FOUR I's : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Howdy LF Friends,

You know how we are always discussing the focussing screens, lens sharpness , mtf curves, ultra fine grain, spending VERY good money on the best optics money can buy, yada yada yada... Well , being just a few years away from the big 50, things just didn't seem to be in TACK sharp focus that i've been reading about and striving for , even with the best glass, fine grained film, tripods, etc... Even when reading, i would get tired after a couple of pages and put the book down. I had always prided myself as being able to see better than 20/20 and NOTHING was so tiny that i couldn't see or read it.

I decided after getting a little annoyed that my prints weren't as sharp as they should be, given the equipment at hand, to make an appointment with my childs eye doctor for a checkup. I think the last eye checkup i had was maybe when i was in grade school.

surprise surprise surprise, my arms needed to be stretched OR i needed reading glasses! WOW, what a freakin difference!!!!!

I URGE all of you to consider the positive effect a good and thourough eye exam will have on YOUR photography!!!

What a positive experience that was to sharper focusing! I THOUGHT my images were in focus on my screens all this time!

enough of my public service message, but it REALLY helped and maybe even if one of my LF Friends will heed this, it can possibly help your images..

Best wishes, 4 I's

-- miles feigenbaum (, April 08, 2002


I am where you are in the age department and have had the same thing, exactly, happen. Thing is, I CAN still see 20/20 or even better, for which I am thankful. When I complained about this during my first eye exam in decades, he told me that there is nothing wrong with my distance vision and that it is an age-related problem to lose close-up vision. As he put it, and it makes perfect sense, "You can still see like an eagle, but eagles can't read either."

-- Rob Tucher (, April 08, 2002.

I would make an even stronger statement: consider reading glasses even if you do *not* need them. Some optometrists are recommending close-focus glasses for those who would not normally be "ready for reading glasses". There is eye strain and reduced acuity for anyone focussing their eyes up close -- especially for extended periods of time: under the darkcloth or at a computer screen (anyone reading this message clearly spends too much time staring at a computer screen). I got reading glasses on such a recommendation in my early 30's. I'm today 41 and can still read without them if I don't have them on hand. But I can critically focus with these glasses on without need for a loupe. (At least the my focus resolution with these glasses matches the focusing precision of my camera, about 0.5mm.)

-- Eric Pederson (, April 08, 2002.

Another suggestion for long focal length eyeballs is a pair of glasses specifically designed for your computer(insert:"ground glass") - reading glasses are a huge nuisance under the cloth. - I had a pair of bifocals( sorry, its an ugly word) made for computer usage that provides reading lens diopters for the lowers (keyboard) and a slightly longer set for the uppers - arms length (monitor). Turns out these are the cats meow under the cloth - I now can sort of sit back and actually see the glass and the image I think I'm getting, without trying to do an obscene manouever to get a reading lens, eyeball and the upper corner of the screen all parfocal. So happens they work great at the computer too.

-- Paul Coppin (, April 08, 2002.

Presbyopia is wonderful isn't it? I'm still south of 50 but it snuck up on me in the last 2 years. Just got my new glasses for view camera work last week - +2 diopter and multicoated. Now anything from 6" to arm's length is in perfect focus. Just one warning, don't ever look in the mirror with them on, the eyes aren't the only things that are getting older! :^(

-- Wayne DeWitt (, April 08, 2002.

At 50+ my eyeballs are way out of warranty, but being this age is great, especially if you've been given the gift of a bad memory.

-- Jonathan Brewer (, April 08, 2002.

I remember throwing the hand out sheet on presbyopia on the seat of the car with a humph. not me! Now I have 7 pair of 2.75 Diopter s Costco glasses scattered throughout the house. I need 3 more pair now. The Lab puppy likes the way they crunch. I use a pair of 4.00 to view the GG of the 6x7 Horseman. George

-- George Nedleman (, April 08, 2002.

At 49++ my eyes are so weird I won't go into it but....I'd sure like to find some glasses that made the picture right side uP.

-- Jim Galli (, April 09, 2002.

WOW, I learned alot here!

jim, the glasses for viewing the image right side up are only available at selected outlets in the SOUTHERN hemisphere....

i never thought of having some made for various focal lengths.. what an idea. i think i'll take my monorail camera to the eye doctors office and 'tinker'.

i'm also sending a copy of these comments to him tonight, for general thought and we like to talk shop.



Intuition. Inspiration. Imagination. Invention. Those are my four I's. As a quinquagenarian myself, it's my wishful hope that these components of the photographic process are not as seriously subject to advancing age as my all too rapidly deteriorating body. Perhaps as a result of a lifetime of intense close reading, I've been blessed with near-sightedness, so what I need my glasses for is to find and compose the subject! But maybe I should have someone with known good eyesight look at by prints in the event I'm deluding myself about my ability to focus on 8x10 and 5x7 GG's. Good light to all, Nick.

-- Nicholas F. Jones (, April 10, 2002.

Miles: Ommitted to mention that with my close-focusing glasses the magnification is about 3.5X. That was what the optician recommended and he was right on. You may not need to take your camera to the optician though, -I did'nt. The optician needs to know the size of your ground glass and after tesing your eyes he can prescribe the lenses that will allow you to view the full screen at about maximum magnification. At that magnification I find that I get sharp focus at around 4-5" from the screen (I am guessing). I think you are going to be in for a shock, as I was.

What the proper optical correction does to the sharpness and contrast of the images is amazing. I am happy with my 10X Silvestri but I am sure that if it was optically corrected for my eyes (eye) it would still be better. Do try and let us know how you get along.

-- Julio Fernandez (, April 11, 2002.

Hi there

Came across your great discussion while searching for computer monitors that don't make me feel like I'm about to die of some new and rare deisease. The symptons include severe eye strain.

I noticed that my four year old who was happily playing in my study also looked bleary eyed after my monitor was on for a while ie she was several feet away but seems to feel the radiation or whatever. BASTA! That's it. I need a new monitor.

So my question is has anyone got any recommendations? Any suggestions of a good model to buy? Or are they all as bad as each other?



-- Ed Parry (, May 12, 2002.

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