An Unfortunate Error and Some Bad Luck

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by coryammerman, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Some may remember my recent post ( about the Super Richoflex I acquired recently that was loaded with fungus. Well I managed to run a roll through it over the last week. Two weeks from acquisition of the camera to finished images is some kind of record for me recently.
    I'm happy to say that neither the fungus nor my cleaning seems to have had a negative effect on the lens. I am, however, rather unhappy to say that my attempt to re-calibrate the focus when putting the camera back together was rather spectacularly unsuccessful (this is the unfortunate error referenced in the title). When the image is focused in the viewfinder, the resulting image is horribly back-focused. When set to infinity, the taking lens is actually focused well beyond infinity, leaving nothing in the image in focus. I'm not sure whether I inadvertently adjusted focus on the taking lens when putting everything back together or if the scotch tape I used for a ground glass substitute was off of the film plane. Regardless of the cause, out of the whole roll of 12 images, only 3 were in focus. If it hadn't been sunny out so that I was forced to used small apertures due to the shutter's top speed of 1/200, these three probably would have been unusable as well.
    Joe's "Sputnik" Sign
    I started the roll this past Sunday and got halfway through before being chased home by a rainstorm. It's probably just as well, since this is the only image from that half of the roll that was in focus. Most of the images on this roll show a lighter band on one side or the other, similar to the one on the right in this image. I'm not sure if this is a light leak or a scanner issue, since the images from my Yashica Mat also showed this issue. The light seals in both cameras seem to be in good shape and I used the bottom half of the ever-ready cases in both instances, which should help keep light out. I'll have to investigate the negatives a bit further.
    Ramp and River
    Yesterday, I headed down to the Mississippi river to finish the roll. This is the handicap access to the dock at the recently completed Beale Street Landing. I took a couple of shots of the building itself, but they'd probably give you a headache if I posted them. This shot is not quite right either. When viewed larger, you can see that the water in the background is in better focus than either the ramp or the railing in front. I was actually focusing on the upright support on the front of the ramp.
    Walkin' Man
    This shot is where the bad luck came in to play. I'm actually quite pleased with the composition and exposure, though the lens didn't do a great job of handling the flare. I intentionally underexposed the sky and used an orange filter, which I had to hold in front of the lens without getting my fingers in the shot. The problems occurred after developing.
    I do my developing in a spare bathroom. After developing, I hang the roll to dry from the shower rod via a wire clothes hanger and two weighted clamp-on hooks, one at either end of the roll. When I hung the wire hanger on the shower rod this time, the roll somehow fell off and, wouldn't you know, the upper hook landed directly in the center of this frame. It didn't scratch the emulsion somehow, but it did leave a decent sized indention that kept the film from drying evenly and left some streaks of something on the emulsion. You can probably still see where I did some cloning to try to cover it up.
    I'll go ahead and try to re-calibrate the focus again, though I don't think this camera will get a whole lot of use. While the image quality is good, the relatively slow maximum shutter speed is pretty limiting in bright light. Also, this camera lacks automatic frame spacing and double exposure prevention. There were several times where I had to stop and mentally count the shots I'd taken to try to remember if I had advanced the film.
    Technical details- I believe all three of these images were shot at f11. The film was Delta Pro 100 and was developed in T-Max (1+4) for 7 mins at 68F. Scanned with Epson V600 @ 600 dpi. The only post processing I did was re-sizing and dust clean up.
  2. I think that whatever the problems, the images are "dreamy" in the best sense of the term.
    Some people try to do this sort of thing.
    Good luck with the re-calibration, though.
  3. When calibrating twin lens cameras that have lenses synchonised with gear teeth, look for an individual tooth on each lens assembly that may have a factory witness mark. Had you thought of it before disassembly, you could have made your own witness mark with colored fingernail polish. To calibrate, start both lenses at the same time on their respective helix. By trial and error and lots of patience, you will succeed.
  4. Interesting results. Its always discouraging when things don't work out, especially when there are other demands on your time.
    Its always tricky to set the taking lens. The scotch tape needs to in the same position as the film, its a bit of a lottery where that is. I normally set up a focus target on the wall, say a sheet of newspaper with bold print, brightly lit, at ten feet distance. Verify that the viewing lens gives a sharp image on the ground glass at this setting on the distance scale. To set the taking lens you need to slacken the retaining screws and remove the geared ring, then turn the lens in its thread until the image is sharp. I use a loupe (usually a 50mm SLR lens) to examine the image. Then replace the geared ring and tighten the screws, and check focus at different distances including a distant object for infinity.
    But I guess you already did this.
  5. I bought a Super Ricohflex a couple years back from a local camera store. It came with the accessory Ricoh auto-stop already installed. It's been a few years since I've shot this camera but if I remember it right, the spacing is so tight that you can get 13 shots on a normal roll of film.
  6. A sad tale, Cory, but a familiar one, and I'm sure you'll get it right eventually. I spent some time undertaking a similar exercise with a Lubitel, but the Ricohflex is much more worth the effort.
  7. I do not own a Ricohflex but a similar TLR with "geared focussing", a french made Kinaflex.
    I am pretty sure that the toothed rings on both lens assemblies of your cameras are secured by set screws.
    To calibrate the focus, you can proceed as follows:
    - remove the collar from the viewing lens
    - set the taking lens to inf by using a ground glass across the film gate. Make sure the ground glass sits on the film guide rails/edges.
    - turn the viewing lens until you see the objects in inf distance as clear as possible
    - press the collar on the viewing lens WITHOUT moving the taking and viewing lens, and tighten the set screws.
  8. oops, should read:
    - press the collar on the viewing lens barrel WITHOUT moving the taking and viewing lens and make sure that the oo mark is in proper position (there is always a stop at the oo position, try to catch it with the collar) and tighten the screws.
  9. Thanks for the comments everyone. I give it another go at calibrating the focus. I actually did scribe a faint line on the gears before removing the lenses, and the did line back up when I reassembled them, but something is still off somewhere. ken, I'll have to keep an eye out for that Autostop thing. My memory is not what it once was. I had a had time remembering if I had would the film or not. I assume there is still no double exposure prevention, though.
  10. I try to get into the habit of advancing the film immediately after taking a picture.
    Another trick I've read about (but not tried) is this: after making an exposure, wind part way towards the next frame, so that when you look at the red window and see no number there, you know to advance to the next number.
  11. I'm sorry the focus was off. I think it is quite capable and do hope you go back to it and get it right. I would
    like to see a new post after that. I think any system work.. consistency is the key. I always wind just
    before shooting.. I think John S.'s tip is a good one about putting it halfway.. but again be consistent.
    I really liked the Sputnik pic and the one Walking Man was also good!

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