Does Photoshop replace view camera movements? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

As a non-digital photographer, I can't evaluate claims I've heard about doing perspective correction in image-editing software like Photoshop. Obviously, many high end digital back manufacturers produce products for the view camera. What's the story today and into the foreseeable future?

-- Steve Singleton (, September 25, 1998


I think your second sentence answers your question. remapping an entire image is tedious and why do it if you can make the corrections when you are making the image (either on digital or film media).

-- Ellis (, September 26, 1998.

Unless you're in a position to spend megabucks, IMHO digital and large format photography don't mix very well. Forgetting about the digital backs (megabucks), you have to be able to scan the negative or transparency into your computer. Large format scanners even approaching the quality you're used to with film start at about $8,000 (the Nikon 4500) and go up from there. Service bureaus want approximately $15 or more per large format scan. If you're willing to accept very poor quality, use a desk top scanner (or, better yet, switch to 35mm).

-- Brian Ellis (, September 27, 1998.

My first impression would be no. But, I haven't tried it so don't really know. I do know the photoshop controls allow skewing images so I don't see why they wouldn't work for this. I will try it with some images first though and then let you know what it looks like.

I do think, based on experience, that nothing can take the place of doing the job right in the first place. It is always faster & easier than trying to correct later. But for those times when enough tilt isn't available for the shot it might be a viable option. Darkroom printers for years have been using tilted easels to make up for on location limitations.

As for cost, large format scans aren't too expensive, especially when the alternative is another image in which the building looks like it it falling over backwards.

-- Dan Smith (, September 27, 1998.

If you have plenty of bits to spare, you can emulate some movements in Photoshop, and they even give a n example on their web site; note that it will cost you image resolution. You can't reproduce swings and tilts, since Photoshop can't focus your picture, and you can't precisely emulate many shifts, since it may not be possible to stand in a position that would give you the right bits to work with.

For the canonical example of photographing a mirror straight-on without the reflection of the camera appearing in it, fixing it in Photoshop would require painting over the camera with a realistic-looking scene, which could be quite a chore! I think the only way to do that well would be to shoot a second frame from the mirror's position and paste it into the first picture, and the layout of the room may not permit it.

For product and architecture work, I don't see "digital movements" offering anything but pain and expense.

-- J Greely (, September 27, 1998.

If you have a choice of doing a movement with the camera, or later in software, the camera choice will always give you better quality. This applies whether you have "real" or "digital" film, and will always apply.

-- Alan Gibson (, September 28, 1998.

I know for sure that the Adobe Photoshop does perspective control. However, this eats up the sides of the image. You can shoot your vertical subject without any perspective correction with the camera back and count on the photoshop, but make sure that you leave "extra" space on the film sides around your distorted subject to allow for computer perspective control.

-- Tarek El Baradie (, October 09, 1999.

No, not for perspective-control and not even for selective sharpness or DoF. Digitally implemented sharpness after the picture was taken has its limits.

-- Lot (, October 09, 1999.

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