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Thread: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

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    What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hi guys,

    there are different ways of focusing on a groundglass in the wild. What is your prefered method of focusing? What loupe do you use (brand name and model)?

    Does anybody have some experience with "PEAK Loupes". Is the Linhof studio Loupe (=silvestri 12x) good enough?

    thank you..

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    I use the Silvestri 6x loupe with the Alpa GG / fresnel.

    I gain little with extra magnification than this on either the Alpa GG nor my bright 4x5 ground glass unless I want to view the texture of the glass surface or fresnel rings. However, some folks may have better experiences with higher magnification - I haven't personally.
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    While I liked the new Cambo groundglass and loupe my new favorite now is attaching a Surface Pro 2. I no longer have to subject the back or the rear of the lens to dust/wind every time I switch back and forth between the GG and back. I now can keep the back on and simply attach the Surface Pro 2 and using C1 DB have everything at my fingertips. Live view (which isn't all that great no matter what you use) however double tap the SP2 screen and you get 100% with focus mask.

    I still have my groundglass and loupe; I'm just not using them.

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    I have the Peak 10X, and it is very good on Sinar/Linhof/Wista and earlier on a Cambo WDS with lenses from 35mm upwards.

    Kumar

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    The Linhof Studio 12x loupe is brilliant, far better than anything else I've tried (8x and 6x Schneider, 10x Silvestri and 4x Rodenstock.) Much of it depends on the fineness of the GG grain and the coarseness (for want of a better word) of the fresnel rings. The Silvestri GG and integrated fresnel is very, very fine and a million times easier to use high magnification loupes with than the GG and fresnel I used on my Technika – on which anything over 6x was a waste of time. In short, it really depends on the GG and fresnel you use, but in my experience the Linhof Studio 12x loupe is the bees knees.

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hi TJV,
    Could i use a Silvestri GG on my techno too?
    Thank you

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by mueller123 View Post
    Hi TJV,
    Could i use a Silvestri GG on my techno too?
    Thank you
    Yes, but you'd need to use the Linhof accessory back adaptor for Horseman / RB backs. Frankly though, I'd much rather the new Linhof bright screen but it doesn't cover 6x9 film area.
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hi tjv,
    yes the new Linhof GG is should be better. But the price is AHHHHHH!
    Mueller

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    I'm really impressed with the Silvestri GG and integrated fresnel. I haven't compared it to the stock Linhof GG and fresnel for the Techno, just what I used on my Technika – which I bought new three years ago to replace old, scratched and dim parts.

    If you're trying to save money, I'm not sure the Silvestri option makes much sense. From memory, because you need to buy the back adaptor to accommodate it, you end up spending near the same money. In my case, I went the Silvestri way because it was a good 1000 pounds cheaper to set myself up overall with a Horseman film back rather than a genuine Linhof Rollex film back. The Rollex back is far, far better, but I just couldn't justify the price difference. Also, I'd read Anders Torger's Techno review (Review: Linhof Techno) which raised some design issues with the standard GG options.

    The only criticism I do have of the Silvestri screen is that framing is not 100% accurate to the edges of the 6x7cm frame I use. I have to compose with a bit of wriggle room on each edge, which I guess is probably pretty standard?

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    PS: I hear through the grapevine that Paula at Linhof Studio has new stock of the 12x loupe. If I were you, I'd skip the rest and go straight for it.

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Got my 12x loupe yesterday and tried it a little. Certainly the best ground glass loupe I've tried and it will be with me, but I still think that I will continue use my Belomo 20x as my main critical focusing loupe (modified, stripped away the folding lid and added a base so it focuses on the grain). The Belomo is a bit dark in comparison and you see a very narrow field of view, but I like the extra magnification, I feel focus-peaking is easier with that. The Silvestri 12x does have enough magnification though if you have good eyes and can focus them well, ie you already see the grains with the 12x so there's no more to see with the 20x, but for me the extra magnification helps a bit. It will be a bit personal though. To those that find peaking difficult I do suggest to try out a Belomo 20x or corresponding, it's inexpensive.

    Amazon.com: BelOMO 20x Quadruplet Loupe Folding Magnifier: Home Improvement
    Last edited by torger; 22nd March 2014 at 05:29.
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Torger, can you post a pic of the modifications you made on your BelOMO loupe? I'm struggling to understand what you've described but wouldn't mind giving it a try myself.

    Glad you've finally got the 12x loupe. Obviously, I love mine compared to everything else I've used. Can't see how I got on without it now. The Silvestri 10x loupe was awful!

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hi guys,
    I have received my 12x Silvestri at Friday too. Because of the very bad weather I could not test it. I have the old groundglass and fresnel. It will be interesting if this combination will works...
    Mueller123

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Tim, I'll add a detailed review of the loupe to my Techno review page eventually, and will then include photographs. I can post quicky here too if I just remember when I get back from work :-). Note that the 12x has a much "user-friendlier" experience than my Belomo 20x, the Belomo is for those of us that prefer to sacrifice some ergonomy, brightness and lots of field of view just to get that extra bit of magnification. In messy scenes the Belomo is a bit difficult to use as you see so little at a time it can be hard to realize what you are looking at (eg which branch in a tree you're looking at), in such cases I will use the 12x instead. When focusing at infinity in an open scene the extra magnification from the 20x does for me add an extra bit of safety that I like to keep.

    I noted that to focus on the grain with my linhof bright ground glass the focusing mechanism of the 12x had to be closed down maximally (ie the loupe had to be made as short as possible). Quite practical as you don't need to adjust the loupe to some intermediate position. However, I guess this means that the loupe will not work for my old combination where I had both ground glass and a separate fresnel, as the distance from the fresnel surface to the ground glass grain is about 4mm larger than with the bright ground glass (which has fresnel built-in). That is to use the 12x with that combination you would have to remove the fresnel and put the loupe on the ground glass directly to get close enough.

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    As requested, here's my modified 20x Belomo loupe together with the 12x Silvestri. I've removed the lid and attached some rubber feet to it. It's very important to get them of exact correct height (within say 0.2mm) as depth of field is very short with the 20x. I had a box full of rubber feet and made trial and error until I found one that made the loupe focus sharply on the grain. There's a big difference on how easy focus peaking becomes between having a loupe almost in focus and one exactly in focus.

    When I had the ground glass + fresnel the distance is shorter so instead of rubber feet I had three layers (or so) of electrical tape. Using layers of electrical tape (or other vinyl tape) is good during the height tuning process.

    I might 3D-print a base for the loupe and glue it on so it becomes a bit nicer-looking

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hello @ all,
    i have tried the silvestri 12x loupe today. Yes it is not possible the focus with it if you use the old groundglass with additional fresnel. You need to remove the fresnel and now you could focus. This ist not really ideal. I think the new groundglass is better.

    But to focus it it is really good. I think that i dont need more magnification.

    How is the surface of the new groundglass from linhof? Is it very sensitive for scratches? The old one IS!!! But you could change it if the scratches are too much. But the new one is not changeable...
    Mueller
    Last edited by mueller123; 25th March 2014 at 12:55.

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Thanks Anders. From what you've written, it seems the 20x might be useful in some situations for me but that I'd probably end up using the 12x in 95% of situations regardless. When I've got some spare time and cash I think I'll buy on anyway and modify it as you have, just in case.

    Mueller and Anders: I'm really surprised that the old Linhof GG and fresnel solution is so clumsy. 4mm seems a very, very big gap?
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hi TJV,
    Could You say something to the surface of the new groundglass?
    Thank you.
    Mueller
    Quote Originally Posted by tjv;57589....

    Mueller and Anders: I'm really surprised that the old Linhof GG and fresnel solution is so clumsy. 4mm seems a very, very big gap?

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Coming into this late, but I use this Schneider 8x loupe that is no longer in production:



    I borrowed the photo from someone showing it at the large format forum (mine is missing paint!). It is a strong loupe (not 12x or 20x though), but it has served me well for 20+ years; it makes focusing on the grain of the ground glass a breeze. I think I paid about $75 US new and I am sure you can find them used for much less.
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by mueller123 View Post
    Hi TJV,
    Could You say something to the surface of the new groundglass?
    Thank you.
    Mueller
    I have the new ground glass. The only thing I can say is that I'm not worried about scratching it, it will take many many years until it would have so much scratches so I have to replace it, and I can afford that by then :-).

    I don't know if it's more or less scratch resistant than the old, I'd ask Paula at Linhof Studio as I think you need to know more about how the glass is manufactured to know about scratch resistance.

    I do have rubber feet on my favourite 20x loupe though, so it's not much of a scratch issue...

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    Mueller and Anders: I'm really surprised that the old Linhof GG and fresnel solution is so clumsy. 4mm seems a very, very big gap?
    The gap between the glass and fresnel is not 4mm, but the gap plus the fresnel thickness is about 4mm, ie you need a 4mm shorter base than if using the new ground glass with integrated fresnel.
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    it seems the 20x might be useful in some situations for me but that I'd probably end up using the 12x in 95% of situations regardless.
    Yes, I would certainly say that the 12x is what most will like and find sufficient, a nice tradeoff between magnification and field of view. If several users would test them both side by side I think only a small part would like me prefer the 20x, so it's special.

    The 20x is a focusing tool only, put it on a spot on the ground glass and focus, it's not useful for looking around in the picture as the field of view is too small for that. I rarely find a need for that though, I'm pleased with the unmagnified view for overview, and then just need to focus on a spot, and then I feel just a little bit safer with the 20x, for now at least. Maybe when I get used to the 12x I'll start using it more.
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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    I have this loupe too, but never used it as it arrived at the same time my 12x did. It's nice though, very small if not slightly low mag.

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    Coming into this late, but I use this Schneider 8x loupe that is no longer in production:



    I borrowed the photo from someone showing it at the large format forum (mine is missing paint!). It is a strong loupe (not 12x or 20x though), but it has served me well for 20+ years; it makes focusing on the grain of the ground glass a breeze. I think I paid about $75 US new and I am sure you can find them used for much less.

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    Re: What Loupe for Groundglass Focusing

    Hello Guys,
    i ve heard, that the kapture group sliding back with Maxwell groundglass is behind a glass for protection. This is fine. But could there be a problem with high magnification loupes like the silvestri 12x? Is anybody useing this sliding back?
    Thank you.
    Last edited by mueller123; 27th March 2014 at 14:10. Reason: Typing errors

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