Newbie Q: rear tilt vs. front tilt : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I just bought a Wisner Expedition camera and thought front standard tilt would be the most common movement I would use. Lo and behold, there I was under the dark cloth when I discovered the GEARED on-axis back tilt! It's so much easier to handle than reaching around and adjusting the non-geared front standard. My question is, is tilting the rear standard backward the same as tilting the front standard forward? Thanks in advance for your replies.

-- Todd Caudle (, November 24, 1999


Manipulations of the front standard will affect focus and image location - i.e. as you tilt, you may need to use a little rise to regain your composition, as you swing, you may need to shift.

Moving the rear standard affects focus but also geometry/shape of the object(s) being photographed - a rectangle becomes a tapered parallelogram, a sphere can become an egg shape, etc.

Read Adams "The Camera" or Stroeble's "View Camera Technique" or Jim Stone's book or Harvey Shamman's book or Steve Simmons book to get the different movements and their affects clear.

-- Sean yates (, November 24, 1999.

Yeah, isn't the rear geared axis-tilt on the Wisners awesome! Better yet, you can focus simultaneously with the other hand.

-- Carlos Co (, November 24, 1999.

Hi Todd;

The way I like to think of this is:

- Front tilts and swings are for correcting focus

- Rears tilts and swings are for editing perspective (though they do change focus as well...)

The way I tend to work is to set the camera up levelled, and with both standards neutral. I first adjust theback standard until I get the perspective I want, and then adjust the front standard to get the focal plane where I want it.

-- Patrick

-- Patrick Chase (, November 24, 1999.

Todd, Some additional points to consider when deciding which standard to tilt :

If you wish to avoid converging lines, and keep the vertical elements parallel in your image (such things a tree trunks, telephone poles, hoodoos, vertical elements in architectural subjects, etc.) do not tilt the film plane. Leave the film plane at 90 degrees (use that little bubble level on the side of the rear standard), and tilt the lens plane instead. So much for your nifty geared rear tilt on your Wisner. You'll just have to reach around to the non-geared front standard.

You need to be aware that with lenses of limited coverage (small image circles), lens plane tilts will displace the image circle more than film plane tilts. If you're not concerned about converging lines, a film plane tilt will make the most of a lens with limited coverage.

Finally, tilting either the front or rear standard will affect the way your subject looks on the ground glass and in the final image. Experiment with a lens tilt vs. a film plane tilt on the same subject. Observe for yourself how the foreground elements seem to appear more prominent (some people call this phenomenon "looming") than the background elements with one type of tilt vs. the other. (Which type of tilt do you think will make the foreground elements "loom" more? Try it and see.)

Also, realize that both the front and rear standards can be tilted together, simultaneously, to achieve intermediate effects between the two extremes. There is no set formula, experimentation and observation will be the best teacher.

Hope this helps. Good luck, Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (, November 24, 1999.

Rear tilts are certainly more convenient to use, particularly if you have as nice a camera as you describe. In landscape photography, most situations don't require a great amount of adjustment and the differences described by others won't, in my opinion amount to a noticeable degree. A lot of it has to do with the nature of the foreground subject matter. One real danger of using front tilts is that you can easily run out of coverage if you're not careful. The Wisner hasn't got those open corners on the gg and so you'll have to check carefully to make certain you won't vignette at the taking aperture. Think of a front tilt or swing as "swinging" the lens in an arc. When you tilt or swing the rear, you're actually making the film target smaller with respect to the projection cone of the lens.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, November 24, 1999.

Thank you all very much!

-- Todd Caudle (, November 26, 1999.

Front tilt will keep you lense directly in front of the film plane and will effect the plane of focus only. Rear tilt, in addition to changing the plane of focus, also moves the lens downward relative to the film plane, giving the same effect as using front fall along with front tilt. This combination of fall with tilt will allow you to get the greatest depth of focus for close foreground matter. As the lens is shifted down, the amount of tilt that you can use without running into the image circle will increase. This technique will also exagerate the foreground relative to the background.

-- Les Moore (, December 05, 1999.

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