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Focus help with Minolta Himatic 7sii
Old 01-04-2017   #1
LMNOP
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Focus help with Minolta Himatic 7sii

Greetings all,

Long time lurker on these forums, first time poster.

I recently picked up a Minolta Hi-matic 7sii and after seeing so many lovely images online was eager to shoot a test roll

I had been using a Konica Auto S3 at the same time, so decided to shoot a few similar set-ups with both cameras to see the difference

Upon scanning the negatives, i'm starting to wonder if the Minolta's rangefinder needs to be calibrated, or there's some issue with the focus...

Here are some examples from both cameras - both were shot with Ilford HP5 Plus 400. It seems the Konica is definitely sharper...but i'm guessing this is more down to the Minolta being slightly uncalibrated?

There seems to be a move obvious problem with far away focusing around about the infinity mark, but also seems soft with closer subjects too

Minolta himatic 7sii:


Konica Auto S3:


7sii:


Auto S3:


7sii:


Auto S3:



Here's some examples of wider/infinity shots with the 7sii:
(it was an overcast day for the following 2 shots)




Focus in these shots seems slightly better, but it was also a much much brighter day so the focus was much deeper:





Finally here's 2 wider Konica Auto S3 shots to compare with the previous 7sii shots, focus seems far better and sharper:






Any thoughts overall as to what the issue may be? If so, how much would it cost to repair?

If possible I'd love to fix/adjust it myself - have found a few descriptions online as to do so, but didn't want to do anything till I got some opinions on the exact problem.

Many thanks for your time!
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Old 01-04-2017   #2
Larry H-L
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Rather than a focus issue, I see a micro-contrast problem that is affecting the overall quality of the image.
It looks more like a fog issue inside the lens. Have you tried cleaning the rear element of the lens? And, if you open the shutter, and shine a light through from the back, do you see any haze?
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Old 01-04-2017   #3
LMNOP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry H-L View Post
Rather than a focus issue, I see a micro-contrast problem that is affecting the overall quality of the image.
It looks more like a fog issue inside the lens. Have you tried cleaning the rear element of the lens? And, if you open the shutter, and shine a light through from the back, do you see any haze?
Thanks for the suggestion!

Unfortunately I recently put another roll of film into it to further test potential focus issues - so I guess i'll have to wait till i'm finished the roll to check this potential haze problem

Would the haze affect the focus also?

Anyone else have any ideas?
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Old 01-04-2017   #4
p.giannakis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LMNOP View Post

Would the haze affect the focus also?
I doubt.

Now that you have film on the camera, there are not many ways to check. Once you remove it do the following.

Put a book with large letters on the front cover on a number of distances, starting from minimal focusing distance to, say, 5 meters. Set the aperture at 1.7 and focus the lens.

If you put the book 2 meters away (measure with a tape), when you focus the lens it should agree with the distance scale on the lens. Put the speed at "B" and stick a focusing screen from an old SLR camera on the place where film sits. Check with a loupe or a strong magnifying glass the picture formed on the screen. It should appear sharp. It is important that you check this with aperture fully open.

Repeat for a few distances. Here is a picture i found on the net in order to visualize the set up i describe above. Hope this helps.



While the camera is set to "B", shine a small torch on the lens and check to see if there is any fungus/haze.
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Old 01-04-2017   #5
LMNOP
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Many thanks for the suggestion! I may just unwind the film (I've only shot a few frames) and give this a go

What exactly is this testing? Just the lens focus? What if this proves to be successful but I keep experiencing the same problems, would that indicate the problem lies with the rangefinder? Might that need adjusting?

Also what do you mean when you say: "...stick a focusing screen from an old SLR camera on the place where film sits" - not sure what you mean by focusing screen?

Thanks
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Old 01-04-2017   #6
p.giannakis
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This is a picture of a focusing screen.



You can get one from any broken SLR cameras you might have have around. If you cannot find one, get a piece of clear plastic (for example from a CD case) cut it the size of a picture frame and sand it with fine sanding paper until it becomes like frost glass. Stick it on the back of the camera and perform the procedure i wrote above. A picture is going to form on it just like it forms on film. With a magnifying glass you can check if the picture is sharp.

If the picture is sharp, the rangefinder shows that it is accurately focused and the distance on the lens scale agrees with the distance of how far you set your subject, then there is nothing wrong with the rangefinder. Look through the lens to see if there is any haze or something then...
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Old 01-05-2017   #7
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I agree with the above comments, the accuracy of focus looks okay, but contrast is lower, which could well be dirty lenses, especially the rearmost one(s). Set it to B, open the back of the camera, open the shutter, and hold it up to the light so you are looking from a little of an oblique angle (not straight through). Any stuff on the glass surfaces will be caught by the light. There will be some dust etc. but it's fogginess you're looking for.
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Old 01-05-2017   #8
LMNOP
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ah yes of course, those focusing screens!

Many thanks for both of your thoughts - i'll give both of them a try soon.

If I do discover haze in the lens - is there anything i can do to clean it? Or is it nearly unsalvageable or rather a job for a professional?
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Old 01-05-2017   #9
hellomikmik
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in the first shot the ears are sharp enough (not the eyes), contrast is lower but that might be the lens design/coating or the fact that it is shot at wide aperture (not like you did with konica), make some more test shots to see if the camera is back focusing. the second image looks fine to me.


if you decide to work on it remember the screws are JIS (japanese standard) probably - you might need a japanese screwdriver. The rangefinder mechanism is pretty simple, hard to adjust exactly for all distances.

You can also put/tape developed flat negative in the camera, open the lens, shine through the back with torchlight, focus the lens in order to project the sharp image on the wall and compare the sharpness with what you see in rangefinder (to avoid need for focusing screen and loupe).

imo it's not too bad to have 2 cameras that renders differently. I have just read that konica S3 lens was best at times so ....
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Old 01-05-2017   #10
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Thanks for your thoughts!

Shall investigate further when i get the time.
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