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Thread: How often do you tilt for Theo?

  1. #1
    Sibben's Avatar
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    How often do you tilt for Theo?

    I pretty much just started out with LF but now that I've shot a couple of sheets I begin to wonder on movements, specifically Scheimpflug tilting. I'm trying to learn a bit how to do it and while I kind of get the idea I find the practise challenging but fun. My question is how often you seasoned veterans use it. Always? Sometimes? I shoot mainly landscape/cityscape and if I stop down to 32 or even 64 it's still super sharp and I find as soon as I tilt the front it's harder to focus.

    How big of a deal is it really? Would you say it's essential or just a near trick you do sometimes if you have objects close by in the composition?

  2. #2
    Cor's Avatar
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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    With complex cityscapes/landscapes with "sticking out" lamp posts or trees tilt forward is usually asking for trouble sharpness wise, better stop down as you already found out. Grand (American) landscapes with big rock boulders in front and huge mountains in the back lend themselves to fw tilt. Trying this in my country (The Netherlands and no rocks whatsoever) I recently tried to get a ploughed bare field and distant tree lines all in focus with tilt..could not get it working and resorted to stopping down with the 90mm lens to f32, which solved it

    Good luck,

    Cor

  3. #3

    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    Theo, short for Theodor Scheimpflug.
    Last edited by Chrstphrlee; 22-Mar-2014 at 06:10. Reason: was too wordy.

  4. #4
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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    sometimes when you don't have a way to stop down it becomes useful to use theo's way
    the whole looming foreground thing was so like 1998 ...
    besides, haven't you heard, the new thing is razerthin DOF

  5. #5
    Sibben's Avatar
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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    @cor: Thanks. Good to get some confirmation. Was wondering if I did sonething wrong.

    @dakotah: Yeah. I do use movements for perspective and cross/rise for composition. It's totally awesome.

  6. #6

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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    @Cor: The situation you describe is tailor-made for using tilt! If you can't get the flat plane of the ground in focus using tilt, then something is quite wrong. It should be really easy and the basic tilt application. Maybe I don't understand your situation exactly...

    As to the question: I use swings and tilts a lot for a number of different purposes. Squaring things up, adjusting the plane of sharp focus (PoSF) and squeezing some extra shift/rise from my camera.

    Tilting or swinging either standard moves the plane of sharp focus away from parallel to the film. Swinging or tilting the back also changes the rendering of parallel lines in the subject on the ground glass/film. Some use back tilt/swing to bring architectural subjects into the desired perspective rendering. I prefer to set up my camera with the back in the correct position (e.g., parallel to a building face) instead of using tilt/swing. Nevertheless, using movements works too and I do this sometimes to fine tune; the only thing that matters for achieving the desired rendering of parallel lines on the ground glass is the position of the back in relation to the subject.

    When shooting architectural subjects, things usually work out so that the front and rear standards are parallel and the plane of sharp focus in the scene parallel to them. Stopping down achieves the desired depth-of-field. However, I have had many instances when applying a little front tilt and skewing the PoSF in the scene allows for a smaller focus spread and the use of a bit wider aperture, thereby giving me better sharpness and a bit faster shutter speed. A situation like this would be a building at the end of a courtyard with a foreground object (say a bench or sculpture) low to the ground. Tilting just a bit to put the near part of the PoSF between the building and the foreground object actually reduces the overall focus spread.

    Using tilt/swing on either standard to adjust the plane of sharp focus has a bit different goal. Usually there is a plane we wish to focus on. If I'm taking an oblique shot of a building facade, I'll use swing ("horizontal tilt") to make sure that plane is in focus. If I'm taking a landscape shot where the plane of the ground is the main subject, I'll use tilt to adjust focus to it, keeping in mind the other objects in the scene and compromising as needed to achieve the smallest focus spread.

    Finally, most of my folding cameras have limited shift and rise. I can use the "point and swing/tilt" method to get more. Basically it is just point the camera where you want the center of the image to be and then swing/tilt back and front standards parallel; voilą, more shift or rise.

    FWIW, I check to make sure my standards are in the right position relative to each other every time I shoot, and often adjust the front standard a bit since it is often deflected by bellows pressure, or isn't exactly centered in the zero detents, or my desired plane of sharp focus is just a bit off from parallel. In effect, I'm applying and correcting tilt every time I shoot, even if it is "zero tilt."

    Best.

    Doremus

  7. #7

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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    I struggled at times with tilting to get a desired plane of focus until I watched the Fred Newman video on youtube here , it may not be everybody's way of doing it but it worked for me as I have both front and back base tilts on my Canham MQC.

  8. #8
    Sibben's Avatar
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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    besides, haven't you heard, the new thing is razerthin DOF
    Open wide and slice it thin like all the cool kidz on the internet! ;-)

  9. #9

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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sibben View Post
    I pretty much just started out with LF but now that I've shot a couple of sheets I begin to wonder on movements, specifically Scheimpflug tilting. I'm trying to learn a bit how to do it and while I kind of get the idea I find the practise challenging but fun. My question is how often you seasoned veterans use it. Always? Sometimes? I shoot mainly landscape/cityscape and if I stop down to 32 or even 64 it's still super sharp and I find as soon as I tilt the front it's harder to focus.

    How big of a deal is it really? Would you say it's essential or just a near trick you do sometimes if you have objects close by in the composition?
    From a technical point of view, you can make a decision based on the f-stop required to get the depth of field that you need. Most lenses are at their optimal sharpness at a middle f-stop. Let's say that, for a given lens, once you stop down past f32 you start losing sharpness due to diffraction (and many will argue that diffraction is not worth worrying about with LF). So if you find yourself stopping down to f64, that would be a reason to use tilt, so that you can achieve the depth of field that you want, while also using a more optimal f-stop.

    This situation can many times be avoided by using what I consider to be the optimal camera set-up process:
    1) level the camera
    2) use rise/fall (rather than aiming the camera up or down) to position objects in the frame where desired (from a vertical stand-point).
    3) decide desired depth of field, what should be in-focus or out of focus, and choose f-stop accordingly
    4) if after #3 you are at a sub-optimal f-stop, or if you need to increase or decrease depth of field, or you want to alter the plane of focus of depth of field, then use tilt/swing.

  10. #10
    Hack Pawlowski6132's Avatar
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    Re: How often do you tilt for Theo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrstphrlee View Post
    Theo, short for Theodor Scheimpflug.
    How annoying.

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