Degrees of movements : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello, I am interested in a LF 4x5. How essential are the degrees of movement in a LF camera? Are most of the movements redundant? I do lots of tabletop w/35mm and 6x7. (For example: some mfrs offer +/- 30: of base tilt while others offer +/-60: and of course the same w/swing movements.) Any help on this is appreciated! Regards...BRN

-- Bernard R. Negrin (, August 24, 2000


What do you mean by 'degrees of movement'? If you mean, do you need a calibrated scale showing how much movement you are applying, the answer is no. If you want to know whether you need to have movements, the answer is a resounding yes and is one of the main benefits of LF. Without movements your LF camera would just provide a larger,and therefore better quality image than your 35mm. Movements (swings to the side and tilts to the top & bottom)allow you to change the plane of sharp focus - effectively to extend depth of field to a tremendous level, and shifts (sideways or up or down) allow you to cut out unwanted foreground at the bottom, top or sides of the picture. For example, if you were to take a picture of a tall building you would keep the camera back straight to ensure that the verticals are straight in the shot and that the building did not seem to be tilting backwards, and shift the front up (or the back down) to cut out foreground at the base. Same with still life, but 'tother way about. You would point the camera down at the subject, then straighten the back, then shift the front down (or the back up) to position the image correctly. Result: You would show the top as well as the front of your subject whilst retaining correct perspective. You could also use swings or tilts to 'increase' depth of field. Hope this helps, but for far more detailed info suggest you look up Harold Merklinger, who is brilliant.

-- Garry Edwards (, August 24, 2000.

I'm just starting out in view cameras myself most of my time has been in traditional medium format, so you can take my advice for what it's worth. Serious table top product shots, along with certain types of architectural photography can demand extensive movements. While most landscape work may only require minor movements to achieve the desired effect. I would think that if you confine your selection to quality monorail type cameras verses a field camera you should be fine. Arca-Swiss offers both the F-line and the Monolith series of cameras, the latter being more of a dedicated studio camera with greater movements. I personally chose the 6x9 F-Line Metric for greater flexibility, and roll film convenience. If your currently using 35mm and 6x7 format cameras, I would suggest a serious look into the 6x9 Arcas. I hope this helps.

Bob P.

-- Robert Pellegrino (, August 24, 2000.

He means how much is needed. Table top does demand more than landscape. Most cameras have far more movement than the lens can handle anyway. Even folding cameras can overdo the movements. The most versatile camera for any table top work is a standard rail view camera. You will have to have a good lens to ever get to the limits of what the movements are. The extra bellow extension is great when focusing close, too. Most of the number hype is just to make one camera look better on paper than another. The best idea is to look at them in person. I have an old Orbit View, circa 1950s, that can match anything modern for movements. The Omega View series are great cameras and among the cheapest in the used market.

-- E.L. (, August 24, 2000.

Yes, I understand the question better now. Considerable movement is needed for close-up work. I do this all the time and find that the lenses normally used for this type of work, e.g. 210mm + have plenty of coverage to allow for front standard movements. In any event, working at close distances the image circle tends to be very large. The answer really is to try a lens of your choice. Don't rely on what you can see on the ground glass, use a polaroid at the very least, or better still use a sheet of film, because Polaroids don't cover the whole area.

-- Garry Edwards (, August 25, 2000.

Bernard: I find that I use the movements quite extensively for table top work. The movement I use the least is swing. Once you have used a view camera you find it quite difficult to go back to using small or medium format cameras for this kind of work.

The main reasons are the ability to fine tune your composition with exacting precision and view the scene with both eyes on the ground glass. May I suggest examining a copy of Steve Simmons or Kodak's book on large format to see the effect of various movements. Better yet try to get hold of a camera for a few days and play with it.

Monorail cameras from Arca-Swiss and Sinar will make your life pleasant for this kind of work although many great still life photos have been made with field cameras. A 180mm or 210mm lens would be a good starting point for the 4x5 format.

-- VNC (, August 25, 2000.

boy are you going to have fun.. not to scare you but some tips.. your going to get into bellows darken ing problems with short distance shots.. not a problem. use a good flash meter, bellows tables, and pay attentions to films capabilities, and use a polaroid 405 for focus and lighting verification.. polaroid has differing speeds than slow type magazine films so your meter should change with a click to new film speed. i have a gosson.. sorry i dont know the terms better.. just a little tilt is all that is needed to bring all focus in, but some angles of subjects wont work this way. a not tilting back is not a problem, you tilt the camera, and then tilt the front lens to tilt the back aroll back on a4x5 will get you into cheaper dust free film. ready loads realy do the trick, but costs are high.. small f stops and lots of correct temp light are important for depth of field focus in this type work.. my gossen only reads flash to f16 and would best if i could go to f 32 or f45 if you can get a flash meter to do it.. or with a really tough subject the 405 polaroid will do it.. get lots of flashes and those syncro sensors to set them off.. a good meter will read your background light intensity, subject intensity, right side flash intensity, left side flash intensity, and back ground light intensity with several readings.. you probably already know this with your experience.. like i said you are going to have fun.. good luck.. ffffg

-- dave schlick (, August 27, 2000.

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