"Brightscreen" vs "Maxwell Screen"

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by carlos_prado|2, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. Hi
    I finally have the money to buy either a "brightscreen" or "Maxwell screen" for my Hasselblad.
    Unofficial Maxwell Precision Optics Webpage
    However, I have read some many favorable reviews for both, that I cannot make up my mind which to buy.
    I would love to hear everyone's opinion regarding which of these two screens provides the best "SNAP FOCUS".
    What I mean, is that I want to choose the screen that allows your eye to snap the subject into focus the easiest/fastest.
    If anyone has owned both of these screens, please tell me which one you think helped you focus the fastest and had htat "contrasty" snap factor.
    By the way, I plan to shoot holding the camera at waist level and looking down at the focus-screen without the aid of the WLF "magnifier".
    Thanks everyone in advance.
  2. Carlos,
    After much deliberation I chose the Maxwell screen for my Rolleiflex 3.5F. I wasn't able to compare with a Brightscreen, but many of the folks in the Medium Format--> Rollei forum suggested the Maxwell. It was a major improvement over the Rollei screen that was installed (from about 1969 I'd guess). Hope this helps...
  3. I have a Maxwell screen in my Rollie also, and like it a lot. Never tried the Brightscreen, so can't compare them directly.
  4. SCL


    I used a Maxwell and Britescreen both in a Bronica I had about 12 years ago. It came with a britescreen which the previous owner had installed...I had some difficulty focusing all focal length lenses with it. So I got hold of Bill Maxwell and he sent me one of his, which worked better for me. I later asked him about one for my Leitz Visoflex, and he told me (quite correctly) that he could optimize it for longer focal lengths (like 400mm) or shorter (like 65-90mm), but there wasn't a happy medium...in one case I would get severe vignetting by using the wrong lens. I forget which I opted for now, but I was a little disappointed when I installed it, as it didn't give me the brightness I was seeking.
  5. Would your money not also get you an Acute Matte screen, Carlos?<br>If so, do.
  6. I have a Maxwell in my Linhof 5x4 and the focus is really good, not quite as snappy as the original Linhof screen, but it is so much brighter and easier to use that I would readily recommend it.
    I also have a Bronica S2A with the Brightscreen, and this is amazingly bright, the only camera that I can focus from waistlevel. When magnified though I find it a bit hard to instantly find critical focus, it's actually better from waistlevel when I'm wearing glasses. I don't know if this is typical of Brightscreens or not, but it seems that the earlier coarse ground glasses are slightly better for critical focus...a bit of a trade off then.
    I recently looked through a late model 500 'Blad with a standard brightscreen and it is quite amazing how much brighter it is than my older 500C...maybe need to change too!
  7. Tony
    So, if I plan to shoot my Hassy at waist level, without the use of the magnifier, you suggest the Brightscreen over the Maxwell?
    Did I understand you correctly?
  8. I've never used the Maxell. I own three Bronica ETRS bodies. Several (maybe 20) years ago I put a Britescreen or an Intenscreen (can't recall which) into one of them. Today, they all look the same and my feelings are I should not have spent the money. You should also know that these screens often achieve the brighter effect at the cost of reduced contrast. Since the human eye relies on contrast to help focus, it's a downside IMO. YMMV.
    That said I recall when Hasselblad came out with a new Acute-Matte screen system which produced a brighter but still contrasty image -- it was a revelation.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  9. The bottom line and general consensus has always been that the Maxwell is best overall. The Intenscreen is bright, but not so easy to focus.
  10. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    Hmm. It said "bad connection and that this hadn't gone through. But it lied.
  11. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    The better "look" and the best balance between brightness and contrast is the Maxwell screen. They can take a while to get, and you may have the option of getting your current screen converted or a newly manufactured screen. OTOH I've never used the Acu-Matte screen which if its available for use in your Hasselblad, you should consider too, simply on the basis that you don't get negative comments at all.
  12. Actually, maybe using the camera w/o using the magnifier may not be the best idea? I had trouble doing that using any screen in my blads. You'd probably do just as well by scale focusing/shooting at hyperfocal settings. Medium format doesn't have a lot of DOF unless you're stopping it down pretty good, so focus is critical to sharp photos. I tried several different screens in my camera, and in the end the original screen that came with it (not the brighter accu matte) gave the best snap. It wasn't the brightest, but it was easier for me to focus. This was echoed when I was trying out different screens in my Rolleiflex TLR's. The cut down Mamiya screens gave me more snap than the brighter screens, and were a heck of a lot cheaper. I found out that brighter screens did not automatically lead to easier focusing.
    Truthfully though, everyone's eyes are different, so if you could find a camera w/ the screens you mentioned and try it first, you'd be in better shape.

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