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Author Topic: Linhof Techno, can you really focus with it?  (Read 10517 times)
Lulumi
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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2012, 03:13:30 AM »
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I have used my techno with slidingback and IQ180 for several weeks.
It is easy to focusing on groundglass with  Fresnel Screen (002523).
So I am happy to changing alpa and arTec system to techno.
And I will sell out my alpa and arTec cameras recently.
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torger
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« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2012, 04:40:36 AM »
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I have used my techno with slidingback and IQ180 for several weeks.
It is easy to focusing on groundglass with  Fresnel Screen (002523).

What is the shortest focal length you use? What kind of light conditions have you tried? My main concern is short focal lengths (around 35mm) in darker situations like late evenings or early mornings, that it in those situations might not be possible to check focus in the corners, hard to see the effect of tilt etc. What kind of loupe do you use, a 6x?

Another use case I'd like to work well is taking photographs of individual flowers, which is precision work of tilt and focusing to get the focal plane just right. That would not be wide angle though, but short depth of field so it is more important to nail the focus.
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haefnerphoto
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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2012, 06:39:42 AM »
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I know I couldn't focus an Arca M2 with a 35mm on it.  I ended up with the RM3Di.  Jim
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Gigi
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« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2012, 08:25:21 AM »
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I know I couldn't focus an Arca M2 with a 35mm on it.  I ended up with the RM3Di.  Jim

A few loose ends to keep in mind:

- the Techno is a traditional type view camera, offering improved stability on the rear, designed for digital but with a traditional approach to focusing.
- digital work is very tight tolerances for focusing (hair-thin DOF), and its likely one can't  focus precisely with a GG that small. Rough focus, yes. Fine, no. 
- for fine focus, some external  confirmation is needed: on the Techno, it would be either via tethering or 100% viewing on the back.

Its for this reason, Arca uses a different approach, with their fine focusing helical, and then calibrating this to some external distance measuring device (laser rangefinder, or the future E module). The Techno's focusing knob can't rival Arca's fine grained approach, but you get view camera flexibility in the Techno, and can throw almost any lens on it. The GG is probably more for crude focus and general composition more than anything else.

The conundrum is that having been raised with the notion of establishing fine control with the GG (both composition and focus), now we have to give that up and rely on the back. Heck, you might even just compose on the back, taking multiple shots till you get what you like. So the Techno has one foot in the past, the other in the future. Its either a comfortable matching of new and old or its not so good at either.  Precise GG focus is not likely to be its strong point. Flexibilty in a small scale view camera is.   
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Geoff
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2012, 08:51:09 AM »
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Another use case I'd like to work well is taking photographs of individual flowers, which is precision work of tilt and focusing to get the focal plane just right. That would not be wide angle though, but short depth of field so it is more important to nail the focus.


CAMEILLA, Arca Swiss M Line 2, Schneider Macro-Digitar 120/5.6, P45
Taken a few days ago in the studio via tethered and focus stacking. I find this setup to be excellent for this type of work. I use my M2 in the studio primarily for table top work. I have taken it out in the field for architectural and landscape work, but opted for an Alpa Max after a while due to the ease of use with the pancake type cameras for wide angle work.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 08:57:32 AM by darr » Logged

darlene almeda
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buckshot
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« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2012, 10:34:53 AM »
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I've been using a Techno for a couple of years now - with lenses from 28 to 120 - without a hitch.

To nail focus I use an 8x lupe, and have never had a problem focussing, even with the 28mm (which more often than not is simply shot at its HFD@f8, which I have marked the position of). I don't use an IQ back - which would make nailing focussing even easier I would imagine, since it has that great screen/zoom/focus-mask ability.

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It does seem like the Techno may be stuck in the very very small niche for those that can afford a digital back but not the expensive lens systems of Arca R-Line and Alpa.

Sorry, but from my perspective as a working professional that's just plain wrong. Given the total $ investment I have in photographic equipment, the cost of the mounts is (relatively) inconsequential. Don't misunderstand me, money is just as much an issue for me as the next guy, but over the working life of the equipment - which will (hopefully) be many jobs over many years - this extra cost can be easily absorbed. For me the Techno was the best tool for my kind of work, and that's the absolute bottom line as to why I chose it. It's at home in the studio (shooting products/still-life/macro) and on location (shooting food/architecture/landscape), with lenses from 23 - 250, and simultaneous (yaw-free) swing/tilt available on every lens. In addition, by combining front rise/fall/shift with rear fall/rise/shift you can cover the entire image circle of pretty much any lens (designed for digital) out there.

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From the comments so far it seems like it indeed works ok, but there are some limitations with the GG. Wide angles are darker, especially in the corners and at some point it will become almost impossible to focus. Say if a 35mm only can be focused in full daylight and then only in the center of the picture, that would feel very limiting for me.

A 'one ground-gless fits all' approach is always going to have limitations. I have two fresnel-based ground-glasses with different focal lengths - one for my wide-angles, one for longer lenses.

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Even if the Techno works it is so much uncertainty around it that you'd choose Arca/Alpa if you can.

'So much uncertainty' - again, that's simply nonsensical. The only uncertainty I can see is whether or not you've actually used this camera?

Jim
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torger
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« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2012, 11:18:01 AM »
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The uncertainty comes from that few talk about the Techno, and many talk about the merits of helical focusing of the ALPAs and RM3Di, more or less directly dismissing ground glass focusing as hopeless. It is true though that most skepticism against the Techno seems to be from users that have not used it. Surfing around you don't really get the feel that the Techno is a big seller.

I have not used the Techno, and try to find out via reading as much as I can and ask around if it is a path worth trying. I live in the middle of nowhere so getting my paws on the real thing is not that easily arranged. I may even order it from abroad without trying it, and then try to minimize risk by reading and asking around.

When I as a curious newbie get to read a lot of things like this: "classic view camera photographers, a breed whose love of masochism has always seemed to me quite as acute as their night vision. Focusing a very short lens on a ground-glass screen in a dark interior, even with the benefit of a Fresnel screen and a very good magnifying hood, is tricky and often comes down to a question of 'point and hope'." it does stir a bit of uncertainty into my enthusiasm about getting a digital view camera. So it is nice to hear a few success stories too.

Otherwise the Techno does match my needs very well, wide focal length range from wides to tele, can even do macro, small enough so it is possible to go for a hike, suitable movements (although I'd like to have horizontal on the back too without the sliding back). And much lower cost lenses with good opportunities to get some of them second hand.

Another quite important factor is that I kind of like the look of it, and I just love super-smooth self-locking geared things (everything is geared on the Techno), handling gear with superb build quality and feel is an enjoyment by itself. I find myself hating some of my current gear despite that it does its job just fine, but touch-n-feel is like a piece of junk. I don't think that will be the case with the Techno Smiley.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 11:20:33 AM by torger » Logged
Gigi
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« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2012, 11:35:49 AM »
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Question for Buckshot with his good experiences: thanks for posting. Reassuring to say the least.

Do you take the Techno out of the studio into the field as well? And have you used just a lupe on the GG, or one of those bellows based magnifiers?

Thanks! Hands on makes all the difference.
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Geoff
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« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2012, 01:52:53 PM »
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Re: Architectural Photography: Which digital back and camera system?
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2011, 03:16:08
Hi I enclose a post I made before on the techno and agree very much with buckshot comments hope my feedback helps
just picked up thread being shooting in scandinavia iam afraid i do not make many posts but i do enjoy reading the LL forums when i get chance.But felt being a Techno user i should give some feedback , i have been using the techno since oct 09 it was my choice after testing many cameras and has fitted in with me very well. Prior to digital capture i always shot on 4x5 cameras Sinar p2, Ebony sw,and Toyo vx125 so iam happy with bellows focusing and like the full range of movements the Techno gives me. My work means a lot of travel in cars ,trains and airplanes and is all on location so i must confess i work the camera very hard and cannot praise the camera enough,especially its build quality and accuracy.I find accurate focusing not a problem with techno ,although do not use the sliding back for the problems already mentioned i prefer and use the direct back.I use focal lengths 23.32.43.47.58.72.90.110.150.210 so for me the fact i do not have to helically mount is a cost saver.
I shoot tethered whenever i can to me it is like the ultimate polaroid,and art directors love it .But there are many situations when i shoot untethered and find this also works well for me . Hope this helps with a bit of feedback from a end user 
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buckshot
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« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2012, 11:35:30 AM »
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@torger

Sorry if I was a bit short - didn't mean to be - just wearisome of the general notion that unless you use a helical, laser distometer etc. there's no way to focus accurately. With cameras as superbly machined as the Linhof, A/S ML2 ... that just ain't true. In the digital age, (un-tethered) bellows focussing is not for everyone that's for sure, but as with any focussing system there are ups and downs (or should that be ins and outs?) Gearing on the Techno is nice - rear rise/fall in particular is excellent. There are two knobs at the front to move the lens closer/further away. It would be nice if one was super-fine, the other coarse - but they're the same (kinda in the middle of smooth/coarse). Could the overall gearing be better? Yes, super fine worm gears for tilt/swing in particular would be nice ... but I'm being really pernickety here.

@Geoffreyg

Yes, I take it into the field. I use it with a variety of lenses, but when in the great outdoors I usually take just three. Together with the other various bits and pieces required (sliding back, lupe etc.) they all easily fit in a small peli case which I then shove inside a proper backpack.

I use a lupe, but also have the Linhof 3x bag/bellows magnifier - which, whilst nice - doesn't really get much use as I prefer the Hasselblad RMFX finder for general composition, and the lupe to nail focussing. In the studio I generally shoot tethered.

Jim
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 11:37:24 AM by buckshot » Logged
BillOConnor
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« Reply #30 on: March 01, 2012, 12:01:27 PM »
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Someone else brought this up the last time a lengthy discussion of the Techno occurred. For the wides, why not order them with a helical focusing mount? Extra cost, maybe, but solves a lot of problems. With longer lenses, probably beyond 40mm, this would not be necessary. Spending a little extra to gain a camera with swings AND tilts, at the same time, rises, falls and shifts might be worth considering.

Bill O'Connor
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #31 on: March 01, 2012, 12:09:33 PM »
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Someone else brought this up the last time a lengthy discussion of the Techno occurred. For the wides, why not order them with a helical focusing mount? Extra cost, maybe, but solves a lot of problems. With longer lenses, probably beyond 40mm, this would not be necessary. Spending a little extra to gain a camera with swings AND tilts, at the same time, rises, falls and shifts might be worth considering.

Bill O'Connor

Wides are no more difficult to focus than any focal length--aperture is what defines focus tolerance.
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torger
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« Reply #32 on: March 01, 2012, 02:19:05 PM »
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I've got some time to play around with an old simple 6x9 view camera.

I'm no longer at all worried about gearing, it's amazing how small adjustments your fingers can do, even if the whole range near-to-infinity is within half a turn you can do fine adjustments. With a smooth responsive gear and instant feedback to the eye via the ground glass it works well.

I'm not worried about ground glass resolution either, even if you can't really get to the pixel-by-pixel resolution like in 100% live view, it is easy to get a sense of where the focus peaks, by rocking a little bit forwards and backwards and watch things go in and out of focus on the glass. On that camera I got much better image for loupe analysis when the fresnel lens was removed.

The weakest part of the ground glass as I see it is instead the (lack of) brightness. With a 35mm DSLR live view I can actually focus when it is so dark I can't see stuff with the naked eye (an MFDB live view could probably not do that though, since it requires good high ISO performance). In good light conditions, there is no problem with the ground glass, it's a beauty to look at. But as it becomes darker and lenses vignettes more (wide angles) one can no longer focus in the corners but only in center. At even darker still, not there either. Where those limits go in practical photography is hard for me to predict though. I think it will be ok.

Large format digital lenses have the drawback that they have relatively small light opening wide open (f/5.6) and that the wides have dramatic vignetting, so the ground glass gets darker than it would have been with smaller format lens designs. But again, I think it will be ok.

The first thing I typically notice when I have problems with visibility is not that I can't focus or take the shot, but that I get some surprises when I look at the images back home, typically some tree branch showing in a corner etc. In brighter condititions however, I think the ground glass will be better than the live view I'm used to, since you can easily see the whole scene at once in incredible resolution and much quicker move around with the loupe than you scroll a live view.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 02:24:33 PM by torger » Logged
lstreet
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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2012, 07:55:15 PM »
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I have owned a Techno camera for about 2 years.  I enjoy all the possible movements of the Techno.  I mount a Phase One P-45 on it using a Kapture Group sliding back, which is less expensive, smaller and lighter than the Linhof sliding back.  Because of its fixed rear standard the Techno has no problem bearing the weight of the P-45 and the Kapture Group sliding back.  In fact, the entire camera is very stable.  I think this stability is worth the loss of rear standard tilt and it is particularly nice given the low weight of this camera. 

I have not experienced focus or composing problems.  The Techno’s geared movements and focus work well for me.  I use a loupe to focus and I magnify the image on the P-45’s screen after taking an exposure to check focus. Unfortunately, I do not have any experience with the Techno using any lens wider than 47 mm.  The Techno’s bag bellows works well with a 47 mm lens, especially when using movements.  Composing and focusing with a 47 mm lens is more difficult than longer focus lenses because the image corners are pretty dark on a ground glass focus screen.  I have also had this problem with wide angle lenses on 4x5 and 8x10 cameras.  I can usually move my viewing angle of the Techno’s ground glass to see the corners of a 47 mm lens image unless the scene is really dark.

I agree with some of the other Techno owners who have posted in this forum.  The Techno works well. 

Since the Techno is very light and my view camera lenses are lighter than most of my medium and 35 mm format lenses the weight of my Techno/P-45 camera case is lighter than my other smaller format camera cases with the same number of lenses.  So it is a good camera for field work.

Some new view camera lenses are remarkably sharp.  The 47mm, 80 mm and 120 mm Schneider Digitar lenses and 180 mm Rodenstock HR lens that I use on the Techno produce very sharp images.  Better sharpness than I got with Zeiss lenses on a Contax 645 using the same P-45 back.  The new Schneider Digitar and Rodenstock HR lenses are a very good reason to use a view camera like the Techno.
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torger
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« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2012, 04:28:33 AM »
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Some new view camera lenses are remarkably sharp.  The 47mm, 80 mm and 120 mm Schneider Digitar lenses and 180 mm Rodenstock HR lens that I use on the Techno produce very sharp images.  Better sharpness than I got with Zeiss lenses on a Contax 645 using the same P-45 back.  The new Schneider Digitar and Rodenstock HR lenses are a very good reason to use a view camera like the Techno.

A question - do you buy your lenses pre-mounted on a linhof lens board, or do you get them without lens board and mount them yourself? I'm not sure if it is a big no-no  to mount digital lenses (especially wides) by yourself due to precision issues, that is messing up lens alignment after separating front and rear and screw them together again, or if it is ok. I have noted that it is generally possible to get better lens deals (more dealers to choose from) if you can buy them unmounted and get a lens board separately.
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darr
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« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2012, 06:26:41 AM »
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torger, unless you are buying a helical mounted lens, you buy the lens separate from the board and mount them yourself with a retaining ring and lens wrench. Any tolerances that can be tweaked are made in the shimming of the digital back plate that attaches to the camera. If you purchase a camera that does not offer shimming with the digital back plate, then you run tests to see where the combination of the back and lens works best.

Alpa offers a shim kit (gaskets) with their back plates. I know the Arca R series has some type of tolerance tweaking on camera. When I tested my Alpa for shimming, it was in alignment to my amazement! With my ML2, I shoot tethered and so the tweaking is done during shooting.
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darlene almeda
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lstreet
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« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2012, 02:10:26 PM »
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The crucial adjustment for a view camera does not occur at the lens board but instead it is important for the location of the ground glass focus screen to be placed exactly where the sensor will be when the sensor is slid into place for the exposure.  If they are not properly aligned (on any camera) then focusing on the ground glass will not result in a good focus on the sensor.  I found that Kapture Group was very responsive to this issue and very good at making that alignment.  I recommend them.  If you use them you should call and talk to the guy who runs the company. 

I agree with the others who have pointed out that focusing on a view camera ground glass is feasible.  You just have to be careful.  Focusing a view camera of any size does require a different skill than is required with focus screens on other medium format and 35 mm format cameras.  You can get good at it by practicing however.
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Martin Kristiansen
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« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2012, 10:28:25 PM »
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Agree with the above. I focus on the ground glass of my Cambo and it is no big issue. The trick for me is to get comfortable, relax and take the time needed. With practice it gets pretty quick.

I find using a large dark cloth like we used in film days makes the process easier. Not sure why. Could be phycological.
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darr
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« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2012, 07:13:01 AM »
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I find using a large dark cloth like we used in film days makes the process easier. Not sure why. Could be phycological.

Being under the dark cloth isolates the ground-glass and maximizes the pupil size thus makes it easier to view the image on the ground-glass. I have never understood why some people do not understand this. I think it is for those that like to take it all in.   Wink
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darlene almeda
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2012, 08:30:08 AM »
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A question - do you buy your lenses pre-mounted on a linhof lens board, or do you get them without lens board and mount them yourself? I'm not sure if it is a big no-no  to mount digital lenses (especially wides) by yourself due to precision issues, that is messing up lens alignment after separating front and rear and screw them together again, or if it is ok. I have noted that it is generally possible to get better lens deals (more dealers to choose from) if you can buy them unmounted and get a lens board separately.

Mounted my lenses myself--very easy. The precision has nothing to do with focal length--the aperture defines the precision required. Nor do you need to worry about separating the rear element, it will screw back to the right position. And in the case of a camera like the Techno, the important factor is the difference between the position of the ground glass vs. the sensor--that is what needs to be precise.
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