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gnuyork
29-Jan-2013, 16:46
I have a Wista camera which I have been using very little on and off for a about a decade (not sure which model - I think it's rosewood). Anyway, my last trip out with it I was trying to get a waterfall shot with some rocks in the foreground. I was using a 90mm lens and
I was trying to use tilt to get my foreground in focus. It was one of those tilt, focus...tilt focus, etc. I just could not seem to get it right. Is this a problem that a camera with asymmetrical tilts (and swings) can fix? Or am I just incompetent?

Bob Salomon
29-Jan-2013, 17:16
Doesn't matter if you have base, center or assymetrical movements. You just have to master the type you have. Then they are all easy, but assymetrical may be slower in practice.

Lachlan 717
29-Jan-2013, 17:20
Being a 90mm, I'd figure that you were using too much tilt.

You really don't need much with the wide angles… I know that the movement is so minimal that I fight the detent on one of my cameras when tilting my 72mm!

gnuyork
29-Jan-2013, 17:23
So I just need more practice then. OK. Thanks

C. D. Keth
29-Jan-2013, 17:28
This is from ana rticle on the home page called "Focusing the View Camera":

"To adjust the tilt, use the following. To adjust the swing, replace "top/bottom" by "left/right".

Choose a near point (top of ground glass) and a far point (middle/bottom of ground glass) both in the plane of focus and with good contrast to focus on. In the rock/mountain example, this would be a point on the rock approximatively two thirds of the height of the rock and a point on the mountain approximatively two thirds of the height of the mountain. I place tiny flashlights (Maglite solitaire with reflector unscrewed) as focussing points on the ground when it is too dark. If you are going to use axis tilt, the far point should be close to the middle of the ground glass.
[FF] Focus on the far point using the focussing knob.
[TN] Make the near point sharp using the tilt. You will augment the tilt. Image location is affected (unless the pivot point of the tilt coincides with the rear nodal point of the lens): as you tilt, you may need to use a little rise to regain your composition).
[EF] Evaluate now whether the far point needs refocussing. If so, you will have to refocus further, go back to [FF]. Otherwise you are done. Usually a couple of iterations will be sufficient. This procedure continuously increases tilt. The more tilt you need the more iterations you will have.
Variations of this technique:

Some people prefer to focus on the near with the knob and on the far with the tilt. This might work better with axis tilts, while the technique I described might be better with base tilts. Experiment for yourself and see what seems more efficient to you.
Howard Bond's Focus-Check procedure. Instead of [TN] and [EF], you turn the focussing knob only in one direction and check the effect on the near point [CN]. Then depending on the effect (got sharper or blurrier), you add or remove tilt. He recommends coming out of the dark cloth and looking at your camera.
Some cameras (Sinar, Ebony) have asymmetrical tilts, where the axis of tilt is below the center of the GG. You focus on a far point on this axis [FF]. After [TN], the far point remains in perfect focus, because it was along the axis of tilt, and thus did not change its distance from the lens, so you are done in one iteration !"

gnuyork
29-Jan-2013, 17:51
Christopher thanks... If I remember focus far-tilt near, I'll be in good shape (hopefully).

Thom Bennett
29-Jan-2013, 18:18
I learned the following from Steve Simmons: get all movements zeroed out. Focus on the farthest point you want in focus. Tilt (or swing, whichever the case may be) towards the nearest point you want in focus until BOTH points are EQUALLY out of focus. Refocus on the far or near and both points will snap into focus. It is visual and quick. The most most difficult part is seeing things as equally out of focus but, once you do it a few times, you begin to see it easily. And you realize how little tilt (or swing) you really need to accomplish what you want. Good luck!

gnuyork
29-Jan-2013, 18:26
Thanks Thom, I will give that a try. I'm actually practicing right now in my home office. It's tricky to hold the loupe and use two hands to adjust that front tilt. Do they make any cameras where you only have to adjust one side?

AJ Edmondson
29-Jan-2013, 20:33
On many cameras one side is the "lock" and the other side the "adjust" ... the Wista 45SP is setup that way. You loosen the lock, adjust with the other side and then lock down. Wista also makes an attachment which accepts the loupe and allows it so stay in place as you adjust - though you still have to position it to the point of interest. Most of the "work" is just practice until it becomes intuitive. Lachlan is dead on with his observation, it takes very little tilt with shorter focal lengths and in many cases (unless you are using the tilt to exaggerate perspective) you can accomplish the desired depth with aperture. For me the best approach is still to (with everything zeroed out) adjust for the far, measure the extension, refocus for the near, measure the extension and adjust to the mid-point. There are tables which provide the necessary aperture (based on the desired circle-of-confusion). By the way, I grew up in Marietta (but that was when it was a small town).
Joel

Thom Bennett
29-Jan-2013, 20:48
It is easier to see the effects using a long lens so, if you have one, try the method with it. I learned by practicing on a sheet of paper with text on it. The paper was laying on a table and the camera was higher and about 45 degrees to the plane of the paper. The text gives you something with contrast to focus on. Not quite sure why you are using two hands? Keep the locks slightly loose and that will allow you to make your movements with one hand while the other holds the loupe. Keep practicing and it becomes intuitive.


Thanks Thom, I will give that a try. I'm actually practicing right now in my home office. It's tricky to hold the loupe and use two hands to adjust that front tilt. Do they make any cameras where you only have to adjust one side?

gnuyork
30-Jan-2013, 05:33
Thanks guys. Unless I have been doing it wrong all along, it seems like I still need two hands to get the tilt mechanism out of the locked indent position. I was unaware on the Wista that one side was lock and the other adjust. I guess I still don't follow.
I did practice a bit last evening with a 210mm lens. I was doing OK.

I just remember when I was doing the waterfall, if I got the waterfall in sharp focus, particularly the top of the falls - FF - (with the 90) and I looked at the rocks in the foreground with my loupe - TN , they were soft, naturally. So I tried tilt (which I have not made much use of in the past) and had such trouble. I have used tilt in the past, and remember I always struggle with it a bit. I will keep practicing. I hope to really get out and use my view camera more this year. The last couple of years I have been shooting a lot of 35mm with a Leica M6 and a Summicron which I also find a pleasure to shoot. I am bummed about Kodachrome going away.

Joel - I have been in Marietta for about 12 years, and even it that time it has changed - including the road to my neighborhood which was all beautifully wooded, but now clear cut for a brand new neighborhood. This all happened in the last 3 months or so :(

Bob Salomon
30-Jan-2013, 05:44
Get your camera a go behind Tech to PPR and ask how much one of the guys there would charge to teach you how to use your camera. One quick lesson and you will be set.

Ed Richards
30-Jan-2013, 08:23
Asymmetrical tilts are fast and easy, but I found that where you really need them are on the front, not the back - unless you are trying to mess with near-far relationships. But all the cameras with them on the front are expensive and/or really heavy. So I still find myself screwing with the tilt on my field camera rather than lugging my P2 out in the woods. Probably takes me an extra 30 seconds and saves me 10 pounds.:-)

Thom Bennett
30-Jan-2013, 08:28
Your particular waterfall situation may have been solved simply with depth of field. Focus on the far and note where your standard is. Focus on the near and note that. Put the standard exactly half way between the two and start stopping your lens down. At the optimum aperture both near and far will come into focus. The problem is that the image is getting darker as you are stopping down and these points are more difficult to see. Also, that particular aperture may not give you the corresponding shutter speed that you want. A few variables to deal with but it's fun when it all works but you may not even need to use the tilt. If depth of field does not take care of it then you can combine the two methods.

Bob Salomon
30-Jan-2013, 08:48
I have a Wista camera which I have been using very little on and off for a about a decade (not sure which model - I think it's rosewood). Anyway, my last trip out with it I was trying to get a waterfall shot with some rocks in the foreground. I was using a 90mm lens and
I was trying to use tilt to get my foreground in focus. It was one of those tilt, focus...tilt focus, etc. I just could not seem to get it right. Is this a problem that a camera with asymmetrical tilts (and swings) can fix? Or am I just incompetent?
The pocket Rodenstock calculator computes Scheimflug on one size and depth of field on the other. It works for any format from 35mm to 8x10 and computes the required amount of lens tilt as well as the proper focus point for maximum DOF at any image ratio. It is very easy to use, accurate, and fits in a shirt pocket. It is powered by your fingers and is waterproof and dust and dirt proof. Best of all it has a list price of just $54.00 including case. Camera stores normally discount it.
You will probably find that it will solve your problem very quickly.

gnuyork
30-Jan-2013, 16:54
Bob, both good suggestions. Although I generally understand some of this - though I am reading about the differences is base tilts vs axis tilts - something i never have thought of before yesterday. I guess my Wista has a rear base tilt and a front axis tilt. My biggest problem with the front tilts on the Wista is overcoming the detent. It's hard to make fine adjustments, I keep snapping back to the detent all while trying to use my eye to keep pressure on my loupe because I need two hands to get the tilt out of the detent. It can be frustrating. Does any of this make sense?

Anyhow, I have been thinking about a new camera with the asymmetrical tilts. As much as I would like an Ebony, I'm afraid they are out of my budget for now, as is an Arca Swiss Field. I am intrigued by the new Chamonix F camera. I have been looking at the web today for thoughts on Wista (or Tachihara etc.) vs the Chamonix cameras. The general consensus is that the Chamonix are solid performers and seem to be a bit more structurally rigid than the Wista, though I have heard the contrary as well. I have to say, sometimes I don't feel the Wista is all that solid. I have "touched" an Ebony before, and it was much more solid than my Wista. I am wondering if the Chamonix has a solid feel closer to the Ebony... Or... I can just stick with the Wista and just live with the issues and try to work around them. It is my first 4x5 and I am very sentimental (mental). I had several nice trips with it and my black lab who passed away this past spring.

- Thom, I have not had the chromes developed yet, but I suspect they will be sharp, as I shot the falls at f22 with Grandagon 90mm.

I appreciate everyone's response. I will practice Focus far/Tilt near... Thanks.

dave_whatever
30-Jan-2013, 17:04
Asymmetrical tilts are fast and easy, but I found that where you really need them are on the front, not the back - unless you are trying to mess with near-far relationships. But all the cameras with them on the front are expensive and/or really heavy. So I still find myself screwing with the tilt on my field camera rather than lugging my P2 out in the woods. Probably takes me an extra 30 seconds and saves me 10 pounds.:-)

I'm not sure asymmetric tilt would work on the front standard, as that would require all lenses to be built with their optical centres all at some exact predefined standardised point, which they don't. If you look at the Schneider lens data PDFs you can see where various lenses' optical centres lie, and there's quite a degree of variation. Whereas asymmetric tilt on the rear is independent of the lens being used, and only has to accommodate the position of the film plane.

Bob Salomon
30-Jan-2013, 17:51
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Bob, both good suggestions. Although I generally understand some of this - though I am reading about the differences is base tilts vs axis tilts - something i never have thought of before yesterday. I guess my Wista has a rear base tilt and a front axis tilt. My biggest problem with the front tilts on the Wista is overcoming the detent. It's hard to make fine adjustments, I keep snapping back to the detent all while trying to use my eye to keep pressure on my loupe because I need two hands to get the tilt out of the detent. It can be frustrating. Does any of this make sense?

Anyhow, I have been thinking about a new camera with the asymmetrical tilts. As much as I would like an Ebony, I'm afraid they are out of my budget for now, as is an Arca Swiss Field. I am intrigued by the new Chamonix F camera. I have been looking at the web today for thoughts on Wista (or Tachihara etc.) vs the Chamonix cameras. The general consensus is that the Chamonix are solid performers and seem to be a bit more structurally rigid than the Wista, though I have heard the contrary as well. I have to say, sometimes I don't feel the Wista is all that solid. I have "touched" an Ebony before, and it was much more solid than my Wista. I am wondering if the Chamonix has a solid feel closer to the Ebony... Or... I can just stick with the Wista and just live with the issues and try to work around them. It is my first 4x5 and I am very sentimental (mental). I had several nice trips with it and my black lab who passed away this past spring.

- Thom, I have not had the chromes developed yet, but I suspect they will be sharp, as I shot the falls at f22 with Grandagon 90mm.

I appreciate everyone's response. I will practice Focus far/Tilt near... Thanks.

It would be cheaper just to buy the hands free focusing loupe that Wista makes. That will free up your other hand. It attachs to the back of your camera and the loupe can slide all the way up and down the gg as well as all the way across the gg. The loupe comes with clear and opaque skirts and can be removed from the gg holder to use on a light table or anywhere else you can use a 5x loupe. It does have a focusing eyepiece so you can focus it on the grain of the gg.
Attached is an image of the magnifier system (this only fits Wista) as well as a picture of the Rodenstock calculator.

C. D. Keth
30-Jan-2013, 17:57
I assume wista just happens to be distributed through HP Marketing? :rolleyes:

Bob Salomon
30-Jan-2013, 17:59
I assume wista just happens to be distributed through HP Marketing? :rolleyes:

Of course it is. So is Linhof and Rodenstock but the answers I gave do help solve his problems and at a lower expense then switching to another system would. And very few, if any, members would have known about the magnifier and perhaps the calculator.

Did you know about them?

Ken Lee
30-Jan-2013, 18:14
I assume wista just happens to be distributed through HP Marketing? :rolleyes:

In my humble opinion, if the day ever comes that we get overwhelmed by forum members with Bob's encyclopedic knowledge, clear communication and helpful attitude... we'll worry about it then. In the meanwhile, we're lucky to have him on our side :)

urs0polar
30-Jan-2013, 19:46
I have to agree with Ken; Bob could have said "Hey you need a Technikardan"; instead, he's suggesting a few cheap things that will save the OP lots of money. That pocket calculator thing looks awesome, I didn't know about it. And, he said just get it from a camera store, not necessarily from him.

Anyhow. To the OP, this LF stuff is definitely a skill you acquire; I would stick with what you have until you've got it. I have a Sinar P2 with asymmetrical movements, and a Technika and Kardan GT without, and I suck at all 3, to be honest. It's a bit easier, but it's not like the asymmetrical thing just instantly solves everything, you still have to learn it, and when you go too far or it gets out of hand, it's even more difficult to get yourself fixed again as it's all weird. At least it is for me so far. With either method, you just zero out and try again.

C. D. Keth
30-Jan-2013, 19:50
Of course it is. So is Linhof and Rodenstock but the answers I gave do help solve his problems and at a lower expense then switching to another system would. And very few, if any, members would have known about the magnifier and perhaps the calculator.

Did you know about them?

I simply don't think the solution to every problem is to upgrade or buy a new piece of kit. I hereby shut my mouth since you're selling to the OP and not to me.

Doremus Scudder
31-Jan-2013, 03:27
gnuyork,

Chiming in late here, but with useful info I hope.

I own several wooden field cameras including a couple of Wistas, which I like very much. They all have base tilts, front and back. My Wistas both have only base tilts. My Zone VI has axis tilt on the front as well. You first need to determine which kind of tilt you are dealing with. Axis tilts revolve around a line that is in the middle of the ground glass (rear standard) or that passes through the middle of the lens (front standard); base tilts hinge on the camera bed. Dealing with the two is fundamentally different.

For axis tilts, simply focus on an object in the desired plane of focus that is in the center of the ground glass (on the hinge line) and then tilt till both sides are in focus. This works for both front and back, but in opposite directions. Just remember that "the Lens Looks toward" and the "Back Backs away" from the plane of desired focus.

For base tilts, which you likely have, the procedure is different and slightly more complicated, but easy once you get the hang of it. Here's my technique:

1. Regardless of which standard you are adjusting, focus first on an object in the desired plane of sharp focus at the bottom of the ground glass; this is usually a more distant object, but not always. Call this your bottom focus point (even though it might be the top of the inverted image).

2. Forget the loupe for this next step; use high-magnification reading glasses or your good close vision, you just need to get in the ballpark. First, pick an object in the desired plane of sharp focus that is at the top of the ground glass, your top focus point. Tilt slowly while watching the image until your chosen focus points top and bottom appear about equally out of focus. (The same "Lens Looks" and "Back Backs" rule applies here as well). And yes, you have to use both hands and not fumble around with the loupe to do this easily. Lock down the standard.

3. It helps to remember here that when you use base tilts, you always make the distance between lens and back longer and that refocusing requires you to make the camera shorter. At any rate, now refocus on your bottom focus point using your loupe.

4. Here's the critical step. Before adjusting anything, check your focus point at the top of the ground glass. If it is in focus, you lucked out and you have the right tilt. If not, keep looking at it through the loupe and move the focus knob a tiny bit in one direction only. (It doesn't matter which, but it's best to standardize on one when doing this.) If the focus on your chosen point gets better, you need to add a tiny bit of tilt in the same direction; if it gets worse, you need to add a tiny bit of tilt in the opposite direction (here again, it helps to think of making the bellows longer or shorter).

5. If the amount of tilt seems way out still, refocus on the bottom focus point and repeat step 2 keeping in mind that your adjustment this time will be only a fraction of the first adjustment. If the amount of tilt you applied at first is close, forget looking at the ground glass; simply apply a very tiny bit of tilt in the right direction.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 till you get both focus points in acceptable focus. With practice, you can do this in two or three iterations. I do.

Keep in mind, that it is a lot more complicated and time-consuming to describe all this than to actually do it. Once you master the technique, you'll be able to do this in just a few seconds.

Best,

Doremus

gnuyork
31-Jan-2013, 05:19
Doremus, thanks.

Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking about front axis tilt on my Wista- I guess I was thinking in my head the tilt axis was where the rise/knob ... now that I have utterly confused myself...I will your technique a try.

Drew Wiley
31-Jan-2013, 14:49
I have absolutely no idea what I do. I just do it, and subconsciously do it differently with my Sinar
cameras than my field folders which use axis tilt. Sinar has their whole yaw-free focus system and
all that, which is nice in the studio I guess, though I long ago forgot how it's officially supposed to be done. I also totally ignore hyperfocal theory, but probably practice it anyway, intuitively.

Bob Salomon
31-Jan-2013, 16:54
I have absolutely no idea what I do. I just do it, and subconsciously do it differently with my Sinar
cameras than my field folders which use axis tilt. Sinar has their whole yaw-free focus system and
all that, which is nice in the studio I guess, though I long ago forgot how it's officially supposed to be done. I also totally ignore hyperfocal theory, but probably practice it anyway, intuitively.

Drew,
Lots of cameras are yaw free and any camera that isn't becomes yaw free when it is rotated 90 so that the swing movement then becomes the tilt movement. This has nothing to do with assymetric movements.

Assymetric movement are also on several cameras, not just some Sinars (the original Sinars had base tilts). Sinar cameras with assymetric movements use two set points marked on the gg as the near and far points.
Continuously assymetric cameras had adjustable points marked on the gg for the near and far points.

But you are absolutely correct, it becomes intuitive.
When I was selling Sinar I once called on an extremely large catalog house (mid 1970's) and demoed the marvels of yaw free and assymetric movements and explained how much time they could save with this system.
They then set up a shot and had one of their veteran photographers take out a Deardorff 810 and set the shot up. He was able to do it so intuitively that he virtually never looked at the shot on the gg. It was just there, tilts and swings and all. Much faster then anything the Sinar could do.

But he did the same shot almost every day. Just the subject changed.