soft focus prints with Fuji GS645S - rangefinder issue?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by paulwhiting, Nov 3, 2016.

  1. Hello,
    I've done a pretty thorough search here but no luck.
    My 8x10 prints are a bit soft - I scan the negs on an Epson 4490 flatbed scanner and print the scans on a dedicated b/w printer. I've used the same scanner/printer setup with some Rolleicord negs, and also some GA645 negs, and they're all quite sharp so I don't think my setup is the problem. Most of my subject matter is at or very close to infinity - historic buildings and streetscapes, that sort of thing. I should think with a wide angle lens, distant subjects, sunny day with small f/stops, that rangefinder adjustment being a bit off shouldn't matter. But what else could it be?
    It's in repair now, with a respected repair guy, and the rangefinder seems to be ok. But he and I are a bit puzzled. The camera is in very clean shape, doesn't look like it has suffered any abuse. Got it used on the auction site. The 120/220 selector plate was set at 120, I never use 220 film.
    Any suggestions are welcome! Thanks, all.
  2. Consider that it may have had a frontal impact... mine did when I got it used and it looked fine. But there was a plastic part broken in the lens mount that wasn't obvious. If yours is broken in such a way as to move the lens rearward a bit, it could be backfocusing, and at times beyond infinity. Just a thought... (I had sent mine to Frank Marshman at Camera Wiz, a Fuji expert, to free up a sticky RF).
  3. Very good thought, Doug, thank you. I'll pass that on to my repair guy.
  4. Look at the negs w/ a loupe on a light box, or taped to a window. It may not be the camera but the scans. As you say, stopped down w/ a wide angle lens things should be sharp even if infinity is off a bit. It's very easy to ck this by opening the back, putting the shutter on 'B', placing some Scotch Magic tape tautly across the film rollers, putting the camera on a tripod and focused at infinity, and using a loupe or a 50mm lens as one to see if the image on the tape is sharp.
    Even better is if you have a piece of a GG that you can lay on there instead of the tape. My GS645s took very sharp photos, but the shutter gave out and KEH couldn't get parts for it anymore. I never did get used to that loud shutter.
  5. Thanks, Steve,
    I do have a lightbox, and I examined my Fuji negs with a loupe. I found most of my 645 negs are quite sharp, and the few that aren't may be due to user error, sad to admit.
    Actually I talked with my repair guy this am and he had tried something similar to your second suggestion. He has a piece of ground glass for checking focus on cameras and his belief is that my rangefinder is in adjustment.
    As for the shutter noise, you're right about that. Actually, the whole camera does not inspire much confidence. But there are many features I like about it. And I remember that back in the 50's Agfa made a very simple P&S film camera called, are you ready for this, the "Agfa Clack"!
    It's been a useful exercise. I thank all for the feedback.
  6. Paul, you didn't mention processing the scanned files before printing. I use an Epson V700 and it's mandatory to touch up the images and add sharpening with Photoshop. I have scanned lots of 120 film and it's rare a file from the scanner is good enough to print.
  7. Thanks, David, I tried a little sharpening and it did help. Seemed to add a little noise, though - not too bad. BTW, I was using PS Elements 9, it has an Adjust Sharpness feature, not quite the same as Unsharp Mask, apparently.
    Thanks everyone, I think I've got this puppy licked.

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