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View Full Version : Looking for 4x5 field camera w/ lens axis tilt



chris kleihege
27-May-2009, 10:38
I suppose looking for a new 4x5 field camera gives a photographer a chance to obsess. Although I have greatly enjoyed my Shen-Hao, I am now looking for a field camera whose lens tilts from the axis (as opposed to the base). I am familar with the Walker Titan (although I welcome comments on this camera as well), but what other options could I consider? Thank you for your observations.
Chris Kleihege

Gem Singer
27-May-2009, 10:42
K.B.Canham.

Also has the advantage of using a 5X7, or a 4X5 back on the camera.

Bob Salomon
27-May-2009, 10:57
Linhof Master Technika and Master Technika 3000 are center tilt for the lens.

kev curry
27-May-2009, 11:00
http://www.chamonixviewcamera.com/

venchka
27-May-2009, 11:07
My made in Vermont by Richard Ritter 4x5 Zone VI field camera has both base & axis tilts on the front standard. It lacks rear shift and rise/fall. A friend has a Shen Hao. Our cameras are similar, but different. He has a few more movements and I have longer bellows extension. It's all good.

ic-racer
27-May-2009, 11:36
Horseman FA 4x5

David Karp
27-May-2009, 11:39
You are familiar with it, but I love my Titan SF. You can use both base and axis tilts.

Gem Singer
27-May-2009, 12:01
Chris,

Be aware that some 4X5 camera designs use a single knob to control both front rise/fall and front tilt.

This can prove to be a PITA when using a heavy weight lens/shutter combination.

venchka
27-May-2009, 12:13
Chris,

Be aware that some 4X5 camera designs use a single knob to control both front rise/fall and front tilt.

This can prove to be a PITA when using a heavy weight lens/shutter combination.

Aye. And the seller may fail to point this out at the time of the sale. :) ;) :D

Fortunately it's not a major PITA.

Bill_1856
27-May-2009, 12:14
I've never owned a camera whose "axis tilts" were actually through the nodal point. Compared to base tilts they require less re-focusing, but it is still required. So you may not gain as much as you think by changing cameras.
(PS, I do love the front standard movements of my Technika and GVII.)

JohnGC
27-May-2009, 12:52
A 4x5 Wisner technical field would give you both axis and base tilt on the front standard. You can find decent used ones for a pretty good price these days.

John T
27-May-2009, 15:26
Isn't the Carbon Infinity the only field camera with a compensation for nodal point? Ole?

el french
29-May-2009, 00:52
I suppose looking for a new 4x5 field camera gives a photographer a chance to obsess. Although I have greatly enjoyed my Shen-Hao, I am now looking for a field camera whose lens tilts from the axis (as opposed to the base). I am familar with the Walker Titan (although I welcome comments on this camera as well), but what other options could I consider? Thank you for your observations.
Chris Kleihege

How about just adding axis tilt to your current camera?

ljb0904
29-May-2009, 10:47
As I recall, the Shen-Hao doeas have axis tilt. Which model do you have?

Gem Singer
29-May-2009, 11:18
The Shen Hao HZX-45IIA and the TZ-45-IIB models have base tilt, only, on their front standards.

However, that's not a limitation. Front standard base tilt enables the operator to "focus on the far, tilt for the near, and fiddle with the focusing knob until every thing is clear".

This technique for expanding the plane of focus is simple to carry out using front base tilt. A little more difficult to carry out using front axis tilt, since the center of the image in the ground glass remains in focus while tilting.

vwizz
2-Jun-2009, 10:09
I just bought a Shen Hao PTB-45 which is, basically, a copy of the Chamonix 045N-1, and both do have axis tilt on the front end.
The chamonix is a fantastic camera.
The Shen Hao seems to have not so precise tolerances and a somehow slighlty lower quality but functionnaly they are 99% the same.
Someone mentionned the coupling between rise/fall and tilt. It is true that in some cases where you are doing a very precise setup, you have to be careful not to unscrew too brutally otherwise you might lose your front set-up
On that point it seems that the fonrt screw of the shen hao controlling fornt swing and side shift cannot be tightened as hard as on the Chamonix.
But that should be no issue as sometimes this is the best way to deal with coupled degrees of freedom.
And, for the price... :D (damn! the Shen Hao cost me approximately 400 euros, which is cheaper than a compact digital Panasonic LX-3... :p )

Best Regards,
V

venchka
2-Jun-2009, 10:30
Aye. And the seller may fail to point this out at the time of the sale. :) ;)

Fortunately it's not a major PITA.

A bit of explanation re: Zone VI combined rise/fall and lens axis tilt:

The lensboard is locked with screws on both sides of the standard. Rise/fall is controlled by unlocking both screws. Tilt is controlled by unlocking one screw. Rise/fall remains unaffected. Once you get those things programmed in your brain, the camera works nicely. Unless you need to adjust rise/fall after adjusting tilt. :eek: ;)

There is base tilt totally independant of the axis locking screws.

Gary Beasley
2-Jun-2009, 11:11
My Ebony has a double set of knobs on the front standard. The one closest in to the standard does the rise, the one next out does the tilt. Though it doesn't have shift on either standard you get an effective shift by swinging the front and rear the same direction, same degree, and turning the camera to face the lens forwards again.
Combining the axis and base tilts give you a large degree of flexibility in setting the camera up.

Doremus Scudder
3-Jun-2009, 02:27
Gem has a good point. With base tilts you actually have a larger distance between focusing points (i.e., one at the bottom of the gg, one at the top) than with axis tilts (one at the center of the gg and another at either top or bottom) thus making it inherently more accurate with fewer iterations. I find I often spend a lot less time with my base tilts than with the axis swings on my field cameras for that very reason.

When I first started with view-camera movements, axis tilts seemed more intuitive and, therefore, easier. However, with time and practice, I tend to like base tilts better simply because I can choose focus points that are farther apart and this tends to get me to the end of the process more quickly.

Maybe you should reconsider? Base-tilt only cameras have some advantages, primarily the simplicity of operation, light weight, compactness, fewer moving parts, etc. At any rate, just in case you want to stay with base tilts, here's my down-'n-dirty visual method of dealing with base tilts.

1. Always start by focusing at the bottom of the ground glass (this is usually the most distant point but not always...).

2. Loosen the tilt knobs and, while watching the top of the ground glass (I use 4 diopter reading glasses) tilt until the image at the top of the ground glass comes into focus. Don't stop there! Keep tilting until top and bottom are equally out of focus, then lock down.

3. Re-focus at the bottom of the ground glass. (Often, especially if you are good at estimating the degree of out-of-focusness in step 2 above, you will be right on. If not, you will be very close. Fine tune by doing the following:)

4. Check your focus point at the top of the ground glass (under the loupe is best now). If it is not right on, tweak the focus knob just a bit in either direction. If the focus gets better, tilt a tiny bit in that direction (e.g., if you made the bellows longer, then tilt accordingly), if worse, tilt a tiny bit in the opposite direction. At this point, your adjustments will be very small. Experience will teach you how much tilt you need with your particular camera.

5. Repeat 3 and 4 as needed, which should not be very much.

This works for both front and rear tilts. A little practice, and I'd wager that you will find this faster than dealing with axis tilts/swings.

Best,

Doremus Scudder

Mike Tuomey
4-Jun-2009, 15:33
Though it doesn't have shift on either standard you get an effective shift by swinging the front and rear the same direction, same degree, and turning the camera to face the lens forwards again.


Sorry this is OT, but I have to ask about the indirect shift: how do you ensure the swing is to the "same degree" front and rear? Eyeball it?

Archphoto
4-Jun-2009, 15:39
Measure it with a tape, both on top and bottom I guess, or use bubbles on both front and rear standards.

Peter

Gary Beasley
4-Jun-2009, 15:39
Sorry this is OT, but I have to ask about the indirect shift: how do you ensure the swing is to the "same degree" front and rear? Eyeball it?

Thats pretty much it unless you have something to measure the angle with.

Maris Rusis
4-Jun-2009, 17:04
Every folding wooden 4x5 camera I have ever used seems to offer both base tilts and centre tilts on the front. I now have a Tachihara 45GF which replaced a Nagaoka which replaced a Ikeda and the front worked the same on all of them.

The lens board part on these cameras moves up and down on the front standard support rods to provide rise and fall movements. The lens board part engages with the vertical guides via tabs which slide in grooves. Engaging the tabs with the grooves is part of the ritual of unfolding the camera and getting it ready for ordinary work. But the camera does not HAVE to be arranged this way. Just leave the tabs out of the grooves, angle the front support struts appropriately, fix the lens board standard vertical with the rise/fall locking knobs, and the camera is set up for front centre tilts.

I use this configuration often particularly with a 65mm lens on the Tachihara. Base tilts would involve moving the lens away from the film and I would lose infinity focus. Centre tilts avoid this problem.

Mike Tuomey
4-Jun-2009, 19:38
Gary and Arch, thanks much for the guidance!

chris kleihege
10-Jun-2009, 11:08
Dear respondents (what do you guys call each other, anyway?),
This thread was the first I have started. The information you provided was very helpful and I am grateful.
Thank you,
Chris Kleihege
(and that was "what do you call yourselves, not what you call each other.)

Doremus Scudder
11-Jun-2009, 05:02
Mike,

Keeping the front and rear standard parallel when using indirect shift is not as important as maintaining correct focus. Just make sure the back is in the position you desire in order to render parallel lines in the subject as you wish and then position the front standard in the same manner you would when applying swing, i.e., focus in the middle, swing to get one side in focus, reiterate as needed. When you have achieved proper focus, your front standard will be positioned correctly regardless of whether it is parallel to the back or not.

Best,

Doremus Scudder

Mike Tuomey
13-Jun-2009, 16:36
thank you, doremus. so the key is to use the back std for perspective control (paralell lines) and then use the frt std to focus in the usual way. no need to obsess over the standards being parallel themselves.

btw, i want you to know your primer on movements is proving to be a great aid. my ineptitude is considerable and your practical approach is most helpful.

Doremus Scudder
14-Jun-2009, 07:23
Mike,

Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad the article is of help.

Regarding the question: you have it absolutely right, the back position relative to the subject is what determines the way the parallel lines are rendered, the orientation of the lens around its axes only positions the plane of sharp focus.

When I'm photographing, say, a building fašade, from an oblique angle and wish the horizontal lines to be rendered parallel, I set up the camera roughly parallel to the building face and use shift to frame. If this doesn't doesn't provide enough movement, I point the camera a bit past the center of the scene I want and then swing the back and front to roughly parallel using my eye as a guide. I then crawl under the darkcloth and carefully position the back using the grid on the ground glass as a guide. When everything is square, I check the focus in the center and on one side and swing the lens as needed to bring everything into focus. Usually a little shift is needed to frame up the image as well (hence swinging past center a bit, since I've already shifted the maximum amount one direction). Sometimes an iteration of the whole process is needed to refine everything.

Best,

Doremus Scudder

Kirk Fry
14-Jun-2009, 20:43
The old ARCA AB models had axis tilt. The new ones have something fancier. KFry

ode to veeck
20-Jun-2009, 15:22
The old ARCA AB models had axis tilt. The new ones have something fancier. KFry

I've got at least of couple of these around and can concur, although my user arca 4x5 is a combination of two cameras the rail mount from one with the standard from another so it has both

I'm going to have to check my carbon infinity for the post earlier in the thread too