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Thread: Tilt and swing, front and rear

  1. #1

    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    Hello!

    I am a 35mm photographer, and recently have gotten interested in black and white landscape photogrphy. After doing some searching, I have found that large format is generally recommended for this type of photography, mainly because of larger negatives and tilt/swing controls.

    My dad has a crown graphic, which we've been having some fun with. I have one question though, which is how to use the tilt and/or swing controls and what they do.

    Thanks, Ian

  2. #2

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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    Howard Bond's article in "Photo Techniques" magazine (May/June 1998, pp. 41 -45) can be found in any library or by using the web address http://www.largeformatphotography.info/articles/bond-checklist.html. This is a simple yet effective article that will answer your questions. Many books on this subject are overkill, confusing and hard to understand.

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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    Hi Ian, The Crown Graphic, like all Graflex press cameras, has no rear movements, and very limited front movements, which is just as well, because the standard lenses don't cover much more than the 4x5 format anyway. There are many resources for learning the basics of view camera movements, and the one cited above is probably as good as any. Good luck, and have fun.

  4. #4

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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    As Jay said, the Graflex press cameras have limited front movement only but don't sell them short. They are capable of doing excellent work. One doesn't have to invest as much money to get started with one either. I got started in LF by borrowing a friend's and it just whetted my appetite to move on from there.

  5. #5

    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    Thanks for the information everyone. Jay, when you said "the standard lenses don't cover much more than the 4x5 format anyway.", would a 135mm be considered standard?

    Thanks agian, Ian

  6. #6

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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    I'll try to give you some quick basics, before you get to the library. Front rise is most frequently used movement, and the only one on lots of old cameras. It is used to reduce the amount of foreground in front of your subject or to get the top of something tall into your picture. Front fall is used in a similar manner, usually when the subject is lower than the camera. Front shift is used to get the view you want when you can't get the camera into the position you would need to take it from straight on. Front tilts and swings change the plane of sharp focus from parallel to the film to a tilted or angled plane.



    Rear rise, fall and shifts work just like the front equivalents, but in reverse, so they can augment the front movements or be used by themselves for convenience. This which can be very handy on very large cameras. Rear tilt is used to keep vertical lines straight up and down. If the back of the camera is kept vertical, all the vertical lines in the subject will be parallel. Or, if you want to, you can exaggerate perspective effects with back tilt, or even reverse them. Rear swing control how horizontal lines converge, or don't.



    All of these movements except rear tilt and swing depend on excess "coverage", that is, the lenses image circle needs to be larger than the film's diagonal. If it isn't, as soon as you use a movement, the image goes right off your groundglass. How much excess coverage you need depends on the kind of work you intend. Portraits need little if any, landscapes don't ordinarily require much, but exterior architectural views can demand huge excess.



    There are several useful books that give you a much fuller explanation than the over-simplified statements above. They also tell you how to get the most out of your movements. You could user up a lot of time and film finding out for yourself what these books can tell you. I think the best is Leslie Stroebel's "View Camera Technique". It's probably also the most expensive, but it shows up on eBay fairly often.

  7. #7
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    I second the nomination for the site:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/

    Lots of good information here. Of particular interest to you is how to use swing and tilt in focusing a view camera:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/how-to-focus.html

    As mentioned above, the Graphics may not have the full range of controls needed for complex focusing and perspective control. They were largely designed for the working press IIRC, who didn't need that kind of flexibility. Still, they are great camera for learning the basics, and for many people they are the only camera they ever need.

    After you've read up on the techniques, take the camera outside and burn some film. The only way to turn that "book learning" into "gut feel" is to practice. Soon it will become just a natural thing to do and you won't even think about it anymore.

    Bruce Watson

  8. #8

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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    Also, for more information on the Crown Graphic, go to www.graflex.org

    The earlier graphics used 127mm Kodak lenses as their standard lens, the later ones (and this may include all Crowns) used 135mm lenses of various manufacture. Most folks consider 150mm standard for 4x5, so your 135 is slightly wide, but very usable.

    Go shoot with it and have fun.

  9. #9
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    There are also two standard books on the subject, both with illustrations that doa nice job of demonstrating the principles invloved:



    The first is View Camera Technique by Leslie Strobel and the Second Using the View Camera (I think the title is right)by Steve Simmons. Both should be in yoru library.

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    Tilt and swing, front and rear

    Ian, since Jay seems to be occupied elsewhere, I will try to respond to your second question by amplifying a little on what i.e. simmons has already told you. It is not just the focal length that matters here. The 135mm lenses found on Graphics are Tessar types or Tessar derivatives, rather fast as view camera lenses go at f4.5. This is nice in many circumstances, but their angle of coverage is rather narrow. This means less excess coverage than a shorter lens that works at a wider angle might have. If your dad's Crown Graphic has a Graflok back, and you have or can get ahold of a 6X7 or 6X9 roll holder, you can try out the effect of front rise on it, but a 135mm Tessar type won't do much for you on 4" X 5". For that, you need either a longer or a wider lens. If you'd like some guidance on choosing a suitable lens, send me you address, and I'll send you a booklet on the subject.

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