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Thread: Tilt/Swing?

  1. #1


    Me again- What are the camera techniques "tilt" and "swing"? There is geometry involved in the formulas, however I'm confused as to what each does for the photo. -Angela-

  2. #2
    Photo Dilettante Donald Brewster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Malibu, CA


    You really ought to look through the many basic discussions housed on the first page of this site and invest in a copy of Ansel Adams "The Camera", Stoebel's "View Camera Technique" or Simmon's "Using the View Camera" before provoking those that haunt this site. See also the following links:

    People are very helpful on this site once you've shown a little evidence of having done some homework.

  3. #3


    I'm real new to Large Format too. But after even hearing the words Swing and Tilt and then that Shalajkhfiuhajhf Theory I was spinning forget swing and tilt. So I just sat down and looked through the glass. I actually watched TV through it. Saw what happened when I did what. Then after a week of that I moved on to the books. Still no help. Watched more TV. Took some pictures. Realized I knew nothing. Then just used the camera like it had no movements at all. I didn't figure out Swing and Tilt for a few months -- then I discovered Circle...

    Just a view from some one who now knows he knows not very much.

    Dean Lastoria

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 1999


    Try this

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 1999


    Angela, Welcome to the traumatic world of LF!! For a basic, no nonsense look at various camera movements the Toyo site ( I think!!) is well worth a visit. Persevere, the struggle is worth it!! Regards Paul

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2000



    First, I would like to agree with Mr. Brewster. There is simply no substitute for doing your own homework. And, he suggested the best texts on the subject.

    That being said; yes, there is a great deal of geometry involved. You do not want to get into the mathematics of the Scheimpflug Rule or the Hinge Rule just yet.

    On a very basic level, what swing/tilt movements do is this: for a given film plane, the front swing/tilt movements rotate the plane of sharp focus about a line called the Scheimpflug Line. Remember that two or more planes intersect at a line, not a point.

    If I have not worded this explanation correctly, I invite corrections. I am just now learning the theory myself.

    Jason Kefover

  7. #7


    At first this can seem a bit overwhelming, but with a few publications, some practice and working with someone who has already mastered this makes it so much easier... soon you will wonder what you were so confused about! Some books are excellent on this subject. My only advise is this, do not get to carried away with this, most people only use a few movements at the most. Unless you are doing complex studio work, you rarely will use more than front tilt... while rise and shift are self explantory and is clearly visual throught the gg. ...

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 1998


    Hi Angela, it might me helpful if you throw out a few examples of the kinds of things you want to take pictures of, then you can get some specific examples of how these folks use the movements on their cameras. Not all of these people photograph the same kind of subjects, and the subject matter can really dictate just what movements you need to master. Front and rear tilts and swings, rises and falls probably mean different things to a landscape photographer than they do to a table top photographer. For portrait photography, full on head and sholders stuff, I guess you won't need to know much. But if you are out in nature and you want the foreground and the background in focus at the same time, then you might want to know something about tilts and swings and the pros and cons of tilting the front vs. tilting the back. So, is your question a philosophical/theoretical question, or is there something you specifically have in mind that you want to photograph in a specific way? Best regards, David

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