortunately I do not have the possibility to set up a darkroom in my small apartment. Still I enjoy a lot to use old equipment like this.

    When you write 8x10, I assume that you mean inches, so that would translate to approximately 20x25 cm. Is that right? I would have hoped to be able to make very sharp prints at double that size or more, but I now understand that this lens may not be up to that.

    The camera was serviced at LP-Foto in Stockholm, the place that everyone recommends for such jobs. They told me that the rangefinder is ok, although it is not vertically aligned. The best sharpness also seems to be where I expect it.

  6. #16

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    What I would check first is collimation of the lens. That is, the lens should be set to focus at infinity and only at infinity.

    When the camera was serviced, if the person pulled the shutter, it's possible that the lens is no longer collimated.

    The simplest way to check this is to get some frosted tape, open the camera back and put several strips across the film plane. Then, set the shutter to "T" and lock open the shutter.

    Now, get a camera lens (or loupe), set the lens to infinity and point the camera toward a distant object while inspecting the image on the tape. It should be in focus.

    If it's not in focus, it means the lens needs to be collimated. If the image seems soft and with a glow, it means that one of the lens elements is reversed.

    If the image is sharp, you'll also want to ensure that the rangefinder is calibrated. Again, set the focus dial to infinity, point the camera at a distant object. The images in the rangefinder should line up vertically and horizontally. If they don't, then it needs to be calibrated.

    However, I suspect the lens needs to be recollimated.

  7. #17

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    I should mention that I own this camera with this lens (Bessa 6x9 + Helomar) and have gotten very good results (i.e.,sharp photos).

    I've also found the Triotar to be a well-designed triplet and have taken some nice photos with a Rolleicord II and also the Zeiss Ikon Super Nettel, as well as the 85mm Triotar for the Contax.

  8. #18

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    When you write 8x10, I assume that you mean inches, so that would translate to approximately 20x25 cm. Is that right? I would have hoped to be able to make very sharp prints at double that size or more, but I now understand that this lens may not be up to that.
    Yes, sorry. I live in the UK which is suppossed to be metric, but for some reason a few things have stuck as imperial, paper size being one of them.

    8 by 10 inches is about 20 X 25 cm.

    From 35 mm that is an enlargement of about 8 times (roughly)

    To get something similar from 6 by 9 cm means only about a 3 times enlargement (depends how you crop it, of course, but near enough...) which really isn't very much.

    A lot of factors affect sharpness, especially camera stability. Stopped down to something like f8 and with the camera fired by a camera release on a good solid tripod and you should be able to get a reasonably sharp picture at 40 by 50 cm (16 by 20 inches) - we are always talking less than half the enlargement of a 35mm lens. You might not get the razor sharp contrasty nose-sniffingly up close sharpness that you get from modern coated Nikon 35mm lens - but yes, sharp enough.

    I'm off to do some printing now - and most of my negatives are 6 X 6cm taken on folding cameras with triplet lenses. I'll see if I can get an example enlargement scanned in by the end of the day.
    Steve

  9. #19
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    I'd look at buying the coated Skopar that's for sale in the classifieds here and fitting that to a Bessa 6x9. it'll be significantly better.

    An alternative was an excellent f2.8 105mm Xenotar that went unsold with an opening bidod £0.99 10 days ago, now relisted it's atracting more interest

    At the moment I'm waiting to find a 6x9 folder to fit a 105mm coated Trinar too.

    Ian

  10. #20
    Erik Petersson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_e007 View Post
    I'm off to do some printing now - and most of my negatives are 6 X 6cm taken on folding cameras with triplet lenses. I'll see if I can get an example enlargement scanned in by the end of the day.
    Thank you, I will be looking forward to that. I plan to scan and post some slides from this camera myself after the weekend.

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