rotating backs : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I just bought a new view camera with a rotating back. Why is it when I rotate the back, the image is still upside down.

-- Larry Sandt (, November 16, 2001


I don't make many posts, but this one I have to say hah on. :-)

If you're serious, my apologies upfront.

-- Jeff Hall (, November 16, 2001.

You bought the one made to be used South of the equator. If you had gotten the right one this wouldn't be a problem. Sell it to an Aussie or someone in South America and they will bless you and your posterity for generations to come. The southern hemisphere rotating backs are quite rare.

-- Dan Smith (, November 16, 2001.

Rotate the lens 180 degrees, problem solved.

-- Ruud Knulst (, November 16, 2001.


If you were serious, you better say so soon, or this is going to get to be too much fun.

-- Don Welch (, November 16, 2001.

Oh oh - okay - if you really are serious - and I can see you actually could be... the image on the focus screen will always be upside down - it's one of the joys of Large Format - learning to read the picture upside down. The rotating back just allows you to go from horizontal to vertical format easily and quickly (and also make minor adjustemnts to the horizon line without fiddling with the tripod/head.).

If you weren't serious - I just about blew coffee out of my nose reading the post!

-- tim atherton (, November 16, 2001.

Sounds like the bellows was insatlled upside down. I had this happen to me about 80 years ago. It took forever to figure it out. In your case, I would return it to the dealer :)

Just kidding...

-- Jim (, November 16, 2001.

Larry, just rotating the back woun't do -- you have to rotate the whole camera - i.e put your camera on the ground, then attach the tripod to the camera so that the legs form an upside-down pyramid faceing straight towards the sky. This works best with very very expensive and over-built cameras.

PS - of course, this technique works only in the southern hemisphere

Please let the group know how your test with this technique worked - i'm certain that this will be very entertaining..

thank you for your contribution to the moral of all of us in these hard times and God bless America

Hagai Kaufman Tel Aviv

-- Hagai Kaufman (, November 16, 2001.

Try rotating the photographer first. If that don't work, send new camera to me. Andre

-- Andre Noble (, November 16, 2001.

I would have thought this was one of the funniest posts I've ever seen, then I noticed the .edu suffix, and realized that it was certainly not a joke. Lucky for Larry, there are several appropiate answers given by his peers.

-- Wilhelm (, November 16, 2001.

SLR cameras have a prism that makes the image appear right side up. The image projected directly on the film or groundglass appears upside down and reversed. Some LF camera systems offer reflex viewers that will make it appear right side up.

For that matter, the image on your retina is upside down and reversed, but the brain figures it all out.

-- Charles Mackay (, November 16, 2001.

The last post explains why large format photography is such a good thing. Because the image is upside down on the viewing screen, it appears right side up on the retina, and the brain doesn't have to turn it upside down again to understand it.

-- Tom Perkins (, November 16, 2001.

Sorry people,

I am afraid I offended some people with my joke. Quite frankly I wanted some humor in my life, and this question popped into my head and I figured, why not. There has to be some fellow large format photographers out there that would just a kick out of this question. We now life in a societly that is full of hate, anger, mistrust, and fear. I never lived that way before and I will not continue to life my life that way. So humor is the best way for me to deal with it. Thanks for the humorus responses, I really enjoyed them.

-- Larry Sandt (, November 17, 2001.

Thank YOU, Sir.

-- wilhelm (, November 17, 2001.

Well done Larry

-- Jim Thompson (, November 17, 2001.

Wait wait!!

Does I understand about the southern hemisphere cameras not working north of the equator, but does that mean if I go to Lonndon and procede further east, then the image in my Rollie will start to move in the correct horizontal orientation?

My goodness- all these years.

-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, November 17, 2001.


Scratch that first "Does".

-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, November 17, 2001.

It must have something to do with the coriolis affect. George

-- George Nedleman (, November 17, 2001.

Come on guys, it doesn't matter what hemisphere you're in. The image will always be upside down. The only way to reverse it is to use reversing film. That's why there's "negative" film (which leaves the image upside down) and "positive" film (which reverses it to right side up).

-- Brian Ellis (, November 19, 2001.

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