Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Maxwell precision focusing screens

  1. #1
    Not Available
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    471
    Post Thanks / Like

    Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Does anyone have any experience with the Maxwell focusing screens here?

    Anyone using one with a MF digital or larger MF film camera?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    447
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    When I had a Rolleiflex 3.5E overhauled I had Harry Fleenor replace the original screen with a Maxwell. The new screen was certainly a whole lot brighter than the original, but I still had trouble focusing with it. With the original screen the problem was that the image was too dim for available light work; with the Maxwell screen the problem was focus acuity - I had a hard time judging the point of best focus.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Hong Kong
    Posts
    487
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    I have Maxwell on my Rolleiflex, a 617 field camera and on my stitching back. It's at least 2-3 stops brighter than the screen I repalced. While they are not cheap (the 617 screen cost me $600!), they are worth while investment IMO.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,387
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    I was told by Mr Maxwell himself during a long telephone conversation when I was considering purchasing a Maxwell screen for my Arca that you will never achieve accurate focus by eye on a GG screen with enought tolerance for todays modern digital backs and that they should be more a composition aid.

    The projected image will be considerably brighter and will probably have less fall off at the edges (depending on which focal length fresnel used) but will still be just as had to get crisp focus on.

    Amazing guy and very nice product but not the holy grail of accurate focus. Trial and error, live view or some way of measuring distance is still the most accurate method.

  5. #5
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    509
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    I had a nice long talk with Harry and I'm sure his is a superior product, but I went with
    Brightscreen. I did have a problem with them and they made a modification that I'm sure is standard now. Personally, I hate plain matte screens....more and more as my eyes get olders. Even when I autofocus, the split rangefinder screen lets you know if focus is off and needs some manual adjustment. For what maybe a small difference in performance, I couldn't justify twice the price.

  6. #6
    Not Available
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    471
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    I was told by Mr Maxwell himself during a long telephone conversation when I was considering purchasing a Maxwell screen for my Arca that you will never achieve accurate focus by eye on a GG screen with enought tolerance for todays modern digital backs and that they should be more a composition aid.
    This whole story about having enough tolerance for today's digital back systems is blown out proportion. Well processed low ISO film come damn close to digital and at times can be even better overall... the same way digital can be better overall at times.

    Use a good screen with a good loupe and you can nail focus very well.
    I use a Beattie screen. Remounted in a better frame. Their frames are crappy.. pressure spring is too strong.

    The real problem I have found for fashion and beauty shot wide open is the cameras. Autofocus is not accurate or reliable enough with the fastest lenses and the prism finders are not as good as the waist level finders of older film cameras, in particular the Fuji gx680.... also it's reflex viewer with a simple mirror instead of a prism blows away anything from Mamiya/Phase or Hasselblad.

    I am looking into other screens for speed rather than accuracy and for focusing in low light when I shoot at 1/4 of a second wide open for the atmosphere given by motion in parts of the image and shallow depth of field.
    MF autofocus systems start to fail in this light anyway. Not to mention the limitations of center frame autofocusing and recomposition.

  7. #7
    Not Available
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    471
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    ....live view or some way of measuring distance is still the most accurate method.
    Live view is the way to go with Canon's live view cameras, but it is not ideal as you need to zoom in on the live view image due to the low res LCD. This works to still life and landscape, but not for portrait and fashion.

    I actually think that the holly grail of focusing will be phase detection built into the CMOS or CCD.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,387
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    This whole story about having enough tolerance for today's digital back systems is blown out proportion.
    Hey, don't shoot the messenger!

    This came straight from the horses mouth and Mr Maxwell talked me out of purchaing one of his screens because of this. In my dealings with Maxwell Screens I was discussing LF GG focusing screens coupled with slow LF lenses so not quite the same as when using an already bright SLR viewfinder and faster glass.

    In my experience the focus tolerance of todays 60MP+ digital backs with LF cameras is very tight and slight focus movements (millimeters) make a large difference.

    Even when shooting wide with a stopped down SK43 the difference between being in and out of focus is very small.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    484
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    I have Maxwell screens in both of my Contax 645 bodies and am pleased with them. I haven't measured them, but while they are brighter than the OEM screens, I don't think they are two or three stops brighter ... more like one or maybe one-and-one-half. Much of my photography is done at night, so I was happy to get however much additional brightness I could!

  10. #10
    Not Available
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    471
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Quote Originally Posted by gazwas View Post
    In my experience the focus tolerance of todays 60MP+ digital backs with LF cameras is very tight and slight focus movements (millimeters) make a large difference.
    Using a MFDB on a large format camera is going to be problematic.

    LF cameras are designed for a 4x5 capture area or larger.

    An 8x10 print is only a 2x enlargement.

    The problem is that you are enlarging that small image so much that the play in your large format camera becomes an issue.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,387
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Using a MFDB on a large format camera is going to be problematic.

    LF cameras are designed for a 4x5 capture area or larger.
    Sorry, when I refer to GG focusing on a LF camera I mean a specially designed for digital 6x9 view or technical camera that off the option to GG focus (Arca/Alpa).

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    The problem is that you are enlarging that small image so much that the play in your large format camera becomes an issue.
    Quite the contrary. When using a specialist 6x9 camera, play in the standards does not come into it likewise the amount the image is going to be enlarged has no bearing either. The problems stems from the fact that the size of the projected usable image area is 40mm x 54mm (or smaller). In other words very small, especially when used with a wide lens. Focusing something that small by eye is very difficult (not impossible) and usually involves a loupe. Regardless of how bright the image is, a small error due to tight focus tolerances means OOF pictures and renders the advantages of LF (6x9) capture useless.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    621
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Maxwell precision focusing screens

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Does anyone have any experience with the Maxwell focusing screens here?

    Anyone using one with a MF digital or larger MF film camera?
    I bought brite screens from Bill Maxwell for my Hassy 501C/M, Flexbody and Linhof Technikarden S. they made a world of difference in my ability to focus. Film or digital, ability to see your focal plane better is always desirable. And Bill's a great fellow, but set aside at least an hour when you call him!

    BTW, I had the screens professionally installed by a recommend of Bill's, and I believe this is critical for the best focusing accuracy...

    Bob

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •