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24-Jan-2011, 21:35
There's a thread on TOP where Mr Ctein proposes a tablet based view camera. However he seems to say in the comments that very few view camera photographers make use/need mechanical tilt/shift movements.


So I thought I'd post a poll

24-Jan-2011, 22:12
Tight in the redwood forest, I need all the control I can get!

24-Jan-2011, 22:33
No, what he actually said was (bold added for emphasis):

2) Only a very small fraction of view camera photographers use swings and tilts to minimize depth of field; those controls exist primarily because otherwise the depth of field can be unacceptably shallow with large-format cameras. If adequate depth of field exists without those movements, most view camera photographers will be quite happy.

If you're not one of them, well, sorry.

The above quoted was only one of four points he made in reply to some of the responses to the full article. The article itself was purely conceptual with a healthy dose of geeky humor added for good measure.

Aside from that, what's the purpose of the poll? It doesn't seem very likely he's really gonna make it, he said as much himself. But even if he does, so what?

24-Jan-2011, 23:15
Well he also says that software perspective control makes the use of shift redundant but I should have phrased the poll a bit more carefully. (can I change it?) I'm curious anyway about whether software manipulation is replacing the need for movements in any way. My own feeling is that it's better to see how the image is formed when you capture it rather than estimating what you will be able to achieve with tools in Photoshop

24-Jan-2011, 23:33
He doesn't really mention shift either, except in one sentence where he says that "not all view cameras have bellows. Or swings, shifts and tilts." and adds that "In this case, software and image synthesis obviates the need for those."

The way I read the article even if I disregard the obvious humor is that he is essentially talking about a P&S digital LF camera built around an iPad. As far as I know, the concept of P&S 4x5 or even 8x10 cameras is not new, only the use of electronics instead of film. His main argument is that trading movements for portability in varying degrees has long been the case. P&S would just be an extreme case.

And once the image is in the computer, why not use software for perspective adjustments? Provided high enough pixel count, it ought to be a perfectly reasonable compromise for lightening the physical load, especially if it means being able to go hand-held.

So perhaps it might be better to ask how many users would trade some (or even all) movements for portability. And whether they would consider using software corrections as a worthwhile compromise.

25-Jan-2011, 06:18
The type of camera he proposes is interesting, but I do not see the connection to view cameras.

I agree with him that software perspective control could make physical shift redundant, in the type of camera he proposes. The array of small cameras would be used to synthesize an image with very wide field of view, from which a rectilinear image is generated, cropping from this image is essentially the same as rise/fall/shift. You would be able to take exactly the same image as a view camera in terms of perspective, and you'd view it in real time (for composing) when shooting on his proposed camera.

In theory you'd be able to do tilt/shift as well, from a synthesized 3D image. It could also allow for automatic and very quick focus stacking.

Noah A
25-Jan-2011, 06:41
I don't see photoshop as a replacement for in-camera perspective control. I had considered switching to MF digital but one of the main reasons I stayed with film (besides cost and image quality, both of which will get better over time) was being able use movements and to compose on a relatively large groundglass. How can you really compose a photograph thoughtfully when what you're viewing is so different from what the final, photoshop-adjusted image will look like?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-digital or anti-photoshop. I do all of my printing digitally and the quality is better than what I was getting from c-prints. But personally I have trouble crafting a photograph when the verticals are all out of whack.

If I ever go digital I'll definitely go with a technical camera.

I never use movements to reduce depth of field, but I do use them occasionally to increase DOF. However, honestly, I could mostly live with just rise/fall. Tilts are usually of limited use for me.

I suppose of the proposed camera could do the perspective controls on-the-fly and show the final result on the screen as you compose, it could be more interesting.

Gudmundur Ingolfsson
25-Jan-2011, 07:51
I you do not use shift and tilt to control perspective and depth of field, why are you using view camera ?

25-Jan-2011, 08:09
I you do not use shift and tilt to control perspective and depth of field, why are you using view camera ?

Negative size/detail? Contact printing? Big GG composing? Forced slower shooting pace?

For many of the LF advantages, the only practical and/or affordable choice is a view camera, even if you'd never use movements. Pretty much all LF cameras have a ground glass or can have one put in place of the film holder, making it a view camera.

Lynn Jones
25-Jan-2011, 09:26
I have found that I have frequent disagreements with the statements of Mr. Ctain and I assure you all that have at least as much experience and photo education as he!


25-Jan-2011, 09:49
I you do not use shift and tilt to control perspective and depth of field, why are you using view camera ?

How much shifting and tilting do you really need to control perspective and depth of field with an ultra-wide lens?

There are several members of this board who went to the trouble of constructing their own P&S LF cameras. The results they showed in the image sharing section are mostly stunning.

Why don't you ask them for their reasons?

Lynn Jones
25-Jan-2011, 09:59
You can't minimize or maximize depth of field by swings and tilts, you can only alter its direction. DOF is related to distance and diamter of aperture.


25-Jan-2011, 10:07
DOF is also directly related to the circle of confusion, hence the point about ultra-wide lenses.

25-Jan-2011, 23:55
Thanks to everyone who's responded to this - it has given me some insights into view camera usage. Not least of which is to remind myself that LF and View Camera are actually not synonymous!