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Thread: Alternative to Technikardan

  1. #1

    Alternative to Technikardan

    As some of you may have guessed, I've been evaluating and testing equipment over the past few months in anticipation of a project.

    I'm currently shooting with a Toyo 45, which I love. But, I think I might find myself in situations where I would need to shift the front element from side to side. I have been thinking about shooting crowds watching events, and would like to position myself off to the side so as not to block people's view. I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that front element shift would enable me to shoot from the side and have the image appear to have been shot as though I were in front of the crowd, depending of course on the coverage of the lens.

    From my brief search, the only camera I can find is the Technikardan. Is this the best solution. It needs to be portable, so I can't bring a studio camera with me, although I suppose if I were to bring an assistant I could manage.

    EDIT: Just found the wista45vx, which looks pretty good, and this one on ebay, though not sure it's a vx.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Nara, Japan

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    I'm not getting this. By "front element shift" I assume you mean shifting the front standard, correct? Doesn't your Toyo have front shift? From what I see here front shift and swing is available on all the current Toyo cameras. And AFAIK, almost all field cameras have this movement.


  3. #3

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    Kumar - you are right - there is a bit of shift that I wasn't aware of. It's only about 1/2" though. Do other cameras offer more? (And yes, I meant front standard).

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    Yeah but the VX won't buy you much. It sounds like you almost want to see around a corner.

    Almost any traditional monorail will have tons of shift, I think the TK has a lot too.

  5. #5

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    Just found out that the SP has 40mm of shift, so a bit more. Also just realized that I'd have to be sure that the lens would cover that much area.

    @Frank, not around corners (like Blade Runner) but enough to shift my apparent position a few feet to one side.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    Quote Originally Posted by jonathan_lipkin View Post
    I think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that front element shift would enable me to shoot from the side and have the image appear to have been shot as though I were in front of the crowd, depending of course on the coverage of the lens.
    Extreme front shift, just as extreme rise/fall, will have obvious effects on the geometry of most scenes. It won't appear that you were taking the picture from a different vantage point - that depends on where the back of the camera sits, not on the relationship between the back and the front - it will just scream "look how much I'm shifted!"

    Depending on your taste it might still work as a picture. But the manipulation will be obvious, and a whole series of pictures with extreme horizontal shifts may look contrived, with the special effects distracting from the content.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Austin TX

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    The Linhof TK 45 has front standard shift of 50mm to the right and 30mm to the left that is engraved. I sometimes push this even further into the unengraved regions. However it weighs on the order of 6 to 7 pounds; but you get a rock solid unit for the weight. I still tote it around (even backpack it a bit) despite my advanced age. I use them partly for the huge movement capability.

    There is a knack to folding it up though - which drives some people crazy til you get use to it.

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    You can experiment with shift using your current camera. Use the side tripod hole (if you have one), or "roll" your tripod head 90 degrees. Rise/fall then becomes shift, and you can get an idea for what a composition looks like with a lot of shift.

    Personally, I have never used it. Ive been experimenting on the ground glass, but have found the resulting perspective too unnatural for my shots. I'd imagine it to be useful for just very slight composition adjustments, using a few millimeters of movement.

  9. #9
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    I have used a canham 4x5's front shift. I was photographing the side of a building and to get the composition I wanted it meant I'd have to have my reflection in a window that was part of the composition, and I didn't want to be in the photo. I was able to move two feet to the side, shift the front standard, and get the same shape and lines in the viewfinder.

    Kinda nice, but not something I'd need on a regular basis, so I don't own a 4x5 built to do that. Apparently the post-WWII speed graphics can shift a little too, but I've never tried it.

  10. #10
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Alternative to Technikardan

    Most monorail type cameras like Sinar have plenty of convenient shift on both front
    and rear standards.

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