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Rolleiflex 2.8E focus screen questions
Old 03-03-2018   #1
Steve Ruddy
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Rolleiflex 2.8E focus screen questions

I am wondering if the 2.8E will accept cut down Mamiya RB67 focus screens. I may purchase this model and it's original screen is scratched and I really like the Mamiya screens too. I'm also wondering if I can install an original Rolleiflex screen from a T. Also how hard is it to change screens? It looks like the 2.8E does not have a removable hood like my T, which makes changing screens a breeze. I have found the T's original screen to be .057" and the Mamiya .060" so no focusing issues when swapping. I would like to use the E the say way. It would be cool if I could retrofit the E with a removable hood from a junker parts camera, anyone know if that will work?
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Old 03-04-2018   #2
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I own a 3.5E and face the same dilemma I assume you are facing (dark screen at times). Yes, you can cut down the Mamiya RB/RZ screens but it is not easy to cut properly (thick plastic) and without scratching. If you make it that far your focus will be off when the Mamiya screen is installed due it being slightly thicker than the original ground glass. The proper way to address this is to remove the front face (need to remove the leather, trigger/flash switches and self timer switch to access the 4-6 brass screws that hold the outer black cosmetic rim of the lens standard). Then you can access the set screw for the viewing lens and adjust the viewing lens to the new infinity point. Others bypass all that and just use thin shims under the viewing hood, which is more trial and error but probably better if you're not sure you want to keep the new screen.

There are replacement screens out there (such as Rick Oleson and Maxwell) that do not require recalibrating focus, but I've heard mixed reviews on them. I don't believe any aftermarket screen, including the Mamiya, is going to give as much certainty at to exact focus as the simple ground glass screen.

The later Rolleiflexes with removable hoods (F and T series) screens may work with the same calibration issues as the Mamiya screen, although the size may not be right for the E series.

Minolta Autocords and (I believe) later Yashicamats use a 2-piece combination ground glass and fresnel underneath that to achieve the same focus "pop" without the darkened corners. I have looked into employing this method with the 3.5E and found some promising fresnel material at Edmund Scientific but have yet to try it.

As for swapping hoods between the T/F and E series, I don't know if that is possible, but I suspect the screw holes will not match up.
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Old 03-04-2018   #3
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In the 60's when I was in college I had a MX-EVS v2 and wanted a brighter screen. I was lucky and swapped it with something I found and it worked fine. Sorry it's been too long and I can't remember what screen I found.

I've had a lot of Rolleis since and replaced several screens. I currently have a 2.8D and 3.5F. The D has a Maxwell that was in it when I got it and unlike most folks I'm not a big fan of Maxwell screens. I find them very bright but screen contrast is an issue making it harder to focus. My F has the original screen and although a little less bright it snaps in and out of focus much better. I swapped it with an Oleson screen which is good but decided I liked the original best. I'm seriously thinking of removing the Maxwell from the D and putting an Oleson in it. I think it'll be easier to focus and just slightly less bright.

With the old non removable hood models all you have to do is remove 4 screws at the corners of the hood and lift it out. The screen is held in the hood with two spring clips. With this model the screen indexes from the top of the ground focusing surface so thickness is critical. Linhof did that on their view camera GG backs so you have to buy their overpriced ground glass. Rollei in the removable hood versions indexed from the ground focusing surface so thickness isn't critical.

As to using a fresnel under the screen between the ground glass and lens, the fresnel causes a focus shift. If the fresnel is between the GG screen and your eye there's no focus shift.

I doubt you can easily swap a removable hood with the old style. There would be some major machining to do this. Best bet is to swap your E v1 for a v2 or later. V2 E's and later have removable hoods.
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Old 03-04-2018   #4
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Thanks for posting this I'm getting a 2.8C with most likely the same problem will
have to wait and see when I get it, I don't mind taking the front off and adjusting
the viewing lens.
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Old 03-04-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesun267 View Post
I own a 3.5E and face the same dilemma I assume you are facing (dark screen at times). Yes, you can cut down the Mamiya RB/RZ screens but it is not easy to cut properly (thick plastic) and without scratching. If you make it that far your focus will be off when the Mamiya screen is installed due it being slightly thicker than the original ground glass. The proper way to address this is to remove the front face (need to remove the leather, trigger/flash switches and self timer switch to access the 4-6 brass screws that hold the outer black cosmetic rim of the lens standard). Then you can access the set screw for the viewing lens and adjust the viewing lens to the new infinity point. Others bypass all that and just use thin shims under the viewing hood, which is more trial and error but probably better if you're not sure you want to keep the new screen.

There are replacement screens out there (such as Rick Oleson and Maxwell) that do not require recalibrating focus, but I've heard mixed reviews on them. I don't believe any aftermarket screen, including the Mamiya, is going to give as much certainty at to exact focus as the simple ground glass screen.

The later Rolleiflexes with removable hoods (F and T series) screens may work with the same calibration issues as the Mamiya screen, although the size may not be right for the E series.

Minolta Autocords and (I believe) later Yashicamats use a 2-piece combination ground glass and fresnel underneath that to achieve the same focus "pop" without the darkened corners. I have looked into employing this method with the 3.5E and found some promising fresnel material at Edmund Scientific but have yet to try it.

As for swapping hoods between the T/F and E series, I don't know if that is possible, but I suspect the screw holes will not match up.
Excellent info! I just found out the 2.8E screen is smaller than the T, as you indicated. I'll see how bad the original screen is then decide if I want to go with the Mamiya and adjust the viewing lens or shim the screen. fwiw I have cut a Mamya for my T. Actually I didn't cut it as I felt I would have a chance of breaking it so I used a diamond cutting disc in a small rotary tool, worked great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
In the 60's when I was in college I had a MX-EVS v2 and wanted a brighter screen. I was lucky and swapped it with something I found and it worked fine. Sorry it's been too long and I can't remember what screen I found.

I've had a lot of Rolleis since and replaced several screens. I currently have a 2.8D and 3.5F. The D has a Maxwell that was in it when I got it and unlike most folks I'm not a big fan of Maxwell screens. I find them very bright but screen contrast is an issue making it harder to focus. My F has the original screen and although a little less bright it snaps in and out of focus much better. I swapped it with an Oleson screen which is good but decided I liked the original best. I'm seriously thinking of removing the Maxwell from the D and putting an Oleson in it. I think it'll be easier to focus and just slightly less bright.

With the old non removable hood models all you have to do is remove 4 screws at the corners of the hood and lift it out. The screen is held in the hood with two spring clips. With this model the screen indexes from the top of the ground focusing surface so thickness is critical. Linhof did that on their view camera GG backs so you have to buy their overpriced ground glass. Rollei in the removable hood versions indexed from the ground focusing surface so thickness isn't critical.

As to using a fresnel under the screen between the ground glass and lens, the fresnel causes a focus shift. If the fresnel is between the GG screen and your eye there's no focus shift.

I doubt you can easily swap a removable hood with the old style. There would be some major machining to do this. Best bet is to swap your E v1 for a v2 or later. V2 E's and later have removable hoods.
Oh well, I will have to decide which type of Mamiya screen I want in this camera. Maybe I'll use the checker as it will have the grid like a Rollei screen. Right now I have the no3 Range finder spot in my T and love it. I kept the Rollei screen for it and swap it when shooting architecture. I would love to get an E2 or E3 but don't have the funds right now. They seem to be considerably higher priced than E V1. Glad to hear your opinion about the Maxwell screen. I know others agree and I would never spend that much dough on a screen.
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Old 03-04-2018   #6
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True they are expensive, I'm glad there are other sources for screens out there
you could try.
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Old 03-04-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ruddy View Post
Maybe I'll use the checker as it will have the grid like a Rollei screen.
I think the grid is on the glass cover frame on the Mamiya screens.
One discards that piece when cutting a Mamiya screen to fit a Rolleiflex.
If you want a grid with a Mamiya screen fit for a Rollei, you'll have to apply it directly to the acrylic(?) fresnel after cutting it down.

Check out this thread for some screen comparisons.
https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...een+comparison
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Old 03-14-2018   #8
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There used to be a web-page on adapting (i.e. cutting down) a Mamiya RB67 screen for a Rolleiflex. It eventually disappeared because the information with respect to re-calibrating and suitability was questionable. I still have a copy of the html-file with jpegs.

In general the Rolleiflexes with removable finder hoods have screens that can be replaced by the user without re-calibrating. The earlier cameras with fixed finder hoods need to be recalibrated after exchanging the screen. In those cameras the original screens are usually shimmed and it is best to leave them alone unless you know what you are doing.

Rick Oleson's screens are a good solution for a reasonable price.
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Old 03-18-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesun267 View Post
I own a 3.5E and face the same dilemma I assume you are facing (dark screen at times). Yes, you can cut down the Mamiya RB/RZ screens but it is not easy to cut properly (thick plastic) and without scratching. If you make it that far your focus will be off when the Mamiya screen is installed due it being slightly thicker than the original ground glass. The proper way to address this is to remove the front face (need to remove the leather, trigger/flash switches and self timer switch to access the 4-6 brass screws that hold the outer black cosmetic rim of the lens standard). Then you can access the set screw for the viewing lens and adjust the viewing lens to the new infinity point. Others bypass all that and just use thin shims under the viewing hood, which is more trial and error but probably better if you're not sure you want to keep the new screen.

There are replacement screens out there (such as Rick Oleson and Maxwell) that do not require recalibrating focus, but I've heard mixed reviews on them. I don't believe any aftermarket screen, including the Mamiya, is going to give as much certainty at to exact focus as the simple ground glass screen.

The later Rolleiflexes with removable hoods (F and T series) screens may work with the same calibration issues as the Mamiya screen, although the size may not be right for the E series.

Minolta Autocords and (I believe) later Yashicamats use a 2-piece combination ground glass and fresnel underneath that to achieve the same focus "pop" without the darkened corners. I have looked into employing this method with the 3.5E and found some promising fresnel material at Edmund Scientific but have yet to try it.

As for swapping hoods between the T/F and E series, I don't know if that is possible, but I suspect the screw holes will not match up.
Thx, lots of great info. The original screen is .003-4" thinner than the Mamiya. For me, focusing in bright light on either T or E original screens, are not nearly as easy to achieve as the Mamya screens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
In the 60's when I was in college I had a MX-EVS v2 and wanted a brighter screen. I was lucky and swapped it with something I found and it worked fine. Sorry it's been too long and I can't remember what screen I found.

I've had a lot of Rolleis since and replaced several screens. I currently have a 2.8D and 3.5F. The D has a Maxwell that was in it when I got it and unlike most folks I'm not a big fan of Maxwell screens. I find them very bright but screen contrast is an issue making it harder to focus. My F has the original screen and although a little less bright it snaps in and out of focus much better. I swapped it with an Oleson screen which is good but decided I liked the original best. I'm seriously thinking of removing the Maxwell from the D and putting an Oleson in it. I think it'll be easier to focus and just slightly less bright.

With the old non removable hood models all you have to do is remove 4 screws at the corners of the hood and lift it out. The screen is held in the hood with two spring clips. With this model the screen indexes from the top of the ground focusing surface so thickness is critical. Linhof did that on their view camera GG backs so you have to buy their overpriced ground glass. Rollei in the removable hood versions indexed from the ground focusing surface so thickness isn't critical.

As to using a fresnel under the screen between the ground glass and lens, the fresnel causes a focus shift. If the fresnel is between the GG screen and your eye there's no focus shift.

I doubt you can easily swap a removable hood with the old style. There would be some major machining to do this. Best bet is to swap your E v1 for a v2 or later. V2 E's and later have removable hoods.
I had no idea a the removable hoods focused underneath and the non removable focus on top! This explains why I had to install this Mamiya screen upside down compared to the Mamiya I used in my T.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Range-rover View Post
Thanks for posting this I'm getting a 2.8C with most likely the same problem will
have to wait and see when I get it, I don't mind taking the front off and adjusting
the viewing lens.
You may not have to do that. If the focus plane is on the top side of the screen, then .004" thicker screen may not make enough difference. My initial test involve mounting the camera and focusing on an object, removing the oem screen and replacing with the inverted Mamiya focus looked the same to me. I then took it outside for infinity focus and the Mamiya snapped into focus very positively. This camera had a focus plane adjustment right before I purchased it. Today I am going to shoot a focusing target and I'll post the results. IMO running the Maymia with gloss side up would require lots of upward shimming which would be very difficult and it would look horrible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Range-rover View Post
True they are expensive, I'm glad there are other sources for screens out there
you could try.
Yep, the Mamiya RB67 No. 2 checker was only $30. Like someone has mentioned it will be the same as the No. 1 Matt because the grid is not on the focus screen. I have a No.6 Range-finder Spot on my T and I'm anticipating I may like this one better.
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Old 03-18-2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Ruddy View Post

I had no idea a the removable hoods focused underneath and the non removable focus on top! This explains why I had to install this Mamiya screen upside down compared to the Mamiya I used in my T.
I guess I didn't make it clear that both cameras / screens should be positioned with the focusing surface down toward the lens. With the nonremovable hood model there are two spring clips that push the screen up against the frame of the hood. If the screen is either too thick or too thin the focusing surface will incorrectly spaced from the lens. That's why I said the screen indexed on the top surface resulting in screen thickness being very critical.

With the removable hood model you slip the screen in a frame attached to the body. When positioning the frame it presses the lower surface, the focusing surface, down against a frame that's part of the body. In this case the thickness isn't important because the focusing surface is indexed against the body / frame. No matter the thickness, the focusing surface will always be correctly spaced.
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Old 03-20-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
I guess I didn't make it clear that both cameras / screens should be positioned with the focusing surface down toward the lens. With the nonremovable hood model there are two spring clips that push the screen up against the frame of the hood. If the screen is either too thick or too thin the focusing surface will incorrectly spaced from the lens. That's why I said the screen indexed on the top surface resulting in screen thickness being very critical.

With the removable hood model you slip the screen in a frame attached to the body. When positioning the frame it presses the lower surface, the focusing surface, down against a frame that's part of the body. In this case the thickness isn't important because the focusing surface is indexed against the body / frame. No matter the thickness, the focusing surface will always be correctly spaced.
Not necessarily, I can be very dense at times I read this about twenty times and I think I just got it! So originally the oem screen was installed with the mat surface up. The camera just had a focus calibration but I never took any shots before I replaced the screen. If it was all good after service wouldn't it stand that it would not need any adjusting since the oem and mamiya screen focus surface are both facing up? I took the following test shots and it is clearly back focusing but infinity focus seems to be dead on. How can this be? I thought infinity focus was the way to calibrate it. Here is a quote from Rick Oleson.
Quote:
Install the new screen in place of the old one, frosted side towards the mirror, using the
original clips. If there was a Fresnel plate under the original screen, you no longer need it;
your new screen replaces both parts. The clips will still work with the one-piece screen.
Set the hood back in place and reinstall the 4 hood screws. Check focus by setting the
focus dial to infinity and sighting on a distant object. If the focus appears correct, then
you’re okay. If you need to make a focus adjustment, there are 2 possibilities: the right
way and the easy way; both work. The right way is to readjust the viewing lens to match the
new screen position. I have included notes on how to do this for the cameras I’m familiar
with.
In most cameras this requires some amount of disassembly of the front panel, which you
may not want to do. You may also prefer not to do this if you’re considering changing back
to your original screen and don’t want to disturb the settings. In this case, you can adjust
the screen by shimming to shift its position. You will either place shims between the screen
and the hood to lower it, or between the hood and the camera body to raise it.
 If the viewfinder focuses past infinity, shim under the hood between the screws on
either side to raise the screen until it reads correctly.
 If the viewfinder fails to reach infinity, remove the screen and insert shims
between the screen and the hood, directly above the spring clips, to lower the
screen until it reads correctly.
 The depth of focus of an 80mm lens at f/3.5 is about ±0.2mm, so you need to be
able to control at least to this precision. A piece of “Dymo” plastic label tape is
about 0.2mm thick, so this is a handy material to use for a shim; for finer control
you can add a thinner tape or adhesive backed paper. The adhesive backing is very
helpful in keeping things under control. (where appropriate I am enclosing a couple
of small pieces of Dymo label tape with the screen, just in case you decide you'd like
to do it this way)
 Note: Shimming will NOT be an adequate method if you have decided to install the
screen frosted side up. For that there is no option but to readjust the viewing lens
for the new screen position.
Based on this I can only assume the oem lens was not installed properly as it was mat side up. Here are a few test shots I took. Since then I took off the back cover and placed the oem screen on the film plain mat side toward lens. distance scale seems right when focusing using a loupe. So I'm trying the shim up the hood until the focus matches. I have used .021" shim already and it still isn't the same. I don't get it as the screen is only .004" thicker. Now infinity focus is off.

Here are a few shots after replacing the eom screen with the Mamiya both screens mat side up. Will post some new ones if I can get it working with mat side down. I don't want to work with the viewing lens as I have no way of putting it on a tripod with the back off and don't know for sure if using the oem screen on the film plane and the new screen in the hood is the correct way to go about it. Seems like I should be using the same screen in both places.





Me wondering if the timer is going to work. At least the flash worked and I got lucky by getting my self close to being in focus.

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Old 03-20-2018   #12
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I alway's check the focus when I receive a Rollei, I have a split image screen from a broken
6008 camera and tape a 10X loupe to it, set the camera to "B" and aperture
set wide open, it's a pain but it works for me testing the infinity focus. I do the same
with the focusing screen 10X loupe put right on top of the screen and check focus and
I adjust the viewing lens, doesn't the flat side of the screen go down toward the mirror
and the semi-gloss side goes up.
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Old 03-20-2018   #13
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Steve, You've definitely gone down the rabbit-hole with the Rolleiflex. Rollei surgery! you're a brave man. I hope the end of the tunnel is in sight. They take good photos too.
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Old 03-20-2018   #14
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I think the mat side should definitely face down on the Mamiya screen. Should not require a ton of shimming that way.

When adjusting for infinity, it is fine to use the ground glass on the film plane but make sure it sits on the chrome side rails not the top or bottom. But if you're only replacing the screen, that shouldn't matter (assuming the taking lens is installed correctly in the first place.)

I've found when servicing Rolleis that there is quite some depth of field at infinity, even wide open. Meaning objects more than 1000ft away will appear sharp at several positions, making exact infinity rather hard to tell. If you were checking at the film plane, the range of sharp focus would be the difference between the infinity mark and 30ft on the focusing knob.

I try not to go too far when setting infinity. If that makes sense. In otherwords, I set infinity (of the viewing screen) at the first point that appears sharp when moving the lens standard from a closer focus distance. I try to use something more than a mile away as my focus point. If you set it too far into the range of sharp infinity focus, your closer distances will be off. Hope this isn't more confusing.
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Old 03-20-2018   #15
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The mat side should always be down facing the lens. Your screen was installed wrong.
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Old 03-20-2018   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesun267 View Post
I think the mat side should definitely face down on the Mamiya screen. Should not require a ton of shimming that way.

When adjusting for infinity, it is fine to use the ground glass on the film plane but make sure it sits on the chrome side rails not the top or bottom. But if you're only replacing the screen, that shouldn't matter (assuming the taking lens is installed correctly in the first place.)

I've found when servicing Rolleis that there is quite some depth of field at infinity, even wide open. Meaning objects more than 1000ft away will appear sharp at several positions, making exact infinity rather hard to tell. If you were checking at the film plane, the range of sharp focus would be the difference between the infinity mark and 30ft on the focusing knob.

I try not to go too far when setting infinity. If that makes sense. In otherwords, I set infinity (of the viewing screen) at the first point that appears sharp when moving the lens standard from a closer focus distance. I try to use something more than a mile away as my focus point. If you set it too far into the range of sharp infinity focus, your closer distances will be off. Hope this isn't more confusing.
That's why I use a 10X loupe and try to get as close as I can.
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Old 03-20-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Range-rover View Post
I alway's check the focus when I receive a Rollei, I have a split image screen from a broken
6008 camera and tape a 10X loupe to it, set the camera to "B" and aperture
set wide open, it's a pain but it works for me testing the infinity focus. I do the same
with the focusing screen 10X loupe put right on top of the screen and check focus and
I adjust the viewing lens, doesn't the flat side of the screen go down toward the mirror
and the semi-gloss side goes up.
So you are using two different screens too?? It seems like they should be the same screen for checking both lenses. Looks like the last owner had the Rollei screen in upside down. I didn't know that until today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesun267 View Post
I think the mat side should definitely face down on the Mamiya screen. Should not require a ton of shimming that way.
The oem Rollei screen was in with mat side up when I got it. What's bad is that the camera was sent to me a day after the seller got it back from CLA. The receipt says focus plain alignment. This is why I just assumed the mat side up was correct and all I had to do was put the mamiya in mat side up, which is what I did. My infinity test shots were very interesting. I focused on a grill about 200' away and shot at F22, all looked in focus even 15' away were the frame started. Then I changed to F4 same focal point and the grill was completely out of focus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesun267 View Post
When adjusting for infinity, it is fine to use the ground glass on the film plane but make sure it sits on the chrome side rails not the top or bottom. But if you're only replacing the screen, that shouldn't matter (assuming the taking lens is installed correctly in the first place.)
This is were I am now. I think the taking lens wasn't aligned properly. I took the original oem Rollei screen and taped it to the film plane, mat site toward lens. Like this infinity focus at the infinity stop still needs to go a fraction more to be in focus. So it's short of being able to achieve focus. Also focusing on an object 16' away the scale say's 14'. I will l attempt to adjust the infinity focus on the taking lens. Then I should be able to match the focus screen. Now no matter what I do, I can't get them to match, and the scale is off and not tracking literally either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by x-ray View Post
The mat side should always be down facing the lens. Your screen was installed wrong.
Yep finally got that, I should have suspected it was backwards since it was the opposite of my T. I think the mounting style difference threw me off and I figured maybe that's the way this one should be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Range-rover View Post
That's why I use a 10X loupe and try to get as close as I can.
I'm with you, I have a 12x, couldn't see anything without it!
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Old 03-21-2018   #18
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Update! Looks like I was wrong about the recent service on the focus plane. It looked a tiny bit off using a loupe however I found a cool way to use a DSLR as a collimater. Read about it here at Addicted2Light. Here is a shot showing infinity focus dead on at the focus plane. Now to get the viewing the same. I'm up to .024" shim under the Mamiya screen and still going a bit past infinity.

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Old 03-21-2018   #19
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Got it!! will post photos tomorrow.
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Old 03-22-2018   #20
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I think I finally nailed it. The camera collimater really was great for the taking screen but I ended up using my eye for the viewing lens. Let me know what you guys think of my infinity shot. Thanks for all the input. It is really appreciated.

Crop 42" @ F2.8


Crop 18" @ F2.8 with Rolinar 2


Full size Ininity @ F22


Crop 52" @ F11
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