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Thread: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

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    HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    High to all ALPA users .

    I am new to ALPA since half a year and would very much like to know :
    How do you ALPA users focus with your camera .
    Does anyone use the ALPA ground glass and the leather type bellow with the loupe ? ? ?
    What is your experience with the method you use ? ? ?

    I currently use the HASSELBLAD SWC screen adapter ground glass with the split image ACUTE MATTE , but I think there must be a better way to focus .
    I use only WA lenses and a HASSELBLAD CFV-39 digital back up to now and find focussing not as easy as I expected .

    Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    jurgen...
    the best is simply to practice on guessed focusing. really, it is not very difficult.
    one trick...
    a normal-size person needs two steps of normal easy-walk to do 1 meter walk. or really easy walk = 1 foot if u prefer feet.
    it most "accuracte" to imagine that u "walk" from camera position to the object in focus. this is good even if u have a good eye mesurement of the distance, because in many cases, the surrounding may be missliding... with doing imaginative steps u get enough accuracy even for medium size distances... and it is very quick to do.
    the "accuracy" in this way is no issue for wide lens, medium distances, optimum aprture

  3. #3
    Optechs Digital
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Hi Jurgen,

    I usually only ever use two methods for focus. Either by estimation or by Ground Glass. I really Use the Ground Glass more for composition than for focus though and I use it with the newer small focus bellows from Alpa. This one is nice because it lets you look at the screen with both eyes or you can stick any focus loupe in it for magnification.

    One thing i have noticed about some of the "bright screens" is that they are very bright but very difficult to actually focus with. They can tend to make things appear sharp even when they are not. Similar to a glossy screened monitor. If you can get a chance to try the Alpa Pro Grid Screen I would strongly recommend it. I bet it would resolve your problems. It is not as bright as some but it is very easy to focus with. It also has nearly no grain in the glass so you can use a fairly high powered magnifier to make sure you are in focus at a critical focus point.

    Also, make sure to focus on the Ground Glass with the lens wide open rather than at the shooting aperture. Otherwise you will be trying to focus through depth of field which is almost impossible.

    It has always been my experience that wider lenses are harder to focus on a ground glass than long ones. Long lenses will pop in and out of focus more distinctly. On the other hand, wide lenses will most often end up being shot at infinity ( at least in my experience). Have you done a shim adjustment to your back. This can also greatly affect your results. I know some people think this is BS but I have seen many times where this makes a huge difference.

    I hope some of this will help.

    Best,
    Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    High to all ALPA users .

    I am new to ALPA since half a year and would very much like to know :
    How do you ALPA users focus with your camera .
    Does anyone use the ALPA ground glass and the leather type bellow with the loupe ? ? ?
    What is your experience with the method you use ? ? ?

    I currently use the HASSELBLAD SWC screen adapter ground glass with the split image ACUTE MATTE , but I think there must be a better way to focus .
    I use only WA lenses and a HASSELBLAD CFV-39 digital back up to now and find focussing not as easy as I expected .

    Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    First let me say up front that I don't use an Alpa; however I do shoot with a Cambo WRS 1000. I also don't use a Hasselblad but instead I use a Phase One P45+. My choice of lenses are Schneider (35,72, and 120mm); I also have a groundglass. Even with my camera setup being completely different than yours, I still believe the basic principals will apply. I also need to add the caveat that I only shoot landscape so my experiences may differ.

    I think the best way is to experiment using know distances. Set up the shot using a know object at a measured distance and shoot it. I've found that most of my lenses are accurate "to a degree" on distance; when shooting infinity I'll normally nudge the setting back just off the mark. My 10' 20' are normally spot on. However this has taken countless hours of experimentation to get use to and know my lenses.

    I'd suggest you begin with the experimentation mode before doing anything else. The next step is to follow Pauls advice on shimming.

    Regarding groundglass - I have one however I rarely use it and when I do it isn't for focusing rather I use it for filter placement. My thought on using a groundglass is that it's all but useless for me as it's just too small; I can see the use of a groundglass on a 4x5.

    I thought the hardest thing I'd end up doing was critical focus when I made the move to technical camera shooting - I quickly learned that wasn't the case. My two biggest mistakes when I first started shooting was to remember to remove the lens cap and remembering to cock the shutter.

    Again I don't have any experience with an Alpa or Hassy however I wanted to add my experiences as they relate to focusing.

    Don

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Hey Jürgen,

    I use the leather bellows with loupe on ground glass to focus after I compose using the Hasselblad magnifying hood. I find this works best for me. IMO, the bellows and loupe give an excellent view of the scene and is easy to use. I come from using a 4x5 for over 20 years, and I use a similar leather bellows and loupe on my Arca Swiss. I find this method to be the easiest to store and use. I shoot an Alpa Max with a 47mm.

    Kind regards,
    Darr
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    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    I use a GG and a focussing hood (in my case Cambo, not Alpa).
    I use the focusing hood without exception for composition. For focussing on the GG I use a 6x loupe.
    However I am only focussing on the GG at relatively close distances (when the magnification of the motif in question is high enough).
    For wider distances but not quite infinity I use a laser distometer (I also have taped marks for some distances on my lens).
    For infinity… well I set the lens to infinity (slightly adjusted WRT to the aperture/DOF).
    I agree with Don that you have to "learn" your lenses as there is still a lot to handle with feeling/experience.
    I mostly shoot at f11 and f16… rarely at f8 and practically never at f5.6. I think for critical work with narrow DOF (i.e. large apertures) I would always tether…

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Not too difficult to estimate distance by looking at the scale between F8 -F11 eg


    @F11 - I have acceptable focus on the 35mmSchneider digitar from about 1.5meters to infinity. The Alpa is used only for wide angle shooting either hand held or on tripod. At F8 - I get sharp focus from 1 meter to 3 meters.
    I dont use any other Fstops as they are suboptimal.

    I have tried shooting tethered in studio and yes one can get verified sharp focus using this method - but there are better tools for such work - like a Hasselblad. haven't bothered with a GG and Loupe as ( again) there are better systems with sliding backs available for this purpose - and I am not as patient as others and wary of dust etc in the whole procedure.

    Makes sure you take the trouble to calibrate your back to adaptor via shims that come with your chosen adaptor when purchasing an Alpa - or get your dealer to do it - if they have a clue.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by Optechs Digital View Post
    Hi Jurgen,

    I usually only ever use two methods for focus. Either by estimation or by Ground Glass. I really Use the Ground Glass more for composition than for focus though and I use it with the newer small focus bellows from Alpa. This one is nice because it lets you look at the screen with both eyes or you can stick any focus loupe in it for magnification.

    One thing i have noticed about some of the "bright screens" is that they are very bright but very difficult to actually focus with. They can tend to make things appear sharp even when they are not. Similar to a glossy screened monitor. If you can get a chance to try the Alpa Pro Grid Screen I would strongly recommend it. I bet it would resolve your problems. It is not as bright as some but it is very easy to focus with. It also has nearly no grain in the glass so you can use a fairly high powered magnifier to make sure you are in focus at a critical focus point.

    Also, make sure to focus on the Ground Glass with the lens wide open rather than at the shooting aperture. Otherwise you will be trying to focus through depth of field which is almost impossible.

    It has always been my experience that wider lenses are harder to focus on a ground glass than long ones. Long lenses will pop in and out of focus more distinctly. On the other hand, wide lenses will most often end up being shot at infinity ( at least in my experience). Have you done a shim adjustment to your back. This can also greatly affect your results. I know some people think this is BS but I have seen many times where this makes a huge difference.

    I hope some of this will help.

    Best,
    Paul
    Thanks for the run-down on the pro grid screen and the new bellows. I was originally thinking of getting the bellows with attached loupe but never considered that it would be difficult to use both eyes. It sounds like the new bellows would be much better for my purposes.

    Also, I wanted to say thanks for the videos about shimming. Those particular videos are what got me interested in Alpa again. I had seen a lot of pictures taken by Alpas on the web and something looked "off"...Just couldn't quite figure it out. It made me not trust the system. But as soon as I saw your videos with the misaligned sensor then I knew exactly what was bothering me before and how to fix it. So anyway, it renewed my interest in Alpa.


    Quote Originally Posted by VICTOR BT View Post
    jurgen...
    the best is simply to practice on guessed focusing. really, it is not very difficult.
    one trick...
    a normal-size person needs two steps of normal easy-walk to do 1 meter walk. or really easy walk = 1 foot if u prefer feet.
    it most "accuracte" to imagine that u "walk" from camera position to the object in focus. this is good even if u have a good eye mesurement of the distance, because in many cases, the surrounding may be missliding... with doing imaginative steps u get enough accuracy even for medium size distances... and it is very quick to do.
    the "accuracy" in this way is no issue for wide lens, medium distances, optimum aprture
    Thanks for reminding me of this method. I haven't done that since I was a teenager and totally forgot about it. What was old is new again for me

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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Jurgen,

    The best advice I can give is to learn hyperfocal focusing. It sounds much more difficult than it is. Once you learn it, you will wonder what took you so long.

    For example, if I am shooting with my 35mm, I set f11 and the hyperfocal focus distance for that aperture and start shooting. As long as no part of the scene is closer than 4' Everything is in focus. I just keep composing and shooting without concern for the focal point. If I have a foreground element that is closer than half the hyper focal distance I either stop down or take two exposures and stack them.

    At f11 I am at the sweet spot for all my glass. The only time I stop down is if I need it more DOF but even then it is strictly by the numbers. I use PhotoCalc on my iPhone to calculate the focusing distances and it has been very accurate for me.

    I have a laser distance finder and small tape measure for more critical work but hardly ever have to use them.

    An important point is that you have to test your kit. On the cambo and 645 kits I find i have to adjust two stops from the scale on the lens with my p65. Doug who is tech support for capture integration explained why but I don't really understand it. I just know at f11 I set the hyper focal scale to f5.6, at f16 set it to f8 and it works. I know it has something to do with the resolution of the back but haven't really caught on to why the scale on the lens is off.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    I'm enjoying this thread, even if it is basic technical info. What would make it better though is pictures!

    I'm interested in seeing how practical the Alpa / Cambo / Horseman tech camera is in everyday use, put to various tasks.

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    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Thank you all for your valuable feedback and postings .

    A little bit to my photographic background .
    I am working with HASSELBLAD cameras and an SWC for more than 20 years and with an ARCA SWISS 4x5 field camera for more
    than 12 years now .
    Using all available accessories for proper focusing for both camera systems , including the hyper focal method for the SWC , I obtained the desired sharpness in most cases . If not , I found , that I did something wrong . But that was , when I was still shooting with film .

    Now , I have taken the plunge into digital for MF since the CFV-16 is on the market .
    The desire for real WA digital photography made me end up with an ALPA12SWA + a CFV-39 + a RODENSTOCK DIGARON-S 4,5/28mm about half a year ago .
    I also got a RODENSTOCK APO-GRANDAGON 45mm + a SUPER ANGULON XL 72mm adapted to use with the ALPA .

    The digital back adapter is shimmed by an ALPA technician to perfection and I use the ALPA , up to now , only from a tripod and for WA lenses .

    For focusing , I currently use the HASSELBLAD SWC screen adapter (split screen ACUTE MATTE) + HM2 or RMfx viewer or a little RF from chinese manufacturer FOTOMAN .
    I am not very happy with the HASSELBLAD screen adapter solution , and therefore will have a look to the ALPA GG + loupe solution .
    But it is very expensive .

    The distance scale of the DIGARON-S 28mm lens , for example , just shows
    for longer distances 5m and the next is infinity .
    Between these two positions is only very little space , and I find it very difficult to transfer an estimated or measured value to that scale , if the distance is within that range . It is simply estimation as well .

    On the other side , I found , that focusing for a digital MF device is much more critical than for film .

    Therefore , you might now understand , why I asked :
    HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA .

    Here an example :
    Attachment 32219

    The bricks of the building are sharp , while the tiled roof of the little "tower" on the left is tack sharp .
    The difference in distance will be about 2-3meters .
    I used aperture f16 and according to the hyper focal method , all objects are within the DOF .
    Should the tiles and bricks be of the same sharpness ? ? ?
    The image is taken with the 4,5/28 DIGARON-S .

    Here an example taken with the APO-GRANDAGON 4,5/45mm .
    (even not beeing a "digital" lens , that lens is superb)
    The focus is on the grey bricks in the middle of the modern building and turns out to be tack sharp , but the foreground is not as sharp , although within DOF .

    Attachment 32220

    What is your experience ? ? ?

    Best regards . Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by etrump View Post
    Jurgen,

    The best advice I can give is to learn hyperfocal focusing. It sounds much more difficult than it is. Once you learn it, you will wonder what took you so long.

    For example, if I am shooting with my 35mm, I set f11 and the hyperfocal focus distance for that aperture and start shooting. As long as no part of the scene is closer than 4' Everything is in focus. I just keep composing and shooting without concern for the focal point. If I have a foreground element that is closer than half the hyper focal distance I either stop down or take two exposures and stack them.

    At f11 I am at the sweet spot for all my glass. The only time I stop down is if I need it more DOF but even then it is strictly by the numbers. I use PhotoCalc on my iPhone to calculate the focusing distances and it has been very accurate for me.

    I have a laser distance finder and small tape measure for more critical work but hardly ever have to use them.

    An important point is that you have to test your kit. On the cambo and 645 kits I find i have to adjust two stops from the scale on the lens with my p65. Doug who is tech support for capture integration explained why but I don't really understand it. I just know at f11 I set the hyper focal scale to f5.6, at f16 set it to f8 and it works. I know it has something to do with the resolution of the back but haven't really caught on to why the scale on the lens is off.

    Ed

    Honestly , I must say , I try to understand your posting , but up to now , I have not got the clue about the sweet point and f-steps and why the scale is off .
    Might be Doug can give more hints or an explanation .

    Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    jotloob:

    "sweet spot" means the aperture at which the lens perfoms best; for him it is f11
    the way i would use hyperfocal focusing is to set the farthest distance of interest in the subject to the hyperfocal mark for the next smaller f-stop you are using.

    next smaller because of the tighter demands placed on the digital image compared to film.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    jotloob:

    "sweet spot" means the aperture at which the lens perfoms best; for him it is f11
    the way i would use hyperfocal focusing is to set the farthest distance of interest in the subject to the hyperfocal mark for the next smaller f-stop you are using.

    next smaller because of the tighter demands placed on the digital image compared to film.

    Ahhhh , John

    The sweet point is the recommended working f-stop (as per definition of the RODENSTOCK documentation) .
    Yes , that is understood now , as well as adjusting the distance ring to the next smaller f-stop .

    But , why for two stops ? ? ?

    That all helps me very much , because I really thought , that the use of WA lenses with digital backs need a 100% focusing .

    Thank you all a lot .
    I wish Dough would explain his two f-stop adjustment a bit in more detail .

    My home is my castle .

    Attachment 32221

    Regards . Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    oops! the f stop used for hyperfocal should be the next larger aperture, next smaller f-number, than you are using for the exposure

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I'm enjoying this thread, even if it is basic technical info. What would make it better though is pictures!

    I'm interested in seeing how practical the Alpa / Cambo / Horseman tech camera is in everyday use, put to various tasks.
    Hyperfocal focusing - just make use of the extreme depth of field the Schneider and Rodenstocks deliver between F8-11 their sweet spots..
    this one example of a snap using es than 1 meter to 10 meters all acceptable focus



    street snap hand behind my back as I walked by the scene - this time lens preset at 4 meters @ f8..



    the 12W series so easy to handhold at insanely low shutter speeds...

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    I use the ALPA with the SK 24mm and 47mmXL apoDigitar. In 95% of the cases, I am working at F11, hyperfocal and when a closer subject is in the frame then it's guess estimation !
    I am working with a P25+ wich may be more tolerant than the 39MP backs, that I don't know ; but the focus achieved with these methods is enough good for me.
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    where is the video that guides you through the Alpa shim setup?
    thanks.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Optechs Digital, of course!

    http://www.optechsdigital.com/videos.htm

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Thank you all for your valuable feedback and postings .

    A little bit to my photographic background .
    I am working with HASSELBLAD cameras and an SWC for more than 20 years and with an ARCA SWISS 4x5 field camera for more
    than 12 years now .
    Using all available accessories for proper focusing for both camera systems , including the hyper focal method for the SWC , I obtained the desired sharpness in most cases . If not , I found , that I did something wrong . But that was , when I was still shooting with film .

    Now , I have taken the plunge into digital for MF since the CFV-16 is on the market .
    The desire for real WA digital photography made me end up with an ALPA12SWA + a CFV-39 + a RODENSTOCK DIGARON-S 4,5/28mm about half a year ago .
    I also got a RODENSTOCK APO-GRANDAGON 45mm + a SUPER ANGULON XL 72mm adapted to use with the ALPA .

    The digital back adapter is shimmed by an ALPA technician to perfection and I use the ALPA , up to now , only from a tripod and for WA lenses .

    For focusing , I currently use the HASSELBLAD SWC screen adapter (split screen ACUTE MATTE) + HM2 or RMfx viewer or a little RF from chinese manufacturer FOTOMAN .
    I am not very happy with the HASSELBLAD screen adapter solution , and therefore will have a look to the ALPA GG + loupe solution .
    But it is very expensive .

    The distance scale of the DIGARON-S 28mm lens , for example , just shows
    for longer distances 5m and the next is infinity .
    Between these two positions is only very little space , and I find it very difficult to transfer an estimated or measured value to that scale , if the distance is within that range . It is simply estimation as well .

    On the other side , I found , that focusing for a digital MF device is much more critical than for film .

    Therefore , you might now understand , why I asked :
    HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA .

    Here an example :
    Attachment 32219

    The bricks of the building are sharp , while the tiled roof of the little "tower" on the left is tack sharp .
    The difference in distance will be about 2-3meters .
    I used aperture f16 and according to the hyper focal method , all objects are within the DOF .
    Should the tiles and bricks be of the same sharpness ? ? ?
    The image is taken with the 4,5/28 DIGARON-S .

    Here an example taken with the APO-GRANDAGON 4,5/45mm .
    (even not beeing a "digital" lens , that lens is superb)
    The focus is on the grey bricks in the middle of the modern building and turns out to be tack sharp , but the foreground is not as sharp , although within DOF .

    Attachment 32220

    What is your experience ? ? ?

    Best regards . Jürgen
    It's so hard to see what you are talking about on such low screen res jpgs, but I take your word for it. Maybe you could post some crops?

    As an aside, have you personally rested the calibration of the back re the shimming? Also, could it be possible that the Hasselblad screen you're using is not 100% in spec with the entire system? Either way, I'm no expert. I have never shot with an Alpa but have been lusting after your exact setup for quite some time!

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    my trouble with hyperfocal focussing is that with a high rez DB at f8 or f11 you still really see where the actual focus spot is. Simply because sensors like contrast.
    So even if there is a lot of DOF you will see how it is spread over the image and where the "center" plane of the focus is (i.e. you will see the actual focus spot).
    First when diffractions steps in (somewhere between f11 and f16) this effect is leveled out.
    For critical work I forget about hyperfocal focussing... it's simply not accurate enough.

    ... IMO

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    JootLob - I have TC and 12 Max with a P45+ and the following lens Alpa 48, Rodenstock 70 HR and 90 HR. The TC, generally gets used as walk around with the Alpa 48mm mounted on it and I use hyper-focal to focus. However, on the 12 Max I use a Alpa Pro GG (big difference and highly recommend) and I am on a tripod, using the GG with a loupe (wide open), then I dial down to the sweet spot of the lens (Generally F11), and then adjust the shutter speed to get the right exposure. After that I follow the normal drill of cock shutter, fire, ect… One warning, because of the fine focus plane on MFDBs - focus is critical - but when achieved - the images are outstanding.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Does anyone have a preference for a particular brand or kind of loupe when working with the new Alpa pro ground glass? Is there a certain magnification that seems to be the most comfortable for viewing?

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    I am very much surprised about the many feedbacks to this topic .

    I have been reading all contributions over again and appreciate all different opinions very much .

    I come to the conclusion that we face two different situations for focusing .

    The handheld shooting for situations , where you must react rather fast or you dont want to carry a tripod with you . I believe here are the estimation and the hyper focal method the best and fastest methods , which can give you accurate sharp images .

    Then , we have the situations where absolute sharpness is required or desired and where you would work from a tripod only .
    In this situation , you would also have more time to set up your equipment .
    My current project requires the work from a tripod and precise focusing .

    Therefore I tend to have a look at the professional screen plus the leather bellow loupe device to see how it works and if it will give me what I am looking for .

    Living only about 250 kms away from the ALPA Company , I arranged a
    visit on the coming Monday morning to get a demonstration and a try
    with the two accessories .

    I will give feedback with my findings when I return from Switzerland in the middle of next week .

    Regards . Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Hi Mike,

    I really like the Rodenstock 4x for focussing on the Ground Glass. I recently spoke with a customer that likes to use the Hoodman loupe because it covers the entire image area at once as well as acting as a hood.

    Best,
    Paul


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
    Does anyone have a preference for a particular brand or kind of loupe when working with the new Alpa pro ground glass? Is there a certain magnification that seems to be the most comfortable for viewing?

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Thanks Paul

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    "The distance scale of the DIGARON-S 28mm lens , for example , just shows
    for longer distances 5m and the next is infinity ."

    this was the main reason for me to go with an Arca RM3D !

    i'm now in the process to buy a leica D5... the bosh DLE70 being perfect for interior only...

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by etrump View Post
    Jurgen,

    The best advice I can give is to learn hyperfocal focusing. It sounds much more difficult than it is. Once you learn it, you will wonder what took you so long.

    For example, if I am shooting with my 35mm, I set f11 and the hyperfocal focus distance for that aperture and start shooting. As long as no part of the scene is closer than 4' Everything is in focus. I just keep composing and shooting without concern for the focal point. If I have a foreground element that is closer than half the hyper focal distance I either stop down or take two exposures and stack them.

    At f11 I am at the sweet spot for all my glass. The only time I stop down is if I need it more DOF but even then it is strictly by the numbers. I use PhotoCalc on my iPhone to calculate the focusing distances and it has been very accurate for me.

    I have a laser distance finder and small tape measure for more critical work but hardly ever have to use them.

    An important point is that you have to test your kit. On the cambo and 645 kits I find i have to adjust two stops from the scale on the lens with my p65. Doug who is tech support for capture integration explained why but I don't really understand it. I just know at f11 I set the hyper focal scale to f5.6, at f16 set it to f8 and it works. I know it has something to do with the resolution of the back but haven't really caught on to why the scale on the lens is off.
    Before I went to ZUERICH to see the ALPA people , I took the chance to do quite some testshots as per the hyperfocal method Ed describes in the above quote .
    I must say , using f11 , that I obtained very good results when setting the hyper focal scale on the lens to f8 and even a bit sharper when setting to f5,6 . This method narrows down the total hyper focal length but is still within the desired range for most of my objects .
    Therefore , this is of great help for me and makes most of my shooting much easier and also more comfortable .

    Still , when I saw and used the new ALPA GG , the one with the 4mm grid ,
    I could not resist and bought it , together with the little leather bellows , which I just call the ALPA's tanga slip .
    Using the 6x Schneider loupe , focusing is very easy and composition is just great .
    So I will use the GG and/or the hyper focal method depending on the situation .
    I feel very satisfied and think I have got the right tools now .


    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    "The distance scale of the DIGARON-S 28mm lens , for example , just shows
    for longer distances 5m and the next is infinity ."

    this was the main reason for me to go with an Arca RM3D !

    i'm now in the process to buy a leica D5... the bosh DLE70 being perfect for interior only...
    I do not know , how you focus an ARCA Rm3D , but when you can use the ARCA 6x9 GG , focusing will be very similar to the ALPA .

    I had a look to the DLE70 and also the LEICA D5 laser RF , but my conclusion is , that this would be a waste of money .
    Assume you get a reading of 13,985 meters , how could you ever set that distance accurately on the lens's scale . You can not .
    The laser range finder could be of help , when shooting within shorter distances and if you don't have much time . But I would still prefer the GG and my little FotoMan mechanical RF .
    Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    I am currently in Iceland shooting landscapes with my Alpa Max and 47xl. I am focusing via GG and bellows loupe via hyper focal @ f/11. I will post a few results after I return. My only wish thus far is that I had purchased at least one more lens. But, this was suppose to be an experiment for me to see if the Alpa kit will become my landscape kit and I honestly wanted to go as simple as possible. .

    Darr
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I am currently in Iceland shooting landscapes with my Alpa Max and 47xl. I am focusing via GG and bellows loupe via hyper focal @ f/11. I will post a few results after I return. My only wish thus far is that I had purchased at least one more lens. But, this was suppose to be an experiment for me to see if the Alpa kit will become my landscape kit and I honestly wanted to go as simple as possible. .

    Darr

    Darr

    I envy you for beeing in Iceland . It has always been my desire to shoot Iceland landscapes , but somehow I never got there . What a pitty .

    I use my ALPA12SWA only for WA angle photography .
    With the ALPA , I got the DIGARON-S 28mm . A really great lens .
    Out of my LF lens fundus , I got the APO-GRANDAGON 45mm and the SUPER ANGULON XL 72mm adapted .

    The 4mm grid GG is very good to work with . And I rediscovered my darkcloth . Funny ! ! ! Isn't it . Very good , if it is not too warm .
    What I do like so much with the ALPA is , it is photography back to the roots using high precision + digital technology .

    I wish you lots of good images (also from the vulcano) .

    Regards Jürgen

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Darr

    I envy you for beeing in Iceland . It has always been my desire to shoot Iceland landscapes , but somehow I never got there . What a pitty .

    I use my ALPA12SWA only for WA angle photography .
    With the ALPA , I got the DIGARON-S 28mm . A really great lens .
    Out of my LF lens fundus , I got the APO-GRANDAGON 45mm and the SUPER ANGULON XL 72mm adapted .

    The 4mm grid GG is very good to work with . And I rediscovered my darkcloth . Funny ! ! ! Isn't it . Very good , if it is not too warm .
    What I do like so much with the ALPA is , it is photography back to the roots using high precision + digital technology .

    I wish you lots of good images (also from the vulcano).


    Regards Jürgen
    Thanks Jürgen. Iceland is an absolutely beautiful place this time of year. I do not think you are that far away. I had to take three planes from Florida and I plan on coming back next year. I am anxious to look at my shots. I am hoping the Alpa will be my landscape camera for the next 20 years.

    After using it outside for a while, I find it to be much easier to shoot than my 4x5". I travelled the first few days with a couple of 4x5 and 5x7 shooters, and I was always waiting for them to finish. After a few days, I made the decision to move ahead on my own and I am glad I did.

    I totally agree with you about going back to our roots using high precision + digital technology.

    Kind regards,
    Darr
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    just remember all the discussion/ effort to shim the back correctly, is primarily for landscape shooters who work at infinity. In other words it makes the infinity setting on your focus scale 100% accurate.
    IF you work closer than that, then there might be slight variance, due to helical focus mount scale errors (rare, but I have seen it) and of course how accurate your measuring technique is. Its no good having a perfectly accurately shimmed system, if you are setting your 9.5m away object at 10m due to an inaccurate measurement...

    and with that thought we are back to the original question of how to focus, and the knowledge that the only 100% safe way is to work tethered. (or simply expect inaccuracies and focus bracket)

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    The Arca-Swiss RM/L3D uses a single multi-turn, .01mm resolution, camera-mounted helix rather than using a separate helix for each lens. It would therefore seem possible and practical, given time, patience, and an independent source of distance measurements, to calibrate any lens and then to compensate in the field for any errors. Not (yet) having an Arca, I'd be interested in hearing more informed opinions.

    Thanks,

    Dave.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by narikin View Post
    just remember all the discussion/ effort to shim the back correctly, is primarily for landscape shooters who work at infinity. In other words it makes the infinity setting on your focus scale 100% accurate.
    IF you work closer than that, then there might be slight variance, due to helical focus mount scale errors (rare, but I have seen it) and of course how accurate your measuring technique is. Its no good having a perfectly accurately shimmed system, if you are setting your 9.5m away object at 10m due to an inaccurate measurement...

    and with that thought we are back to the original question of how to focus, and the knowledge that the only 100% safe way is to work tethered. (or simply expect inaccuracies and focus bracket)
    Please have a look to the somewhat "emitional" discussion here :
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19369

    There are two things which come into my mind .

    Why did most of the posters , now discussing in the above thread not post here and contribute to the topic of this thread ?

    I come to the conclusion that regarding all the discussion in both threads , we will never really be able to focus precisely with any camera and any lens . No matter which method we will use . Even not when using an ARCA Rm3d .
    All measurements will end up as a compromise .
    Therefore we should learn to live with the best compromise and enjoy the sharp results and not crave for 100% perfection , which we will not achieve anyway .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    I come to the conclusion that regarding all the discussion in both threads , we will never really be able to focus precisely with any camera and any lens . No matter which method we will use . Even not when using an ARCA Rm3d .
    All measurements will end up as a compromise .
    Therefore we should learn to live with the best compromise and enjoy the sharp results and not crave for 100% perfection , which we will not achieve anyway .
    I do not agree. To me this sounds a bit like a justification for the limited level of accuracy you can get from your Alpa (which will most likely will be improved with the new Alpa focus rings in conjunction with a laser distomter).
    I do use the Cambo WRS, which basically shares the the same way of focussing as the Alpa, and I know under which circumstances I can get accurate focus and under which circumstances I can not. I have absolutely no problem to admit that the Rm3D is by far the most reliable solution (why wouldn't I? Because I use a Cambo? Ridiculous...) and that it in fact comes very close to the 100% perfection you are talking about. I've taped additonal indications on my focus rings, measured with a laser disto, and I can tell you this is the most reliable way to focus the lens. I also know that the focus ring of my 47XL has a slight offset (re indications) whereas my 70HR is dead on (i.e. the 5m indication exactly matches 5m distance, the 10m indication matches 10m etc.). Now, with the ultra high resolution of Arca's focus ring this makes things even more accurate. No doubt it's by far the best solution for untethered work; nothing else comes even close... IMO.
    Last edited by thomas; 11th September 2010 at 02:50.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I do not agree. To me this sounds a bit like a justification for the limited level of accuracy you can get from your Alpa (which will most likely will be improved with the new Alpa focus rings in conjunction with a laser distomter).
    Thomas

    Don't make a fool of yourself . Justification ? ? ? What for and why ? ? ?
    I am an end user and do not need to justify anything . I bought the ALPA because I wanted that camera , it was a considered buy and I do love that camera and like to work with it . I do know about the pros and cons and I do not complain about anything . Or do I ? ? ?
    I had the ARCA Rm3d a couple of times in my hands and I do believe , that focussing that camera is currently the most accurate way to focus a technical camera . We will see what the PHOTOKINA will bring for all non ARCA brands to catch up regarding focussing .

    But again , I do believe that absolute perfect focussing is impossible .
    Even when you use a high end distometer , you would have to measure
    exactly from the sensors plane to your object and then transfer that result to your lens . Almost impossible and that is also the reason why I don't have a distometer , but might buy one if it makes sense to me .

    I can very well live without that "perfection" and still receive very good results . But I am also open for improvements when they are practicable .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Even when you use a high end distometer , you would have to measure exactly from the sensors plane to your object and then transfer that result to your lens.
    where's the problem?

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Hmm, did I just stumble into Dpreview.com?

    Seems to me that everyone wants to justify their particular choice of system at the moment.

    The RM3D folks believe their system solves worked peace and is the best choice on the planet at the moment.

    The Sinar & Linof folks can't believe why anyone would want anything other than full field camera capabilities.

    The Alpa folks can't understand why anyone would anything less than mechanical perfection even at the costs of being made by Swiss gnomes out of unobtainium and the Cambo folks think that everyone is spending way too much on alternative systems when theirs does everything for less ...

    I'm a landscape photographer so what might matter to me (infinity performance is pretty important) wouldn't necessarily apply to an architectural or environmental portrait shooter. I'm sure thats true of others here too. When shooting at f/8 - f/11 I'm hard pressed to actually miss focus and if its critical or I need more dof I'll happily focus stack.

    Confession: I fell hopelessly in love with my over-priced beautifully made low tech Alpa so therein lie my biasses.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Thomas

    Show me or explain me how you do it . I am curious .
    A LEICA DISTO 5 is in my head but not on my wishlist yet .
    Might be , that the new ALPA "precision focussing device" will speed up a decision .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Hmm, did I just stumble into Dpreview.com?

    Seems to me that everyone wants to justify their particular choice of system at the moment.

    The RM3D folks believe their system solves worked peace and is the best choice on the planet at the moment.

    The Sinar & Linof folks can't believe why anyone would want anything other than full field camera capabilities.

    The Alpa folks can't understand why anyone would anything less than mechanical perfection even at the costs of being made by Swiss gnomes out of unobtainium and the Cambo folks think that everyone is spending way too much on alternative systems when theirs does everything for less ...

    I'm a landscape photographer so what might matter to me (infinity performance is pretty important) wouldn't necessarily apply to an architectural or environmental portrait shooter. I'm sure thats true of others here too. When shooting at f/8 - f/11 I'm hard pressed to actually miss focus and if its critical or I need more dof I'll happily focus stack.

    Confession: I fell hopelessly in love with my over-priced beautifully made low tech Alpa so therein lie my biasses.
    Thanks Graham for your post , which makes me think .
    I can only agree to what you say and I'll try to find out what I can put to practice here .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Show me or explain me how you do it . I am curious .
    A LEICA DISTO 5 is in my head but not on my wishlist yet .
    Might be , that the new ALPA "precision focussing device" will speed up a decision .
    I think so, as - if I remember correctly - they are planning to make indications with much finer steps than the traditional lenses. So basically similar to Arca's approach just with the current helical mount. Still, I bet this will improve things significantly!

    Once you know the distance of the camera front plate to the sensor you simply can put the disto on the front of the camera and use the respective offset value. I'm sure Alpa knows the distance... if not there are appropriate measurement devices that you can loan from a precision mechanic.
    As far as my understanding goes the D5 can also store offset values so that you don't even have to calculate it for each focussing distance.
    You could also prepare a small metal plate with a spacer that you hold against the rear of the camera so that the disto alignes with the sensor plane.
    Finally you could even mount it on a small bracket and put it on the hot shoe of the camera... though this is a bit impractical as you have to point the entire camera to measure a certain distance.
    Last edited by thomas; 11th September 2010 at 11:57.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Maybe I'm missing something but I can't dial in that level of precision into the focus scale on the lenses. I have a Leica Disto and the precision it registers for distance gets approximated when I have to translate that into the focus scale on the lens mount. With the GG/loupe basically I can nail it, assuming that there's enough light that I can see it.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Maybe I'm missing something but I can't dial in that level of precision into the focus scale on the lenses.
    yes, you are missing something :-)
    look at the enormous number of indictions on the Rm3D (those indications are also not logarithmic, they are linear... which is also great when a certain critical distance is in between of two indications).
    Be prepared to see a good deal of indications on the future focus rings of Alpa...
    Until they ship you can of course tape your own additional indications on the focus ring... see for instance here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showpo...2&postcount=20

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Yes that approach would work. I keep hearing rumors of the "future focus rings" and certainly for me at least just having more logarithmic scale indicators between the marks would be sufficient. My approximation skills are ok but not perfect and thankfully I can see well enough to dial in against a finer set of distance marks than the gross settings on the mounts today.

    Roll on Photokina (or some tedious GG/disto calibration & sticky tape scale work) ...

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA


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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Yes that approach would work. I keep hearing rumors of the "future focus rings" and certainly for me at least just having more logarithmic scale indicators between the marks would be sufficient.
    the same to me. I actually only need some more indications between the last indication in meters and infinity (though the more indications the better). At closer distances focussing on the GG with a 6x loupe works really okay for me.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Terry

    I saw that but it doesn't make a jot of difference if your scale goes from 2-3-5-10-50-inf with nothing in between At that point you're down to making your own custom scale (if it matters that much to you of course). This applies to everything other than the Arca at this point ...
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 11th September 2010 at 12:37.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    I understand the question on the Alpa, I just thought there was still a question on how the Arca focused. Sorry to go OT.

    Last edited by Terry; 11th September 2010 at 12:46.

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Sorry to go OT.

    Terry, this is the GetDPI money pit forum, there's no OT here

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    Re: HOW DO YOU FOCUS WITH YOUR ALPA

    My focusing technique on the cambo for landscapes with a 35mm lens is to
    1) crank it to infinity
    2) back it off either none, a hair, or a bit depending on the scene
    stop down to f/11
    done.
    Granted it is not precision or anywhere close to accurate, but it is carefree and quick.
    I am seriously interested about doing better.
    Open loop systems are prone to issues no matter how carefully made, so my preference is to focus by ground glass.
    -bob

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