The Widelux after a little TLC.
As fun as the widelux is, there was always a niggling doubt in the back of my mind. There were times when the widelux was sharp even when scanned on my epson v750. But I had to stop down for that, the shot below was most likely at f4 and 1/15.
The other times,.. it was alright. Nothing to write home about.
I had tried the close focus mod which you can find here:
"tried" being the operable word. You see,... I'm not a repair guy, my fingers are far too fat for it. Most repair guys I know are old and/or skinny,... I am not young and I have never, to my recollection, ever been accused of being skinny.
My sausage fingers were meant to manhandle a pentax 67, not fix it.
So I tried the close focus mod,... panicked half way through,... and tried to get it back to what I thought was right. I think I got it. Well, either I did, or physics saved my ass in that stopping down would put enough into focus.
Enough for a good year and a bit of frustrating shooting.
I figured that it was that attempt and my scanner that wasn't quite up to par. The negatives looked just fine. but it was still coming out a mushy in the scans.
Then, during a "camera research" (read attack of GAS) session, I stumbled upon a close up shot done on the Widelux. Sadly the account was no longer active so I got no reply.
Somewhere in the middle of the night I decided to give it one more go.
An afternoon of cursing my lifestyle and my genes for blessing me with my sausage fingers and it was time to close the Widelux up. I looked around,... no left over parts,.. always a good sign.
I wasn't expecting much.
I was expecting the worst,... maybe I'd be unable to focus because I had gone too far.
But it worked!!! It worked marvelously despite these fumbling frankfurters I call my fingers!!!
Before the procedure, f2.8 was soft and hazy and nothing was sharp. I stayed away, f4 was OK for most situations I found myself in.
A bit hazy, yes, the lens flares quite easily,... but look at that separation,... and the slight soft bokeh :D
My super scientist mind then determined that I should be proper and measure the distance so I can repeat it, so below is the hyperly scientific measurement method I chose to employ:
The letterbox slot was sharp,... so I went back and measured,... from the edge it was exactly two-my-hand-spans away from where my finger had been,... so my arm stretched out plus a bit.
Stop down and you get infinity,... depth of field for days, enough infinity for me anyways:
Osumimoto-kun, the guy with the 4x5 was an arms length away. I could have touched him easily,... which means at f11 ( i think it was) minimum focus is about a hair under a meter to be safe. The daring might say a hair over half a meter?
I need to measure my left arm.
At f2.8 the sharpness is impressive. I think mine flares wide open, that's the haziness,... or I might have a dirty spot on there, I dont know.... but look at that separation:
F2.8 being usable changes everything.
The Nikon F100 I got with the 20mm f2.8 lens may have to start looking for a new home.
Sharp as a tack despite the flare.... I can't actually recall the last time I held a tack to check it's sharpness,... but it is what the peoples say.
Online, I have seen Widelux shots with separation like this, but they were few and very far between. I heard that the Widelux 1500, the big medium format monster brother to the F7 is said to have a focus thingy,... so I naturally assumed they were shot on that. Glad I was wrong :)
To round off this little lovefest,... some more shots from the 3 test rolls I zoomed through this week.
The close focus mod is not that hard to do. The first time is scary if like me you have baguettes for fingers. The second time wasn't too bad. It's actually quite quick and unless you absolutely must have pinsharp infinity, I wouldnt even really bother trying to check focus with a loupe.
If you're thinking of doing it, I say do it, it's like I have a new camera :D
If you have any questions do feel free to get in touch, I know it can be daunting if you're not a repair pro, and there is just that one guide on jumboprawn.
I might do a more illustrated step by step at some point, but right now I want to enjoy the Widelux as she is now.
Also,... I need to find a nickname for the Widelux,... this one might be a bit trickier than ol' Penny.