My First 4x5 trannies!!. : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Just got my first 4x5 velvia trannies back, I'm hooked!!. The best of the bunch was a landscape taken with MPPMKV11,90mm Schneider angulonF6.8, 2secs at F22, polariser & 81b. I tilted the camera down to include a rock in the foreground(about 3ft away),I had the camera positioned quite low to the ground, focussed on a tree 2/3rds into the shot, did'nt use any movements. The picture is pin sharp except the for the rock in the foreground. Should I have the camera higher up ?, and should I have levelled the back out ?. Any help will be appreciated, Cheers, Lee.

-- Lee Pengelly (, April 02, 2002


It sounds like a bit of forward front board tilt,and you would be good to go!(see:Sheimpflug rule)

-- Edsel Adams (, April 02, 2002.

Even better, try a little back tilt if that camera permits it. It doesn't take much, though.

-- Alec (, April 02, 2002.


You have the classic situation where you can use front tilt forward, or back tilt backward, as described in the prior posts. The front tilt will affect focus.

The back tilt will affect focus and perspective. It will enlarge the rock because it is, effectively, closer to the film than if the back remains vertical. This is a great way to exaggerate the size of a close object. However, you must be careful. In a typical landscape, you might run into pesky vertical objects like trees, and their tops might be rendered out of focus by the back tilt. Just be careful to select a sufficiently small lens opening so that depth of field keeps those trees in focus.

One thing to try if you have a Polaroid holder is to run down to the local store and see if they have any outdated 4x5 Polaroid film. I bought a few boxes of outdated 400 speed b&w Polaroids and used them for practice. This gives you some instant feedback when playing with your camera movements at a much lower cost than expensive Velvia and associated processing. Another thing to try if you do not have a Polaroid holder: outdated Velvia or other transparency film for practice will at least save you some money on the cost of the film. I did this at the start, shooting my house and the local park. It really helped me a lot.

It sure is fun, isn't it?

-- Dave Karp (, April 02, 2002.


I'm happy to hear of your new addiction! I know how it goes, you start off just doing it every once in awhile, and then before you know it you have to do it every day. Be careful, you might have to start coming up with excuses to fulfil the need. As for your focusing problems, using the tilt on your lensboard is a good fix, as well as setting a smaller aperture. One other thing to do is, if you don't have a depth-of-field calculator on your camera, try focusing on a point about one-third of the way into the scene you are looking at, and using the other tricks above you should be pretty much be guaranteed to have all the depth-of-field you could possibly need. Good luck, and enjoy your addiction.


-- Tom Percival (, April 02, 2002.


I was thinking that there was a good resource on the large format home page to help you select the proper f/stop to achieve a desired depth of field. Q.-Tuan Luong has written an excellent article on this topic called "How to Select the F-Stop" which I recommend.

Here is an excerpt, which is a useful handy reference for you to take with you into the field:

"Make your movements first. Then focus on far, focus on near, read the distance "D" in millimiters between the two positions on your rail, refocus so as to split the distance on the rail, and use the following table that I recommend you carry with you all the time. "F" is given in decimal f-stops, as on a hand-held meter, for example 16.6 is 16 and 0.6 (aka between 1/2 and 1/3) of a f-stop."

Here is the chart from the article:

D(mm) F 1 16.6 2 22.6 3 32.2 4 32.6 5 32.9 6 45.2 7 45.4 8 45.6 9 45.8 10 64

This really does work great. Just remember to make the measurement between near and far, then move the standard 1/2 way between the two measurements.

There are other similar tables and charts. I think Linhoff has a table for a variety of format sizes, and Rodenstock makes a little calculator which is a little more complicated. The Rodenstock calculator also includes a Scheimpflug calculator. I prefer to use the groundglass to see the impact of my movements on the image, and to use one of the simpler tables when necessary to help me select my f/stop.

-- Dave Karp (, April 03, 2002.

Sorry Lee,

The table did not come out too well. Just check the main page for the article.

-- Dave Karp (, April 03, 2002.

Thanks to all replies to my focussing questions, however the one that sounds the easiest to me is "focus on far, tilt on near", then I guess I check mid picture focus by stopping down ?. I have a scale on the bed of my MPP, but in yards.

-- Lee Pengelly (, April 03, 2002.


Remember, if you focus on far, and tilt on near, you are changing the plane of focus. This works fine as long as everything in your image lies on the same plane. If you have important objects in the image that are not on the plane, then you have to rely on depth of field to keep critical items within the acceptable realm of sharpness.

You can often rely on the groundglass image to check depth of field, and should attempt to to do so. However, I have found that with wide angle lenses like your 90mm there is enough light fall off around the edges of the groundglass (even with an enhanced glass like my Bosscreen), that it can be difficult to determine if items on the edge appear sharp when the lens is stopped down. That is why I use the method from the Q.-Tuan Luong's article. It is not that hard to do, and often less time consuming than struggling under a darkcloth to see the edges when the lens is stopped down to f/32 or f/45. Just focus near and far, move the standard in between, and consult the table for the f/stop. So far in my experience his method works every time.

-- Dave Karp (, April 03, 2002.

Lee, As you use an MPP mk 7 you will find it easier to get the foreground into focus by tilting the top of the back towards you. To tilt the lens forward requires you to mount the camera on its side and use the swing front...perfectly possible but especially with the covering power of your Angulon you may find back tilts better. The method I use is to focus on a distant object then get the foreground sharp by adjusting the tilt of the back. Check the distant object again and do a few loops like that and you will soon get the plane of focus where you want it.

Good fun isn't it?


-- Colin Carron (, April 04, 2002.

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