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Thread: Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

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    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    gentlemen...

    i feel a bit foolish asking this question, as i know, or rather i think i know the answer, but am looking for a little clarification. i've been learning the nuances of LF shooting for the past six months or so and have gotten considerably more comfortable with the equipment in that time. i just finished reading Jack Dykinga's Large Format Nature Photography, and noticed that he uses mostly rear tilt to maximize depth of field. before you tell me to stop cluttering the servers and just go ready Strobel's book, know that i have already ordered it and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival. my questions about tilts are:

    - it's my understanding that front tilts will increase depth of field, rear tilts will increase of depth of field but also change the scale of objects in the foreground... is this correct?

    - does the choice of front vs. rear tilts come down to a decision as to the relative scale of foreground to background objects... or is it a matter of convenience, as rear tilts on a monorail seem a bit easier than on the tech IV?

    - what is your preferred method of getting near-to-far focus and why?

    thanks...

  2. #2

    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    " it's my understanding that front tilts will increase depth of field, rear tilts will increase of depth of field but also change the scale of objects in the foreground... is this correct?"

    Neither is correct

    Depth of field is controlled only by the aperture you use.

    Front and rear tilts and swings adjust the plane of sharp focus. Apertur adjusts the depth of focus. Rear tilts and swings control not only the plane of focus but also the shape of the object photographed. Front tilts and swings have no effect on the shape of the objects.

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    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    For near/far compositions, I would tend to swing and tilt on the front standard before moving to the rear standard, to adjust the plane of focus.

    Set up a shot and try it both ways, and see which you like. Shoot Polaroid, if you have it.

  4. #4

    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    Scott,

    If you are shooting the sort of landscape stuff that Jack Dykinga illustrates then the integrity of the shape of elements may not alwaysbe sacrosanct. (Irregular forms can be very forgiving!) Using rear tilt keeps the framed images within the best area of optical performance of most lenses (the middle). When I had Technikas and found myself in this situation I would mount the camera to the tripod by means of the fitting on the front door of the camera. I would frame up on a scene (usually from an elevated viewpoint) and then release the side arms and pull the rear section of the camera back either one notch or two to get the plane of sharp focus roughly where it was wanted. I would then use the lens standard to make small adjustments. It's quick, simple and effective. Attempting to achieve the same using the four rods that extend the camera back invariably proved more fidgetty.

    It is a particularly useful approach also when working with a longer lens to draw in dstant objects since it produces exagerated diminishing perspective laterally. As I recall John Sexton did this with a shot of a foreground rock and a distant surfer striding out of the sea.

    Cheers,

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    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    bob... i understand that depth of field is controlled by aperture; i understand the tilting the front or rear standard changes the plane of focus, not the depth of field. it's my understanding that the result of these movements is greater near-far focus; i guess i misspoke when i said 'greater depth of field'; since i thought the net result relative to the film was an increased field of sharp focus, i thought the two interchangeable.

    why you state 'neither is correct' and then go on to confirm my supposition is a bit unclear to me. i guess i'm still missing something here. anyhow, thank you for confirming my belief that tilting the rear standard will effect both the plane of sharp focus as well the shape of the objects and that the front standard will only effect the plane of sharp focus.

    david... thanks for the response. i usually work with the front standard, but after reading dykinga's book, i thought i might be off in my approach. i'll shoot some polaroids this weekend using different combinations or front and rear tilt to get a better handle on all this.

    thanks again, bob and david. i appreciate the help.

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    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    I think Walter's point is also important, that the neutral appearance of near vs. far isn't sacrosanct, and the exaggerated effect that you might get with a rear tilt can add dynamism to some compositions, and you might like that or you might find it overly dramatic in the way that a red filter can sometimes be.

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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    Jack likes to use the rear standard for focusing as well as movements, which makes sense with his ARCA, and naturally carries it over to his WISTA. But using Technika rear movements are a real major PITA. while front tilt (and other movements) are easy to use.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    Setting aside the technical difference between changing the plane of focus and changing depth of field, the answer to your questions is (1) yes, (2) usually a matter of convenience with landscape photography, (3) front tilt with a Linhof Technika.

    The fact that tilting the back affects the shape of objects is important with things like product photography or architecture but generally isn't important for landscape work. Whether I use front or back tilt to change the plane of focus in landscape photography is for me a matter of convenience - it's a lot easier to use front tilt on my Technika than it is to use back tilt. With my 8x10 Deardorff either is equally convenient unless the bellows is fully extended but I still tend to use front tilt just because that's what I've gotten used to. However, when the Deardorff's bellows is fully extended I have no choice - I have to use back tilt because I can't conveniently reach the front of the camera from under the darkcloth.
    Brian Ellis
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    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

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    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    walter... i think we were replying to the thread at the same time, as i didn't see your informative response until after i posted my reply. thanks for the insight, like most things, as illustrated by david's filter remark, it comes down to the photographers vision of the final print.

    bill... jack's methodology makes a lot of sense when you put it that way, and is only confirmed by what brian said about his practices.

    brian... thank you for the succinct response and for relating your experiences with the technika.

    to all, i appreciate the assistance.

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    Front Tilt or Reat Tilt on a Linhof Tech... Which Do You Use?

    I think others have answered your questions, but let me add some additional information which may be helpful in understanding depth of field when the front or back standard are tilted.

    Let me start with the front standard (lens plane). As you may already know, the Scheimpflug Principle tells you that the image plane, the lens plane, and the plane of exact focus in the scene (subject plane) all intersect in a single line. But there is another line called the hinge line which is also important. With the image plane (film plane) vertical, the hinge line is located (usually) directly below the lens at a certain distance depending on the tilt. The smaller the tilt angle, the greater the distance. The region which is in adequate focus is a wedge starting at the hinge line and bounded by two planes, one above the subject plane and one below, with the subject plane roughly centered in the wedge. It is quite narrow near the lens and widens as you move away from the lens. The size of the wedge angle depends on the aperture. As you change the distance between the standards by focusing, this wedge swivels on the hinge line. If you focus by moving the front standard, the hinge line and the wedge also move forward or back, but for scenes sufficiently far away, this is a neglible amount and can be ignored. For close-ups, it could be important. If you focus by moving the rear standard, it is not an issue.

    If you tilt the rear standard instead, the situation is essentially the same except for the location of the hinge line. The hinge line will be parallel to the Scheimpflug line but some distance in front of it. One way to think of where it is is as follows. With the back tilted, imagine rotating the entire camera so that the rear standard is now vertical. The hinge line will be vertically below the lens as indicated above. Now imagine rotating the camera back to its original position including the hinge line in the rotation. That will put it in the proper position.

    All this assumes no swings. With swings or swings combined with tilts, the principles are the same, but it is hard to describe in words.

    Try a google search on Merklinger, who has written extensively on this subject. You may also find some animations which illustrate the principles.

    As others have noted, Dykinga uses rear tilts because it is convenient and he likes the effect on the shapes of objects. You have to decide for yourself whether that works for you. Note, however, that it is not a matter of either/or. Once you understand the effects of the movements, you can choose front tilt or rear tilt or even a combination of both depending on the particular photographic effect you desire for that scene.

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