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View Full Version : Front focus on 35mm 1.4 ASPH Help!


Larry Kellogg
06-11-2005, 16:17
Well, I splurged and bought a Leica 35mm 1.4 ASPH. I have started to play around with it and I have noticed that it seems to consistently front focus. Please see: http://homepage.mac.com/mac.hive/PhotoAlbum17.html In all of these shots I am focusing on the 10 inch mark and the focus seems to be on the 8 inch mark. All of these shots are taken wide open at f/1.4.

So, I kind of have a sick feeling in my stomach. Is this focusing behavior normal for this lens? Do I have a bad copy? Should I try to get it exchanged? Is it the cam follower in the R-D1? I have read some of the other threads on this issue and I realize that there appears to be no easy solution to this problem. I know that I can always try to pull the focus in front a little bit to compensate but should I have to do that?

Has anyone else had experience with this lens on the R-D1? Sean, are you listening? What has been your experience with the 35mm 1.4 ASPH?

Thanks for the help!

Larry

Doug
06-11-2005, 20:03
Facing this problem, I'd be inclined to gather up the body and all lenses I plan to use with it and take them to my local expert camera repairman and ask that the lenses and/or body be adjusted so that whole kit focuses as it should.

Sorta similarly, after many years of ownership I took my M2 and 1st version 35 'cron in for a CLA. The tech found it wasn't focusing accurately and asked that I bring in my Tele-Elmarit as well. The 90mm focused fine, the body was in-spec, but he found that the 'cron was off, presumably from the factory. I never used it wide open, and DoF masked the issue by f/2.8... it was fixed by reassembling the focus helix one thread off from where it had been.

mtokue
06-11-2005, 22:24
Larry, Sorry to hear about your situation, I have within the last month
sold my Summicron 35mm ASPH and bought a Summilux 35mm ASPH.
So far I have been very very pleased with my decision. The Summicron
was without doubt my favourite Lens! and now it is the Summilux.
I have thus far not tried the close focus test..........I suppose that I should......
I know that there is no problems with my 'Lux ASPH with Film on my M4-P
Having just recieved 5 rolls of trannies back....Guess I'll go and find a ruler....
Mike.

Larry Kellogg
06-12-2005, 03:33
Larry, Sorry to hear about your situation, I have within the last month
sold my Summicron 35mm ASPH and bought a Summilux 35mm ASPH.
So far I have been very very pleased with my decision. The Summicron
was without doubt my favourite Lens! and now it is the Summilux.
I have thus far not tried the close focus test..........I suppose that I should......
I know that there is no problems with my 'Lux ASPH with Film on my M4-P
Having just recieved 5 rolls of trannies back....Guess I'll go and find a ruler....
Mike.

Mike,
Yes, I would be very interested in hearing your results with the Summilux 35 1.4 ASPH on the R-D1. I ran some more tests. This time I leaned the ruler back at about a 45 degree angle and put the camera on a tripod with a two way level in the hotshoe. I'm trying to avoid introducing any parallax errors. Everything is shot at f/1.4.

Believe it or not, I was focusing on the 11-13" mark in all of these shots. The focus seems to be consistently in front of that spot. Sigh. The person I bought the lens from says they checked it on their test bench with different M cameras as well as with an R-D1 and said it was spot on. So, I suppose it is my camera but I don't know. What do I do?

The test shots are here: http://homepage.mac.com/mac.hive/PhotoAlbum18.html

I initially tried some shots of my wife and it was readily apparent that it was front focusing by a large amount. Her knee which she had pulled up in front of her face was sharp while her face was out of focus. I know I could learn to pull the focus in front when shooting wide open but it hurts to have to do that after spending so much money on this lens.


Regards,
Larry

Larry Kellogg
06-12-2005, 05:21
Here are some tests with my Canon 50 1.4:

http://homepage.mac.com/mac.hive/PhotoAlbum18.html

Everything in the test shots was focused on the 13" mark @ f/1.4.

The front focus problem seems pretty consistent unless someone can suggest a problem with my test methodology. I wish I had a film Leica to try out the Summilux in order to see if it exhibits the problem. I really need to figure out if it is the camera or the body.

I like Doug's idea to gather up all lenses and the camera and take it to someone to get all of it calibrated to spec. I have three lenses, the Canon 50 1.4, the Summilux 35 1.4 ASPH, and the new Zeiss 25mm 2.8 Biogon. If I can get all of these focusing correctly, my world will be perfect. :) I don't see any other lenses in my future with this camera. Famous last words....

Thanks!

Larry

Ed Schwartzreic
06-12-2005, 06:28
Having already been through this saga myself, I suggest you send your camera to DAG (Don Goldberg), if you live in the US. He knows how to adjust the inner baseline adjustment in the R-D1, as well as the more accessible adjustments under the hot shoe. If you send in one of your fast lenses, he'll likely optimize it for that lens.

http://www.dagcamera.com/

Larry Kellogg
06-12-2005, 06:58
Having already been through this saga myself, I suggest you send your camera to DAG (Don Goldberg), if you live in the US. He knows how to adjust the inner baseline adjustment in the R-D1, as well as the more accessible adjustments under the hot shoe. If you send in one of your fast lenses, he'll likely optimize it for that lens.

http://www.dagcamera.com/

Ed,
Thanks for the advice. Do you have any idea how much it would cost to have my camera adjusted by DAG? Could you give me a little more detail about your saga? To tell you the truth, it is a little depressing to think that I have to pay someone else to fix the calibration issues on this camera. It is still under warranty, shouldn't I be able to get Epson to calibrate it for me? Has anyone had success with getting Epson to calibrate their cameras? I love the R-D1 and I know I will be incredibly happy once I get these front focus issues worked out.

Any and all suggestions are appreciated...

Regards,

Larry

rami G
06-12-2005, 07:10
I just got my RD-1 back from DAG. He did excellent job, and charged me 80$. Price can vary, depends on the exact type of adjustment your camera needs, but the price, I believe, is very good. btw, I sent my body with 3 lenses: the 35lux asph, the 50 crom, and the 75 lux.

Ed Schwartzreic
06-12-2005, 07:20
Larry, at least in the recent past, all Epson USA did was to send you another camera, not fix the one you sent in. This might or might not solve the problem.

Suggest you do a search of my postings from early April, and you'll get a blow-by blow on the saga.

Larry Kellogg
06-13-2005, 05:37
I just got my RD-1 back from DAG. He did excellent job, and charged me 80$. Price can vary, depends on the exact type of adjustment your camera needs, but the price, I believe, is very good. btw, I sent my body with 3 lenses: the 35lux asph, the 50 crom, and the 75 lux.

Did he fix a front focusing problem? Someone told me that the vertical alignment is the only adjustment which is easily accessible and fixable. I'm trying to decide whether to go back to Epson with it or send it to DAG for adjustment with my lenses.

Regards,

Larry

Larry Kellogg
06-13-2005, 05:39
Having already been through this saga myself, I suggest you send your camera to DAG (Don Goldberg), if you live in the US. He knows how to adjust the inner baseline adjustment in the R-D1, as well as the more accessible adjustments under the hot shoe. If you send in one of your fast lenses, he'll likely optimize it for that lens.

http://www.dagcamera.com/

I just read this again. So, is the inner baseline adjustment the one that takes care of the front focus problem? Is the vertical adjustment the one under the hot shoe?

Since both my lenses appear to be off by the same amount, perhaps he can adjust my camera to work with both of them. That would be sweet!


Larry

Ed Schwartzreic
06-13-2005, 06:50
Yes the screw inside of the camera under the top plate (which you can't get to without professionally removing the top plate) is the rangefinder close adj screw. This was out of adjustment in my sample, and DAG had to reset it. Under the hot shoe (cover easily popped off, then the rest removed by unscrewing 4 bolts) are 3 phillips-headed screws. Seen from the back of the camera, the left screw is the infinity adjustment, the right screw is the vertical RF adjustment, and the center screw is for optimizing the clarity of the overall view. While a DIY'er can adjust these 3 screws, I'm not certain that your problem would be solved by this.

Ed

Larry Kellogg
06-13-2005, 10:03
Yes the screw inside of the camera under the top plate (which you can't get to without professionally removing the top plate) is the rangefinder close adj screw. This was out of adjustment in my sample, and DAG had to reset it. Under the hot shoe (cover easily popped off, then the rest removed by unscrewing 4 bolts) are 3 phillips-headed screws. Seen from the back of the camera, the left screw is the infinity adjustment, the right screw is the vertical RF adjustment, and the center screw is for optimizing the clarity of the overall view. While a DIY'er can adjust these 3 screws, I'm not certain that your problem would be solved by this.

Ed

Ed,
Thanks for the information. Does it invalidate your warranty to get the work done by DAG? I would guess the answer is yes. This fact worries me quite a bit and may lead me to get the work done through Epson.


Larry

Sean Reid
06-13-2005, 15:42
Hi Larry,

The 35 Summilux I tested focused accurately on my copy of the R-D1. I agree with the idea of sending the camera and lenses to DAG and asking him to check, adjust, etc. It shouldn't invalidate your warranty (but I couldn't guarantee that). If it were me, I'd send the kit to DAG and not worry about warranty issues. DAG is actually beneficial to Epson because Don's adjustments are preventing some camera returns. It behooves Epson to be flexible about this sort of thing since they don't yet have their own service routines for the camera worked out (and DAG could become part of that routine in the future).

Cheers,

Sean

saxshooter
06-14-2005, 16:41
Larry, my 35 Summilux ASPH # 37057xx, bought about 10 years ago, focuses fine on my RD-1, #45xx. My Noctilux seems to be OK too. That said, my framelines (or RF patch, can't tell) are ever so slightly crooked. But since everything else is Ok (focus was more important to me) I decided to live with it.

Good luck, Charlie