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Thread: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

  1. #1

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    Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    You guys who have cameras with plenty of movements and use them, what do you think about base tilt versus axis tilt? Which do you think is better for landscape and/or portrait work?

    Edit: I did find one post about this subject via searching, but figured I'd leave it up and ask simply which do you would you prefer?

  2. #2
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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    Quote Originally Posted by Ty G View Post
    You guys who have cameras with plenty of movements and use them, what do you think about base tilt versus axis tilt? Which do you think is better for landscape and/or portrait work?

    Edit: I did find one post about this subject via searching, but figured I'd leave it up and ask simply which do you would you prefer?
    My Cambo has axis tilts and my Sinar F has base tilts. Both work fine.

    With axis tilts, you can tilt the lens without having to refocus dramatically. If all you do is tilt the lens, it's probably a bit easier.

    But base tilts make yaw-free movements possible, which means that the swing mechanism is above the tilt mechanism so that swinging the lens won't change its tilt. So, if you tilt the lens, and then swing the lens, the tilt will not change and you won't have to revisit that adjustment. With axis tilts, swinging the lens after you have tilted it will cause the degree of tilt to change, and you'll have to readjust the tilt, which will then require a refinement of the swing, and so on.

    If I'm only using tilts, I prefer axis tilts. If I'm using both tilts and swings, then I prefer the yaw-free design. I do both, so for me it doesn't matter that much.

    Some cameras have both. The Sinar P's tilt rotates the standards about their centers, which provides axis tilts even though the mechanism is beneath the standards. But one can also provide base tilts by rotating the entire standard on its rise control. Having both usually adds weight, and always adds cost.

    Rick "who ends up fiddling with controls a lot no matter what" Denney

  3. #3
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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    Axis tilt probably won't tilt at the lens nodal point anyway on a field camera, so in either case you will have to re-focus as you tilt. The Shen Hao has both axis and base tilt on the front standard. The axis tilt is a little more convenient, but on a field camera for landscape work it probably doesn't make much difference overall.

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    Some Arcs Swiss models have Orbix tilt which attempts to rotate around the nodal point. It works great and drastically reduces the back and forth from the baser tilt. However, as soon as you add some front rise in to the equation the orbix acts like an axis tilt. So in a way, my 4X5 has both. I can see no real difference between them but I first learned to focus a large format camera with base tilt so it always feels a bit more comfortable to me.

  5. #5

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    I forgot an important piece of info., I am referring to tilts on the rear standard. No movements on front.

    From what I am gathering from the posts so far is that there is going be a good bit of refocusing with either design.

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    Quote Originally Posted by Ty G View Post
    From what I am gathering from the posts so far is that there is going be a good bit of refocusing with either design.
    That depends on what movements you are using, and the nature of the subject. If the tilted focus plane crosses the parallel focus plane at the center of the image, and if the tilt's axis lines up with the location in the image where the two planes cross, then you won't have to refocus. Which means, in the real world, that you are right--you'll nearly always have to focus again.

    With base tilts, though, you may have to refocus by a larger amount, such that you run out of geared focus and have to reposition the standard, or such that you run out of bellows, etc. No real biggie, but sometimes I get surprised.

    The main advantage to a yaw-free design is that you won't have to iterate so much between adjusting tilts and swings when you use both. But having base tilts does not guarantee a yaw-free design.

    In the end, you get used to what you have.

    Rick "who'd much rather have front movements than rear movements" Denney

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    ^ I love your context-sensitive quotes, Rick.

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    If you shoot Ansel Adams style near-far landscapes, base tilts make it easy to just focus on the horizon, then tilt the back towards you until the foreground pops into focus. Or the front away from you.

    Then you stop it down to f/45 anyway because you want to be sure ;-)

    With axis tilts, you focus about a third of the distance into the area where you want to hold focus. Then tilt until the far and near are in focus. Then adjust the spot you focused on and go back and forth a few times. It's impossible!

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    In addition to base and axis tilts, there's "asymmetric" tilts and swings, as on the Sinar P series.

    See http://www.sinar.ch/en/products/cameras/151-sinar-p2

    "The yaw-free design of the Sinar p2 lets you combine swings and tilts with no time-consuming readjustments. The Sinar p2 is based on the unique asymmetric tilts and swings, not the traditional center or base tilts. This means rapid and precise settings, without ever loosing sharpness on the axis".

    I have to admit that while I can't express the mathematics, it does work in practice, like when doing close shots of flowers.

    In this photo for example, the plane of focus is diagonal in both axes. Even so, it was fairly straightforward to simply adjust along one axis, and then along the other, without having to re-focus.

    Of course, one can always focus and refocus - like when using a simple field camera - but it sure is nice whenever we can concentrate more on aesthetics.


  10. #10

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    Re: Base Tilt versus Axis Tilt

    As with so many things, it really just comes down to what you get used to (and what you have). Obviously, they both achieve the same end. I really do not think there is any clear advantage to either design (advantages are subjective). Cameras with base tilts only ar almost always less expensive though.

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