View Full Version : Anybody can give me tips on focusing 90mm?
Iíve just bought a Leica Elmar 90mm/F4 at eBay recently. Mechanically seems well fit for my R2, I hope the focal ring is also good matched with the camera. I've made a roll and will see the result very soon tonight.
However, I have a really bad feeling of focusing with the 90mm in my R2. Especially when the distance around or below 10 feet, the overlapping images in the viewfinder is so hard to tell the difference even you turn a big round on the focal ring. This made my eye tears after taking several shots even in daytime. I believe I canít focus at all in dimmed situations.
Any user can tell me any experience with 90mm lens and R2? Or should I simply guessing the distance is more practical when it is around 10 feet?
Also, there is a rumour saying Leica RF is easier to focus than the Bessa. Is that true? How about the Rollei RF? Has Rollei RF got a good viewfinder too?
I don't know about Rollei, but Leicas ARE easier to focus (with longer lens), due to the simple fact that they have longer rangefinder base. Another RF which is easily focused is Kiev (but that one has Contax/Kiev lens mount, so it's not relevant here).
Check out other threads here on RFF, I think there was a thread not long ago about focusing longer lenses on Bessa R cameras.
In short, the focus accuracy depends on rangefinder base (distance between two RF/VF windows located in the front side of the camera), AND on viewfinder magnification - meaning that Bessa R3A would be easier to focus with 90mm lens (all other things being equal), due to its larger viewfinder magnification.
If your Elmar is an "M" mount, your only other options are either Bessa R3A or a Leica. However, if it's a screw mount, you could always try a Zorki (models 4, 4K or 6, which have excellent viewfinders and longer RF base than Bessas).
BTW, another possible solution, if you don't want to get another camera, is to try a viewfinder magnifier - it's like a loupe that's attached to the VF, and it enlarges the view. I don't know if those are made for Bessas, though... The one for Leicas is rather expensive (> $200!).
The 90/4 should focus on the R2, but as you are experiencing, it takes more care when doing so on a subject relatively close to you. Denis is correct in saying that the baselength of the Bessa rangefinder is the issue. (Note that the Rollei RF is the same camera as the R2)
You should be able to continue using the Elmar, just focus with care in situations where your camera is limited.
Jochan, if things are at under 10 feet, can you just measure/estimate the distance and set it on the scale? As long as you're using a small aperture it should work out okay. For more precise/static work a builders measuring tape may be an idea.
Hi, I have no problems focussing a 50 years old Canon 3.5/100 at a Bessa-R, as well as (although it's far beyond their spec!) 1.8/85 Canon.
At last I got my first roll using my new Elmar 90mm/F4. :bang: ONLY 1/3 OF THE ROLL IN FOCUS :mad:
But it once in focus it can produce incredible pictures, the object stands out. Wow, I like it. Below I attached a picture to see the details it can tell in a distance.
Denis: Thank you for you information about RF. A viewfinder magnifier sounds necessary to me.
Rover: You are right, I need more try on the lens.
Frank: You have eagle eyes? ;)
I think you just need a little more practice. It certainly is capable of giving very sharp pictures! A magnifier would help, as would stopping down a bit while you practice. The R2 finder is sifficient for the 9cm f4, but does require a bit more time to "lock-on" focus.
Hi Jochan, I have the same lense, I've used it with a leica IIIb and a Zorki 4, I haven't got problems focusing, I'm planning to get a Bessa R, and hearing about focusing discourages me a bit.
Anyhow this is an outstanding lense you can use with a cheap FSU camera.
You have the coated version? Mine is not coated, but haven't got flares until now.
Hi Matu, the lense is new to me, I've tried a single roll but pretty disappointed on my own skill. I hope I can tackle it later by more practice. I can't find any flares in my first roll but I'm not sure it is coated or not. Anyway, I love the lens very much after seeing the pictures it produced.
You can have a visit at my album which I've put some test shots with the lense.
Try these tips and see if they help: If focusing on a person's face, look for the small spot of reflected light from their eye (called a "catch-light") and focus on it. If there's no catch-light to use, focus on the silhouette of the tip of the nose. Sometimes you just have to find the most contrasty feature and then adjust for it on your lens' scale.
If trying to shoot an object, look for a vertcal straight line, a spot of reflected light or other feature that's easy to see and that's in the same plane that you want to be sharpest. Otherwise, compensate forwards or backwards on the focusing scale.
The 90mm f/4 Elmar is a great portrait lens and all-around good lens to have with you. Many old-timers carried their Leicas with only two lens; 35mm Elmar and 90mm Elmar. They were good for about 90% or more of their needs.
The 90 Elmar does indeed take practice- I found myself doing "is this the best I can do" dance- as the helical pitch is low compared to other lenses.
Remember, the lens *is* f/4, so depth of field will make up for a bit of focusing error.
Jochan, I used to have a 1936 Elmar (uncoated) with very odd aperture numbers... and it was a bit hard to focus with my M6TTL. However, once I realized that, when focusing, you must look for the best possible focus indicator (vertical straight lines, for instance), I had oodles of fun with it. I ended up selling it because I used it very little, and I wanted a faster lens.
But yes... you have to practice on stationary objects first. In fact, as a general rule, focusing long lenses like this with a rangefinder camera will be a bit more difficult than on any SLR, but it's manageable. Good luck and don't let a bad batch disappoint you!
I'm trying to learn to use a 90mm Minolta Rokkor -M f4 - with an R3a which helps with viewfinder magnification. Here's my "best" effort so far. I missed I reckon, but I thought the bird's eye was in focus when I took it! I obviously swayed forward a bit.
Enjoy your lens
I find it much easier to focus Telephoto lenses on the RF than on the SLR. Not for lack of practice; I had my first 400mm lens for my SLR in 1971 at 13yrs and first telephoto lens for an RF 8 yrs ago.
This shot was focussed on the prior cycle of the swing: The low-latency of the RF made the shot possible. This was no 1 in 10 pick, most come out in focus under similar setups. Note the shot in the gallery next to it. This is with a 105.
Nikkor 8.5cm F2 wide-open, subject does anything but stay still. Low-Latency of RF makes shot possible:
And a shot with the 9cm F4 Elmar, pre-war uncoated.
Another subject, focus on butterfly and then compose, 8.5cm wide-open:
I now also find it much easier to focus telephoto lenses on the RF than on my SLR, especially the 90 (I have an M6). The 135 takes a little more time but I can focus it accurately. One trick I picked up was to always have the lens set at infinity so that you only rotate the lens in one direction. Once the focus snaps in, stop rotating - no back and forth movement with the focus ring like on an SLR. That tip (from Al Kaplan on photo.net) helped me enormously with my 90.
Thank you so much for people here sharing their precious experience about focusing telephoto lenses on the RF. I'll try the technique mentions above and sure I can manage it later. In the mean time, the first thing I will do is to find a Nikon viewfinder magnifier which is suitable for Bessa and giving 2X on the view. :p
FWIW -- I initially had problems getting sharp shots from a Nikkor 85/2 on my Bessa R.
I was blaming focus for what turned out to be camera movement. With faster
film and higher shutter speeds, my "focusing error' mysteriously disapeared.
The beauty of these lenses is that they're so fast they're addictive. And the DOF even wide open is just great.
But the trick is to keep them on infinite, and then you know you only have one way to turn.
The thing with my 'cron 90/2 is that the turn is huge... 180 degrees. Needless to say, the lens stays parked in the "infiniite" mark.
Increased viewfinder magnification can compensate somewhat for a short baseline, but I was surprised to find that the effects are not the same. As extreme examples I compared my Bessa-T, which has a rather short baseline but high magnification, with the Kiev 4a which has a huge baseline. Obviously, high magnification may result in not seeing the lens's whole field of view...
But what I found most interesting was that the baseline length determines how much displacement the RF patch shows *relative to the object* -- in this way focus movement with the longer baseline means a very distinct proportional shift in the patch. With a short baseline, the proportional movement is less, Higher magnification simply makes this smaller displacement easier to see.
If you'd like a low-magnification viewfinder, that shows framelines for wide-angle lenses, a longer baseline is really nice for fast easy focusing for all focal lengths!
Make sure you're not obscuring the rangefinder window. I know it sounds simple, but sometimes when I put a longer lens on the camera (mine is the Bessa R), I hold it differently to make up for the different balance. Just a thought.
:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:
Finally I found the OOF problem was not me or my eyes have any disability. My R2 has focusing problem instead!!!! :( This was found by distance testing with two lens under tripod. I am really disappointed coz R2 is pretty new buying.
Could anybody give me a link which I saw in this forum before telling how to adjust the focus of a RF. I've tried but can't find at last.
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