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Thread: LF Camera Movements

  1. #1

    LF Camera Movements

    .... not the political kind!

    I am getting ready to make another 4x5 camera. I haven't been happy with the finish and fit of the Cherry wood camera (Aletta design) that I built last spring so I have some Maple for the next go-round and the Cherry camera will become the basis for my 4x5 enlarger.

    Since I do "Old West Reenacting", I have been studying the cameras built before 1900 and will build something that "looks old" (though I am not about to give up modern film and chemistry - I am not safe around explosive or poisonous chemicals!). I wish to retain the EFFECTS of the movements of modern cameras.

    When I look at the movements of modern LF cameras, most have up/down, left/right, and rotation for both the front and rear of the camera and everything uses front and rear standards to accomplish this.

    When I look carefully at what these combinations of movements accomplish, it seems that the same effects could be obtained if the front and rear camera elements simply had tilt and rotation, tilting or rotating the bed to provide the vertical and horizontal offsets.

    Am I missing something here?

    I realize that rotating and tilting the bed would be less convenient but I can't see where any effects would be lost.

    Comments?

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    LF Camera Movements

    Hey Jane,
    you're talking about building a camera with axial movements(tilt+swing), but no lateral movements(rise, fall,+shift). Rise, fall, and shift would then be had as "indirect movements." In practice, for me at least, a real pain. You might be better off making a camera with laterals on the front, and axials on the back, that way, you'll have it both ways. (unless you want to shoot architecture, where you really do need everything)
    Good luck,
    Tracy http://www.mammothcamera.com
    Tracy Storer
    Mammoth Camera Company tm
    www.mammothcamera.com

  3. #3
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    LF Camera Movements

    Yes, you can achieve rise/fall and shift indirectly with front and rear tilt and swing and the ability tilt and rotate the whole camera on the tripod, but you lose a certain degree of convenience in being able to keep the standards parallel with such a design, and you lose the option of combining direct and indirect movements when one type is not enough.

  4. #4

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    LF Camera Movements

    You can mimic rise/fall [up/down?] by tilting the camera then tilting the standards. You end up with the camera pointing up/down but the lens and film aren't.

    The amount/type of movements needed depends on what you're using the camera for. Look at those old portrait cameras. Not very demanding in terms of movements. But the people doing the complicated stuff might need everything.

    Your camera only needs to work for your needs.

  5. #5
    Octogenarian
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    LF Camera Movements

    Hi Calamity,

    Assuming you are talking about a flat bed camera, built before 1900, once the camera bed is placed out of the exact level position by tilting the tripod head, movements become complicated. For example, with no front rise available, the camera bed would need to be tilted upward using the tripod head. Then, using base tilts, the front and rear standards would need to be placed into the exact vertical position, parallel to one and other, in order to accomplish the same movement that could have accomplished by merely using the front rise capability.

    The minimum movement capability for a 4x5 flat bed field camera should be: Front rise (and fall), base tilt, and swing. Rear tilt and swing. Shift movements are nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. Rear rise is not used very often on a flat bed camera.

    Most of those old wooden cameras were designed to be used for portraiture. They didn't need much movement capability.

  6. #6
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
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    LF Camera Movements

    Another factor to consider is how "original" you desire your whole rig to appear - including the tripod. If you go with an old-style wooden tripod with no ball or tilt head, tilting the entire camera becomes even less convenient - it would have to be accomplished via leg extension. The current designs of less-expensive wooden field cameras may provide a reasonable design compromise.

    The current Tachihara double-extension 8x10, for example, has rise/fall, tilt, and swing on the front standard, but really only tilt on the rear standard. Then, consider what movements you actually need, as others have suggested, for your use of the camera. Shift, for example, is probably the easiest movement to give up for typical field work, but would likely be considered essential for product or architecture.

    The historical progression of feature advancements may also provide some guidance. It seems to me the earliest LF cameras were essentially rigid, with no movements. Lens rise/fall came next, and then base tilts (after Scheimflug made his discovery), and swing even later. I don't think shift was introduced until monorails came along. After that, modern field camera design attempted to include as many monorail features as possible, depending on the price.

    Oh, and don't forget a set of cast-iron body clamps to keep your subjects still during long exposures. ;-)




  7. #7

    LF Camera Movements

    Although Eugene is correct in saying that the majority of cameras built in the 19th Century were without front movements, a number of flatbed cameras designed and built around the turn of the previous century incorporated a bit of front rise and fall through a sliding lensboard, much like Deardorff cameras.

  8. #8
    Terence
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    LF Camera Movements

    I have an 1903 (approx according to the engraving/brand next to maker's mark ) flat-bed that has front rise/fall and shift using two sliding boards. The vertical one acts as the lensboard and it is mounted by vertical brackets to the horizontal sliding board, which in turn is mounted to the front of the camera by horizontal brackets. It's pretty similar to the front standard of the FKD cameras on eBay. Now if only the lens that came with it had enough coverage to actually use the available movements . . .

  9. #9
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    LF Camera Movements

    Hey Ralph,

    All of my Tachis' have some degree of rear swing. The 4x5 has full rear swing capability. The 5x7 and 8x10 double extension camera actually have a slight amount of geared rear swing, accomplished by advancing one side more than the other. They seem to be designed with the ability do that.

    The Alleta designed camera is a wooden monorail, like the Bender. I'm not sure that any monorails were built before 1900. Therefore, I'm assuming that Calamity is going to build a flatbed type camera. Is that correct, Calamity?

  10. #10

    LF Camera Movements

    Nice to hear from you again.

    Having shift and rise/fall is nice because things stay in focus. When you tilt the camera and use tilts, you have to re-focus. Also it is hard to keep the lens and film parallel when you are tilting everything.

    If you are shooting portraits, though, I dont think you will need movements at all.

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