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Author Topic: Precision errors in older Linhof Techno models  (Read 4837 times)
torger
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« on: August 27, 2012, 03:35:09 AM »
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I've heard that older Linhof Techno models had some precision issues. Never heard what these were though, anyone who knows?

I've bought my Techno second hand, and it is not one of the first versions that I know, but I have discovered two rather conspicuous precision errors in the front standard:

 1) the swing scale is 0.7 degrees off (how that passed quality control is a mystery...)
 2) the tilt mechanism has 0.1 degree play when locked down to the zero position (there is no play in the swing mechanism)

When you know about them it is manageable, but I don't think these kind of errors is really acceptable for a camera in this class. Obvious manufacturing errors if you ask me, at least the swing scale error, possibly the tilt have been damaged but I would be much surprised if so, I think it has been there from the beginning.

Anyone who knows if this means that I have a front standard belonging to one of those early versions? The serial number of my Techno is T 150070 if that helps. I will contact Linhof about this of course, but it would be great to be prepared with some info about if this is a known problem and to hear if someone has experience of how Linhof usually react and handle these kind of problems.
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tom_l
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 06:43:30 AM »
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I tested and owned diff. view cameras over the years (not the Techno).
They don't have play when bought new, but after 1-2 years, they do, usually  the odd 0.1° swing or tilt.
0.1 doesn't really make a difference in practice, even for copy work, where I use a bellow T/S adapter on the Bicam for longer lenses.
But 0,7 off is definetely out od tolerance. Are your front and rear standard parallel? The best solution is to get to Techno serviced.

I had a Flexicam before the Bicam, which is very similar to the Techno. Using WA lenses on these cameras was really tricky not only because of the GG focussing but also the pressure on the bellow and the front standard when focussing WA lenses at infinity and additional Swing/Tilt.


Tom
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torger
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2012, 07:07:04 AM »
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I tested and owned diff. view cameras over the years (not the Techno).
They don't have play when bought new, but after 1-2 years, they do, usually  the odd 0.1° swing or tilt.
0.1 doesn't really make a difference in practice, even for copy work, where I use a bellow T/S adapter on the Bicam for longer lenses.
But 0,7 off is definetely out od tolerance. Are your front and rear standard parallel? The best solution is to get to Techno serviced.

I had a Flexicam before the Bicam, which is very similar to the Techno. Using WA lenses on these cameras was really tricky not only because of the GG focussing but also the pressure on the bellow and the front standard when focussing WA lenses at infinity and additional Swing/Tilt.


Tom

The attached picture shows the swing scale error. The reason it is pointing at 0.7 degrees when at zero is because the axis is offset. If the axis would have been at the correct position there would be no error on the scale. This does not affect the function but does not live up to the quality I think one should expect.

The digital Techno is supposed to be much more precise than the typical view cameras designed for film use, and design-wise I think it has the potential to be that (very rigid body, not too large movements etc, the reputation is that it is much better concerning precision than silvestri offers), but in my particular instance it is not carried through well. The problems seem to be isolated to the front standard. There is no separate rear standard, it is a rigid L-shaped body. I have not detected any parallelism issues. I'm currently writing a thorough review on the camera so I have investigated in quite some detail. I think it has great potential to actually be the one view camera that does work for WA, but this precision error I see here is not really acceptable. I can work around it so it does not affect my work, but you don't spend 4700 euro on a tech cam body (exclusive back adapter which is an additional 1000 - 2500) to get this kind of sloppy finish.

The tilt play could be because of wear as you say, but I do not think the camera have seen very much use. I don't have 100% knowledge of how it has been used since I bought it second hand, but all indications I have got is that it has had light use. If it would be only this problem I would have suspected wear or damage, but since the swing is obviously poorly mounted I think it is more likely that the whole front standard had issues out of the factory.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 07:14:25 AM by torger » Logged
torger
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2012, 09:41:37 AM »
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Been in contact with Linhof now, they offered to make an adjustment/repair at the factory in München. They did not answer my question if it was a manufacturing issue or not (which is sort of understandable), so it is a bit unclear if the adjustment comes at a cost or not. I guess they want to look at it before they say anything definitive. I'll send it to them and see what they say. As long as they take responsibility for the product I'm satisfied, mistakes in production can happen. So far so good :-).
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adammork
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2012, 09:58:14 AM »
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I was one of the first owners of the original M679 - there was a clear light leak, in the design, between the bellows and the standards, I simply could not belive that this happening from a manufactura with Linhof excellent reputation - but it did.....

They changed the design by adding black felt, to where the bellow met the standard, they reacted prompt and professionally.

by the way, mine was in Munich twice before it was aligned - that was from new as well.

I have had three or four Arca Swiss's, they where all off here and there, it worked on film, but not to mine liking on digital - kind of reminds me one of the reasons for liking my Alpa's so much - I know, I'm a fan  Wink
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torger
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2012, 10:21:59 AM »
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I was one of the first owners of the original M679 - there was a clear light leak, in the design, between the bellows and the standards, I simply could not belive that this happening from a manufactura with Linhof excellent reputation - but it did.....

They changed the design by adding black felt, to where the bellow met the standard, they reacted prompt and professionally.

by the way, mine was in Munich twice before it was aligned - that was from new as well.

I have had three or four Arca Swiss's, they where all off here and there, it worked on film, but not to mine liking on digital - kind of reminds me one of the reasons for liking my Alpa's so much - I know, I'm a fan  Wink

Did you have to pay for the aligning?

There are some surprising design things with the Techno too, the body is well-designed and there are no light leaks around the bellows, but the ground glass holder and light-hood attachment has very obvious light leaks making it hard to view in outdoor light, until I covered the leaks with black tape.

I'm a quite picky and demanding customer but also patient. I'm a bit of a view camera fan, so I really want the Techno to succeed. As long as Linhof takes responsibility and fixes the issues I'll stay with the system.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 10:23:54 AM by torger » Logged
adammork
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2012, 10:48:21 AM »
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Did you have to pay for the aligning?


It's +10 years ago..... only for shipment as I recall it - or maybe my dealer paid for that, could be... they have always been nice to me: www.photografica.com
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greygrad
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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2012, 12:09:52 PM »
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The earlier versions of the Techno have the cold shoe on the left (when the camera is looked at from the front), in the later version it is on the right. The later version has a single 'clip' mechanism on the front and rear standards.

Not sure what changed on the inside between the two versions - I have the later one, and when tilt is zeroed, the arrow lines up almost-but-not-quite with the zero mark (I'll maybe post a picture later on). With swing, they line up almost perfectly. Personally, I would prefer finer gearing on both (similar to the buttery-smooth worm drive on the rear rise and fall), but that's a minor niggle.

Whether, even when zeroed, the planes of the front and rear standards are perfectly parallel ... well, I guess you'd need an optical bench to figure that out ... however, as far as I can tell everything is close enough for all (my) intents and purposes.
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torger
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2012, 02:11:58 PM »
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Perfect parallelism cannot be achieved of course, I'm striving for a good enough level. I can work-around the current issues it just feels like a bit sloppy copy, at this price I expect a nicer finish.

I've attached a few pictures of my Techno, can you see if it is old or new? I thought it was quite newish since it has the extra button to release the sliding back. It has the cold shoe to the left though. Haven't seen any picture of a Techno that has it to the right, so that thing must be really really new, well later than 2010 at least?

What is the single-clip mechanism you are referring to? I also get a bit confused from that you mention a rear standard since it is not movable in the same way as the front standard, it is just a part of the fixed L-shaped body.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 02:25:47 PM by torger » Logged
torger
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2012, 02:21:52 PM »
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https://www.badgergraphic.com/store/images/products/5116.jpg

The image above I know is of an old Techno, it has darker green bubble levels, not the safety lock button on top of the rear standard, and the swing zero lock lever on the right (for the photographer) instead of to the left, and fewer dents for the rail extension.
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Gigi
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2012, 03:10:25 PM »
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Its time to take a walk. First, the issue of some manuf error, but that's resolved if Linhof steps up to the plate (and probably will).

Then these wonderful shots of the camera. One more of it all folded up, small and compact, and the reach for the wallet will commence.

Walking, walking away ... for now. Very captivating.
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Geoff
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2012, 03:41:19 PM »
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Sorry - I just say 'rear standard' rather than 'the rigid L-shaped piece of CNC machined aluminium' ... it's easier.

That's the earlier version of the Techno you are using - you can see the later one in this video from Robert White.

Apart from the front / rear attachment mechanism, I don't know what (if any) internal changes were made.
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torger
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2012, 04:06:37 PM »
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Sorry - I just say 'rear standard' rather than 'the rigid L-shaped piece of CNC machined aluminium' ... it's easier.

That's the earlier version of the Techno you are using - you can see the later one in this video from Robert White.

Apart from the front / rear attachment mechanism, I don't know what (if any) internal changes were made.

Ah, now I see. I don't have the earliest version though, I have some sort of intermediate version, probably the one before that one in the video. I know Linhof make "silent upgrades" so it can be a bit messy to track. The locking mechanism of the back was changed to my version to include an extra safety lock since it could be loosened by mistake in the first version. The even newer single clip is probably a bit more elegant, although I kind of like the two-hand version I have.

A question about the clip on the front standard - does it press the lens board tight? My flip-lock does not press tightly against the lens board so there is some minimal play there, perhaps 1/20th of a mm so there is no issue but a bit inelegant.

On the video it looks like the swing scale is a sticker rather than etched into the metal, is it like that on your front standard too? A simple way to solve the problem of not being able to align the axis properly when manufacturing the camera :-).
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greygrad
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« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2012, 06:49:33 PM »
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Right you are - so there are at least three versions out there.

Yes, the clip does press tightly - which is both a good and a bad thing. Linhof lens boards fit perfectly (and so they should given the price), but third party ones - such as these adjustable ones I got off eBay, are pretty tight. Despite being decently machined, I had to file one very slightly to get it to fit.

Yes, the swing scale on mine is a sticker (no wonder it aligns perfectly), whilst the tilt scale is etched.
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torger
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2012, 01:10:58 AM »
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Thanks for the info. I think I know what they have done. The front standard is a stack of three metal blocks, the base which sits on the focusing rail, on top of that the tilt block, and finally on top of that the swing block. The whole front standard is screwed together, and it is in that step alignment is precisely adjusted.

The blocks are aligned such that as good parallelism as possible is achieved when at the zero dents. However, as it happens this does not lead to 100% perfect alignment along the longitudinal axis. Most likely this is a design choice rather than some lack of alignment precision. The result is small offsets between the blocks, of about 0.1 - 0.3 mm (shown in the attached picture) and the largest alignment error seams to become on the swing block, this does not affect parallelism in any way but of course with an etched scale you don't get it to line up.

So what they have done is that instead of altering the design to make it possible to align the blocks perfectly also in the longitudinal axis they have replaced the etched swing scale with a sticker so it can be aligned after the front standard has been screwed together. The tilt scale is still etched since the alignment error on the base is smaller.

It works, but I cannot say I'm impressed with the solution. At this price level I would expect to get etched scales that lines up. Purely cosmetical I know, but well, I value those aspects too. If I was Linhof I would think it is a bit embarrassing not being able to line up an etched scale - marketing for a tech camera brand is very much about bragging about precision, and this does not exactly give their sales people something to brag about :-).

This leaves me with a swing scale that is offset due to design error, not manufacturing error, and that small play in the tilt zero dent, which I can work around. It is worth saying that no gear in the camera has any detectable play in it, so I can use the tilt gear to adjust within the 0.1 degree zero dent play -- that is what I call precision :-), and as it happens the best position for parallelism is at the end of the play so it is easy to set.

All this means that I will probably not send in my camera for readjustment, at least not for now. If the next version has a front standard with perfectly aligned etched scales I'll be more tempted.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2012, 01:38:24 AM by torger » Logged
georgl
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« Reply #15 on: August 31, 2012, 02:56:20 AM »
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I think you can demand a free repair - you paid for Linhof-precision and you should accept nothing less!
Due to environmental restrictions in Germany many small companies outsourced surface finishing (most likely also the engraving/etching) I guess Linof did the same and paid a price for it...
« Last Edit: August 31, 2012, 03:00:06 AM by georgl » Logged
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