Right Side Up Image

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

About a month ago I read a post on this page regarding a reflex mirror hood for viewing the ground glass image right side up. I believe someone said that you didn't need to spend all that money to see the image right side up, all you needed was a small mirror under the darkcloth held in the correct position and you can see the image right side up. I stored that thought away and tried this out the other day with no success. I can't find the post. Did I dream this or does someone know what I am talking about. Thanks.

-- Paul Mongillo (pmongillo@thurston.com), January 03, 2001


Another approach I guess would be to get an optician to make up a pair of glasses that refract everything upside down and backwards so that when you looked at the groundglass every was rightside up and right reading.

Frankly I like having the upside down and reversed image to look at. It reminds me that I am looking at what will be an image, not reality. It helps me notice details that detract from the image.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), January 03, 2001.

Ellis... I think that last paragraph was well said...

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), January 03, 2001.

You shoot enough film and the glass will look right side up after awhile. Not kidding. It is good to look at an image as an abstract as it does in the GG. It helps you see things you wouldn't see otherwise. You'll get used to it. And it will help your composition. James

-- lumberjack (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), January 03, 2001.


The good Mr. V is right. When you look through an SLR's eyepiece, your brain attempts to make the scene appear three dimensional. Many times that only makes you think what you're seeing in the finder is a better composition than it really is.

The flat groundglass on a view camera gives your brain no false clues, and no place to hide. It presents the elements of a picture more abstractly--more as geometric and tonal units. It keeps the editorial content from swaying your compositional judgement.

Sure, learning to compose upside-down and backwards takes some practice, but surprisingly little. I needed about an hour; and after a day under the groundglass, a funny thing happened when I shot my last sheet and headed for home. The world looked funny rightside-up! No kidding. A good thing my friend was driving!

-- Marshall Arbitman (MarshallArbitman@earthlink.net), January 03, 2001.

>>after a day under the groundglass<<

Uhhhh. That would be a day under the cloth. That's what happens when I write under the influence.

-- Marshall Arbitman (MarshallArbitman@earthlink.net), January 03, 2001.

Paul, you may be remembering a response to my question about the Toyo binocular reflex viewer. Check out the archived topics under Accessories. The topic was Toyo 4x5 Binocular Reflex Viewer. The respondent suggested holding a mirror at a 45 degree angle from the ground glass. I haven't tried it to see if it would work though. My interest in the binocular reflex viewer was a result of failing eyesight more than a desire to see the image upright. I haven't purchased the viewer yet, but I am planning on purchasing it soon.

-- Steven Dial (sgdial@bellsouth.net), January 03, 2001.

I regularly use a binocular viewer and find that, although the image is right side up, the fact that it is still reversed and that I am looking down, rather than toward the image, still produces most of the beneficial effects of groundglass viewing refered to by Ellis. I have also concluded that by using both eyes, rather than one eye on an SLR, I still feel like I am looking AT an image rather than THROUGH a telescope.

To me, the real benefits of the viewer are not having to bury myself under a darkcloth, and the built in magnifcation that helps with my aging eyesight. A bag bellows with eyepiece accomplishes those goals without inverting the image, and is generally lighter and packs better than most binocular viewers (I happen to use a 6x9 Arca viewer that is particularly small and light).

So while the mirror would certainly invert the image, I don't think it would accomplish the primary goals of a binocular viewer of aiding viewing by shading light and providing viewing assistance for aging eyes.

-- Glenn Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), January 04, 2001.

Photographers who believe the ground glass image is both upside down AND backwards need to study those images very carefully.

-- C. W. Dean (cwdean@erols.com), January 04, 2001.

OK guys, although I am not a seasoned veteran, I have spent a bit of time under a darkcloth over the past two years or looking through the back of an old press 4x5 in the military in the 60's. My interest in the subject was more curiosity. I will check the post suggested, but if any of you know how to hold a mirror to view the image right side up, I would like to hear the technique, because I couldn't figure it out after a half an hour of messing around. Thanks again.

-- Paul Mongillo (pmongillo@thurston.com), January 04, 2001.

I found the post from Pete Andrews on using the mirror. I just sat down with a pencil and paper and finally figured out what he was getting at. Thanks

-- Paul Mongillo (pmongillo@thurston.com), January 04, 2001.

"Photographers who believe the ground glass image is both upside down AND backwards need to study those images very carefully. -- C. W. Dean (cwdean@erols.com), January 04, 2001. "

Just did. Still upside down (top of the scene in front of the camera, is at the bottom of gg.) and backwards (words on chalk board are reversed and instead of reading left-to-right , read from right-to-left. ie. "Mow" now appears to read "woM", but also upside down ).

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), January 04, 2001.

Ellis Verner writes: ""Mow" now appears to read "woM", but also upside down." Of course "woM" upside down is "moW", so I guess the groundglass doesn't make the image upside down OR backwards; it just changes capitalization.

-- Chris Patti (cmpatti@aol.com), January 04, 2001.

I suggest you get the camera out and look at the GG again. Upside down "and" backward unless physics has changed in this universe. James

-- lumberjack (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), January 04, 2001.

Chris Partti writes: "Of course "woM" upside down is "moW""

Well I guess that depends on what font you use.

To the semantically challenged amongst us, I offer this figleaf of speech: The image projected on the groundglass by the lens is "reversed" around the vertical and horizontal axises. Thus real world "Up" appears at the bottom of the groundglass and likewise real world "right" appears on the left side of the groundglass.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), January 04, 2001.


Sorry about the misspelling. Cheers.

-- Chris Partti (cmpatti@aol.com), January 04, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ