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View Full Version : Rear movements - would you/do you miss them?



612tom
20-Aug-2009, 05:08
I'm looking at new cameras, trying to decide what would be the best next move for me.

I shoot land/city/urban/sky/sea scapes, plus some architecture and general building photography, interior and exterior.

My current LF camera is a Cambo Wide, a neat and handy thing with no bellows that offers rise or fall or shift only, no tilts, no swings nothing more. It's very basic and a joy to use for the sorts of photography I do. I have the Schneider 58XL fitted in the helical mount which gives a very wide view, about that of a 19mm in 35mm equivalent. The whole package is nice and lightweight and compact and fits easily in a day bag for general low-weight low-bulk out-and-about LF photography, with a tripod (got mixed results handheld).

However, I think it might be just that little bit too easy to use. I want to slow down with my photography, use the digi for snapping away and stop burning through packs of Quickloads like they're going out of fashion. I want to explore with tilts and scheimpflug for sweeping landscapes. I want not to be limited to one lens, although I doubt I need to venture into the long focal lengths. However, I dont want to bamboozle myself with too many movements that I wont use.

I've searched high and low through this forum and the web, and I've selected the following cameras:

Ebony RSW45
Ebony SW45
Walker Titan XL 45

All 3 fit the bill in terms of light-weight, low-bulk, neat and tidy, wide-angle accepting, possibly available cameras. BUT the Ebony RSW45 and the Walker Titan XL 45 have fixed rigid rear standards. Great for stability, but for the sorts of photography I do, am I likely to miss the rear movements? Even the SW45 only has rear fall, no tilt. The RSW45 even does-away with front swing, and has just front rise, fall, and tilt. Is this enough or would I be limiting myself severely? I know I have practically no movements on the Cambo Wide, but I want to make sure before I commit myself.

I'd be looking at ripping the 58XL out of the helical mount (anyone ever done this?!) and putting it on a board for use with the new camera, plus getting hold of a slightly less wide lens, such as the 72XL (about 24mm equiv) or a 90mm XL (about 30mm equiv) plus a normal lens like a 150 or so.

So what do you think - would the lack of rear movements cause me too many issues???

Paul O
20-Aug-2009, 05:32
In a word ... no!

I started out with an Ebony SW45 (limited rear movements - rise/fall), then an Ebony 45SU with all the movements under the sun! Now I use a Walker Titan XL 5x7 - couldn't be happier! Movements are limited to front rise, fall, swing and tilt - same as the 5x4 version.

Bruce Watson
20-Aug-2009, 05:39
Whether or not you need rear tilt depends perhaps on whether you are interested in eliminating distortions like keystoning. A lot of (most?) people don't bother. If you want that, you're more likely to want the ability to plumb the film plane, which implies rear tilt. Even with a non-tilting rear standard you can still set up the camera such that the rear standard is plumb (a PITA with a ball head, but doable if you really want to), but you'll need plenty of front rise/fall to compensate. Depending on how long a lens you are using of course. If you are really shooting a lot with extreme wide angles like your 58mm lens it may be that you'll have enough front rise/fall capability to satisfy your shooting needs.

Personally I really like having full movements on both front and rear standards. To me it means the difference between working the way I want to work vs. working the way the camera wants me to work. I don't want to spend time fighting my camera so I have rear tilt on mine.

Clearly it's going to come down to personal preference, so in the end you'll have to decide what you think is important. None of us can make that decision for you.

reellis67
20-Aug-2009, 05:49
Like Bruce stated, it depends on what you need out of a camera. Personally, I use rear tilt, shift, and swing often enough to miss it if I had to use a camera that did not have these movements, but that's due to what I photograph. If the camera has the movements, you always have the option of simply not using them if you don't need/want to, but if the camera does not have them you lose that option. Just my 2 cents...

- Randy

Frank Petronio
20-Aug-2009, 05:51
Having a tilt and swing makes a big difference in holding focus with normal to long lenses, you don't need it as much with wides.

I wouldn't take the 58XL out of it's expensive mount. People pay so much to put them into that helicoil!

FWIW, a Cambo Wide is a pretty awesome camera for wides and you might consider getting something cheap in addition to it rather than getting rid of it. I noticed that a friend has been trying to sell his Cambowide here and he can't get a decent price, so given the market, why not pick up a cheap Sinar F and have the best of both worlds?

With regards to slowing down, I understand and I've taken steps like switching from Grafmatics to conventional holders, doing more tripod stuff, etc. But it is really a mindset, not the gear.

cjbroadbent
20-Aug-2009, 06:14
Rear shift is useful when you are stuck in an awkward place to shoot from or when the packs in tabletop are off to one side or when they need empty space on one side of a double page for headlines and copy. Usually, when you don't want the perspective viewpoint centered in the page gutter. These are commercial situations which dictate the use of LF rather than MF.
When you are shooting for yourself, you will be happy to do without rear shift. I swapped monorails for Technicas when I grew up and then swapped the Technicas for field cameras when I grew older. Now I am out of the market, I use the SW45 (rigid rear) and Gandolfi (drop bed, front tilt & shift) and would swap Gandolfi any day for a rigid SW810.
For an exaggerated single plane of focus I would suggest drop bed and front tilt but save up for something rigid when you grow out of it.

John Brady
20-Aug-2009, 06:49
I have an Ebony slw 810. It has a fixed back and only front rise,fall and tilt.
Like the cameras you are considering mine is a special purpose wide angle camera. This camera is perfect for the type of work I do, it's simple to set up and with very few movements to fiddle with, it allows me to concentrate on the image I am trying to capture.

I also have an Ebony 45su, it's a beautiful camera with asymmetrical rear movements but I almost always just plumbed the back anyway.

www.timeandlight.com

John Kasaian
20-Aug-2009, 07:25
Of course I'd miss 'em! How elso could I take pictures around corners? :D

Archphoto
20-Aug-2009, 07:26
Have a look at the Shen Hao HZX45-IIA with a bag-bellows (the are interchangable).
It can handle your 58XL and weighs 2kg.

You will have full movements front and aft, and by moving the back towards the front you will have no problems with the bed when using those wide's.

My 2c
Peter

Miguel Curbelo
20-Aug-2009, 07:30
I used to have an Ebony SW45 with the movements you describe and enjoyed its rigidity, immediacy and simplicity of use so much that, having decided to move on to 8x10, I have ordered a customised 8x10 camera from Shen Hao with similar movements: a non-folding light-weight body with no rear movements and front rise/fall, tilt , swing and shift. My interests (and business) were similar to yours: architecture, urban landscape and environmental portraits.
If money is not an issue I would go for the SW45 rather than the RSW, I found front shift and swing to be useful, and the weight of both cameras and bellows' length is essentially the same.

Brian Ellis
20-Aug-2009, 07:37
I could (and do) live without rear shift, rise, and fall. I use rear swing occasionally but could live without it if I had to as long as I had front swing. But I photograph buildings, trees, etc. - i.e. vertical objects - and couldn't live without rear tilt. I don't like vertical objects to look like they're falling over backwards and front rise alone just doesn't cut it much of the time.

Bill_1856
20-Aug-2009, 07:43
I did a survey on this forum several years ago, and was surprised to discover that rear movements were the choice of the vast majority.

Robert Fisher
20-Aug-2009, 07:53
I am with Brian Ellis in reference to REAR TILT - I also shoot buildings, churches with steeples, trees, etc and really need rear tilt on my Ebony SW810.

eric black
20-Aug-2009, 08:03
Rear tilt is the primary movement that I use- second place would go to front rise with front and rear swings as a distant 3rd place. I do primarily landscape photos though and very little architectural work.

Daniel_Buck
20-Aug-2009, 08:57
I like having rear tilt. I don't use it every time I shoot, but I like having it for when I do want it. I could do without rear swing and rear rise/fall (I don't have rise/fall on the rear standard as it is anyway)

Stephen Lewis
20-Aug-2009, 13:03
You have to bear in mind that tilting the rear standard changes the shape and relative size of objects in the frame. I use rear tilt to emphasis foreground objects and to change the size of FG and BG objects relative to one another in the frame. Consequently, the rear movements are really useful.

I use an Ebony RW45, which, considering it has all the movements except rear rise & fall, rear shift and front shift, is excellent value. It will take a 58mm lens on a recessed board, and I've used a 65mm on a flat board. It will also go all the way to 300mm. It's a well featured camera, and the mahogany version is under 2Kg. Well worth a look. HTH. :)

evan clarke
20-Aug-2009, 13:15
I don't use rear tilt but would die without rise and shift..141mm Arca, geared all the way!!..Evan Clarke

JohnGC
20-Aug-2009, 14:02
I've never met a rear movement that wasn't useful. It adds a little extra weight, but that does not compare to getting a shot exactly how you want it.

Ed Richards
20-Aug-2009, 19:46
I used a Sinar until recently, shooting mostly architecture. I never used rear tilt or swing because I was worried about keeping things square, and since I almost always used wide lenses, I also did not use rear movements on landscapes. I use a lot of front rise and some tilt and swing, and also front fall or rear rise.

However, since moving to the Ebony 45SU, I have gotten hooked on asymmetric rear movements and find I use them a lot because they are so easy to use. This has also lead me to use longer lenses more.

What I miss with the Sinar is the essentially unlimited rise/fall - basically 6 inches worth, which is way more than you can use with 4x5 except in the most extreme cases with long lenses. I find the rise a bit limited with the Ebony and the fall quite limited, at least without the wide angle bellows. Even with them, you can run out of rise or fall with a long lens, but you can make up for it by tilting the bed and releveling the standards. I do find the Ebony a joy to use.

ki6mf
20-Aug-2009, 20:12
I second the comments from Archphoto. A Shen Hao or Chamonix new here in the USA is usually less money than a Ebony used. They both give movements and if you dont want rear movements leave them set and just use the front movements. if you need the movements you have them.

Bruce Barlow
21-Aug-2009, 05:21
I use rear tilt almost every exposure except portraits. Richard Ritter sets up his camera with a little rear tilt already there. I've never had rear rise or rear shift, so I don't miss them. I found that all the extra hardware to do them made the camera less rigid and stable, and those factors win, especially when I have them in front. No difference. But rear tilt is easy, and stable.

Richard learned that front tilt adjusts focus only, while rear movements are "the artist's pallette" that give distortions that are often welcome (making those foreground rocks loom large, for instance). Don't take my word for it: make two pictures, one using fromt tilt to maximize depth of field, then reset front tilt to vertical and use only rear tilt. Compare proofs: what do you see?

I want the most flexibility in any camera. How sad to spend all that money and then find it can't do what I want.

John Jarosz
21-Aug-2009, 07:35
I could (and do) live without rear shift, rise, and fall.

My opinion as well.

John

Archphoto
21-Aug-2009, 07:57
I have been using rear rise in churches when photographing from the choir and would not want to be without it, esp with field camera's and their beds with wide angle vertical shots.

Peter

Drew Wiley
21-Aug-2009, 08:19
For commercial architecture I used a Sinar which has every move imaginable - and I
used every one of them! For personal photography and casual field architecture I use my 8x10 Phillips, which has rear tilt but not swing or rise. Couldn't live without
rear tilt for landscape work, or I'd have coverage issues with certain lenses. Wish I
had swing too once in awhile, but that's a design compromise to keep the camera light yet rigid.

Ed Richards
21-Aug-2009, 09:27
Drew makes a good point - with limited coverage lenses, rear tilt uses less image ciricle than front tilt. Very important with your 58.

tgtaylor
21-Aug-2009, 09:31
Although the Toyo is not among the cameras under consideration, I'd recommend that you take a look (2d?) at the Toyo 45AX as it is a well engineered camera that incorporates most, if not all, the features that you are looking for. Below are its specs:

Base Tilt Front 90 + 15 Rear 90 + 15
Swing Front 8 + 8 Rear 8 + 8
Rise / Fall Front 20.5mm / 23.5mm
Rise-Incline Bed / Fall-Drop Bed 84mm / 65mm (1)
Shift Front 7mm + 7mm
Shift Bed Front 40mm + 40mm (1)
General Focusing Front Bed 91.5mm
Minimum Extension 45mm with recessed lens board
70mm with flat lens board
Maximum Extension 321mm with flat lens board
421 with addition of optional 100mm Extension Back
Size (folded) 4.2 x 7.4 x 8.2"
Weight 5.8 lbs.

Minimum Focusing Distances and Magnification
Lens (3) Minimum Distance
(Lens-to-subject) Magnification
Super-Angulon 58/5.6XL 0.23 ft. 4.39x
Nikkor SW 65/4 0.269 ft. 3.89x
Nikkor SW 90/4.5 0.413 ft. 2.51x
Nikkor W 135/5.6 0.767 ft. 1.37x
Nikkor W 150/5.6 0.928 ft. 1.13x
Nikkor W 180/5.6 1.35 ft. 0.78x
Nikkor W 210/5.6 2.005 ft. 0.52x
Nikkor W 240/5.6 3.15 ft. 0.33x
Nikkor M 300/9 15.75 ft. 0.07x
Nikkor T 270/6.3 02.68 ft. 0.39x
Nikkor T 360/8 08.33 ft. 0.13x
Nikkor T 500/11 (2) 13.33 ft. 0.10x

(1) Maximum movement indicated. Varies with focal length used.
(2) Extension back required (no. 1635).
(3) Specifications may vary with other lens manufacturers.

612tom
22-Aug-2009, 16:49
Thanks everyone for your helpful and informed responses, it's much appreciated. Indeed maybe I should be looking to include rear movements. I guess it's like having ABS or Stability Control etc. in your car, one doesn't necessarily use them all the time, but it is nice to know they're there...

So if the SW45 with rear rise only doesn't cut it, then I have to expand my options to the SW45S2 which includes between 8 and 15 degrees of rear tilt depending on the orientation of the back. But am I right in thinking this is a custom model, and finding one is going to be difficult.

What about the 45S? This has shift, swing, rise and tilt at the rear, however the minimum bellows is 60mm on a flat board. I don't want to get into using recessed boards, so if I forgot about wanting to use my 58XL, which has limited coverage for 5x4" anyway (and and can stay in it's helical!), do you think I could use a 72mm or 75mm on the 45S with movements or would the bellows be too tightly compressed and restrict movement?

Archphoto
22-Aug-2009, 17:36
The 72XL has quite a bit of movemnet: I have the lens on a recessed board and use it with a bag-bellows on my Sinar P2.
Even the 75SA would benefit from the use of a bag bellows, mine is, again, on a ercessed board.

Peter

Ed Richards
22-Aug-2009, 20:00
I just read your original post again:

> 72XL (about 24mm equiv) or a 90mm XL

The 90mm XL is a monster lens, both in size and in coverage. If you are serious about it, I am not sure any of the cameras you have listed are going to work, unless you like taking your lens apart everytime you want to mount it on the camera.

Since you have been using a lens with no excess coverage, are you sure you need that much coverage? Given the size of the 90mm XL, I would go for a Sinar F2. You can use the lens on a Technika board and adapter because there is plenty of room for the rear element to go through the adapter hole in the Sinar board. The F2 with bag bellows will handle anything from the 58 - 180 on flat boards with plenty of movements. I never took the bag bellows off my F2. With huge lenses, you might as well have a slightly larger camera that will really let you use them.

Stephen Lewis
23-Aug-2009, 03:54
What about the 45S? This has shift, swing, rise and tilt at the rear, however the minimum bellows is 60mm on a flat board. I don't want to get into using recessed boards, so if I forgot about wanting to use my 58XL, which has limited coverage for 5x4" anyway (and and can stay in it's helical!), do you think I could use a 72mm or 75mm on the 45S with movements or would the bellows be too tightly compressed and restrict movement?

The 45S is available with Ebony's Universal bellows, which have a non-pleated section behind the front standard. This allows use of movements with shorter lenses. Also, the throat on the front standard is very big. Two friends of mine have the 45S, and both regularly use the 72XL without problems. I have the same bellows on my RW45, and don't any problems with my Nikon 70mm. HTH

mandoman7
23-Aug-2009, 05:43
I used an old Deardorff 4x5 for a long time that had limited rear movements and I didn't really notice it until I started going to workshops and seeing what other guys had.

Ed Richards
23-Aug-2009, 08:29
The Ebony Universal bellows is better than a regular bellows, but still does not allow a lot of movement with wide lenses. I cannot get full movements with my Nikon 90mm F4.5, and I cannot get any front drop or rear rise at all without the bellows cutting off the image. That has been the only real disappointment with the camera. Count on a wide angle bellows for serious wide work.

While you should be able to get the rear of the 72mm xl into the camera, there are several threads on the problems with the 90mm XL.

tgtaylor
23-Aug-2009, 09:20
I get full movements on the Toyo 45AX with my 90mm Grandagon f4.5 on a flat board and full movments with the 75mm f4.5 Grandagon on a recessed board. The only movrment that the AX lacks s rear rise. But the AX is a folding field camera and not a monorail. If you need a lot of movements, then a monorail would be the way to go - the Arca Swiss Discovery maybe. The only limiting factor with my ROBOS is the lens.

Thomas

Alan Davenport
23-Aug-2009, 09:24
Darn right I'd miss my rear movements. I've taken a number of photos where I couldn't use enough front tilt to focus; there simply wasn't enough image circle available. When you run out of front tilt, having back tilt can make the shot possible.

Ben Syverson
23-Aug-2009, 10:50
I'm transitioning from a camera with no rear movements (Gowland Lite) to a camera that has no front movements (Century 10A), so I'll let you know how that changes things!

612tom
23-Aug-2009, 20:00
Without wanting to drift from my original questions, could someone also explain how much rear tilt I might expect to need, as I've never had the option and dont know.

For example, a portrait orientated landscape photo on a beach with some rocks in the foreground and beach going off to the sea in the background at infinity. I know I only need to use a few degrees of front tilt to get the focus plane right for focus from near all the way to infinity, but how many degrees of rear tilt am I likely to need to enlarge the foreground objects to fill the frame?

What about a church with a steeple or factory with chimney - type photo. As opposed to using front rise to keep the verticals from converging, I can point the camera up and plumb the rear standard. Again, how many degrees of rear tilt would I expect to use?

I appreciate this might be a bit of a "how long is a piece of string?" question but if anyone can shed any light I would really appreciate it, as I dont want to choose a camera with fairly limited rear tilts, to find that I need more than is available.


Thanks in advance!

Stephen Lewis
25-Aug-2009, 04:09
What about a church with a steeple or factory with chimney - type photo. As opposed to using front rise to keep the verticals from converging, I can point the camera up and plumb the rear standard. Again, how many degrees of rear tilt would I expect to use?

You would need to tilt the rear standard sufficient to bring it vertical again, so it depends on the camera's angle.


For example, a portrait orientated landscape photo on a beach with some rocks in the foreground and beach going off to the sea in the background at infinity. I know I only need to use a few degrees of front tilt to get the focus plane right for focus from near all the way to infinity, but how many degrees of rear tilt am I likely to need to enlarge the foreground objects to fill the frame?

This is the 'how long is a piece of string' question :) There are so many variables that a definitive answer is impossible. However, unless you are doing something really outrageous, it's unlikely that you would run out of movement. In general landscape work I never have, and I find that the amount of movements needed is very small. Architecture and interiors are a different story. HTH

612tom
25-Aug-2009, 04:44
This is the 'how long is a piece of string' question :)


Knew it was one of those questions as I typed it!

Thanks for the info though, I only ask as I'm looking at a custom built camera with only 15 degrees of tilt on the rear standard, and I wondered if that might limit me in real-world applications.

Bob Salomon
25-Aug-2009, 04:54
Knew it was one of those questions as I typed it!

Thanks for the info though, I only ask as I'm looking at a custom built camera with only 15 degrees of tilt on the rear standard, and I wondered if that might limit me in real-world applications.

15 each way or total tilt?

612tom
25-Aug-2009, 05:18
15 each way or total tilt?

+/- 15 degrees in portrait config, + /- 8 degrees landscape config

Bob Salomon
25-Aug-2009, 06:24
+/- 15 degrees in portrait config, + /- 8 degrees landscape config

Not if you are shooting landscapes. It might if you are shooting product.

Preston
25-Aug-2009, 08:55
I use rear tilt quite often when I want the subject plane and the image plane parallel (or nearly so). I use rear swing to a lesser extent for the same reason. Sometimes, I'll use rear swing and/or tilt to accentuate the shape of an object. It's a 'must have' for me.

There have been occassions where rear rise/fall and shift would be very handy; but, since my Tachihara does not have this capability, I work around it.

-Preston

ki6mf
25-Aug-2009, 09:07
An additional thought on rear tilt. When shooting tall objects close up you often will have extreme movements and would need rear tilt to help accomplish this. As always you should also check the image circle to see if it is covering the film image.

tgtaylor
25-Aug-2009, 11:09
The Toyo 45AX/AII has 90 (forward) and 15 (backwards-towards you) rear tilt (same as on the front). If you're shooting a tall object such as a building up close and need to point the camera upwards, you'll probably need a generous amount of forward tilt to bring the lens and film plane parallel to the building. Rear swing is often handy - for example in maintaining sharp focus on an object such as a fence which is receeding to the left or right as it will put the lens and film parallel to the fence.

If you're considering purchasing a field camera, pay a couple of dollars extra and get a "technical field camera." Technical fields offer movements on the front and rear. Often rear rise is not offered and is usually not needed for images captured with a field camera. A front drop is the same as a rear rise.

Stephen Lewis
25-Aug-2009, 12:35
+/- 15 degrees in portrait config, + /- 8 degrees landscape config

My RW45 has 20 degrees forward and backward on the rear centre tilt, and 90 degrees forward and 20 degrees backward on the base tilt. In normal landscape working, I've never run out of rear movements.