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Author Topic: hartblei woes  (Read 2618 times)
mikeseb
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« on: January 19, 2006, 10:02:08 PM »
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Anyone here have Hartblei Super-Rotator experience? If so, please tell me that I'm doing some simple thing wrong to explain results like these to follow. This week was the shakedown cruise for my Hartblei, acquired in the fall; if she were a ship, we'd open the sea-cocks.

Two images taken on film on Contax 645 with Hartblei TS/PS Super-Rotator follow below. (these are "fresh up out" the scanner, no sharpening, spotting, etc--nature's own scanned goodness, direct to you!) Notice the acceptable center sharpness, but significantly unsharp and distorted near-circumferential ring around the edges. In rereading Michael's review and the hartblei manual, I can't find an obvous reason for this poor sharpness.

Granted my view-camera-movements skillset is long in the tooth, but even with no movements dialed in the problem persists. Only when I stop down to f/22 (its smallest aperture) do I get anywhre near acceptable, and still the edges are soft.

Someone please point out the obvious mistake Im making so I can fix it. Otherwise this lens is useless, or at least is headed back to Kiev (it's under warranty.)

First shot around f/16 or smaller, I think; no movements dialed in:



Next example is with a tilt in, I think it was, at around f/8 or f/11. Things looked decent thru the viewfinder, but Holy Cow!:



Suggestions (actually, the lens would make a fine boat anchor) welcomed. Someone stop me before I shoot with this thing again....
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michael sebastian
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2006, 11:22:12 PM »
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Mike,

To me the second one looks like the effect you get with a view camera tilted so the plane of focus pretty well matches the plane of the ground. The tree tops then are way out of focus because they are quite a ways higher than the plane of focus. I got a number of photos like this early in my view camera days. It was quite frustrating. The problem would be too much tilt.

It is possible that the first one is suffering similarly, if the tree branches in the upper left are much closer than the ones in the middle.

I have no experience with a Hartblei, but I would first try the lens with no shifts or tilts at all to get an idea of its overall optical quality. Then, be very conservative with tilts and shifts.

If you look at Michael's original review (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/lenses/hartblei45.shtml), I would guess that his Figure 1 used a little bit of forward tilt (so the plane of focus runs from ground level near the camera to at least half-way up the distant tree trunks, and Figure 2 was probably with no tilt at all. I would guess that Figure 3 used a bit of upward shift, but the others probably used no shift at all.

Those are just my guesses. YMMV.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
Ray
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2006, 07:09:51 AM »
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As I recall from the Hartblei website, this lens is sharpest at f16 to f22. It is, after all, an MF lens with an extra large image circle.

As Eric suggests, try the lens without tilt, but also at f22.
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mikeseb
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2006, 07:18:33 AM »
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EricM and Ray, thanks for your thoughts. I should have made clearer that the trees shot was taken without perspective controls in place, with the lens in neutral condition. For the cemetery scene, I suspect like EricM mentioned that I over-tilted it.

Next on my agenda is a more rigorous trial of this lens stopped down all the way. Perhaps I'll post another example or two if everyone isn't bored to tears already!

Anything here suggest a defect in this particular lens, or should I view this as par for the course for this type of lens more generally?

Thanks again for your input.
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michael sebastian
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GerardK
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2006, 07:01:55 AM »
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I had a Hartblei Super-Rotator that I just sold; not because it was bad, but because I moved from Mamiya 645, for which I bought the lens, to Pentax 67ii.

I second the suggestion to try the lens without any tilt or shift and stop it down to 16 or 22. I haven't used the lens much, but the few times that I did use it I got reasonable results, not as bad as yours.

However, I posted in this forum just after Michael published his review of the Hartblei. I pointed out that in my humble opinion, his review was overly optimistic; he used it on his Contax with the digital Proback, which uses only the 'sweet spot' in the middle of the lens. I used it 'full frame' on 645 film, and edge softness is noticeable.

Anyway, at the time I posted a review in my website that you may find interesting. Click on this link:
Hartblei mini review

I hope this helps, good luck,

Gerard Kingma
Gerard Kingma Travel and  Nature Photography
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mikeseb
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2006, 02:20:55 PM »
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Thanks to all who replied. Gerard, my findings are the same as yours; after my initial post I reshot a series of unshifted/untilted frames at every aperture, as well as a series with front "rise" in place, as if one were shooting a distortion-free tall building.

Unshifted, AT NO APERTURE were the edges acceptably sharp, though the center was decent to quite sharp at every aperture. Edge sharpness seemed best at about f/16 or f/22. I add that I'm shooting full-frame film like you, Gerard.

Strangely, the edges were sharper with the front "rise" in place, though still somewhat soft. Again, smaller apertures are better than larger, as expected.

I suspect that if I were shooting reduced-frame digital, I'd find this lens acceptable. However, as things stand I've purchased a pricey paperweight.

Caveat emptor.
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michael sebastian
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GerardK
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2006, 02:43:12 PM »
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Mike,
Yeah, well... Paperweight is perhaps a bit harsh, but it's true, it's a fun lens for what it does but the problem is the image quality is not good enough for professional, i.e. sellable images. So have fun with it and take it for what it's worth, or go 4x5 or buy a Canon 24 TS, expensive but that should do the trick if you want tilt and shift. Sad really but there it is. Again, my images were not as bad as your first post though. I've attached an image of a church with considerable shift applied, no tilt. Good luck,

Gerard

Gerard Kingma Travel and Nature Photography
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