Rolleiflex 2.8F focus adjustment

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hiroh

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I suspected that the focus on my 2.8F is not perfect, so I performed a little test. I printed the lens test target and focused on 1m, 2m, 3m distance.

At 1m distance, I have to set focus knob to 1.2m
At 2m distance - between 2.5 and 3m
At 3m distance - between 6 and 6m

Also, I don't know if this is how it's supposed to be, because I bought this camera recently and it came like that, but I can turn the focus knob below 1m. Up, it goes exactly to the infinity symbol, but turning down, it goes to 1m and beyond. Is this normal or it should stop at 1m?

This camera was CLA'd before I purchased it, it even came with the receipt, so I don't know if this is how it's supposed to be, and it cannot be 100% accurate, or the CLA was poorly done and I should send it again.

Is there anything maybe I can do to adjust it?
 

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Helge

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It’s just the scale that is off, right?
It goes to infinity and close focuses as close as it should?
Your best bet is to send it to the place of the CLA and hope pride or warranty will have them do it for free.
It’s not something you should attempt to fix yourself.
 

Dan Daniel

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It’s not something you should attempt to fix yourself.
Yeah, don't try this yourself.

What happens on the focus screen, and on the focus knob, when you focus on something at infinity- 1/4 mile or more distance?

There are two different adjustments for TLR focus. The first involves the taking lens and its relation to infinity and the film plane. The second involves the viewing lens and its agreement with the taking lens.

In practice, the important one is the agreement between the taking lens and the viewing lens. Meaning that when something is in focus on the screen, it will also be in focus on the film. So the first thing I would do is run a film test, shoot a wall or fence at 45 degrees, put a prominent object at 4 feet or so, and focus on it. Shoot at a large aperture and see what happens on film.

The knob traveling closer than 1 meter is normal. And stopping at infinity is normal. This is how the knob is designed and is simply reset to match the actual lens and film plane after these are properly adjusted.

But those numbers you are getting are pretty severe. One thing to look at is the gap between the lens shroud and the main body when focused at infinity. It should be very small. It varies, but around 1mm would be typical.
 

itsdoable

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It sounds like the focus calibration is off, it may not have been done at the CLA, or the CLA may have knocked it off.

This calibration involves 2 steps.

- Calibrate the taking lens with the film plane. This involves placing a screen on the film gate, and ensuring infinity focus is correct - this can be done with a high contrast distant target, i usually prefer doing this on an optical bench.

- Calibrate the viewing lens to match infinity on the focus screen - this is done by adjusting the position of the viewing lens on the lens board.

It is important to determine what is out before you adjust things, otherwise you can simply make things worse.

Have you taken an image to see if infinity focus is correct on the film plane? If so, then you just have to adjust the viewing lens.
 

momus

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On your simpler TLR cameras, you can get the top lens and the bottom lens to sync together pretty easily (see the post above mine). Not on your camera, that is a pretty complicated job.
 

Dan Daniel

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On your simpler TLR cameras, you can get the top lens and the bottom lens to sync together pretty easily (see the post above mine). Not on your camera, that is a pretty complicated job.

Yes, please don't encourage people to pop the front off of an F Rolleiflex. There are 8 parts that need to be properly positioned to simply drop the lens shroud into place, and if it isn't done properly the camera won't work properly.

It is possible to get the taking lens and viewing lens in alignment by shimming the focus hood or focus screen on most TLRs. But guess what? Not on an F (or T or 'Cord Vb or E with removable hood).
 

jvo

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Dan knows
Yes, please don't encourage people to pop the front off of an F Rolleiflex. There are 8 parts that need to be properly positioned to simply drop the lens shroud into place, and if it isn't done properly the camera won't work properly.

It is possible to get the taking lens and viewing lens in alignment by shimming the focus hood or focus screen on most TLRs. But guess what? Not on an F (or T or 'Cord Vb or E with removable hood).

Pay attention, Dan is an expert on Rolleiflex!
 

ic-racer

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The meter assembly is on the focus knob, not on front of camera, and held by only two screws.
 
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hiroh

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Hey thanks to all of you for helpful responses. I'll go out and shoot some tests, infinity, minimum focus distance, wide open and closed aperture and see the results. Without those tests, it would be just guessing.

I just got 6 rolls developed yesterday, and I have some out of focus shots, which I usually don't, but who knows, maybe it was just me, missing the focus. I also tested Rolleinar III for the first time and those shots was not always perfectly in focus. I also shot some Ektar 100 when the light wasn't great, so I shoot wide open. I also have few shots that I think I focused to infinity wide open (landscape kind of shots with distant subjects), and they are out of focus. But I cannot be sure, maybe I just didn't turn the knob all the way to the infinity. I also shot handheld.

But most shots are in focus, so it might be all fine, but this is the first time that I got more than a few out of focus shots.

I got this camera relatively recently, and I shoot only 20-25 rolls so far with it, so I don't have an enormous experience. I'm still testing different accessories and film stocks.

I'd hate to send this camera for repair and wait months to get it back if everything is fine. So I'll have to do these tests to be sure.
 
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hiroh

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On thing that came to my mind — I removed both lenses to clean and dry them inside after shooting on a rainy day. When I put them back, I'm noticing that the taking letters are not in the same position as they were when I bought the camera. I tried to unscrew and screw it few times, but the letters always end up in different position. Does this even matter? Is there a way to put them into original position? I don't want to do this too many times and damage the thread. I cannot push further than this. I can unscrew it and start again from a different position, but the questions is, what's the correct starting point?

This is how it used to be:
03.jpg


And how it's now:
IMG_5728.jpeg
 

Dan Daniel

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OK, that's your problem. This lens is not in the correct position. This explains the wanky focus scale numbers.

Can't tell from the photos how far back the viewing lens is. My guess, it is one rotation too far out.

Suggestion: Set camera focus knob to infinity. Now make the viewing lens give you an infinity image on the screen that goes off as soon as you focus closer. I am assuming the basic setup is still good- the taking lens is collimated for infinity. Make the viewing lens focus at infinity and see what happens.

If you can't get the lens back enough, you'll need to determine what the lock system is for it and loosen it up. Rollei used two systems- a 'jam nut' system with three screws around the outer edge of mounting flange on the back of the lens board, and a jam nut system with a silver ring with two spanner wrench slots that goes into a tube emerging from the lens board.

Please don't go deeper. Please. You might get out of this, but any deeper and you will be spending three full days trying to make sense of exploded diagrams that were scanned slightly too low resolution.

Before too much is suggested: Yes, I am assuming that the taking lens is set up properly and that the focus knob offset is because the viewing lens is not set properly. So going into the focus knob to reset the knob position will lose the taking lens infinity setting. And then another set of techniques is needed. Let's see if we get them out of this the simplest way.

Oh wait, he says that negatives were out of focus at infinity.... forget what I said.
 
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hiroh

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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I just wanna make sure we're on the same page: if you compare these two images that I posted above, you'll see the difference in the position of the taking lens, while the viewing lens seems to be in the exact same position.

I was a bit confused when you said that the viewing lens is one rotation too far out?
 
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hiroh

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Damn, I unscrewed it 5 more times, every time starting from a slightly different position and it always end up at the same spot. I cannot get it to the original position.
 

btaylor

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hiroh, you have a very fine and valuable Rolleiflex. Would it not be better to have it professionally repaired and calibrated by a competent repair person? Then you could have confidence in the camera’s operation. Someone else’s supposed CLA is moot at this point. I had Pro Camera CLA my 3.5f. The price was reasonable and it was turned around in a couple of weeks.
 
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hiroh

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hiroh, you have a very fine and valuable Rolleiflex. Would it not be better to have it professionally repaired and calibrated by a competent repair person? Then you could have confidence in the camera’s operation. Someone else’s supposed CLA is moot at this point. I had Pro Camera CLA my 3.5f. The price was reasonable and it was turned around in a couple of weeks.

Yeah, I'd definitely prefer that if something is seriously off. It's just that I'm not sure because recently everything looked good and all the photos were very sharp, until I got my last few rolls. I didn't knock or dropped my camera, I keep it very carefully, so I'm still not sure if it was just me missing the focus, or something happened. I'll develop my two test rolls tonight and see how it did.

Oh, and I wish it's a couple weeks. Last time I contacted Harry Fleenor, the wait times were 4 months, and I read online that sometimes is even longer. I'm going to spend the summer in Europe with my family from June to August, and the only camera that I wanted to bring is my Rolleiflex. Anyway, I'll develop now these rolls and I'll post the results.
 

btaylor

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I hope you get the results you are hoping for.
While I am sure Mr. Fleenor is a very fine Rollei technician, he is not the only one out there. I have used both Dave Easterwood in Michigan and Pro Camera in North Carolina for my Rollei 3.5f’s. Dave took about 6 weeks, Pro Camera about 2-3 weeks. Not bad. Of course you know Dan Daniel in this thread is apparently a fine Rollei tech as well, though I do not have any direct experience with his work.
 
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hiroh

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I quickly developed a roll where I shot infinity at f22, f8 and f2.8.

F22 seems to be farily sharp, while f8 is less sharp and f2.8 is completely out of focus.

Is this normal, or infinity should be always in focus, no matter of the aperture?

The cliff on the photo is 1 mile away.

Photos are 100% crop.
 

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nicelynice

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Send your camera for repair
The focus is off. The lenses should not be taken off for cleaning by someone without experience.

F22 is only "sharp" because of the depth of field that aperture offers - even if the focus is off. As you stop down the aperture, the problem becomes more clear.

As has been mentioned, that's a very nice camera, but it should be set straight by an experienced technician.
 
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hiroh

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Another test roll clearly shows that the focus is off.

I shot this on a tripod, at the minimum focusing distance. I carefully focused the target (using the large loupe). On both f2.8 and f8, target is out of the focus, and you'll notice that the rocket blower is more in focus which is behind the target focus plane.
 

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Dan Daniel

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Hi Dan,

I was a bit confused when you said that the viewing lens is one rotation too far out?
What I was wondering is if the viewing lens has the lettering in the correct orientation but that it is not threaded in to the right depth. So it is one full rotation in or out of where it was before. This would make it look 'right' based on your photos but it would be off.

Maybe I didn't read you right- when you say that you took off both lenses, do you mean both the viewing and taking lenses, or both lens groups for the taking lens? If you took of the back group for the taking lens, I would check its seating again. That can be a tricky threading to get right since it is down in that tube. There should be a few rotations, smooth, before it seats. Keep rotating backwards and restarting until it threads easily.

People have given a couple of repair shops. Call them and ask if they can do this and turn it around in time for your vacation. Pay the rush fee. Get it done right. When you get back you can calmly look into how to set focus on cameras like this, but for now relax, let someone else handle it, enjoy your vacation.
 

cjbecker

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What I was wondering is if the viewing lens has the lettering in the correct orientation but that it is not threaded in to the right depth. So it is one full rotation in or out of where it was before. This would make it look 'right' based on your photos but it would be off.

Maybe I didn't read you right- when you say that you took off both lenses, do you mean both the viewing and taking lenses, or both lens groups for the taking lens? If you took of the back group for the taking lens, I would check its seating again. That can be a tricky threading to get right since it is down in that tube. There should be a few rotations, smooth, before it seats. Keep rotating backwards and restarting until it threads easily.

People have given a couple of repair shops. Call them and ask if they can do this and turn it around in time for your vacation. Pay the rush fee. Get it done right. When you get back you can calmly look into how to set focus on cameras like this, but for now relax, let someone else handle it, enjoy your vacation.

I sent you a pm about doing a repair on my 3.5e!
 

campy51

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I made the mistake on removing the viewing lens to clean it and then everything was out of focus. What I did was to assume that the taking lens is in it's correct position and set the camera at 3.5 ft and focused on a ground glass in the film plane and then slowly rotated the viewing lens until the focus in the viewfinder was sharp. Then I moved the camera to different distances and checked the focus of both and if it was good that's where I left it and shot a roll to confirm focus.
 

itsdoable

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Focus tests really only need to be done wide open, and maybe one stop down if there is focus shift. Stopping down to f8 just hides all the small errors.

It sound like both your infinity stop, and the calibration between your taking and viewing lens is off.

At this point, it should have a full calibration, and that is something that should only be done if you really understand what you are doing, it's not something that you just follow step by step instructions from the internet.
 
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