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Thread: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

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    Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    I recently got a used 180mm f/4 Sonnar for my Hasselblad kit and I decided to test it compared to my 180mm f/2.8 Tele-Xenar AF for my Rollei 6008AF kit. I have been mostly shooting with my hasselblad these days, as I don't really like the bulk and battery issues of the Rollei. It also does not really meter as well for me in color as the 203FE. Anyway, it is an amazing camera, but the best camera is the one you use and I am always reaching for the Hasselblad. I am always looking for reasons to sell the 6008, but it always finds reasons to make me want to keep it around!

    The latest came from this test. I took a number of shots in near identical situations, and the results from the Rollei 180/2.8 were consistently better than the sonnar 180. The Sonnar 180 is reputed to be astoundingly sharp, while the 180/2.8 is a sharp lens, but not so much in close or compared to sharper lenses like the 150mm Tele-Xenar. Anyway, the results from the Rollei were consistently sharper with all the lenses. I could not find a sharper area in the hasselblad pictures, so I am wondering if either there might be a misalignment in my body and magazine, or whether this is just a case where Rollei's better magazine design (flatter film) is carrying the day. The Hasselblad shots are certainly usable and pretty sharp in their own right, but we are talking about the Rollei being significantly sharper at 100% on a 3200dpi scan.

    Any suggestions on where to start in trying to figure out whether my 'blad is performing at its peak?

    P.S. All the shots were taken on the same tripod, most with mirror pre-release. I did use the focal plane shutter in the blad for most shots. I do not have 100% comparisons at the moment, but I could probably show some tomorrow.
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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Any chance you need to have the focusing screen aligned? I once used a 501 C/M and all was well until I went longer than 80mm, where the extra demands of the telephotos made a problem apparent. I sent it to a local technician who had some kind of jig and he tweaked it to spec. After that, all was perfect and my wider lenses sharper!

    Other than that, I've never had a problem with Hasselblad. I've heard of the backs having problems with uneven pressure plates, but the most common thing is the screen alignment.

    Tim

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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Thanks Tim,
    I will check it out with the local service guy. That said, I am thinking it may be more of a back problem or film plane alignment problem, as there was NO area that was as sharp as the Rollei. If the focus was out, I think it would probably mean that the sharpest focus would be right behind or in front of the point of focus. These photos simply appear slightly softer all over than the rollei ones...
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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Stuart,

    if it is an issue with your film back you can test it by shooting a subject with a certain depth. You could use a brick wall diagonally going into the frame. Just make sure you're not focusing beyond infinity. If your back is misaligned but the lens is alright then you can find out if the point of best focus is in front or behind the point that you focused on. If however it turns out that even sharpest point in the image is too soft then it has to be a lens issue.

    -Dominique

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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Stuart,
    Hasselblad USA is offering a check to spec for the V series that goes for $99 for lens, camera and magazine. The good news is that it is any lens.
    http://hasselbladusa.com/media/16213...pec_update.pdf
    You could get it checked out and see what component is off. A quick check of the magazine to make sure that no paper from the wrapping tape is keeping the pressure plate from seating correctly is the first place that I would look.

    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Thanks Al,
    I will consider that, or see if my local hasselblad dealer will do the same...I am on good terms with him since I bought my X5 through them, so he may just take a look at it for me. I know he will not service the 203FE's though.

    To give you an idea of what the difference looked like, here is what I was seeing:
    Overall (from rollei)


    And crops:
    Rollei:


    Hasselblad:


    They were both on the same tripod with mirror pre-release, but in these particular shots, the aperture might have been different. That said, there was no sharper area in either shot, which makes me think the focus is ok, and something else is out of whack.

    But I will do some more rigorous tests before I send in the body or anything like that.
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Sorry, I missed your post Dominique. Thanks very much for the advice! I will give that a go as well during my test...
    My photos are here: http://www.stuartrichardson.com and more recent work here: http://stuartrichardson.tumblr.com/ Please have a look at my book!
    My lab is here: http://www.customphotolab.is and on facebook

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    Re: Possible sharpness issue on 203FE, what to check?

    Stuart,
    Several things could be amiss after seeing that image.
    1. The reflex mirror may not be in the correct position, not coming all the way down or there is some foreign material on the stop.
    2. Focus screen not seated - you checked that.
    3. Pressure plate not seated on the magazine.
    If it looks sharp in the viewfinder then the lens elements should be okay, the variables here are the film to focal distance which is altered by the flange/mirror/focus screen distance = flange to film plane distance.
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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