How often do you landscape photographers use tilt?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by david_mark, Jan 9, 2003.

  1. My questions are directed to the experienced large format landscape

    1. In about what percentage of your landscape photographs did you
    use tilt or swing?
    2. How do you determine, in looking at a three dimensional
    landscape scene, when such movements will be helpful, i.e., allow
    you to use a larger aperture?
    3. Do you ever perform any kind of check to determine whether the
    camera movement was actually beneficial?

    I have been photographing with a large format camera for about 4
    years now. I determine my aperture and focus point according to a
    method described in an article by Paul Hansma (briefly, it involves
    measuring the focus spread via a milimeter scale on the camera bed,
    focusing in the middle of the spread and stopping down according to
    a chart that relates focus spread to recommended aperture). I also
    learned, from an article by Howard Bond, how to use the tilt
    movement. Bond's method is very simple and precise, and I find it
    easy to alter the plane of focus to include any two points.

    What I have found very difficult, however, is determing where, in a
    complex three-dimensional scene, the best plane of focus will lie.
    After several exasperating early experiences, I have largely given
    up using tilt, unless I am photographing a field or body of water.
    Yet I have the nagging feeling that I am not fully exploiting the
    advantages that the view camera offers the landscape photographer.
    Hence, this question.

    David Mark
  2. I have only a year's experience, so there may be more expert answers. However, I would have to say that I almost always use front tilt, swing, or sometimes both. I only use back movements when it seems right to try to emphasize the scale of something in the foreground. I could see using neither, if I were photographing only distant landscapes, but most photographs run from foreground to background and require movements to bring everything into focus. I can usually see what is and isn't in focus on the groundglass with the loupe and therefore where the plane of focus belongs. This requires a systematic approach to inspecting all of the ground glass with the loupe. The exception where I sometimes do not use movements is with my 6x7 back and 101 mm Ektar. Just stopping down, and by no means all the way, seems to provide adequate depth of field in many cases.
  3. Never use swing, almost never use tilt. But I don't mind stopping 'way, 'way down, and have no problem with OOF details if they are very CAREFULLY composed. Mostly I shoot with 195mm or 250mm lenses.
  4. David, I am familiar with the methods you have been using for determining the plane of focus. However, I have no idea what percentage of my outdoor landscape photographs need to utilize tilt and/or swing, on either the front or the rear standard, in order to extend the plane of focus. It certainly is not a very large percentage. Jack Dykinga's book "Large Format Nature Photography" has some very informative descriptions and diagrams showing his technique for handling near-far compositions and focusing, using tilt and swing movements. He uses those movements quite frequently with his style of photographing outdoors.
  5. 1. I don't have any percentages, but I use tilt and swing fairly frequently.

    2. I do it intuitively. If the things I want to be in focus can be put all in the same plane, like a relatively flat landscape, I use tilt. Swing I use less, but if there is a mountain range or a shoreline or stand of trees that runs at an oblique angle to the film plane, swing is useful.

    3. I look at the groundglass with a loupe as I make the adjustments and see if I can get everything I want in focus. What other check can one make in the field? If I like the print, I was successful.
  6. Frankly, IMHO, most LS photographers don't use tilt because they have no idea of how to use foreground, middle ground, and back ground and that is one of the chief reason, I submit, that the majority of land scape photography is so damned boring!
  7. 80% of the time, tilt about 20% swing. It does save at least one stop, for me at least. I found that I started using them more with 8x10 and 12x20 than when I shot only 4x5. With 4x5 I used it about 30%. Dont know why, it is just the way it has worked out for me.
  8. David Goldfarb said what I would have. Tilt in nearly every shot (but I live in a big flat landscape.)

  9. I always use tilt. Depending on the subject matter as to whether I use front or rear tilt. I use front tilt if I have no foreground object that I wish to emphasize. If I have a foreground object that I wish to emphasize to exploit the "near-far" relationship then I will use rear tilt. The reason for using tilt is to limit the amount that I stop down. In spite of what is widely thought, stopped down does not necessarily equate with sharper. In fact defraction can actually diminish sharpness in a photograph. I never shoot below F32 in 4X5 or F45 in 8X10 for that very reason. Swing is another matter, if the scene calls for it, I use it. If not, I obviously don't.
  10. Like my Salt Lake neighbor David Goldfarb, I also use movements very frequently.
    I'm not sure if I'm overstating the obvious here but beyond any rules, the ground glass is the most versatile tool you have for judging the effects of movements and aperture.
    I use a 4x loupe over the ground glass for practically every shot. In a nutshell, my process is as follows:
    1. Start with the standards parallel and compose the image
    2. Place loupe at top of ground glass and focus
    3. Assuming you're going for a traditional near/far scene - place loupe at bottom of ground glass and tilt lens until it comes into focus
    4. Repeat steps 2-3 until both ends are focused
    5. Pick the object farthest from the focus plane that you want to appear sharp and place loupe over it, then slowly close the aperture until it appears sharp. I usually set the aperture one stop smaller than that if possible to ensure it remains sharp when enlarged (remember it is not in the focus plane and by closing the aperture you are in essence reducing the circle of confusion, which will stretch when enlarged).
    6. Close lens, meter, set shutter speed... etc.
    Hope this helps,
    Scenic Wild
  11. Oops... I'm thinking of a different David from Salt Lake. My apologies.
  12. I've used a Horseman Technical Camera with 6 x 7 format on and off for over 30 years. Movements are limited and it is hard to see just what is happening on the small ground glass, so I tended to use tilts (and rarely swings) sparingly, but I did use them when I thought it would be helpful. Last July I got a Toho 4 x 5 view camera and I began to experiment with using tilts more systematically. I thought a lot about it and came to some conclusions, which can be found at But that is pretty technical and the material on tilts is far into the article, so I don't know how helpful you will find it.

    There are few important rules one sees about tilts (and swings). First there is obviously not much point in using such movements if you can get everything adequately in focus simply by stopping down and relying on depth of field. Second, usually a very slight tilt can go a long way, so don't be misled by the pictures you sometimes see of contorted view cameras. Third, in much nature photography, the forground involves some significant vertical extension. Since the region of space which will be in adequate focus is a wedge starting near the camera, that means you won't generally be able to get all the foreground in focus with a tilt if there is significant vertical extension

    I find that there are two useful ways to think of what you are doing when you use a tilt. First, you can fix a point, usually in the distance, which you want in focus and then tilt the lens to bring another point, usually in the foreground, in focus. (There are a variety of techniques for getting that right, one of which, due to Bob Wheeler, I describe in the above article, but you can use your favorite.) Once you have got that more or less the way you want it, your problem is to get everything else you want sufficiently in focus after you stop down. For things close to the camera, because of the aforementioned wedge, there isn't much you can do, but you can do something about more distant objects. The principle that controls this is the so called hinge line. (This has been popularized by Merklinger.) It is where the plane through the lens parallel to the film plane intersects the subject plane. As you move the rear standard, the exact subject plane pivots on the hinge line, and at any f-stop, the wedge of adequate focus pivots with it. The idea is to position that wedge so that everything you want to be sharp is adequately in focus.

    After I understood the two steps of the process and the related geometry better, I found it much easier to apply tilts.
  13. I use the same method you do in response to the same article I think. Photo Techniques Magazine about 4 or 5 years ago with a view camera on the cover right? Anyways I use combinations of both tilt and swing anytime it will make that focus spread shorter! If I've got near verticals balanced more to one side I intuitively think can I gain a little here with swing, and if I'm in the bed of the pickup looking out at a sea of sagebrush....well, that's a no brainer. Sometimes you walk up to that complex 3d scene you're talking about and look around and say nothing will work here except stopping down, and SOMETIMES I look for a couple of minutes and say sorry, no can do. Not with this rig anyway. I think you've probably got it right. There's sometimes when nothing is going to work very well but a 20mm on a Nikon.
  14. David, there is often a tendency to use "all" available movements, simply because they are there! The "more is better" syndrome! I find that generally I use about 5 degrees of front tilt for landscapes where front to back "sharpness" is required, I also always shoot at f22 or smaller. I also occasionally use either front rise/fall or a combination with rear rise/fall. To date I have not found the need for any swing or front shift!!! However, there is bound to be an occasion when I am grateful for these movements on my camera! I think the key is to understand that not every shot needs movements applied to it. I agree that sometimes, especially with a complex scene of various heights within the composition, you will do as well to establish a perpendicular plane of focus and use a small aperture to obtain maximum "sharpness" throughout the fore, middle and back grounds. Learning to use a LF camera is a real voyage of discovery and at times VERY frustrating! Persevere and keep asking questions (especially on this forum - a gold mine of info!!)and the learning curve will not be so steep. The end result (the photo) is what's important - not how you took it! Good luck!!
  15. I won't call myself experienced, but...

    Landscapes around here tend to be steep - sometimes vertical. So I tend to use swing a lot, tilt a bit less, rise nearly always.

    I tilt, shift and swing until everything I want to be sharo is sharp, then stop down. No measurements; I just look at the scene, guess at a plane, guess at what would bring it all into focus, then fine tune on the GG.

    from Norway,
  16. I tilt almost all the time, except if there is no foreground or if it has a significant vertical extension. Rarely swing. If you are familiar with Hansma's method and don't know whether to tilt or not, measure the focus spread without tilting, and then with a tilt and see which results in the lower focus spread. This is the basis for a principled approach described in How to focus the view camera.
  17. I use both tilt and swing fairly often to enhance depth of field and to exagerate foreground to background relationships. Probably the only time I will not use them is when there is a foreground object, such as a tree, going from top to bottom in my composition that part of would end up out of focus were I to utilize tilt.
  18. If you are able I highly recommend you take Howard Bond's view camera work shop, I have taken several of his work shops. He is an excellent teacher.
  19. I have this theory, passed down to me by Stephen Shore, that the eye naturally gravitates towards the point or plain of absolute focus. So I find it very difficult to pick a random point 1/3 of the way into the picture to focus on. Consequently I almost always use both front tilt and swing, not only to extend the depth of focus, but to further define the subject matter.
  20. I tilt in virtually every landscape photograph, and swing in about 25%. The person who taught me view camera movements taught me to have whatever I want in focus in focus at the widest aperture (or least to make that the goal) so I am pretty careful about tilt and swings first, THEN stop down to f22 or whatever. I used to stop all the way down and actually noticed a pretty significant difference in sharpness, even in not-huge enlargements. My images are much sharper at f22 than at f64.

    Jorge wondered why he uses movements less in 4x5 than in larger formats. I think it's because larger formats have considerably less DOF, so movements are much more critical. To make an 8x10 portrait at a reasonable aperture like f11, I have to tilt slightly to get the tip of the nose and the catchlights of the eyes in focus.

  21. i have been doing large format photography about 3 1/2 years. for what it is worth, tilting and swinging the lf camera is important for the following reason not on the previous threads. if you stop way down, lens diffraction comes into play. by using tilts and swings to set up the plane of sharpness, it may be possible not to stop down so much and use a more optimal aperature for sharpness. this is the theory taught to me by howard bond. hope this helps.
  22. Let me add that if you are using the focus spread method, you might find my article, referred to previously, enlightening. First, depending on the construction of your camera, it may suggest a method whereby you can enhance the scale you use to determine the spread. Second, it may tell you a method whereby you can skip the use of the table or perhaps make a table of your own appropriate for your needs. Finally, it tells you how to modify the method for closeups. Maybe all that was in the original article, but if not, you can find it in mine.
  23. Forget the "rules" or "methods" for using tilts or swings. Just
    reach around, while looking on the ground glass, and see what
    happens when you use the movements. No rules. Do it
    VISUALLY. This is a visual medium, isn't it? With proper use of
    tilt in flat landscape you should be able to get everything in focus
    wide open, even with long lens. Then, once you have that, you
    stop down the lens. How far? At least a couple of stops further
    than you think necessary. Diffraction is not an issue until around
    f256. Our lenses only go to f90 or f128, stops we use whenever

    As an aside, I just learned (last night) that Edward Weston had
    all his lens set to go way beyond f64.

    Michael A. Smith
  24. "Diffraction is not an issue until around
    f256. Our lenses only go
    to f90 or f128, stops we use whenever

    Now this is something I've always instinctively believed was the case (based on experience, [and there was a post on here with the math recently that seemed to say diffraction at any f stop we would normally use is almost undetectable?]), but there are those who seem to yell "diffraction" as soon as you slide past f22.

    I've always generally preffered to distort the image using smaller f stops rather than tilting things. I always thought I'd be accused of heresy if I actually said so...

    So, is this what you do as well?

    I can see how the two approaches to acheive across the board focus - tilt and twist like a prezel until it's sharp, or close down the lens to a pinhole, would actually give a body of work a different feel.
  25. I think that it is important to respond to the issue of defraction as it concerns stopping the lens down all the way. Michael and Edward Weston obviously did not enlarge their negatives and so defraction would not be as obvious in contact printing. That may be why Michael responded in the manner that he did. However for anyone who has experienced enlarging negatives, the effects of defraction are apparent when one takes the time to determine it for themselves. Defraction is certainly apparent long before the aperature mentioned by Michael. It becomes more of a consideration the larger the degree of enlargement. So I think that while we may be speaking of two different processes, the issue of defraction is demonstratable through emperical scientific process.

    Donald Miller
  26. "Diffraction is not an issue until around f256. Our lenses only go to f90 or f128"

    If I remember correctly, Joel Meyerowitz said most of his daylight Cape Cod shots were at f/90 and around 1/2 second.
  27. While what you say about stopping doen imapcting enlarging is true, the argument holds even for shots made at f/5.6. Any enlargement that exceeds the information thresholds in the negative will show a lack of resolution on the print. Also, even if you were enlarging, it is worth keeping in mind the different effects of a lack of DOF and losses to diffraction. A lack of DOF will show some areas in focus and some not in focus (and particularly in comparison to the parts in focus). However, diffraction is typically first noticed in a loss of resolution in small detail over the entire image area (while large detail will be sharp over the entire image). In general, the latter is less disturbing than the former. So, even if you were enlarging, it could be argued that inadequate DOF is more annoying than diffraction losses. Cheers, DJ
  28. of course, there's also no reason a landscape has to be sharp or in focus from foreground to background.

    Just be cause we can doesn't mean we have to...
  29. i tend to work around the 'sweet spot' in the aperture range... that is, staying as close to the sharpest ap and using moves to bring the rest into focus(if at all possible). as my peer above said so correctly, a little(movement) goes a long way.

    i enlarge mostly,

  30. This is a great Thread!!!!! SOOO much INFO...Thanks Guys!!!!!

  31. pvp


    Paul Hansma's excellent article was the key that gave me an "Aha!" moment in deciphering a few of the mysteries of the large format camera. (For those who haven't read it, it can be found on Q.-Tuan Luong's large format pages. There is also a related article by Stephen Peterson; together, the two articles provide some keen insights into the effects of diffraction and defocus effects. Here are the links to the individual pages of the Hansma article:<P><BR><BR><BR><P>
    In answer to David's question: I use tilt nearly always, swing less often but every shot will be analyzed to see if using tilt and/or swings will bring the scene into better focus. My technique is to first use tilt to align the focus plane from foreground to background, then lock that movement before checking to see if a swing will improve things from side to side. If any swings are used, then I recheck and adjust the tilt, and so on. One or two iterations of this process is all that's needed. At this point you should have as much of the scene in sharp focus as possible. (I'm sure it's possible to make both movements simultaneously, but this works for me.)<P>
    With many scenes, it just isn't possible to get everything sharp at once; that's why we need to stop down for more DOF. At this point, I decide which points will be the near and far limits of the area I want to optimize, and rack the focus in and out to measure the spread, set the camera midway between the two, and use Hansma's formulas to pick the optimum f/stop. Deep breath. Take picture. :eek:)<P>
    I guess the main thing to point out, is that Hansma specifically mandates a couple of "basic principles," one of which is "minimizing the focus spread by using tilts and shifts."
  32. This type of thread comes up every now and again. It seems that some people overcomplicate things so much. I have to agree with Michael A. Smith, just look at the ground glass. That's the great fun of LF! Use tilts/swings to get what you feel is most important in focus (with lens wide open) and then stop way down to get as much as possible of the rest in focus. As DJ said: "it could be argued that inadequate DOF is more annoying than diffraction losses". I agree totally. I regularly shoot 8x10 at f90 if the subject matter requires maximum DOF. Since I only contact print 8x10's, f90 is absolutely no problem.

    When I shoot color 4x5 (for enlarging) I'm not afraid to shoot at f45 if the scene needs it.
  33. Let me give you a scenario, let's say your shooting a landscape on a windy
    day. This will come under the "intuitive" auspices. You want to stop down for
    the maximun depth but due to the wind, you don't want the movement of the
    leaves in the picture. The movements in the front will allow you to use a more
    open apeture giving you a higher shutter speed usually alleviating the
    movement. Pulling a polaroid is always helpful and even better a type 55 so
    you can look at the negative. These are some of the many decisions that we
    contend with and one of the reasons why it takes awhile to compose and
    shoot an image.
  34. Scott brought up an important consideration and one which I face daily since I live and work on the plains. Windy conditions are a fact of life here. That is another reason that I work at achieving focus through the use of movements whenever possible. Even with Tri X rated at it's true EI I have a difficult time with wind. At F32 I am consistantly in the 1/15 to 1/30 second range. It is difficult to stop movement in nearby grass or leaves with those speeds. Throw a filter into the mix and things go downhill further. When I shoot Bergger BPF 200 (at it's true EI) I find myself down another stop and 1/3.

    I think that someone seemed to think that the choice was between defraction loss and unfocused portions of the scene. I don't shoot anything intentionally out of focus, I work at having everything in focus (near to far). Not saying that all things need to be that way, just that my personal ethic is such.

    Again, I also contact print and in that situation defraction does not enter into the equation. I just feel that since probably more of the participants enlarge negatives then contact print that defraction needed to be addressed. The greater the degree of enlargement the greater the apparent effects of defraction, in my experience.
  35. My heartfelt thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to my question. What an extraordinary thing it is to post a question and be able to get almost immediate assistance from experts all over the U.S., and, indeed, the world!

    In response to your responses, I have a couple of additional comments and questions:

    1. I agree with Dhananjay N. that diffraction losses are far less distracting than those due to focus problems. However, my four years of printing LF negatives have convinced me that there really is a visible sharpness difference between pictures I was able to take at f22 and those I had to take at f64. There is a ... pop (sorry, I don't know quite how to put this) to the pictures taken at or near my lenses' optimum apertures that is missing from those taken at the smallest apertures. That is why I have begun to reconsider my unwillingness to use tilt movements.

    2. Leonard Evens, though math is not my strong suit, I will read your article with care. Thank you for pointing me to it. My question to you, and other photographers who use some variant of the focus spread method, is how do you measure focus spread AFTER YOU HAVE TILTED? If I understand the animations on Merklinger's website, once you have introduced tilt, as you rack the standards back and forth to focus, the "wedge" of the in-focus area actually pivots about a line below the camera. If that is true, then surely the near and far points you use to measure the focus spread must be chosen with great care, and (here is the important point) probably will NOT be the same two points you picked to measure the focus spread before you tilted the camera.

    3. Consider the following hypothetical situation: You are standing on the shore of a lake with your camera; there is a mountain rising from the far shore of the lake. You want the low rocks in front of your camera to be sharp, and you also want all of the mountain to be sharp. Obviously your near point for the plane of best focus will be the low rocks on the shore in front of you. But where is the best far point going to be: a. the far shore of the lake? b. half-way up the mountain? c. the top of the mountain? I guess part of what I am asking here is how is the area of acceptably sharp focus distributed around the plane of focus once you have introduced tilt? Is it 1/3 nearside - 2/3 farside, or something else?

    Again, thanks to everyone who had been kind enough to contribute an answer.

  36. pvp


    " do you measure focus spread AFTER YOU HAVE TILTED?"

    Same as with no tilts. That might sound trite, but consider: tilts and swings change the orientation of the plane of sharp focus. With the lens/film tilted, you still only have a plane that is sharply focused; for example the bottom of a foreground object might be tack-sharp, and the top of a tree some distance away, while the base of the tree is not guite sharp, nor the top of the foreground object. You can rack the focus to bring the top of the foreground object sharp, which is now the near point, then rack to bring the base of the tree into sharp focus as the far point. Measure the spread between those two points.
  37. david -- i believe that you will discover that the hansma method works equally well regardless of where the plane of sharp focus lies. needless to say, once you have tilted/swung, you need to be much more astute about measuring your focus spread, since the effects of changing focus will often be nonobvious. this is where the "just rely on the ground glass" crowd has it about right. after applying camera movements, the effect of changing the focus point can be very surprising. you must scrutinize the entire glass to avoid unexpected results. however, once you have a firm understanding of what is going on, and made your aesthetic judgment about what you want in (and maybe out) of focus, you can measure the spread in the normal fashion to determine optimal taking aperture/focus point. you can then compare the spreads from the titled and untilted modes directly to see if your tilt was an improvement. ideally, and this is the basic point, applying a tilt will allow you to reduce the effective distance between your focus points by aligning the plane in such a way as to "slice" the scene as efficiently as possible. the thing that makes assessment of efficiency in this sense tricky is that dof is as much a fuction of magnification as distance from the POF. once you tilt, you can easily exacerbate dof problems with vertical foreground elements where none existed before. again, the gg is an important tool. finally, as to how often one tilts, it would be very interesting to put the answers here on a grid that correlated frequency of tilting with preferred focal length. people do tend to have favored focal lengths and i wouldn't be at all suprised to see that there is a strong connection between tilting habits and preferred lens length.
  38. About your question about using focus spread after tilting, let me first say that you should take anything I've said (as well as anything else your read) with more than a grain of salt. The problem is that the discussions proceed on the basis that there are no focusing errors and you can tell when you have things exactly right. That of course is an idealization not realizable in practice. In particular, my distinction between two parts of the process can't be taken as a hard and fast rule, but I find it helpful to think that way as long as I remember its limitations.

    But back to the question you ask. The important thing is to realize that you are doing two things. Tilting the lens determines the position of the hinge line, and racking the rear standard back and forth pivots the subject plane and the wedge about the hinge line.
    In practice it is not possible to entirely separate these two operations, but conceptually it helps to do so in your mind. When you first choose the near and far points, the purpose is to use them to determine the tilt. Once you fix the tilt, the hinge line is determined. For this purpose, I think it is more important to concentrate on the near point, since no matter what you do, you are not going to get much near depth of field because of the wedge shape of the region. The choice of the far point is a guess based on what you expect to happen with depth of field after you have focused critically and stopped down.

    Having established the tilt, your next problem is determine the dimensions and orientation of the wedge as it pivots about the hinge line. This is done by racking the rear standard back and forth on the rail. (If you have to move the lens instead, except for closeups, it doesn't really make much difference.) You do this more or less the same way you do it when the lens and film plane are parallel. Look in one or more planes more or less perpendicular to the subject plane. In most cases, the tilt will be small enough that you can use vertical planes. In each such plane, note the extreme positions ON THE RAIL you would like in focus. The point on the rail corresponding to your original far focus point will be somewhere between these. Use those extremes to determine the focus spread. Now position the (rear) standard in the middle of the spread. Then use a table (or the method I describe in my article) to determine the needed f-stop from the total focus spread. Stop down and see if everything looks right. (You probably want to stop down further when taking the picture if can manage to do so without compromising other objectives.)

    You may find you need to go back and adjust the tilt slightly and iterate the process.

    The problem with this method, and indeed all methods, is that there is inevitably a certain element of lifting yourself by your bootstraps. The problem is that you can't pick the precise subject plane, and hence the tilt, until you know the size and position of the wedge, but you can't do that until you know the hinge line, which requires knowing the subject planei i.e., the tilt. In choosing the tilt, the near point will usually be pretty clear since it will be close to the hinge line, and pivoting on the hinge line slightly won't make a lot of difference. What you are really interested in the distance is how the wedge interacts with the subject, but you can't figure out the dimensions of the wedge until you have tilted the lens and fixed the hinge line. Different choices on that mountain will make a difference as to where the hinge line lies, and ultimately where on the rail you place the standard and how much you have to stop down. It is here that rules of thumb like one third up the mountain would be useful. But none of them is going to apply in all situations. Which means that you have to practice on different types of scenes until you come up with something that works for you.

    Since the process is basically iterative, you may find that, in practice, you don't want to split it as I have suggested. But I think, no matter what you do, if you keep in mind the different effects of tilting and moving the standard, you will find it easier to keep track of what is happening.
  39. I suggest you find a nearby spot where you can make a series of test photographs. A local park would be fine. The composition does not have to win any prizes, just provide repeatable information. Bring any kind of objects which will help you identify individual negatives later. Make several exposures at different apertures. I made a series of exposures at all apertures (f9 through f128) when I first got my 300mm Nikon M lens. The prints were quite revealing. Make exposures without tilt first. This will show the effect of changing aperture stops. Then try using tilt with different stops. Take your time and make careful notes. The prints will tell the story. If you are testing to see the effect of diffraction make prints of the size you normally make. If you make 8x10 prints, what difference do 32x40 enlargements make? Try to keep the conditions the same as your normal routine. I think this kind of an open forum is very nice. Welcome the sharing of others, but base your final decisions on your own experiments. For the record, I use tilts quite often and swings less often. I generally prefer to keep the back plumb, even in landscapes. I will use back tilt if I want to emphasize the foreground. I usually prefer more quiet images, and use the front tilt so as not to minimize the foreground. I like having the choice. Making actual exposures is one of the best training tools available. Try several ways. Eventually you will be able to visualize the effects. The view camera will spoil you for any other kind of camera. Good luck!

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