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Thread: Vibrations & the Contax 645

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    Vibrations & the Contax 645

    In another thread I began discussing vibration and the Contax 645.

    I've found that when shooting the 350/4, the Contax' shutter causes enough vibration to render the resulting image critically unsharp.

    I've isolated the problem to shutter induced because I'm using mirror-lockup, which also stops down the lens and I'm using a remote electronic release. The system doesn't have any other moving parts. Technique-wise, I wait 6-10s after mirror up to fire, to ensure residual vibrations are damped. All controls on support, heads (if present) and collar are tight.

    I have tried shooting both indoor and outdoor (in my home, a parking lot as well as in a large commercial building.) To completely eliminate the ground as a variable, I also shot on a vibration isolating Edmund Optics pneumatic table (isolates the shooting surface from building vibration) just to see if there was surprise variable involved here. No indications that the vibrations were coming from outside the camera/support system.

    Next, I shot a number different tripods (my own 8-year-old Manfrotto carbon-fiber tripod, a giant Gitzo 5561SGT and a more practical Gitzo 2540. To eliminate variables, the lens' foot was screwed directly and tightly to the support. Shockingly (well, to me, anyway), using the above-mentioned technique, all the tripods gave roughly the same results, which showed significant vibration (resolving tree bark at ~60ft.)

    When adding in my Acratech GV2 and leveling base I did find that the head did not change the performance, but the leveling base definitely worsened it. So my Acratech leveling base is now benched.

    I tried sandbag weight on the camera itself, as well as strapped my 25+ backpack to the legs, the lens and the camera itself.

    I was able to get good results OFTEN with the bag weighting the tripod (but not consistently), and not really much improvement with either the weights or my bag hanging from the lens or camera.

    I have more testing to do to get consistent results, but that's where I'm at so far.

    Any thoughts or input welcome. I'll post a 100% crop or two later today so you can all see what I'm talking about.

    Best regards,
    -Brad

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I owned the Contax 645 for several years and had an number of lenses (although not the 300 something) I never encountered any vibration problems.

    I disliked several other thing on this camera, bit vibration was NEVER an issue for me in all shooting situations - also available light and long exposure times (1/30 - 1/8 sec).

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Thanks, Peter, that is good to know. As you'll be able to see from pictures I'll post, the image degradation is pretty dramatic.

    I do have a backup camera, and will see if it vibrates to the same degree--up until now, I'd just assumed that they were all the same. Thanks for the heads-up! You know they say we should never assume...

    Ok so here are a few choice samples from the testing I've done so far. I tend to like testing against tree bark, because it as "infinite detail", and, well, I'm a nature photographer . None of these have been processed in any way (no sharpening, white balance is effectively random, and exposure has been chosen specifically to live at or around 1/15s (this is an area where it is particularly difficult to get sharp pictures), even if it means underexposing the subject (target aperture is f/8, but I've used from f/5.6 to f/11 for the tests). And, it probably goes without saying, I trust no one will be looking for artistic merit, as you'll be disappointed... :sleep006:

    Sample #1
    350/4 @ f/5.6 and 1/15s on Acratech GV2 + Acratech Leveling Base on Manfrotto 3444 Carbon Fiber Tripod; Bottom 2 legs extended. Mirror lockup 6+ second delay, remote trigger. No wind. Unweighted. Subject distance is ~12m.


    Sample #1 - 100% crop


    Sample #2
    350/4 @ f/5.6 and 1/8s on Acratech GV2 + Acratech Leveling Base on Manfrotto 3444 Carbon Fiber Tripod; Bottom 2 legs extended. Mirror lockup 6+ second delay, remote trigger. No wind. Unweighted. Subject distance is ~10m.


    Sample #2 - 100% Crop


    Sample #3
    350/4 @ f/11 and 1/15s with lens foot directly attached to Gitzo 5561SGT tripod (no tripod head); Bottom leg segment extended. Mirror lockup 6+ second delay, remote trigger. Very slight wind. Unweighted. Subjet distance is ~20m.


    Sample #3 - 100% Crop

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Let we come to the conclusion that the system can't deliver a clear picture:
    Sample #4
    350/4 @ f5.6 and 1/2s on Acratech GV2 + Acratech Leveling Base on Manfrotto 3444 Carbon Fiber Tripod; Bottom 2 legs extended. Mirror lockup 6+ second delay, remote trigger. No wind. Weighted with ~10kg backpack strapped to tripod. Subject distance is ~10m.


    Sample #4 - 100% Crop (it's still not biting crazy tack-sharp, but remember these are completely unsharpened. But my point is that I do not see vibration--any lack of bite may also be a focus error.)


    I am surprised at how much the shutter vibration is blurring the picture. It's clear that I can improve things quite a bit when I weight the system, but even that doesn't deliver every time.

    I'll be spending more time to suss this out, because the last thing anybody wants is to go through the trouble of climbing even a small mountain like this and come home only to discover that the pictures are blurry (thankfully, not the case here)...



    Best regards,
    -Brad
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 2nd May 2009 at 14:06.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Interesting observations Bradley. I wonder if the issue is specific to your camera...I guess you may have to borrow a few to really know. OR organize a few people with your back/camera/lens/tripod combinations to test and see themselves.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Yes, agreed. I do have a backup that I hadn't really thought to try until Peter's post above. If it performs similarly, I have a friend fairly nearby who also shoots Contax/P45+.

    Perhaps he and I will have to get together to get to the bottom of this.

    -Brad

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    as an afterthought - Bradley - do you have a similar problem with other lenses?
    I say this because the other day my FE 110/2 just fell apart ( literally)..it may be a lens issue..

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I have the same problem with the 350/4 and my Contax bodies, it doesn't happen with any other lenses besides this one. I only bought mine few months ago and haven't spent any time trouble shooting it yet. I spent half with it realized that I don't have the right tools, technique, to use it, so it went back on the shelf till I get motivated to use it again. Thanks for posting, now I know what steps you've taken so I'll try other thing, but I did try the radio remote and weighing the tripod down but that didn't help.

    One thing though, there's no way that I'm carrying this beast up any mountain or even a hill anytime soon, all the more power to you Bradley!

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I'll test my Contax with the Hassy 350 SA as soon as I get a replacement 2CR5 battery for it (none to be found locally). I'm assuming that the lens has a tripod plate and that's how you're mounting it. I'll go out on a limb and say I'll be quite surprised if I don't get better results.

  10. #10
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    I'm assuming that the lens has a tripod plate and that's how you're mounting it.
    Of course, otherwise the lens would pull out the mount straight away.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    maybe the tripod plate is not that great?

    I think there are various Nikon Tele lenses where the tripod plate is the weak point.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Thanks for all the help, guys!

    DavidK and t_streng: One of the reasons I screwed the lens foot directly into the tripod for the parking lot test (Sample #3) was to eliminate the tripod plate and the tripod head as a variable. Still got bad pictures even with no tripod plate--I doubt it's the issue.

    ddk: That is very interesting... It's very helpful to know that I'm not alone in my experiences... I too have not noticed vibration being an issue with any other lens. It may be an issue with the lens foot. I will (carefully) attempt to take pictures with the camera as the attach point to the tripod, to see if the 350/4's collar is, in fact the culprit. If it's not that, it's hard to see how the heaviest lens in the lineup would be the most susceptible to vibration! Thanks for this--it will help.

    PeterA: I've also got the 35/3.5, 45/2.8, 80/2.0, 140/2.8 and 1.4x TC, and have not noticed this issue with any other lens. I look at most of my work at 1:1--certainly everything that I like, and have only observed this with the 350/4. After ddk's confirmation that he's seen similar behavior with his lens, I begin to suspect the 350/4's tripod collar may be the culprit. I have time today and will test this idea.

    Best regards,
    -Brad

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    as an afterthought - Bradley - do you have a similar problem with other lenses?
    I say this because the other day my FE 110/2 just fell apart ( literally)..it may be a lens issue..
    Can you describe it closer, i.e. did parts start getting loose, or how did it progress, and which parts fell off? I have one of these and would like to know what to look for, in case it happens for me too.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Update for those interested in this issue.

    IMHO the Contax 645 and 350/4 suffer from a serious stability problem.

    After a number of hours testing different ways to dial out the problem and checking the results, I can report I can now produce an image that borders on what I'd consider 'critically sharp'.

    To do this, though, I loaded the tripod with various amounts of weight at various places (including suspended from the camera itself) to see what would have the greatest effect.

    In the end, I created a harness to suspend 22kg (!) from the foot of the lens almost straight down, and an additional 6kg suspended from the camera.

    Remember the camera, lens and back themselves weigh another 6kg, so the Manfrotto/Bogen 3444 tripod successfully supported a total of 34kg (75lbs for those in the US).

    Anyway, with that ridiculous amount of weight, the image was crisping up.

    All I have with me in the field will be my pack. So I plan to use it as ballast to weigh down the tripod to dampen vibrations. I'll need to find another solution to emulate the extra 6kg required to dampen the elasticity out of the Contax 645/Tele-ApoTessar combination.

    At the moment, I'm thinking of something along the lines of this, except supporting the camera instead of the front of the lens.

    I also took shots at high shutter speeds today to confirm that they also look very nice.

    Sample #5: 1/15s, f/8, mirror lockup, 6+ second delay, remote trigger. No sharpening, bicubic downsampled. Subject distance ~20m.


    Sample #5- 100% detail - Acceptably sharp - a small amount of vibration remains visible (to my eye, at least). No sharpening.


    Other notes of interest:
    * I tried my backup Contax 645 camera -- exactly the same behavior (lots of blur at moderately low shutter speeds).
    * I tried clamping the camera to the tripod and allowing the lens to hang in free space (as one does with every other lens in the Contax lineup). This improved the blur significantly. Add weight to the tripod, and this may yield good results. I was not comfortable with the unbalance of that system, so I can't recommend this as a solution.

    Any thoughts or suggestions on how to increase the rigidity of the camera and lens together (and remain field-portable)?

    -Brad
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 3rd May 2009 at 17:00.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Brad,

    Have you called RRS to see if they have a suggestion? Your idea about using their long lens kit to support the camera sounds like a good one, given that the camera is kind of hanging out there on the back of a giant lens. But maybe they've dealt with this before and could suggest some other solution.

    It's almost like there's a flex on the camera/lens combination that needs elimination. You could always go with two tripods like LF shooters sometimes do when they're using a long lens/bellows.

    Steve

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Brad,
    You could always go with two tripods like LF shooters sometimes do when they're using a long lens/bellows.

    Steve
    Or even a tripod plus a monopod.

    Brad, I appreciate you sharing your experiences on this. Earlier up this thread I was going to ask if you'd considered shoot with body and lens nestled in sandbags to see if it would avoid the flex. Thinking along the lines of what is sometimes used for long-range rifle shooting.

    It sounds like you've narrowed things down nicely. Thanks again.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Hey, guys, my pleasure.

    I'm definitely going to think twice before hauling the big beast up a mountain, but eventually it will happen. And when it does, every gram of weight will count. Hopefully I can find a good stiff rail to solve my problems, because a second support (even my carbon fiber monopod) is just too much. In fact, last winter I went out and bought Gitzo's lightest weight CF tripod, because my current CF tripod is just too much weight. It's too flimsy for the weight I put on it, but it's better than nothing...



    When you're up here, you're cursing the weight, but once you get back, you're so glad you brought the right gear for the job.

    It's a love/hate kinda thing!

    -Brad

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    That last shot is a beauty Bradley.

    Carsten - I shall report back on the FE in due course. It is currently with a repairer. Te hfirst symptom was a free wheeling focus ring...I took the lens in for repair and it was either going to need a tighetning of the focus ring - OR the whole assembly had somehow come out of its internal mounts.

    I dont bang my gear around everythign I have ever bought is kept immaculate. The lens as all my lenses was sitting in its padded bag withing a padded cell in a padded camera bag - all very strange - but pretty much has convinced me to stop buying used gear from anyone except one or two people I have dealt with for years - and my local shop - where the fix would be handled no question asked.

    Sadly this is not the first occurrence of paying top dollar for stuff that doesnt work, is broken or malfunctions from forums I have had now one too many lemons sold to me from OS - never gain I have no trust left. I have calculated that I hav espent over $3000 US over the last year - reparing stuff I bought from this forum....

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Thanks, Peter.

    >I have had now one too many lemons sold to me from OS - never gain I have no trust left. I have calculated that I hav espent over $3000 US over the last year - reparing stuff I bought from this forum....

    Nothing of mine, I hope?

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Bradley,

    Have you ever tried the Gimbal tripod head? I remember from the PhotoPlus Expo, that many of the camera manufacturers used this tripod head to hold their LONG LENSES with the camera bodies attached. I'm not sure if this will help solve your problem, maybe worth a try?

    Evan


    Wimberley Gimbal Type Tripod Head II - with Arca Swiss-Type Quick Release Base (Requires Plate)

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I have.

    The majority of this problem seems to be coming from the elasticity of the camera/lens combination itself. Even putting the system onto a vibration isolating table (scientific instrument) weighing a couple of hundred pounds didn't help with sharpness.

    Today, the way I weighted the lens AND the camera gave a decent (but not ideal) result. I think eliminating the flex will be Job 1. Once that's done, damping the rest of the system should be pretty straightforward.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Bradley, from what you describe, you either have a decentered lens element, or you have a problem with your lens/body mount (or possibly both). Is the lens-body mount coupling rock solid, or is there some play? Any amount of play here could easily destroy the image quality. Also, a tiny lens registration distance error could show up as blur, since the effect could be like adding a tiny extension tube to the lens. Can you confirm infinity focus with the 350? If not, then you have a registration distance error (and could still have the other problems).

    First, you should see if you can get a crisp image at very high shutter speed, like 1/2000. This will tell you just how much vibration is a factor. If this image is still not crisp, then your problem is one of the above, and not about shutter vibration. If it is crisp (corner to corner), then I would next tape a laser level to the camera and study the vibrations to see what is going on near the slower shutter speeds.

    Also, if you have a 210 that delivers crisp images at the same f-stop and shutter speeds (and similar object range) whereas your 350 images are not crisp, then the problem is entirely with the 350 lens; otherwise, the body mount may also be at fault.

    David

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Bradley - all your stuff is good.

    and I agree with teh comments above re teh possibility of a flawed lens/lens mount. Also note that Jack refuses to shoot @ 1/15th with his gear as he sees thisis the single worst shutter speed in terms of vibration ertc.

    3 variables ot consider - shoudl be easy for you to isolate.

    Cheers.

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    Thanks, Peter.

    >I have had now one too many lemons sold to me from OS - never gain I have no trust left. I have calculated that I hav espent over $3000 US over the last year - reparing stuff I bought from this forum....

    Nothing of mine, I hope?

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Don't know if this will help ... that's one big lens and when I used it to do some pin registered stop action sequences (which shows up even the slightest movement when the images are layered and animated), I ended up hanging a saddle type shot bag over the lens near the center just above the tripod mount.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    David, by around 1/250th the lens is sharp. I'd like to shoot it high noon on a very bright day to go even faster at an aperture smaller than wide open. But from the limited testing I've done so far at fast shutter speeds, all this stuff seems to disappear.

    Peter, yup, I agree with Jack--1/15th is probably the worst place to be shooting. (That's why I picked it, actually). If I can figure out how to get the shot to be pin-sharp at around 1/15th, every other shutter speed should be all the better for it. And good to know everything is working "just as advertised".

    Thanks,
    -Brad

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Bradley,

    One other issue you are dealing with that has not been specifically mentioned, and that is the magnification factor of the lens. Obviously the longer the lens, the more the vibration will be seen. I suspect you would see this same behavior at 1/8th - 1/30th with a 210, albeit less obvious than with the 300. HOWEVER -- and this is an important point -- most 300's have a tripod foot, and most 210's don't... With the lens hanging off the front of the camera, the point with the most tolerance (read slop) for movement is the lens-mount. With the lens unsupported gravity is your friend as it adds a downward vector that "tightens" the mount slop up. Moreover, the structure with the offending vibration -- the camera body -- is being directly supported which will reduce vibration due to a shorter moment vector (the shutter is almost directly over the point of support). Now mount the same system under the center of the lens, and all of a sudden there is 1) less mass on the lens-mount joint so it is "looser" (read sloppier), and 2) the area under the shutter is now unsupported, and at a distance from the point of support increasing the moment arm and magnifying motion.

    So, here is something to try *IF* you need to shoot in the 1/8th through 1/30th speed ranges with the 300 (or any long lens on any camera system) regularly. Get a Bogen "Magic Arm" and clamp one end to a tripod leg about half-way down the top leg section. Attach the other end to your camera body's base plate. NOW place a sandbag over the lens close to the lens-mount and you should have far better results. (Unfortunately, it is more of a PITA to adjust this assembly quickly, but will probably solve your vibration problem with that lens...)

    Magic arm kit, you'll need to add a QR clamp: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...c_Arm_Kit.html

    5 LB sand bag should be enough, but you could also fill it with lead shot for about 8 to 10 pounds: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...a_Sandbag.html

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  27. #27
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Bradley,

    One other issue you are dealing with that has not been specifically mentioned, and that is the magnification factor of the lens. Obviously the longer the lens, the more the vibration will be seen. I suspect you would see this same behavior at 1/8th - 1/30th with a 210, albeit less obvious than with the 300. HOWEVER -- and this is an important point -- most 300's have a tripod foot, and most 210's don't... With the lens hanging off the front of the camera, the point with the most tolerance (read slop) for movement is the lens-mount. With the lens unsupported gravity is your friend as it adds a downward vector that "tightens" the mount slop up. Moreover, the structure with the offending vibration -- the camera body -- is being directly supported which will reduce vibration due to a shorter moment vector (the shutter is almost directly over the point of support). Now mount the same system under the center of the lens, and all of a sudden there is 1) less mass on the lens-mount joint so it is "looser" (read sloppier), and 2) the area under the shutter is now unsupported, and at a distance from the point of support increasing the moment arm and magnifying motion.

    So, here is something to try *IF* you need to shoot in the 1/8th through 1/30th speed ranges with the 300 (or any long lens on any camera system) regularly. Get a Bogen "Magic Arm" and clamp one end to a tripod leg about half-way down the top leg section. Attach the other end to your camera body's base plate. NOW place a sandbag over the lens close to the lens-mount and you should have far better results. (Unfortunately, it is more of a PITA to adjust this assembly quickly, but will probably solve your vibration problem with that lens...)

    Magic arm kit, you'll need to add a QR clamp: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...c_Arm_Kit.html

    5 LB sand bag should be enough, but you could also fill it with lead shot for about 8 to 10 pounds: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...a_Sandbag.html

    Cheers,
    I've tried the magic arm, but the combination is too restrictive for me in the field and I wont even open my mouth regarding the sand/lead bags. I don't know what most of you want to shoot with this lens but I find majority of the solutions here unrealistic for real situations, at least in my realm when I have a need for such a lens. Personally, I like to be able to freely compose and recompose on the fly while looking through the finder and all these extra accessories simply get in the way. I haven't tried shooting with this lens at higher shutter speeds (1/1000th+), I will once it stops raining here in NY. I hope that it works properly, if not the lens will join the long list of wonderful gadgets I've collected over the years but have no use for. Then I'd rather use the 210mm with a high mp back that has a crop factor like the new P40+ and crop a bit if necessary, a more realistic solution imo and much lighter on your back too when going up the mountain.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    David,

    Agreed, but as I said above,

    "*IF* you need to shoot in the 1/8th through 1/30th speed ranges with the 300 (or any long lens on any camera system) regularly."

    and

    "(Unfortunately, it is more of a PITA to adjust this assembly quickly, but will probably solve your vibration problem with that lens...)"

    ,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  29. #29
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    David,

    Agreed, but as I said above,

    "*IF* you need to shoot in the 1/8th through 1/30th speed ranges with the 300 (or any long lens on any camera system) regularly."

    and

    "(Unfortunately, it is more of a PITA to adjust this assembly quickly, but will probably solve your vibration problem with that lens...)"

    ,
    Unfortunately I've seen the vibration issue even at 1/500!

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I believe it. I never owned the 300 when I shot my Contax, but I had a similar problem with Nikon and a 600 f4 and in the end simply gave up and sold the lens. Interestingly and getting back to MF, I have owned the 300 with the Mamiya AFD3 and can confirm it was *NOT* a huge issue with that combo, even at 1/15th which I purposely tested...

    FWIW,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    At what point does it make sense just to haul something like a 5D MkII and a 300mm F/4 lens rather than all the pain involved in hauling this and all the support neccesary to get a decent shot?

    You could haul all your existing kit and still come out ahead weight wise - something like 5lbs for a canon system vs 8lbs for the contax lens. It seems unlikely from what you've shown that you'd end up with any more resolution in the end with Contax lens.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I think maybe even just a simple bean bag approach maybe worth looking into trying. Just get a nice big bean bag about 8lbs get everything setup and just lay that on top of lens over the tripod head section area and just settle everything down. A lot of this depends on the mounting off all this . I like the lens tripod mount the best as it balances things out
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Got a chance to test out my kit... Contax 645 with 350 SA via Mam-1 adapter. Shot at 1/15th on tripod with top section of legs extended. No weights and just pressed the shutter. The first image is color corrected and sharpened. Looks pretty good to me...YMMV.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    David (no offence)- i dont think the first image ( or any image in fact) is sharp.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    David (no offence)- i dont think the first image ( or any image in fact) is sharp.
    None taken Pete, it's not sharp. I do think it's a bit sharper than Brad has gotten with his lens and posted it more to show him what I was getting. I really have no occasion to shoot at this shutter speed with a telephoto lens so the results don't particularly bother me. If I want sharp tele shots I get everything I need from the Nikon 300 2.8VR and a whole lot less hassle.

  36. #36
    jp mcgraw
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Bradley,

    I was recently doing a test with my Contax 645 and the 350 f4 and had the same problem that you have encountered. While I did not solve the problem, I remembered an article I read on the Luminous some time ago that talked about a stabilizing bar that attached to the base of the camera and fastened to one of the tripod legs in situations where the lens is mounted directly on the tripod head. I thought this might work. If I can find this , I'll let you know.

    Regards,
    John

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    David, the intriguing thing to me is that I don't see *vibration* in your 350SA images, with the same model camera and same amount of magnification. Hmmm... Thank you for posting them.

    John (and others), while I've pretty much ruled out the tripod-leg based stabilizer (too difficult to recompose, clumsy and slow to set up), I have two plans of attack:

    1) Find/create a rail to which both the camera and lens foot will attach. Mount this rail on the tripod head and see if the added rigidity resolves my problem.

    2) Look at a head with fluid damping - apparently this can make a big difference--Dr. Kornelius Fleischer (Mueller) formerly of Zeiss wrote about issues like this. Note that the one he refers to here costs ~$3000 and weighs 6kg--yes for a head! Obviously not a viable solution for me... Let's hope I can solve this with #1, above... FWIW, here is what he wrote in Camera Lens News back in 1998 (obviously, a film-centric guide):

    --

    10 Steps to success in high performance photography

    The following article is meant to be a ten step guide to images that are significantly sharper than average ones. Images that exploit the enormous optical potential of Carl Zeiss lenses, their ability to produce photos with phenomenal sharpness and impressive information content. This is the ten step method used by Carl Zeiss applications specialists to shoot the high resolution demo photos which challenge today's sharpest color films to their very limit.

    1.
    Select a high performance optic! If you don't, all subsequent steps are a waste of your time and effort.

    2.
    Attach your high performance optic to an adequate camera. To be adequate, the camera needs to have an all metal die cast housing, strong and large bottom plate with tripod thread preferably located under the center of gravity. If the camera has a detachable winder or motor attached underneath, you may want to take it off for better rigidity of the whole system. Do not simply assume that your camera is in perfect condition, rather have it double checked for correct back focal flange distance, and – in case your camera is an SLR – for perfect alignment of mirror and focusing screen in relation to the film plane.

    3.
    Place your camera and optic in a very rigid way onto a very stiff tripod and head, preferably with virtually no elasticity. Photo tripods usually prove insufficient for real high performance photography.

    You may wish to use a carbon fibre television tripod instead, with a fluid head featuring adjustable damping devices. Balance your camera properly on the fluid head, adjust the counterbalance dial for the weight of your camera and lens, choose high values on the damping system dials (e. g. 5 to 7 on a Sachtler "Video 18 Plus"), and do not fasten the brakes! This is the special trick with fluid heads: Use their damping systems, originally invented to enable the cameraman to perform smooth pans, to absorb equipment vibrations triggered by the shutter, instead. These vibrations could otherwise reduce or even destroy the optical resolution of fine structures.)

    4.
    Select a high performance film like Kodak Ektar 25 Professional or Kodak Royal Gold 25 (color negative), or Kodak Technical Pan (black & white) or Fuji-chrome Velvia (color transparency) and make sure it will be processed adequately. Films like the ones just mentioned offer a resolving power of 150 line pairs per millimeter and beyond.

    5.
    Use the split field indicator for focusing. Make sure the aperture is wide open. You may want to use accessories – small telescopes like the Carl Zeiss MiniQuick® 5 x 10 T* with 5x magnification are pretty handy for this task – to enlarge the center of your viewfinder image during focusing.

    6.
    Prefer f-stop settings in the region of 5.6 to 8. (To close the aperture down further will cost too much resolution due to the unavoidable phenomenon of diffraction (At f/8, diffraction will limit the resolution to 200 line pairs per millimeter or below, at f/5.6 the diffraction limit is at 280 line pairs per millimeter; see CLN 2). To open up the aperture more may cost too much resolution due to thermal expansion effects, film curvature due to moisture and temperature (The Real Time Vacuum System in the Contax RTS III does away with this problem). Mechanical tolerances due to wear and tear, rough handling and other influences like residual warpage of the focusing screen also recommend to open up no wider than 5.6 or 8.)

    7.
    Use the mirror pre-release feature, if your camera has it (Every camera that has it, needs it. The opposite is not true! Not every camera that comes without, can achieve high resolution photos.)

    8.
    Wrap your hands around the camera to absorb most of the vibrations that occur upon opening the focal plane shutter (you may not need a cable release at all). If your camera system gives you the freedom to use either focal plane or central shutter – like the Hasselblad 200-series cameras or the discontinued Rolleiflex SL 66, when combined with central shutter lenses – prefer the central shutter because of its inherently lower vibration levels.

    9.
    Take written notes of all parameters and settings (like: "Carl Zeiss Distagon 28 mm # 7.500.123, @ f/8, Contax RX # 10.531 @ 1/125, in Av-mode, Mar 3, 1998, focusing done with split field indicator for license plate in center of image, damping on fluid head: 7 on vertical, 5 on horizontal, license plate on truck 350 feet away, character line width on license plate: 3/8 inch.")

    10.
    Select a lab that is very quality conscious about equipment and materials and uses high performance optics in printers and enlargers. The best optics ever used in a lab for enlarging are Carl Zeiss S-Orthoplanar 4/60 and Carl Zeiss S-Biogon 5,6/40 for prints from 35 mm originals and Carl Zeiss S-Orthoplanar 5,6/105 for prints from medium format originals. These optics were originally developed for the extreme resolution demands of microdocumentation (beyond 150 line pairs per millimeter) and are, at magnifications of 10 x to 70 x, far superior to even the very best enlarging lenses currently available.


    Understanding and using these techniques will surely give you a better appreciation of the extremely high limits which Carl Zeiss has spent so much effort designing and manufacturing into their lenses. More than ever before, extremely careful and deliberate technique must be
    used to obtain the results of which the equipment is capable.

    Carl Zeiss Camera Lens News No. 4, spring 1998
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 5th May 2009 at 05:35.

  38. #38
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Any vibrating system is going to blur, ans with a 6 micron sensor it doesnt take much. Wind on the lens, or vibration thru the floor. Yes, the mirrow will slap, but is well damped.
    Tools need to be used as designed, and I never expected a 350mm lens, with its size and 'optical lever' was going to require anything less than TOTAL damping (lens and camera) or isolation.

    In the following I used my 350mm/ f4 Contax at f4 and iso 50. That got me to 125s not as low as the 1/15 above, but it was enough to show blur

    and how to stop it!

    In order
    1. the scene
    2. 2s delay (mirror up) with a good tripod mount
    3. 2s shutter using the manfrotto on the camera and the lens forward on mount for max stability
    4. The way I would normally ake the shot! 1000s
    5. A little help, that is all above were unprocessed and unsharpened. Here a little exposure boost and smart sharpen (I think 49%)

    2-5 are 100% crops of a 60MP image

    I think you click on the image to get the full size
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:23.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    here are th 1000s files
    plain
    and fixed in PS
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:23.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Bradley - fascinating reading - especially the bit about using specialist tripod mounting.

    My 300MM HC arrives in the next day or so..I will make some tests using it as is as well as with the 1.7X extender. I have given up trying to use my FE 250F4 with or without 1.4X extender on a 200 series body - the mirror slap is ungovernable..- I await Son's delivery of a Contax body to test.

    As a side note - many may not be happy to hear that the 645 Mamiya body (ahem) does not have as good engineered infrastructure in it - to fine tune focus as other body types.

    Victor - all i can see with yoru 'fixed' crop is totally blown highlights....but impressive detail in the non cropped shot - even on a screen.

  41. #41
    ddk
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    In the following I used my 350mm/ f4 Contax at f4 and iso 50. That got me to 125s not as low as the 1/15 above, but it was enough to show blur

    and how to stop it!

    In order
    1. the scene
    2. 2s delay (mirror up) with a good tripod mount
    3. 2s shutter using the manfrotto on the camera and the lens forward on mount for max stability
    You lost me here Victor, do you mean using the Manfrotto support arm mentioned by Jack above?

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Bradley - fascinating reading - especially the bit about using specialist tripod mounting.

    My 300MM HC arrives in the next day or so..I will make some tests using it as is as well as with the 1.7X extender. I have given up trying to use my FE 250F4 with or without 1.4X extender on a 200 series body - the mirror slap is ungovernable..- I await Son's delivery of a Contax body to test.

    As a side note - many may not be happy to hear that the 645 Mamiya body (ahem) does not have as good engineered infrastructure in it - to fine tune focus as other body types.

    Victor - all i can see with yoru 'fixed' crop is totally blown highlights....but impressive detail in the non cropped shot - even on a screen.
    Peter, when you do get to the HC 300, read up on the mirror delay feature for hand held work or working without putting the mirror up with that lens. Pretty interesting.

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Peter, when you do get to the HC 300, read up on the mirror delay feature for hand held work or working without putting the mirror up with that lens. Pretty interesting.

    Hi Marc - I will do that , currently have 50ms plugged in as a standard delay for hand held....on a tripod I will use mirror up as well.

  44. #44
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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    You lost me here Victor, do you mean using the Manfrotto support arm mentioned by Jack above?
    Yes. Delay leaves blur, still. the bar helps, but not as much as just going to 1000s. However, haven't gone back to 'fix' the second shot to see what could be done. I suspect it could be a good shot.

    I guess I just don't see the 350 at f4 being a tool to use at 1/15s

    BTW, the 60MP backs don't YET seem to be straining the zeiss lenses. I'm happy, but then I use a 2x FL as a ROT for shutter speed. I guess I never had a scene that need a telephoto that wasn't moving more than camera vibrations.

    We all push the envelope, but I rarely shoot wide open, don't have the need for long exposures with a long lens.

    Then of course there is such a thing as LIGHT! In many cases, that works too!

    Victor

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I just shot some Adox CHS 25 on my Contax 645 with the Macro 120 on the weekend, on an aluminium tripod. This film is fine-grained enough that I might be able to see if there were any ill effects around 1/15s. I will update when I have developed and scanned the film.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post

    - Victor all i can see with yoru 'fixed' crop is totally blown highlights....but impressive detail in the non cropped shot - even on a screen.
    Well your eyes are better than my PS at 100%
    I used the navigator, and spent 10min trying to find 255 255 255

    nope not there, but then most monitors CLAIM 8 bits but are really 6-7bits

    No there is nothing blown, but there IS a lot of contrast (actually, I would not feel badly if there WERE blown HLTs. All I did was increase xposure to see the definition of the plant better.)

    The message to me is not that Contax or any other camera has vibration; that's afact of life. The question is how to mitigate. SO far the only real success I have had (other than weights and second bar stabilizer) is to shorten exposure. (and get the light or ISO up, or, with good DR, underexpose minus 1-2EV))

    Victor

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    I just moved up to a 5 series Gitzo tripod (5541LS) and it has helped quite a bit. (My old tripod was a 2541)

    Now if I can just hire a Sherpa to lug the damned thing around %@*&

    Woody

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    woody
    As you see above I was only partially successful with Manfrotto arm (on a 5 series gitzo witha Jobo gimbal)

    Are you aware of any clamp for the FRONT of the lens that would give 3 pt rigidity

    Theretically should work, and should be that expensive

    (BTW, the click and slap of mirrors are around middle C or 250HZ. so about 1-2 feet pretty consistent with the length of the Contax plus 350mm and hood

    I guess the mirror slap coul be the issue, but not after 2sec delay.
    I stil think it is a fundamental resonance of a few hundred Hz, so you gotta get over 1/350 anyway.

    How hAVE YOU BEEN. sTILL HAVE THE hASSEY?

    BEST REGARDS
    vICTOR

    PS Love the len I got from you!

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Woody,

    Sherpa? You need to putting those grandkids to better use.

    Kurt

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    Re: Vibrations & the Contax 645

    Update for folks:

    I've sent the Contax 350/4 back for a refund, as I was unable to get critically sharp photographs from it. It may be that I had a decentered element or some such contributing to the performance, but all I can do is look at the results.

    I purchased a Hasselblad FE 350/4 to replace it. I took some test shots with it, and can confirm that you do want the APO when dealing with telephoto glass. Vibration characteristics are still there, but are somewhat different from the Contax, which leads me to believe the Contax' lens foot may be contributing to the issue.

    It looks like I'll be sending the FE 350/4 back as well.

    *sigh* Anybody got a 300/2.8 tele-superachromat they'd like to lend a nice guy indefinitely??
    -Brad

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