Image Quality with Rolleicord & Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5/75 lens

Discussion in 'Medium Format & Large Format' started by Horace, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Horace

    Horace TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    So I just shot my first roll, got the negatives printed. Still trying to find a scanning service to get the negative scanned. But from the prints, which were 10cm x 10cm, they do not look exceptionally great in terms of sharpness and quality. A shot or two was due to my focusing errors, but the rest seems to be focused correctly. The landscape photos were focused at infinity.

    So my question is what kind of image quality can I expect from my camera? It is a Rolleicord & Schneider-Kreuznach Xenar 1:3.5/75 lens. I think it is a Rolleicord III. Would something from Mamiya be better?

    Thanks,
    Horace


     
  2. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You need to date and ID the camera for us better. Here's the primary concern: Is the lens coated or not? If the camera is post-war the lens will be coated. You should be able to tell by looking at the lens. Look at the lens surface from the side and turn it in the light. You're looking for a magenta-blue color on the surface of the lens -- anti reflection coating.

    The 75mm f/3.5 Xenar design predates lens coatings so you could have an old enough camera to have an un-coated lens. The lens is a good performer and produces sharp photos, but the coating makes a big difference in the contrast response of the lens.

    =====================================

    You have another variable here to address. You handed the film processing and printing over to someone else. The quality of their processing is also a factor.

    Where are you?

    Joe
     
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  3. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You should expect very good sharpness IF you are using an appropriate shutter speed, an appropriate aperture, an appropriate camera support and IF the lens is in clean condition.

    Most old lenses from that era need cleaning as they are often found with haze, dust and possibly even fungus living inside. Open the shutter and shine a flashlight through the back of the lens as you look through it from the other side to check its cleanliness.
     
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  4. Horace

    Horace TPF Noob!

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    I have the original receipt for this camera and it is bought in 1953. From looking at it from the side, I am not sure if it is coated. I do see a reflection of the light on the lens and it looks more magenta than the actual color of the light, so perhaps it is.

    What are the appropriate aperture and shutter speeds that I should use? I went as low as 1/50 sec. I took most photos at around f/8.
     
  5. compur

    compur Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would try the flash light test. Sixty year old lenses are often in need of cleaning.
     
  6. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That's a coated lens. A 75mm Xenar with anti-reflection coating is a good sharp lens. Compur's points are worthwhile as well -- is it clean and is the camera is good working order?

    The camera has no light meter and so you either need to get one or you need at least an exposure guide -- like this one copied off the back of a Rolleiflex:

    [​IMG]

    The ASA numbers on the left are equivalent to modern ISO values for film. The numbers in the center of the chart are EV values. Here's an EV table:

    EV table

    Match the scene from the top with you film ISO and read the EV value. Then use the EV table to find shutter speed and f/stop combinations for exposure.

    Joe
     
  7. Horace

    Horace TPF Noob!

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    I will try the flashlight test as soon as this roll of film is finished.

    I use an app to expose my pictures. Sometimes I use a digital camera also. The pictures from the first roll of film look pretty well exposed.

    Thanks for the bg info on the lens.
     
  8. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have a Rolleichord I Model 2 (a bit different but none the less) I also had some similar issues to you when I started out. I found a lot of blur at the lower shutter speeds as to be expected but more so than my 35mm experience. I use a tripod and cable release with the camera more often than not now and it has worked great. The other issue I found was that my elements were a bit out of alignment. Depending on your DIY level you can calibrate this at home with a piece of ground glass placed over the film exposure area and the back of the camera removed. If not a good camera repair place may be able to confirm that its all good to go. Keep in mind that with medium format your depth of field is shallower so errors in focus may be more pronounced and less forgiving than with other formats.
     

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