film tension

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by ksmattfish, Mar 29, 2004.

  1. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I just got done doing a focusing test on my Ansco Titan; this camera is a medium format folder with no focus assist other than a focus ring and DOF scale. I set it on Time and loaded it with waxed paper (subs for a ground glass). Then I tested the focus at Infinity, and all the other marked distances. It passed perfectly, which is good to know.

    I was generally happy with my shots from the camera, but sometimes they were soft, and sometimes razor sharp. I wanted to make sure that it was operator error (bad distance estimation, camera shake, etc...) rather than the focus being off with the camera.

    I did notice something though. The film take-up spool did a very poor job of holding my waxpaper taught. I'm sure that an actual roll of film would work better, but watching how the camera worked with the back open really got me thinking about film tension.

    When I advance the film, I stop the advance just before I actually hit the frame number, and then I wait until I'm actually going to take a shot to finish the advance. This is advice on maintaining good film tension I saw out there somewhere. The idea is that carrying the camera around fully advanced would allow the film to loosen and bow away from the focus plane. Now I'm going to try to apply tension on the roll by holding the film take-up knob taught as I shoot. This shouldn't be very difficult as it's right on top on the left side, and can be done with one finger. I'll let you know if I see marked improvement in my sharpness.
     
  2. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I am not familiar with this camera, sorry to say. Your technique (finger pressure) seems like a good candidate for restoring some (if not all) of the sharpness lost to film tension.

    A few questions:

    Does this camera have a pressure plate?

    What is its body made of?
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Good tip, Matt. I hope it solves your problem. I ended up doing this with my Holga and Clack. Not that it mattered with the Holga. :p
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Has anyone ever tried using the laser distance finders you can get at the hardware store for $40 or $50? Since they are used in house construction, I figure they have to be pretty accurate. I've looked at vintage rangefinding devices on Ebay, but they always seem a little expensive to me. And the golf rangefinders work in hundreds of yards, so they're no good.
     

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using a ground glass to test for infinity on a vintage folder