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Thread: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

  1. #1

    Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    In the first year I used LF, I mostly used front axis tilt or swing to avoid any changes in perspective, not much rear which is base only on the tilt and axis or base on the swing. One thing I noticed readily in my landscape work is that if I used a fair amount of either on the front and depending on what lens I was using, the sharpness would deteriorate anywhere from a bit to a lot. So I started using combos of a little front and mostly back tilt and have seen a remarkable difference in image quality, I now get *much* sharper images by not swinging that image cone around so much.

    It seems logical to me that if you change the front swing, you are changing the optical path of the lens a little or a lot depending on the amount. But if you use rear adjustments, you are only changing the focus and perspective so the lens is not being pushed so hard at the edges. I am kind of surprised to not see this mentioned anywhere so I am wondering if anyone has some thoughts on it…or am I just crazy?

    I thought about putting this in the camera section but this is really about the lens being pushed too hard or not, mods feel free to move it if the other section if a better fit...

  2. #2

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    Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Not sure if this applies to your situation, but if you use front movements to the extreme you might end up at the limits of the lens' coverage where the optical quality is lowest. Using rear movements you won't face that same dilemma unless rise or shift is used. I usually only use rear movements as my arms are not long enough to use front movements comfortably. That being said, my subject matter usually doesn't care about straight lines or weird perspectives.

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    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    You are mixing apples and oranges. You would not substitute rear tilt for front tilt - they have very different objectives. For example, front tilt would be used for altering the plane of focus, while rear tilt would be used for correcting converging vertical lines (altering the shape of the subject).

    A guide to using view camera movements would explain this in greater depth.

  4. #4

    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by djdister View Post
    You are mixing apples and oranges. You would not substitute rear tilt for front tilt - they have very different objectives. For example, front tilt would be used for altering the plane of focus, while rear tilt would be used for correcting converging vertical lines (altering the shape of the subject).

    A guide to using view camera movements would explain this in greater depth.
    I have Steve Simmons guide so I have employed in the past the decisions based on what to use on that and what you have stated above...

    But what I am finding is depending on the lens in use, altering the angle of the projected optical path as one can do in using front VS rear tilt, the image quality can degrade, sometimes even with a little bit of movement on a lens with plenty of image circle like a Fuji 240 A for example. I don't see anything in Steve's book addressing the loss of sharpness...so I found it really interesting and *very* consistent in using rear VS front tilt for maximum image quality...

  5. #5

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    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kodachrome25 View Post
    ...I am kind of surprised to not see this mentioned anywhere so I am wondering if anyone has some thoughts on it…or am I just crazy?...
    I'm feeling a little lazy right now, so won't do the searching, but it's been mentioned in any number of places. Probably in Adams' basic series as well as the archive here and elsewhere.

    No, you're not crazy. Your observations are absolutely correct. You've progressed as a view-camera photographer the best way possible, namely self-teaching. Keep on going!

  6. #6

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    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Are you adjusting your front movements and compensating with any rise or drop movements?

  7. #7

    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    Are you adjusting your front movements and compensating with any rise or drop movements?
    Regards to rise and fall or shift, never really to compensate, only to fine tune compositions and always with consideration of usable image circle. One night I spent a bunch of time creating a spread sheet that tells me how much I can push each lens before running out of coverage, that has helped a lot, I keep it on my phone.

  8. #8

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    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    "You are mixing apples and oranges. You would not substitute rear tilt for front tilt - they have very different objectives. For example, front tilt would be used for altering the plane of focus, while rear tilt would be used for correcting converging vertical lines (altering the shape of the subject)."
    I disagree.

    I use a combo of movements all the time in my landscape work, Especially 8x10 where it's hard to reach the front standard w/o smashing my face against the ground glass. I usually start with a bit of front tilt right after composing the shot, then proceed to dial in focus from the rear standard. Yes, this uses more the sweet spot of the lens. or whatever, you know what I mean.

  9. #9

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    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kodachrome25 View Post
    Regards to rise and fall or shift, never really to compensate, only to fine tune compositions and always with consideration of usable image circle. One night I spent a bunch of time creating a spread sheet that tells me how much I can push each lens before running out of coverage, that has helped a lot, I keep it on my phone.
    You may be at the edges often, instead of using the center of the lens, this might be part of your sharpness issue.

    If you know you will be using the edges of the lens, try pre-composing the image improperly by using the rise or fall, and then tilt etc, or compensate the rise/fall during composition, either way, try and keep the light path hitting the film more in the center of the lens.

  10. #10

    Re: Sharper optical image quality with rear VS front tilt/swing?

    Quote Originally Posted by djdister View Post
    You are mixing apples and oranges. You would not substitute rear tilt for front tilt - they have very different objectives. For example, front tilt would be used for altering the plane of focus, while rear tilt would be used for correcting converging vertical lines (altering the shape of the subject).
    While I understand this in principle, I disagree with it in practice within the context of landscape work.

    Using rear tilt is perfectly valid for altering the plane of focus. Assuming a given composition isn't negatively impacted by the distortion induced by rear tilt (some are, but many are not), I almost always prefer it. Why? A few reasons. You're more likely to use the center of the image circle, there is more image circle left to work with if rise/fall is desirable, and finally the slight enlargement of the foreground can increase the perception of depth, even with longer lenses. My rule is to simply judge what is necessary by the aesthetic requirements of the image. There is no need to follow simplified "rules" as dogma, use your eyes to see what visually works best and to inform your future choices.

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