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Thread: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

  1. #1
    Jacques-Mtl's Avatar
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    When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Hi, I am sure this question has been ask before. How do you determine that you need to use a swing or a tilt movement?
    Thank you
    Jacques

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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    I don't think there is a really short answer, but here are a couple of examples.
    Swings - photographing along a wall in which you want sharp detail the full length.
    Tilts - a picture which includes a semi- flat plane such as the ground and requires sharpness the entire distance is one time to use tilts.

    These are only 2 simple examples. The best thing to do is set up the camera and with the aperture wide open, focus on a variety of types of subject matter and use the movements to get as much as possible in focus. Usually the amount of movement required is much less than thought.

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    Jacques-Mtl's Avatar
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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Thank you Jim. Maybe I could explain one situation that I had last week. I was in the field and in front of me there was some big rocks and at the back at maybe 50 feet there's a rock wall with a small waterfall. When I focus on the background and on the rocks there is a difference of 10mm between the 2 points. So if I place the rail between the two point I have to f/64. If I use front or back tilt is it going to help me to use a larger aperture?
    Thanks Jacques

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Movements have two completely different purposes, which are often in conflict with each other. One is "architectural" movements, used to keep the subject from apparent distortion. For example, keeping the lines of a tall building parallel to the edge of the frame. The other is "focusing" movements, where you skew the plane of focus. For example, tilting the back so the foreground is farther from the lens than the background, putting both in focus.

    In the case you asked Jim about, swing the back so the two points on the ground glass have 10mm different distance from the lens, so those two points are simultaneously in focus. But whether that lets you use a larger aperture depends on what else is going on in the frame. There's always something sticking out where it shouldn't be that requires a smaller aperture to get it in focus!.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Movements have two completely different purposes, which are often in conflict with each other. One is "architectural" movements, used to keep the subject from apparent distortion. For example, keeping the lines of a tall building parallel to the edge of the frame. The other is "focusing" movements, where you skew the plane of focus. For example, tilting the back so the foreground is farther from the lens than the background, putting both in focus.

    In the case you asked Jim about, swing the back so the two points on the ground glass have 10mm different distance from the lens, so those two points are simultaneously in focus. But whether that lets you use a larger aperture depends on what else is going on in the frame. There's always something sticking out where it shouldn't be that requires a smaller aperture to get it in focus!.
    This is what happens when you tilt or swing the back. You change the shape of the image.
    But if you do the tilt or swing at the lens you do not change the image shape. But you do then change/control the plane of sharp focus. Doing the tilt or swing at the back will, besides controlling the image shape, will also control/change the plane of sharp focus.

    To control the depth of field you would then open or stop down the lens.

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    This is what happens when you tilt or swing the back. You change the shape of the image.
    But if you do the tilt or swing at the lens you do not change the image shape. But you do then change/control the plane of sharp focus. Doing the tilt or swing at the back will, besides controlling the image shape, will also control/change the plane of sharp focus.
    Bob is quite right, but depending on the situation, you may find the camera bed not level and you must use rear tilt to "un-tilt" the rear back to perfectly vertical.

    In portraiture, I've found the distortions from rear movements are seldom noticeable, but using front movements can throw the lens off-axis. That can cause big problems with certain portrait lenses that are sharp at the center of the image but have a soft outer area, as you may move the sharp area somewhere you don't want it. And with curved field lenses (Petzvals or meniscus lenses like the Imagon), the curve follows the rotation of the lens so the front movement is ineffectual anyways.

    The interactions of the movements seems complex, but as you get a feel for what they're really doing, it all makes sense.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques-Mtl View Post
    Hi, I am sure this question has been ask before. How do you determine that you need to use a swing or a tilt movement?
    Thank you
    Jacques
    In terms of the front standard it is used when you want the plane of focus to be anything other than parallel to the film back.

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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Bob is quite right, but depending on the situation, you may find the camera bed not level and you must use rear tilt to "un-tilt" the rear back to perfectly vertical.

    In portraiture, I've found the distortions from rear movements are seldom noticeable, but using front movements can throw the lens off-axis. That can cause big problems with certain portrait lenses that are sharp at the center of the image but have a soft outer area, as you may move the sharp area somewhere you don't want it. And with curved field lenses (Petzvals or meniscus lenses like the Imagon), the curve follows the rotation of the lens so the front movement is ineffectual anyways.

    The interactions of the movements seems complex, but as you get a feel for what they're really doing, it all makes sense.
    Then you are using a base tilt camera. This is avoided with an optical axis tilt camera.

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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacques-Mtl View Post
    Thank you Jim. Maybe I could explain one situation that I had last week. I was in the field and in front of me there was some big rocks and at the back at maybe 50 feet there's a rock wall with a small waterfall. When I focus on the background and on the rocks there is a difference of 10mm between the 2 points. So if I place the rail between the two point I have to f/64. If I use front or back tilt is it going to help me to use a larger aperture?
    Thanks Jacques
    Swings and tilts often have consequences. I used a healthy amount of swing to merge the focus between two places in an image, and some other areas were clearly out of focus, ruining an otherwise nice image. I would disagree with some here that advocate tilting/swinging on every image. This past weekend I was tilting and I found I was getting the result I wanted with a tiny amount... and only used it in about 1/3 of my shots.

    There is also little benefit to using a larger aperture. The effect of diffraction is quite small in large format cameras. Most agree it is so small as to be able to be ignored. Of course, some people want the out of focus look...

    There is one other possible use, and that is to change what's in the frame. Sometimes you want to have the effect of looking straight at something but the composition only works when you are off to the side... A nice dose of swing (or shift) makes this work. It is also the case in portraiture that a "straight on" look flattens the face, making humans look like they have "basketball heads". If one moves to the side where more of the side of the face is seen, this has the effect of elongating the face. Then a shift for the straight on look can be used to compensate. These are all personal choices, of course... there are no rules...

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
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    New Orleans, LA
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    Re: When to use Swing or Tilt movements

    One thing I've found, at least in the studio doing tabletop, is that once I have the optimal swing on a particular plane with the lens wide open and there is another object that is just out of range, I cut the swing in half and let the depth of field pull everything into focus. Takes a bit of tweaking but it usually works.

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