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Thread: How to focus a view camera

  1. #11

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Exactly -- and fiddle with knobs and levers until we see what we want!
    What most of us do! Then I stop down to f/45. L

  2. #12

    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Unquestionably the best article to properly and effectively wrap your mind around the concept of focusing the view camera is with the assistance of an article that Howard Bond contributed to Darkroom and Creative Camera Techniques (Mar/Apr/1989) that has graphical images to specifically convey the concept of a designated film plane. It is a true gem - understandable and written for the photographer not for a thesis review panel at graduate school. That is why I have kept a copy of this write up as a reference point. I tried the Strobel book and got lost rather quickly since I am not interested in the theoretical.

    Yes, the GG never lies, but until you know what you are doing and why the movements do what they do, it is a moot exercise in futility. I can say that without equivocation because I started my LF journey with an 8x10 camera years ago and went up in size from there.
    Last edited by Michael Kadillak; 29-May-2018 at 20:28. Reason: typo

  3. #13
    Dave Karp
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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    This might help too. http://web.archive.org/web/200201242...ents/depth.pdf

    Linhof has a depth of field chart that can be purchased fairly inexpensively from B&H. These used to be available free on the Internet. Maybe you can find one somewhere. The charts were available for 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10.

  4. #14

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_R View Post
    Hi everyone,

    First of all, I would like to say that I have tried to find the answer to my question on multiple sites previously.

    I mainly shoot landscape images and am trying to make sure my technique is correct for optimising placement of sharp focus and aperture selection.

    I have been reading the wealth of information provided by this site but have a question I require confirmed.

    In the example given I have a 1m rock in the foreground and a 1000m mountain in the background. My technique so far has been to focus on positions 1/3 way up rock and 1/3 way up mountain and then stop down until everything I require is in sufficient focus. This procedure makes sense to me because the depth of field behind the plane of sharp focus remains double the distance of depth of field in front.

    The procedure I have been reading states that after working out the optimum tilt, I would adjust focussing point - measuring with a metric scale point A (top of the foreground rock), point B (base of background mountain) - then focussing at a median of A/B. In my head this would place my line of sharp focus half way up the rock in the foreground and the mountain in the background which goes away from what I know about focus spread.

    Could someone please clarify if the procedure stated out above would place the line of sharp focus half way up the rock and mountain and is so, why would you require that over 1/3.

    Many thanks

    Luke
    Get this Book by Howard Merklinger: https://www.amazon.com/Focusing-View.../dp/0969502524

    It is the definitive work on the subject. Brilliant. Very straight forward. You don't need to follow his proofs - just follow his instructions.

    Or download the PDF at:

    http://www.trenholm.org/hmmerk/FVC161.pdf

    I find having the bound book in hand so I can turn from the front to back rapidly to access the needed tables is 1000x easier than using the PDF on screen, or even printing it out.

    Merklinger presents extensive charts and data which you can skip until you want to try to understand the principles. Just go to page 62 and follow along with his instructions. Once you understand the examples he presents it's easier to learn the method behind it. He takes a very complex subject and makes it extremely easy to focus any view camera in any situation very quickly and easily.

    It's the best book ever written on the subject. Once you "get it," and it doesn't take long at all, you'll wonder why no one describes the process as he does.

    Also get his other book, "The Ins and Outs of Focus."

    Rich

  5. #15

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Luke_R View Post
    Hi everyone,

    First of all, I would like to say that I have tried to find the answer to my question on multiple sites previously.

    I mainly shoot landscape images and am trying to make sure my technique is correct for optimising placement of sharp focus and aperture selection.

    I have been reading the wealth of information provided by this site but have a question I require confirmed.

    In the example given I have a 1m rock in the foreground and a 1000m mountain in the background. My technique so far has been to focus on positions 1/3 way up rock and 1/3 way up mountain and then stop down until everything I require is in sufficient focus. This procedure makes sense to me because the depth of field behind the plane of sharp focus remains double the distance of depth of field in front.

    The procedure I have been reading states that after working out the optimum tilt, I would adjust focussing point - measuring with a metric scale point A (top of the foreground rock), point B (base of background mountain) - then focussing at a median of A/B. In my head this would place my line of sharp focus half way up the rock in the foreground and the mountain in the background which goes away from what I know about focus spread.

    Could someone please clarify if the procedure stated out above would place the line of sharp focus half way up the rock and mountain and is so, why would you require that over 1/3.

    Many thanks

    Luke
    Use the force, Luke... (couldn't resist).

    Really though, I think you've got it almost right if I understand correctly, although I don't really understand your terminology exactly. There are a couple of things that stand out as not correct, however. Let me walk you through what I do and see if it agrees with what you think is correct.

    First, I place my plane of sharp focus by choosing focus points. If I'm just using tilt or swing (or nothing at all), I'll just choose two. If I need both swing and tilt, I'll choose two each for vertical and horizontal. For your example, using just tilt, I'd choose one close and one far. What I don't think you've got correct is the concept of 1/3 of the depth of field toward the lens and 2/3 behind the plane of sharp focus. This works kind of if everything is set up parallel. If not, i.e., if you are using tilts or swings, then things are much different. Think of a tilted plane of sharp focus, for example intersecting a foreground rock and a distant mountain. The depth of field emerges from the plane in a wedge shape, growing greater as the distance increases. So, where the plane of sharp focus is near the camera, the depth of field on both sides of it is rather shallow. At a greater distance, the DoF is much greater, but at both places, it is about equally divided on both sides of the plane of sharp focus.

    Therefore, in your example, I'd pick a near focus point about in the middle of the rock and about halfway up the mountain. I'd then set my tilt so that both my chosen points were in focus.

    Now, I find the focus spread by finding the most distant things on either side of the plane of sharp focus that I still want sharp. When using tilts (or swings) you have to keep in mind that things on either side of the plane of sharp focus are no longer "closer" and "farther" from the camera! Instead, they are (in the case of tilts) above and below the plane of sharp focus (or right/left when using swings). That means, for example a near object that is below the plane of sharp focus requires you to focus closer to infinity than a near object above the plane of sharp focus. Similarly, the top of the mountain, in our example, is now above the plane of sharp focus and therefore requires more extension to focus on than the base of the mountain, which is below the plane of sharp focus.

    At any rate, check all those extremes and find the farthest objects from the plane of sharp focus on either side that you want in focus. Note both of these extreme positions on your camera rail/bed. I use a millimeter scale on my camera beds to measure this distance. The optimum position for the focus then is exactly halfway between these extremes on the camera rail/bed. Notice that we are talking about the physical position of the camera standards here, NOT where you focus in the scene. I don't even worry about where in the scene the final focus is; once I find my extremes, I just position the focus halfway between them. However, just so you know, this does put the plane of sharp focus somewhere close to 1/3 into the scene when the standards are parallel. When you use tilts/swings, it's more complex, but still the plane of sharp focus gets positioned similarly. Still, it's not really necessary to know that, or even check it on the ground glass.

    Now, once you've determined your focus extremes, you should know the focus spread in millimeters. The greater the focus spread, the greater the DoF you will need and the smaller the aperture you will need. All this is nicely worked out for you in the article on finding the correct f-stop in the main LF page, here: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/fstop.html .

    You can use the info there to work out your own table or simply use their suggestions. I've been using this method for years and never have a surprise as far as desired DoF goes. I recommend it highly.

    You might want to check out the focusing article on the main page too. It's here: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...-to-focus.html .

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

  6. #16

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Having never seen Merklinger's book I just took a look at it. Whilst it may be seminal, it surely would scare many people away from LF photography... and fast!

  7. #17

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    I concur with Coremus's post above. It is how I focus view cameras and after a little practice it is easy and as fool-proof as anything in LF photography can be. If your camera doesn't have a scale on it, a millimeter rule is your best friend.

  8. #18
    Thalmees's Avatar
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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    What most of us do! Then I stop down to f/45. L
    Hello Luis,
    Thanks for the advice
    It's the best advice ever, if I considered my disc prolapse when I decided for a heavy camera.
    If otherwise, which requires some stupidity in choice, I found the Sinar approach, the best, which is not applicable for field cameras.
    I consider Sinar P/P2/C/C2, the autofocus cameras among other LF cameras.

    The generosity of spirit in this forum is great, its warmly appreciated.
    ------------------------------

  9. #19

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Quote Originally Posted by EarlJam View Post
    Hah! That's exactly the same advice I was given about how to use an oscilloscope
    As a professional electronics engineer and bad amateur photographer I really hope you are joking. Double so if you're using a digital scoop.
    Expert in non-working solutions.

  10. #20

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    Re: How to focus a view camera

    Sinar's focus system is great with Sinar cameras. Since I use mostly Dagors and Deardorffs in the field, stopping to f/45 is the right thin to do.

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