Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Faith restored

For the last few months I've been looking at some of my large format camera images and shaking my head ... is it my wide angle lens (Fujinon 90mm f8) ... I don't know. My images just weren't sharp enough for my tastes (not to mention the time and energy put into capture).

The clue came when I was testing some new (to me) film, and I happened to use my 90mm and my 10D for metering. I was doing metering and film speed testing and my first impression of the test was that my metering system was working well, but I quickly spotted that the digital was so much sharper than my 4x5 negative.


Looking about the image I soon discovered that vibration was at work, as I spotted that the LED on the small stereo was not a precise dot, but more oval looking! (note the section highlighted and zoomed in on the left here)

Using judicious quantities of BluTac to 'nail' my camera down onto a table, I have decided that my new Manfrotto 190 tripod just isn't up to the same levels of stability as my old one was.

It holds the camera, but a laser pointer placed on the camera shows that the thing vibrates like a tuning fork when faintly touched, or (worse) when the shutter goes click. A quick look at the 'stem' of the tripod shows that the head is now attached to the neck by plastic!

The cheapest solution for me was to attach drinking straws with some BluTac to the camera and the tripod legs to 'brace it up'. Looks odd, but it works. So now I'm getting the details I'm hoping for in my pictures. For example this shot of the forest floor the other day.

Shows the right amount of detail, and this is only a 1000dpi scan of the film!

whereas my 5Megapixel digital shows only this amount of detail (below) and even taken with more 'zoom in' than the film image.

Just what I expected to see.

So now I'm comfortable with my imaging systems again, and know that new Manfrotto tripods are not what they used to be.

1 comment:

Charles Maclauchlan said...


I am reading with interest your blog entries about MF folding cameras. I have 2 myself, a 6x6 Agfa and a 6x9 Voigtlander. re: tripods, I am convinced that the old line tripod manufacturers have moved operations to China, and there were quality "Hiccups" until operations became (become) standardized.

Benro is a tripod manufacturer in China and their product line is remarkably GITZO like including model numbers and logo.