How much front rise do you use? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'm new to large format and am considering buying an LF field-camera, but I don't know how much rise I will need. I rarely photograph architecture, but will need to correct perspective now and then. I'll be using a 90mm f/4.5 or 5.6 lens for the vast majority of my photographs.

I only have a 150mm lens available right now, so it's hard for me to know just what I would need. I would appreciate any help with this.


-- Matthew Runde (, January 19, 2002


It really doesn't matter how much you may think you need. Most cameras will have pretty much the same amount of rise. What you really need to consider is the image circle, or angle of coverage of the lens you are using. My 90mm lens leaves very little room for camera movements in any direction so that I always shoot with the camera positions at 0 when using that lens. However when shooting a subject that requires movements, I switch to my 120mm super angulon which has a much larger image circle.

However, Schneider now makes a 90mm lens that does have a much larger image circle then older models that does allow for movements. I suggest you consider other lenses in addition to just a 90mm. I personally use a 65mm, 90mm, 120mm, 150mm, 210mm for my 4x5 which take care of my current needs. The Calumet catalogue has charts of the specifications of the large format lenses they sell and is worth getting. You can go to their website or call them and they'll send you one for free.

-- Rob Pietri (, January 19, 2002.

In general field cameras have fewer movements than monorails and those that they do have are not as "extreme". But in general, most landscapes/architectural shots don't require a great deal of movement. For the beginner the trap is often "more = better", however, I rarely use more than an inch of front rise, and front tilt is usually in the region of 5 - 10 degrees max. I rarely use front swing or shift. Before spending wads of cash on lenses, try the 150mm for a while, the reason I say this is because I was surprised how "wide" LF lenses are! I checked charts that compared 35mm focal lengths with LF lenses and found that in real use the LF lenses seemed wider!! What subjects do you shoot and what camera are you considering? Good luck

-- paul owen (, January 19, 2002.

It would depend on the height of the structure you're shooting, and your distance away from it. For taller buildings from a close distance, you'll need more rise than a short building far away.

As another reply said, you'll most likely run out of adequate lens coverage before camera limitations, but if you plan to shoot skyscrapers from across the street, get the most movement you can along with the lens with the most coverage.

For landscape work, your movement requirements will be modest - you'll probably only end up using a small amount of front or rear tilt with most shots.

-- Michael Mahoney (, January 19, 2002.

The above comments reflect my experience as well. Bear in mind that you can't solve all perspective problems with front rise. If you really do want to photograph skyscrapers from across the street, you probably will need to get above ground level in an adjacent building to avoid problems of foreshortening and visual obstructions.

Also, if the camera has front and rear tilt, you can get some extra rise (if the lens and bellows will allow it) by tilting the whole camera up and tilting both the front and the back forward.

-- David Goldfarb (, January 19, 2002.

Thanks, everybody. This is very helpful.

I usually photograph outdoors, often in an urban location. I probably won't by photographing skyscrapers from across the street, but I do photograph large archways and smaller buildings. So far I've found out about not needing a lot of tilt, and I know about creating rise by tilting the rail back and the standards forward (or by turning the camera on its side and using shift).

My main concern about a potential camera is that it not be very heavy (I've learned that by carrying a twenty-pound, Kardan-tripod combo everywhere). Right now I'm thinking about a Toyo 45AII or a Horseman 45HD. I haven't used either of these, however, so I don't know whether or not they would have enough rise for my purposes.

Again, many thanks.

-- Matthew Runde (, January 19, 2002.

When looking at the rise limits on your camera choices, keep in mind that the bellows may limit your rise with a 90mm lens before you reach the cameras spec'd limit. Usually the next limit is set by lens coverage. If the camera has both front and rear tilt, ( as most field cameras do) you can easily adjust these to achieve even more rise. I use 90mm f/8 SW Nikkor(235mm image circle) on a Tachihara. It will reach the max coverage of the lens but the bellows must be deformed a bit to get there. I just fold it back when done. Other cameras with longer or heavier bellows may require a bag bellows to reach the image circle limit of a 90mm wide angle lens. If you get a 90 wide angle lens you will want a camera to use the full image circle even though you may rarely use it. (It's one of the wonderful qualities of view cameras) If you get a 90mm 'standard' lens, it would barely cover 4X5 so movements are not an issue.

-- Gary Frost (, January 19, 2002.

Don't forget if you need a little more "straightening" you can do it in the enlarger by tilting the easel a little. Also, if you over- correct, which is more common than you would think, you can revise it.

-- (, January 19, 2002.

Matthew, Make sure you check out the offerings from Ebony. Don't be put off by the horror stories concerning the price!! They can be bought at reasonable cost from Robert White in the UK. The RSW is offered in a kit form with a choice of lenses and there is an in depth write up on Robert's web site and on the Ebony site. The RSW is a great camera. Regards Paul

-- paul owen (, January 19, 2002.

Every now and then I find that I need to use a lot rise, more than the camera provides directly, and I've found that the limiting factor is the bellows.

I was using a Toyo 45AII and, using indirect rise (tilt front and back) I could get more than direct rise but sometimes it would put lots of strain on the bellows or just couldn't be done because of the size of the back end of the lens etc. I switched to a Canham DLC and I can get a lot more indirect rise without serious bellows interference's the kicker...I could put a bag bellows on it and eliminate that problem entirely if I needed to.

So how much direct rise is available is imho almost irrelevent; what counts is whether or not the bellows is floppy enough to accomodate indirect rise and/or whether or not a bag bellows can be fitted.

-- John Hicks (, January 20, 2002.


I have been following your posts, and after reading about the type of photography you are interested in, here are a few suggestions. Please take them for what they are worth -- Not the right answers, just some possiblities to consider.

I agree that the Canham DLC is a good camera for you to investigate. It is kind of a cross between a field camera and a monorail camera. Many of the people who use it really like it. One day I was walking around Santa Barbara with my wife, and we came upon a couple of large format photographers. We talked to them for a while. One of them was Chuck Farmer. He recommended the DLC to me. I looked into it and decided not to buy it based on the review on this website, only because it was not strongly recommended for someone who photographs a lot of architecture. Since you will only be doing occasional architectural photography, this would be a good camera to consider.

Another one to look at is the Arca Swiss Discovery. Very light weight. Very well made. All the movements you will need. Abilty to grow into a great system. It also comes with its own rucksack. Ability to add longer rails if you want to use longer lenses. Problem is that everyone likes them so much it is hard to find them used. This camera was my first choice, before I came on a great deal on a used Calumet 45NX. The Discovery could be a great camera for you to photograph the urban landscape.

For what its worth, I use a 90mm f/4.5 Grandagon-N. I have used the tilts to accomplish some rise, but I prefer using the rise controls. If you have enough rise, you don't have to mess "workarounds" to accomplish your objective. This is all very individual -- a matter of personal preference. I was just afraid that a field camera like a 45AII or HD would run out of movements, and that I might run out of an opportunity to make an image by the time I accomplished the movement using a workaround. I guess that's why there are so many cameras -- So many photographers, each with his or her own preferences.

-- Dave Karp (, January 21, 2002.

You'll do better with an Arca-Swiss FC, Linhof TK45s, Canham DLC or, as others have mentioned, an Ebony than either of the cameras you mentionedin your second post. I skimmed through the other posts but did any mention the indirect rise methid/ This is wher you tilt the base of the camera Usualy up for architectural work or downwards for tabletop work) and then tilt the two standards back to the vertical. This can add inches to the rise/ fall capabilities of your camera -- if the basic camera and bellows design will allow you to do so.

-- Ellis Vener Photography (, January 21, 2002.

I photograph urban architecture most of the time. I use a 90 f/4.5 Rodenstock Grandagon with a Sinar F and bag bellows. You definitely need a bag bellows to get full use out of the image circle of the 90mm. But in photographing tall buildings or parts of tall buildings in urban setting, or subjects like churches with tall steeples, I sometimes run out of image circle, which is a lens problem, not a camera problem. I have been thinking of converting to the Schneider 90 mm XL because of its larger image circle. Image circle limitations is definitely a problem in certain situations. If you want to photograph architecture, get the lens with the largest image circle available and the camera with the most rise possible. You won't be sorry.

-- David Kaufman (, January 25, 2002.

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