Time to Focus

My Yashica 635 came into my hands a while back and I felt it was time to renew the life a little with a new focusing screen.  I came across a video by Matt Day where he found someone that creates focus screens at a great price.  

I purchased the screen through Rick Oleson  ( http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-175.html ) and it arrived just before Kawaii Kon.   My excitement got the best of me and I threw on the screen as quickly as I could.   Lesson learned, as with any new piece of gear especially when it’s film, you should be sure to test out the equipment on photos that don’t really matter and take solid notes on how you shot it.  The screen came with detailed instructions, however even those can’t help when you don’t pay attention.  The focus screen was initially installed upside down for the weekend of the convention, I ended up with a handful of wasted rolls and the bitter taste of defeat.  I realize now that I do this a lot, I fudged up the Holga during my first roll.  I handle things like a bear, not very gracefully.

Here are some samples from that weekend. Some completely missed the mark and I accidentally got a handful in focus.


After realizing my blunder, I picked up more film and took the camera back out for another 2 shoots.  At this point, I couldn’t figure out if I was not using the screen properly or it needed a slight adjustment.  In general, the images were a lot closer, but I was still back focusing by a bit. It wouldn’t be so noticeable if I always shot at f8, but I do love keeping the aperture wide open.


Generally, these screens should be right on the money as soon as you replace them.  Rick mentioned that occasionally there needs to be a shim to bring the focus screen just a itty bitty bit closer to the mirror. I cut some thin strips of paper and stacked it to be 4 layers thick.  The next 2 rolls have been pretty darn good in nailing the focus. After figuring out all this, I was informed of a way to measure everything without having to waste film. Something about projecting the image on the film plain and using a loupe to verify the focus.  OOOOOOOOOOOOh how I wish this info came to me earlier.  As sad as I was to get a handful of images that were out of focus, hopefully the lesson learned will prevent me from doing everything like a bear.

Now that I’m comfortable with the camera again, I’m pretty stoked to bring it on my upcoming trip.  There will be about 20 rolls of color and 10 BW waiting to be shot.


8 thoughts on “Time to Focus

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