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Thread: On-Axis vs. Base-Tilt; Rear Rise & Fall: Field Cameras

  1. #1

    On-Axis vs. Base-Tilt; Rear Rise & Fall: Field Cameras

    Im going to acquire a 4x5 field camera, but as I have no experience in using th em, I have to make my selection based on what I read (no one in this town will r ent them, and I dont know anyone who uses one). My selection is narrowed to the new, metal Canham DLC or the Wisner (Technical, Expedition, or the Pocket Exped ition). Since the Canham offers greater flexibility for wide-angle lenses and ca n handle equally long lenses, the only other factors I see involve the method of tilting the camera front and Wisners patented rising back. (Of course, there h as been some negative discussion on your site about the lens boards for the Canh am) What are the advantages/disadvantages of on-axis vs. base tilt for the front of the field view camera? Im under the impression that no refocusing is required w hen on-axis tilt is used, while its clear that refocusing is required if base t ilt is used. Is this true, and if so, does it really matter when one is actually setting up ones camera to take a picture in terms of time saved or ease of com position? My questions about Wisners patented rear rise and tilt are similar: f irst, does one really do much of that in "nature" photography, and second, is it just a minor convenience, or does it really amount to something in terms of get ting the photo that one wants? Thanks for considering these matters.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 1997

    On-Axis vs. Base-Tilt; Rear Rise & Fall: Field Cameras

    You are correct, on-axis tilts require little, if any, refocusing or recomposing . I use a Wista SP which has on-axis front tilt and base rear tilt. Needless to say the front tilt is easier to use, however, once you're use to base tilt it i sn't all that much slower.

    The Wista does not have rear rise so I am not familiar with it but I can't say I have ever run across a situation where I wish I had it. Front rise is very imp ortant and the ability to drop the bed would be nice also. I ran across another photographer a few days ago who had just purchased a Wisner (sorry, don't know which one) and he was having trouble focusing with a 90...sounds like he needed a recessed lens board or bag bellows; kind of odd for a 90.

    Stroebel's "View Camera Techniques" is an excellent source for comparing the var ious makes and models of view cameras. It also gives a very good explanation of the various view camera movements.

    Large format cameras can be tricky to learn to use properly but once you've got it down you're gonna love it.

  3. #3

    On-Axis vs. Base-Tilt; Rear Rise & Fall: Field Cameras

    I've never used a camera with rear rise, but its not something I've ever missed. At the distances at which field cameras are most often used, the effect of a r ear rise can essentially be duplicated with a front fall. At closer distances, this is not the case, since dropping the lens changes the relative locations of the lens and the subject (as well as moving the image circle relative to the she et of film), and thus changes the perspective. However, this is more likely to be an issue in the studio.

    By the way, I would think that you would know all this, since you've been photog raphing with view cameras for almost 150 years. (Sorry--I guess everybody in th e photography world must kid you about your name--I couldn't resist).

  4. #4

    On-Axis vs. Base-Tilt; Rear Rise & Fall: Field Cameras

    Tim, I have base tilt on my 8x10 and I really don't mind focussing and tilting at the same time. I know that I wouldn't want to pay extra for axis tilt. And I agree with the rest about rear rise. I'm sure that Mr. Wisner has a good reas on for incorporating it into his cameras but it can be accomplised by tilting th e bed down and the film and lens plane back to perpendicular. It sounds like a convenience thing. The Wisner is a great camera. I bought my view-camera (ZoneVI) without ever having used one based on other's o pinions, price and reading all the brochures and I am happy with it. If it were my money I would buy the metal Canham. But you won't go wrong with any of them . (my wife doesn't understand why something made out of wood cost so much).

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