While I was pleased overall with the test shots posted yesterday, there was enough motion blur in all the shots that I figured something was up. While I may just be unable to consistently hand-hold at slow speeds anymore (doubt it), the shutter release button was stiff, and tended to stick on use. I needed to improve that. So, last night, I took the lensboard off the camera again and cleaned the button shaft. Some xylene on a cotton swab worked fine.
I added some Teflon lube to the tip of another swab and lightly coated the shaft. The button slides effortlessly now.
Next, on a tip from Patrick at APUG, I decided I’d try to improve the focusing screen with a coat of paste wax. I’d heard of this before, but honestly never tried it, and completely forgot it until Patrick mentioned it. Skeptical, I removed the screen. There are two small tabbed springs holding the screen in place.
The springs are pressed down against the glass and twisted slightly to pop them out. They’re a little tricky to remove, but go in much easier.
When the springs are off, the screen lifts out.
Be very careful with the screen – it’s very thin, and very fragile. I cleaned the screen with Windex before applying wax.
I applied wax to half the screen to see if there was any noticeable improvement first. Let the past dry a few minutes, gently buff, and see the results:
The results are dramatic, but pose yet another compromise: The detail and brightness are vastly improved, and focus is very quick now. But there’s a distinct hot spot in the middle of the screen, which may yet hamper focusing. I stripped the wax off the screen with xylene (applying another coat would result in uneven transmission of light between the two sides), Windexed again, and applied a light coat of wax. I’ll shoot with it for a while before I make a final decision.