Press camera for architectural photography : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am considering moving up to large format and am curious to find out if a press camera has enough movements for street level architectural photography? The reason for chosing a press camera are 1)they are inexpensive and 2)they are light in weight.

-- Curt Dawson (, May 16, 2001


If your doing architectural work, your going to need back movements to correct for perspective. A press camera usually does not have these. A feild camera like a Linhof III is a good bet or you can build one for about $280USD (if your handy with some tools) by going to

-- Scott Walton (, May 16, 2001.

Love my Crown Graphic, but I don't have the movements with it. You might want a real view that has some movements to it. And if you do get a press camera with the amost standard 127 Ektar (great lens) but you can't move anything with it. So, circle is everything -- but you probably knew that.


-- Dean Lastoria (, May 16, 2001.

you can do lots of good work with a decent press-type camera. i have a 1948 crown graphic that i use with a rodenstock 135mm 5.6 when i need to be in a position where i cannot use a tripod. yes, the movements are limited, but they are functional. it is not often in my HABS/HAER work that i use much movement anyway - very slight shifts take care of probably 80% of the views. it is only in tight downtown conditions trying to shoot very tall buildings that extreme movements are usually required. OTOH, i would never try to use a field/press camera for normal architectural work - they are far too awkward, limited and slow compared to a monorail. press cameras can be fun to use, and are flexible enough for a wide variety of applications, and if that is all you have access to, by all means use it. but if you are buying a camera to do serious work with, get a monorail.

-- jnorman (, May 16, 2001.

For this type of photography it is very important that you be able to control the shape of the structure. That means that you can eliminate converging lines or create converging lines, depending on the job. To do this you need indirect and direct back movements. As front tilts and swings do not control image shape.

Press cameras do not have back movements.

Technical cameras like a Technika do have back movements (15 on the MAster) plus front tilts.

Older Technika III cameras as one suggested has no foward lens tilt which makes it impossible for the photographer to control plane of focus so a critical worker would look for a IV or later.

Some field cameras like a TechnaKardan and some Wista have front and back movements and can be ideal for this type of work. Others have no or limited back movements and should be avoided.

What is best for this type of work?

A lightweight, compact camera with lots of rise/fall/ shift and full tilts and swings front and back.

-- Bob Salomon (, May 17, 2001.

Well' I'm using a press (the Mamaya 6/9) for architecture... but just for shootings out of helicopters. It's usefull in that case, (easy handle, and the film size is much bigger than SLR, even if its not large format) but I could'nt imagine, doing the other architecture stuff with it.

When looking for a "faster" archi-cam, a Sinar Handy, or a Cambo wide do the job well, but off course, you will not have all feateres as on the monorail.

-- (, May 17, 2001.

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