Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 29

Thread: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

  1. #1
    Greg grcouch501's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    15

    Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    I need a sanity check on some camera movement observations I've made in the field while working with my 4x5 monorail and tilt-shift lenses. I've been doing some research around the Scheimpflug principal and I think I have a pretty good handle on how it works, but I've had a hard time putting it into practice with my architectural photography. I generally try to shoot at an off-angle to my subjects and I'd like to place the plane of sharpest focus across the facade of the building I'm shooting. I didn't employ any swing in the shot below, but here's an example of a situation where the plane of sharpest focus would ideally run from the Kodak Ektasound mural to the factory buildings in the distance. Rather than employing swing, I chose to focus on the mural and stopped down to f/32 for maximum DoF.


    Kodak Center by Greg Couch, on Flickr

    I know I should swing the front standard to intersect the lens, image, and object planes if I want to bring the building's facade into sharpest focus but in practice I've noticed the following:

    • With a wide angle lens like my Nikon 90mm f/8 [4x5] or 24mm f/3.5 [TS] focused near infinity, even the smallest degree of swing shows no improvement in sharpness across the building's facade. Both the near and far ends of the building look sharp enough on the ground glass when I focus about 1/3 into the scene with 0 swing. I find it almost impossible to dial in any amount of swing which improves sharpness beyond that point. My technique is to focus on the far and swing for the near, which honestly might be completely backwards.
    • With a normal lens like my Nikon 150mm f/5.6 [4x5] or 45mm f/2.8 [TS], I can sometimes see an appreciable difference in sharpness by employing a degree of swing. The only good example of this I have was shot with my 45mm f/2.8 [TS] lens, where I added a few degrees of swing to bring an old storefront's neon sign into focus.



    Paramus Fabric Center by Greg Couch, on Flickr

    I just recently had time again to take my 4x5 out and spent Sunday shooting the abandoned IBM factories in Endicott, NY. It was 11F out and I was feeling my hands begin to freeze up as I played around with the camera movements, trying to get the sharpest possible focus on the building I was shooting. That's when I realized I could just ask the experts here - are my observations on the mark, is my technique wrong, or am I missing something? I believe the DoF of a large format lens, stopped down to f/32 and focused near infinity, is so large that swing has no appreciable impact on the sharpness of the building when making the types of shots above. I usually find myself trying to apply swing after vertical shift but I end up reverting back to 0 swing because I somehow make things worse... this is after a few cycles of checking my focusing and adjusting the swing. I love the methodical nature of shooting 4x5 but I want to make sure I'm maximizing the impact of movements my monorail has to offer. Thanks for the help!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    30

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    Hello ...
    I prefer to do the opposite; I focus on the closest point and then with movements I adjust the far point.
    Also, the far point benefits when the aperture is closed.

  3. #3
    Greg grcouch501's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    15

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by zone View Post
    Hello ...
    I prefer to do the opposite; I focus on the closest point and then with movements I adjust the far point.
    Also, the far point benefits when the aperture is closed.
    Thanks for the reply! I used to focus that way but just recently changed my technique when I ran across this page on LFP which made me second guess myself:

    2. Adjust the tilt and/or swing and focus
    • If the plane is not slanted, most common situation in landscape photography where you want foreground and background sharp, you need only to use tilt.
    • If the plane is vertical, you need only to use swing.
    • Otherwise, you need to tilt and swing. Do not adjust them simultaneously, but proceed sequentially. If a swing is to be applied after a tilt had already be applied, the left and right points need to be chosen on the same horizontal line. Reciprocally, if a tilt is to be applied after a swing had already be applied, the top and bottom points need to be chosen on the same vertical line.

    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!".

    Looks like my focus on the near, swing for the far approach might've been right all along? I hadn't thought about the far point benefiting from closing down the aperture, which is a great point.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    3,236

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    These pages scanned out of a Linhof book is posted here:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ong-amp-Linhof

    They are good examples of how camera movements can be used/applied with good examples.

    Building fronts, camera position/lens focal length/image size essentially drives the outcome of the image. Camera movement tweaks are aids to what is perceived in acceptable focus relative to DOF/F. Preference is to focus on the near area of the building then work towards what needs to be in focus most distant away as DOF/F or apparent focus grows faster than the closer areas of the image. Work the camera movements as needed to achieve best overall focus with the lens at full aperture, then close the lens aperture only as much as needed to achieve the needed DOF/F apparent focus in the overall image.
    https://secure.meetupstatic.com/phot...337633272.jpeg

    Image made years ago during a LF group outing. 5x7 Sinar C & 8 1/2" Kodak commercial ektar, combined swing/tilt from with front & rear shift, rise-fall as needed to tweak the image. Think the taking aperture was f11, was getting dark.


    Bernice

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Humboldt County, CA
    Posts
    8,690

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    I certainly would have not used swing on your image either -- there is no reason to, and a good reason not to. Both left and right are almost equal-distance from the camera...and so is the foreground.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
    Posts
    3,063

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    A couple of things:

    First, as you found out, when working at a distance from your subject with a 90mm lens, the inherent depth of field afforded by the short focal length ends up obviating the need for lots of movements. With architectural shots like yours, you only really have to worry about making sure everything is plumb and level so the verticals won't converge.

    However, when working with longer lenses or closer to your subject, swing can be very useful. When using swing (or tilt, for that matter) note that you have two basic choices: swing the lens stage or swing the back. Note that swinging the lens stage will not introduce any "distortion" into the image, but that you need to be careful that you don't run out of lens coverage, since you are displacing the image circle from center and, especially with lenses with limited coverage, can vignette. With back movements, on the other hand, the image circle stays put, but the size of the image changes: the part of the image that is moved farther from the lens gets larger and vice-versa. This can be useful if you want to emphasize the convergence of the horizontal lines. And, of course, you can always use a combination of the two to get whatever effect you like.

    About your image of the Fabric Center: having the corner of the building closest to you and two receding walls presents all kinds of possibilities. However, swinging to align with one wall will throw the other wall more out of focus. Now you may want to do this to emphasize converging horizontals on that one wall, but then you need to have enough depth of field to compensate for the other wall being out of the plane of sharp focus. If you just want a "straight" rendering, then, in this case, I wouldn't use swing at all, just make sure I'm focused in the right place to get everything sharp (I use a "near-far" focusing method.

    As for the technique used applying swings and tilts: If you have axis swings and tilts, it's almost always easiest to focus first in the center of the ground glass and then swing/tilt to get the edges in focus. For this technique, you need three focus points for each movement. For a tilt, for example, you'd need a point in the center and then one on both the top and bottom of the plane you want to be in sharpest focus. For swings, you need a center point and one on each side. Focus on the center and swing till the other two are sharp, check, refocus if needed and you're good to go.

    If you have base tilts, then it's almost always best to start with a focus point at the bottom of the ground glass (this is usually the "far" point). For this technique you only need two points, one at the top and one at the bottom. Focus on the point at the bottom of the ground glass and then tilt (lens or back, with the same caveats as above for swings) until both your focus points are equally unsharp. Refocus the point at the bottom of the ground glass and then check the top one. If it's sharp, your good to go. If not, tweak focus while watching the focus point carefully (through the loupe is best). Tweak slightly and in one direction only. Say we tweak by making the bellows longer (focusing closer); if the focus on the point improves, that means you have to tilt a tiny bit more in the direction to make the bellows longer (i.e., forward with the front or back with the back). If the focus gets worse, then you need to tilt a tiny bit to make the bellows shorter (back with the front or front with the back). (Vice-versa works too, but I like to standardize on tweaking just one direction when checking focus.)

    Note that even folding field cameras, which usually only have base tilts, always have axis swings, so swinging technique is the three-point-focus-in-the-center-first one.

    When tilting and swinging, it's really helpful to imagine where you are positioning the plane of sharp focus in the scene and then identifying those parts of the scene that are the farthest from that plane, focus-wise. Choose those points for your focus points for finding final focus and choosing the appropriate aperture.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    USA, North Carolina
    Posts
    3,335

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by grcouch501 View Post
    I need a sanity check on some camera movement observations I've made in the field while working with my 4x5 monorail and tilt-shift lenses. I've been doing some research around the Scheimpflug principal and I think I have a pretty good handle on how it works, but I've had a hard time putting it into practice with my architectural photography. I generally try to shoot at an off-angle to my subjects and I'd like to place the plane of sharpest focus across the facade of the building I'm shooting.
    Why do you think the plane of sharpest focus (that I call the plane of exact focus) should be there? It certainly doesn't have to be. And forcing that might compromise your composition.

    I'm just saying that the position of the plane of exact focus should be placed where it best serves the image you are trying to create. If this was my image (and it is not, but just for an example) I would not have used any movements either beyond some front rise as needed. I would have probably racked focus out to bring the face in the mural into exact focus. Then I would have stopped down until the point of the buildings (to left of mural) as in sufficient focus. It it being me, I would have probably just blown off the far reaches of the buildings on the extreme left and right of the frame (because I often like those parts to be slightly out of focus, a peculiarity of mine) -- but I might have put the loupe on 'em and checked just to see, and adjust to taste.

    My method would have put the plane of focus cutting across the building, from the face on the right side to about the tree closest to the point of the building on the left side. Sort of like a bread knife cutting through a loaf of bread to make a big triangular piece -- cutting off the "nose" of the building closest to the camera.

    Why? Because I know I can use DOF to bring the rest of the buildings, both in front of, and behind, the plane of exact focus, into the zone of suitable sharpness that exists on both sides of the plane of exact focus. This would in turn let me stop down probably as little as I want, and would keep me out of diffraction. If you want it (all) sharp, that's how I would go about it.

    There are of course many many many paths to the waterfall, as they say. Everybody will approach it differently, and use the methods that they are familiar with and know work for them.

    All that said, trust what you see with a loupe on the ground glass. The ground glass does not lie.

    Quote Originally Posted by grcouch501 View Post
    I know I should swing the front standard to intersect the lens, image, and object planes if I want to bring the building's facade into sharpest focus but...
    Well again, you could. But no one I know who has experience in this sort of photography is ever going to tell another photographer that they *should* do anything. Beyond saying you should do what works for you and your image.

    I described one way to do it. You've described another. Go make photographs -- see what other ways there are to do it. Have fun with it. Decide which ways work for you and which ones don't. It all comes down to that eventually.

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8
    Greg grcouch501's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    15

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    These pages scanned out of a Linhof book is posted here:
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ong-amp-Linhof

    They are good examples of how camera movements can be used/applied with good examples.

    Building fronts, camera position/lens focal length/image size essentially drives the outcome of the image. Camera movement tweaks are aids to what is perceived in acceptable focus relative to DOF/F. Preference is to focus on the near area of the building then work towards what needs to be in focus most distant away as DOF/F or apparent focus grows faster than the closer areas of the image. Work the camera movements as needed to achieve best overall focus with the lens at full aperture, then close the lens aperture only as much as needed to achieve the needed DOF/F apparent focus in the overall image.
    https://secure.meetupstatic.com/phot...337633272.jpeg

    Image made years ago during a LF group outing. 5x7 Sinar C & 8 1/2" Kodak commercial ektar, combined swing/tilt from with front & rear shift, rise-fall as needed to tweak the image. Think the taking aperture was f11, was getting dark.
    Thanks for the scans! I've saved them for future reference. Ansel Adam's "Camera and Lens" has a similar chapter about movements but I think what you've linked includes better examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I certainly would have not used swing on your image either -- there is no reason to, and a good reason not to. Both left and right are almost equal-distance from the camera...and so is the foreground.
    I had set up my framing, dialed in the focus, and ultimately decided not to apply any swing after playing around with the front standard. I didn't see a reason for it either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    A couple of things:

    First, as you found out, when working at a distance from your subject with a 90mm lens, the inherent depth of field afforded by the short focal length ends up obviating the need for lots of movements. With architectural shots like yours, you only really have to worry about making sure everything is plumb and level so the verticals won't converge.

    However, when working with longer lenses or closer to your subject, swing can be very useful. When using swing (or tilt, for that matter) note that you have two basic choices: swing the lens stage or swing the back. Note that swinging the lens stage will not introduce any "distortion" into the image, but that you need to be careful that you don't run out of lens coverage, since you are displacing the image circle from center and, especially with lenses with limited coverage, can vignette. With back movements, on the other hand, the image circle stays put, but the size of the image changes: the part of the image that is moved farther from the lens gets larger and vice-versa. This can be useful if you want to emphasize the convergence of the horizontal lines. And, of course, you can always use a combination of the two to get whatever effect you like.

    About your image of the Fabric Center: having the corner of the building closest to you and two receding walls presents all kinds of possibilities. However, swinging to align with one wall will throw the other wall more out of focus. Now you may want to do this to emphasize converging horizontals on that one wall, but then you need to have enough depth of field to compensate for the other wall being out of the plane of sharp focus. If you just want a "straight" rendering, then, in this case, I wouldn't use swing at all, just make sure I'm focused in the right place to get everything sharp (I use a "near-far" focusing method.

    As for the technique used applying swings and tilts: If you have axis swings and tilts, it's almost always easiest to focus first in the center of the ground glass and then swing/tilt to get the edges in focus. For this technique, you need three focus points for each movement. For a tilt, for example, you'd need a point in the center and then one on both the top and bottom of the plane you want to be in sharpest focus. For swings, you need a center point and one on each side. Focus on the center and swing till the other two are sharp, check, refocus if needed and you're good to go.

    If you have base tilts, then it's almost always best to start with a focus point at the bottom of the ground glass (this is usually the "far" point). For this technique you only need two points, one at the top and one at the bottom. Focus on the point at the bottom of the ground glass and then tilt (lens or back, with the same caveats as above for swings) until both your focus points are equally unsharp. Refocus the point at the bottom of the ground glass and then check the top one. If it's sharp, your good to go. If not, tweak focus while watching the focus point carefully (through the loupe is best). Tweak slightly and in one direction only. Say we tweak by making the bellows longer (focusing closer); if the focus on the point improves, that means you have to tilt a tiny bit more in the direction to make the bellows longer (i.e., forward with the front or back with the back). If the focus gets worse, then you need to tilt a tiny bit to make the bellows shorter (back with the front or front with the back). (Vice-versa works too, but I like to standardize on tweaking just one direction when checking focus.)

    Note that even folding field cameras, which usually only have base tilts, always have axis swings, so swinging technique is the three-point-focus-in-the-center-first one.

    When tilting and swinging, it's really helpful to imagine where you are positioning the plane of sharp focus in the scene and then identifying those parts of the scene that are the farthest from that plane, focus-wise. Choose those points for your focus points for finding final focus and choosing the appropriate aperture.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus
    I'd say your post was incredibly helpful! Lots of good information there, and I'm glad that my observations with the 90mm lens are on point. My Cambo SC2 has axial tilt/swing movements and I'll be sure to give the three point focus technique you mentioned a try next time I'm in the field. I think I'll be switching back to the near-far focusing method after reading the responses to this thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
    Why do you think the plane of sharpest focus (that I call the plane of exact focus) should be there? It certainly doesn't have to be. And forcing that might compromise your composition.

    I'm just saying that the position of the plane of exact focus should be placed where it best serves the image you are trying to create. If this was my image (and it is not, but just for an example) I would not have used any movements either beyond some front rise as needed. I would have probably racked focus out to bring the face in the mural into exact focus. Then I would have stopped down until the point of the buildings (to left of mural) as in sufficient focus. It it being me, I would have probably just blown off the far reaches of the buildings on the extreme left and right of the frame (because I often like those parts to be slightly out of focus, a peculiarity of mine) -- but I might have put the loupe on 'em and checked just to see, and adjust to taste.

    My method would have put the plane of focus cutting across the building, from the face on the right side to about the tree closest to the point of the building on the left side. Sort of like a bread knife cutting through a loaf of bread to make a big triangular piece -- cutting off the "nose" of the building closest to the camera.

    Why? Because I know I can use DOF to bring the rest of the buildings, both in front of, and behind, the plane of exact focus, into the zone of suitable sharpness that exists on both sides of the plane of exact focus. This would in turn let me stop down probably as little as I want, and would keep me out of diffraction. If you want it (all) sharp, that's how I would go about it.

    There are of course many many many paths to the waterfall, as they say. Everybody will approach it differently, and use the methods that they are familiar with and know work for them.

    All that said, trust what you see with a loupe on the ground glass. The ground glass does not lie.

    Well again, you could. But no one I know who has experience in this sort of photography is ever going to tell another photographer that they *should* do anything. Beyond saying you should do what works for you and your image.

    I described one way to do it. You've described another. Go make photographs -- see what other ways there are to do it. Have fun with it. Decide which ways work for you and which ones don't. It all comes down to that eventually.
    Front rise (actually rear fall in my case) is the camera movement I use most often, and I appreciate your explanation of how you'd approach the scene focus-wise. There are certainly a lot of different ways to make a photograph, and I'll usually stick to f/32 when shooting 4x5 just to make sure I'm maximizing sharpness across the frame. I've already got the tripod out so might as well take advantage! When things warm up I'm hoping to get out and shoot some nature/landscapes where I can really push the limits and experiment with more drastic camera movements.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    30

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    Thanks for link and the scan; have you the title of the book ? I would search an version better and maybe i found a copy for buy.
    Thanks.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    723

    Re: Scheimpflug, Swing, & Architectural Photography

    In 1975, I studied the Sinar Photo Know How course, and I know it set me on the right path to learn and use view camera capabilities. Somewhere the book was lost over the years. Recently, I bought some of the Sinar P2 gear that is being sold off for a fraction of original cost and replaced my copy of the course which was lost long ago. For less than $1000, you can buy a nice 4X5 P2, a couple of lenses and the book. If one applies one's self to the course, it is a wonderful education, and not just about photography. I must say that after working with the P2 a bit, I greatly prefer the Toyo Robos. Sinar bellows frequently have tiny, Toyo-like pinholes in the corners, beware.

Similar Threads

  1. Photoshop for architectural photography
    By mark.s in forum Digital Processing
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 28-Oct-2013, 22:27
  2. Lenses for Architectural Photography
    By Mark_Se in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 9-Jan-2009, 17:20
  3. Architectural Photography and film
    By Anthony Lewis in forum Business
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 16-Mar-2007, 10:31
  4. architectural photography
    By miguel_5607 in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 15-Jun-2005, 21:44
  5. architectural photography on new US stamps
    By Oren Grad in forum On Photography
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 16-Jan-2005, 19:41

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •