incline bed on field camera to mimic lowering rear standard

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by bob_estremera, Nov 10, 2011.

  1. This is going to be the first of probably several posts.
    My objective is to add a 6X7 or 6X9 rollfilm back to a view camera for architectural photography in New York City.
    Since I don't have a car and must walk for all photo outings, I am trying to see if I can make a field camera work.
    It appears for the medium format film, I'll need to work with around a 67mm lens, or wider for interiors.
    I want to use the roll film back to lower my cost per shot (film cost plus development) from $5.50 per shot to $1.4 per shot and still have a very sharp, good sized negative from which to work digitally.
    From what I've read thusfar, perspective control, mostly for converging verticals (because I don't know much about adjusting for planes of focus yet), is accomplished with front rise. But I have also read that for really tall buildings, lowering the rear standard is often necessary.
    I have seen on a view camera forum that the lowering of the rear standard, not possible with field cameras, can be simulated by by tilting the whole camera bed upward but that this would require being able to tilt the back and front of the camera forward so they are parallel to each other and the building.
    Comments or corrections please?
     
  2. Yes, doing so will allow you to achieve front rise beyond the the limit of the front standard. Although, check to see that there is enough clearance for the rear lens element and enough lens coverage (lens circle). You may also get more severe vignetting (maybe having to use a center filter). Using a smaller aperture increases the size of coverage.
     
  3. Raising the front standard is the same as lowering the rear standard - it's just a matter of which is more convenient. What kind of lens do you plan to use? If you have a 65mm f8 Super Angulon, an older but affordable lens, this has an image circle of 152 mm, which in practical terms means a maximum of 20mm rise or fall. "Correct" perspective requires the camera back to be vertical and parallel with the subject - of course you can take shots with a dramatic perspective by pointing the camera upwards. If you are trying to photograph a very tall building and do not have enough rising front, #1 option is to try and photograph from an adjacent tall building. #2 option, driven by pure desperation. is to point the camera upwards and swing the back vertical. Then shoot at f64 to get maximum depth of focus at the film plane. Alternatively, $2000 or so will buy a Super Angulon XL with a little more coverage! There is of course also #3 option, which is not to bother about perspective control at all during the shooting stage and fix this either in Photoshop or in the darkroom with swing movements on the enlarger head and lens panel!
     
  4. Some technical cameras (MPP for example) only allow for backward tilt on the front standard, and even if the camera does allow for front and rear forward tilt, there most likely won't be enough flexibility in the compressed bellows to get the amount of rise you need. It doesn't matter whether the rise is achieved through tilts or by straight rise and fall; the bellows still has to connect the front and rear of the camera, and with a large vertical separation between lens and film they need to be flexible enough to allow for that.
    What you need is a camera with a bag or special wideangle bellows. A normal concertina-type bellows used with a 67mm lens just isn't going to be flexible enough. In any case a 67mm lens, even on 6x9, just isn't wide enough for city architecture IME. It'll only give you a 64 degree angle of view, which is about the same as a 28mm lens on the 135 format. For tight spaces and tall buildings you really need an angle of view of about 80 degrees. So you're looking at a focal length of 55mm or less, and with an image circle big enough to allow a good 25mm of movement.
    IMHO you might be better off using 5x4 film with the widest lens you can find and applying as much rise as you can get away with. Then simply crop the required picture out of the slide or negative at whatever size or aspect ratio is most suitable.
     
  5. Just to be clear, some technical cameras do indeed offer only backward tilt relative to the baseboard, but they also have a drop-down baseboard, which effectively tilts the front standard forward relative to the film. Rodeo Joe is of course correct in saying that a technical camera with a normal bellows will not physically allow much rising front, irrespective of lens coverage.
     
  6. You all seem to be saying that my basic premise is flawed. That the field camera is just too limited in terms of movements, bellows and lenses to accomplish my goals. Even if I go to a 4X5 with more front and rear movements and a wide angle 'bag bellows', I still need to have the smallest, lightest setup possible that will give me the movements and accept the 6X7 (6X9) rollfilm back.
    And of course, I want to spend as little as possible on the camera knowing the lenses are going to be the cost.
    I guess my needs are very similar to what a backpacker would choose and would accept compromises regarding function to size of gear. Suggestions on cameras?
     
  7. The Linhof TK S 23 is a folding monorail view camera with 2" of front and rear rise and 2" of front and rear drop combined with 360 degrees of front and rear center tilts and swings. It extends to 13.5" and compresses to 48mm with a wide angle bellows. It folds into a 5 x 6.5 x 8.2" package and weighs 6 pounds without a lens or lensboard. The older TK 23 has the same specs.
    Both cameras uses lenses as short as the 35mm Apo Grandagon 4.5 and as long as the 350mm Apo Tele Xenar.
    In short, they will do everything that you need to do, directly and easily. Except for one thing. They are expensive. But then you get what you pay for. They accept 6x6, 6x7 and 6x9 roll film backs (Linhof ones only).
    The big brother to the TK 23 cameras is the TK S 45 and the TK 45. These also have lots of movement and extend to 19" of extension while measuring 5 x 8.5 x 10" collapsed and weighs 6.6 pounds. They accomodate lenses from 35mm to 400mm. These cameras accept any roll film holder in Graflok or Graphic designs and shoot 67, 69, 612 as well as 45 sheet film. They are more common then the 23 version and are also expensive.
    Both sizes are designed to be used with their base on the bottom or to the side. If mounted sideways then they become yaw free and the shifts become rise/fall movements. That would give rear drop with the 45 model.
     
  8. You all seem to be saying that my basic premise is flawed. That the field camera is just too limited in terms of movements, bellows and lenses to accomplish my goals.
    What it boils down to is this - for general photography for fun, including architecture with plenty of space round the building in question, you will almost never need a lens wider than 65 mm on 6x9 (90mm on 4x5, etc.). In a professional situation, where you must get a picture, no matter what, lenses like the 35mm Apo Grandagon 4.5 come into play - high intrinsic manufacturing costs plus low sales volume means these lenses cost big bucks and also demand the kind of camera Bob Salomon is talking about. As I said, the cheap get-out is to photograph from adjacent tall buildings - shooting tall buildings from street level is very demanding on equipment!
     
  9. But be aware, lenses that cover roll film today are available in even wider focal lengths, Rodenstock's shortest lens for a view camera is a 23mm and while it won't cover 6x9 it will cover 6x6. They also have a 28 and their newest lens, the 32mm 4.5 which will cover 6x9, but not leave any room for movements. And the shorter lenses from 35 to 55 in the Apo Grandagon series are frequently used in architectural photography, especially in urban areas where backing up is not an option or in smaller rooms where larger areas then 65 and up are required.
     
  10. TKS 23 is certainly a WOW camera at a WOW price.
    Since I won't be in a situation of 'having' to take an impossible, or extremely challenging, shot, I might have some more options. I will also have to accept that shooting in those tight corners you mention, or too close to a tall building will not be an option either. The whole thing that is moving me toward this direction is some work I've just gotten taking architectural shots for a company here in New York (digital, wide angle only) and the amazing work I just discovered by Michael Eastman (Havana series) is compelling me to find a way to break into using film for architecture.
    My quest is in it's infancy but that is where I want to be.
    Thanks for all your input.
     
  11. I looked at Michael Eastman's website -- I really like his photographs. A photo of him on his blog shows him using a Cambo Wide, which I think (I may be wrong), has basically only front rise.
     
  12. One hint -- you're in New York -- probably the best place in the world in terms of renting camera equipment. That's what you should focus on until you get to know what will work for you. I suspect you're looking at things that are only going to work with a monorail camera with bag bellows.
    Also, remember that there are many taxis in New York -- you don't have to walk. If Yo Yo Ma can fit his cello in the trunk of a cab, you can fit your camera in the trunk of a cab. Just don't leave it behind...
     
  13. You will likely get most of you want with a 65mm lens on a 4x5 camera, with roll-film back. The first thing I noted when I started using the Technika III, was how little shift I actually needed for most of the architectural images I was after. In tighter situations such as I imagine you may find in New York, or other city with tall buildings and limited possibilities to back away from the subject, yes, more shift will be required. But rarely more than you see is achievable with a camera such as the Linhof Technika. This diagram is from an early catalogue I just happened to have with me now, so I snapped this shot to illustrate the point. Your idea of working with a field camera is well founded. They are very compact and conventient to carry around. Familiarity with it's movements will have you setting up in no time.
    The Technika, still in production, is a superbly versatile piece of equipment, which is why so many have copied it's basic design. The amount of vertical shift achieved here is augmented by the back tilt. To obtain a similar degree of shift, especially with a short focal length lens, one would otherwise be stressing the main bellows to it's limit, and raising the front standard to a greater degree. An alternative camera design would also require the use of a special wide angle bellows. Not so with the Technika. This configuration is very comfortable and stresses nothing.
    00ZaWB-414525584.jpg
     
  14. This Technika looks to be an excellent starting point. I'll do some research on rollfilm backs for it and see what the availability is in general. I've seen Cameraquest so maybe I'll check there.
    Will any of the LF lenses that are 65mm (for WA) and 90mm(?) for normal work?
    Also, for longer exposures, around 15-30 seconds, which print film has the most fine grain, dynamic range (sorry, digital terminology creeping in) and low or no reciprocity failure? I know I'll find myself in churches or other interiors with only natural light.
     
  15. Since I won't be in a situation of 'having' to take an impossible, or extremely challenging, shot, I might have some more options. I will also have to accept that shooting in those tight corners you mention, or too close to a tall building will not be an option either. The whole thing that is moving me toward this direction is some work I've just gotten taking architectural shots for a company here in New York (digital, wide angle only) and the amazing work I just discovered by Michael Eastman (Havana series) is compelling me to find a way to break into using film for architecture.
    Bob, what camera do you have right now? I have just viewed some of Michael Eastman's Cuban pictures - some very nice images, but I would be surprised if he used a view camera (although he could have done) - they look like DSLR work with a tilt/shift lens (maybe 24mm on full frame). If you have a DSLR of adequate quality, your #1 solution would be to rent one of these lenses.
     
  16. Assuming you're using a hybrid workflow, i.e. your film is scanned before being printed. Panorama software allows to re-define the horizon, performing the exact same geometrical transform as the shifts of a view camera. There is more to it than just making vertical edges parallel; there is also a transform in the other direction. See on following example how the upper part of the building is also stretched vertically. Not sure that the perspective correction in PS does exactly that.
    Just use it on a single shot. I use PTGUI, works for me. Hugin is a free alternative based on the same basic tools. For other softwares, check with a trial version before you buy.
    Next come the original and corrected pictures. Abandoned warehouse N of Paris. Hasselblad SWC 38mm Biogon.
    To avoid misunderstandings. The "stretching" of the upper part that I mentioned is not an unwanted side effect. It just restores the top level of the building to the same height as the floor level, just as would be achieved with a wiew camera and a rising front, while in the straight shot, it is vertically compressed by foreshortening.
    00Zabv-414605584.jpg
     
  17. Now the perspective-corrected version of this single shot, obtained with a panorama software.
    00Zabx-414605684.jpg
     
  18. The distortion of the original photograph, presented here by Bernard as a "correction" is easily done even with my own very basic Photoshop Elements 3, which came free with the Epson V700. It is handy to have. I frequently need to fix up stuff sent to me by others, and my own bits and pieces for some web jobs. But it is the cheapo, fast-food alternative to real photography. And you will not know what I am talking about until you have used a camera with movements, and I mean really learnt how to use it. To become familiar with the nature of image circles, and how to place an image plane is worth the work. Nothing beats the satisfaction of getting it right on the film. That is photography to me. It would be sad to have your interest Bob E., and then lose it to the arena of slick effects. Many professional photographers are forced into the fast lane with digital work flow. Commerce demands it. But they also love working with their large format gear for private work. The heart and sole yearns for it.
    This is not to belittle Bernards presentation, and use of the SWC. Obviously it is very well done, .. and I wouldn't mind a Hasselblad SWC either. ;-) But I got hooked on the larger negative, which also lead me to the world of large format lenses, and their various 'personalities'. It's 'all systems go' from here on.
     
  19. Here is a detailed explaanation why, if at all possible, you do NOT want to correct perspective in the computer if you are concerned with the quality of the final image.
    http://www.rodenstock-photo.com/mediabase/original/Entzerren_am_Computer_A4_e_Druck_7860.pdf
     
  20. @ Kevin Parratt
    Nothing beats the satisfaction of getting it right on the film.
    I know, all my cameras are film (although I borrow my wife's powershot on occasion;/).
    and then lose it to the arena of slick effects
    Personally I don't put perspective control in the arena of slick effects. And, I do put the use of Velvia 50 in that arena... Your opinion may vary.
    my own very basic Photoshop Elements 3
    Do you have in mind not just straightening the verticals, but the full procedure outlined in the Rodenstock document linked by Bob Salomon? (interesting reading, by the way).
    I wouldn't mind a Hasselblad SWC either. ;-)
    That was on loan from a friend. My widest lens is a Nikkor 24/2.8 AI. No, take that back. It is my pinhole camera; beats the super angulon.
    @Bob Salomon.
    The point (made in your linked doc) is taken that stretching of the upper part of the picture will degrade the quality.

    A noteworthy point that crossed my mind, that is also spelt out in the Rodenstock document: do not perform the perspective correction 100%; if you do, the viewer's brain will se the verticals as diverging. That is irrespective of whether one does it in-camera or otherwise.
    Anyway, I pointed a possibility to Bob Estremera. The rest is a matter of taste, and budget also.
     
  21. Come on Kevin, you know that Technika brochure photo is misleading. Look at the distance that the bellows is pulled out. I'm betting the lens fitted in that picture is a 180mm focal length minimum, and totally unsuitable for architecture in the city. Fit a 65mm lens focused at a distance and you'll be barely able to raise the bellows at all. A bag bellows and camera capable of taking them is what's needed. And a monorail really isn't that much heavier than a technical camera when all's said and done. It's not as if you're going to handhold the thing - is it?
    I agree that if access to a building opposite the subject is available, then the need for extreme wideangle coverage and a lot of front rise may be obviated. Another option would be to park a cherry-picker next to the building and shoot from that, but let's be realistic huh?
     
  22. Hi guys,
    Been out all day shooting with a 450D and 10-22 zoom. Very little distortion but can't avoid the verticals problem. Although it's surprisingly easy to fix on building that are not terribly tall.
    Michael Eastman does use a 4X5 and film. He also uses PS as his 'digital darkroom'. I correct verticals now in PS and will be using a great program shortly call Altostorm Panorama Corrector 2. You can make the verticals parallel or leave just a touch of keystoning in for a more, to my mind, natural look.
    And I totally want to get it right in camera. Canon TSE with 5dMk2 is an almost $5K package and the yearn for film is getting strong.
     
  23. "Will any of the LF lenses that are 65mm (for WA) and 90mm(?) for normal work?"
    A master Technika, Super Technika V or a Super Technika IV can use a lens as short as 55mm. On the Master there is a lift-up top flap on the camera body to allow additional rise with very short lenses. With the Master Technika 2000 (discontinued) and the current Master Technika 3000 ultro short lenses from 35mm to 65mm fit the inside the body extreme wide angle focusing track inside the body so no special boards are required to use the lense up to 65mm. On the Master Technika Classic, the V and the IV a special series of helical focusing lens boards are required for each lens from 65mm down. There was, in the past, a special Wide Angle Focusing device that could be mounted to the front standard of a IV, V or Master that focused 65mm and shorter lenses mounted on a special Technika 23 lens board. Neither that device or the special board are currently in production.
    The III to the V are much more difficult to use with lenses shorter then 72mm and have limited rise ability compared to a Master Technika of any type.
     
  24. Just wanna' chime in on the Technikas ... I have one, and I love the hell out of it. Absolutely amazing camera. Thing is mine is the Technika III, which (A) cannot use super-wide lenses without serious modifications, and (B) has limited front movements. I do mostly portraiture, so no worries there. For me, the lens (mine is a Schneider 150) is more important than the movements. For you though, you really need the Technika IV or later, and there's a pretty good price jump between the III and IV.
    If you do get a field camera, A+ on those.
    That said, I wouldn't. The front standard affects focus, aside from the rise/fall movements. The rear standard affects perspective. While the Technikas have a lot more movement in the rear standards than most field cameras (which usually have none), they still offer fewer movements than even cheap monorail cameras. Even a run-of-the-mill Cambo will give you more movements than the Technika, greater freedom of motion within those movements, and will make their movements relative to a central axis. That last part is a really big deal for architecture.
    Buildings are (theoretically) straight. Swinging the rear standard to the side on a monorail camera still keeps the film plane totally straight. On a Technika, you need to eyeball it. Even then, you might bump it out of alignment when tightening down the screws that hold the rear standard.
    If you want a field camera, buy the Technika. Or if money is an issue, buy the Wista version. If you want the best tool for the job, buy a monorail camera. You can even buy one made specifically for roll film backs, and these are often cheaper than regular 4x5 monorails.
     
  25. Zack, can you recommend a monorail specifically designed for roll film backs? I don't thing I've seen such a thing.
     
  26. Zack, can you recommend a monorail specifically designed for roll film backs? I don't thing I've seen such a thing.
    Just a little research required! Try this:
    http://www.linhofstudio.com/products/cameras/linhof/linhof.html
    All monorails in the 6x7/6x9 format are intended for use with roillfilm (or digital) backs. Sheet film in the 6.5 x 9cm or 2 1/4 x 3 /4" is obsolete, certainly in color, just the odd batch of b+w every now and again.
     
  27. Rodeo Joe :
    Come on Kevin, you know that Technika brochure photo is misleading. Look at ...​
    R.J, "Look at .. what?" It illustrates the method of obtaining more effective shift than what as available as actual shift on the lens standard. In fact, after carefully re reading my posts, and studying the image, I can not see how in any way, anyone in his right mind could find it misleading at all.
    However, when I first acquired my early model III, I was very much in the dark, and managed to find a few bits and pieces on the net. Then I came across the booklet, (sorry, it's not a brochure) .. "Linhof Technique Data Sheets". I have spent a few hours, with the data sheets, and camera on the table, and tried everything. It is a very informative publication. Here is the front cover.
    00Zb38-415053684.jpg
     
  28. Zack, can you recommend a monorail specifically designed for roll film backs? I don't thing I've seen such a thing.
    Just a little research required! Try this:
    http://www.linhofstudio.com/products/cameras/linhof/linhof.html
    All monorails in the 6x7/6x9 format are intended for use with roillfilm (or digital) backs. Sheet film in the 6.5 x 9cm or 2 1/4 x 3 /4" sizes is obsolete, certainly in color, just the odd batch of b+w every now and again.
     
  29. David, 4x5 monorails are plentiful and usually cheaper than many 6x9 monorails. Were you to get a 4x5, and a suitable roll-film back, you will be well on the way and with the possibility of working with 4x5 should you wish to try your hand. Linhof Kardans of various eras come up frequently. They certainly are cheaper than Technikas, simply because they are not such complex constructions.
    However, here is the list of contents for the Data Sheet book shown above.
    00Zb3J-415055584.jpg
     
  30. Bob E., given that you were completely satisfied with roll film, and actually there is no better time to use film than now, the ideal medium format technical camera for your work would be the one mentioned earlier in the thread, the Linhof Technikardan 23. Yes, price is another thing, and that is to do with your committment. But the camera is a work of engineering art. It combines features of both the Technika and Kardan systems. If you can afford it, the search ends here. I've seen a few eBay with the wide angle bellows included. They come and go. (My previous post was addressed to David. Sorry, it's getting late here ;-)
     
  31. David, 4x5 monorails are plentiful and usually cheaper than many 6x9 monorails.
    This is very true, Kevin. I am well aware of this, having spent a number of years doing LF studio photography with 4x5 and 8x10 monorails (De Vere and Sinar) and presently owning 4x5 and 8x10 Sinar Normas. However, my impression from the OP was that size and weight are an issue, and I find a 4x5 monorail too heavy and bulky to consider carrying far, at least at the age I am now (mid-60s). If I was trying to do what the OP wants to do, I'd go for a 6x9 monorail or ideally a shift camera (Silvestri, etc.), which is really the tool for the job for architectural photographers and even offers the option of hand-holding with a shift applied. If I was not working in the tight spaces of an urban environment, I'd work quite happily with my Crown Graphics, either the 2x3 with a 65mm lens or the 4x5 with a 90mm.
     
  32. Yes David, and there are literally numerous alternatives, with every consideration met within in the various designs. One of the most interesting to appear in recent years is the Arca Swiss Misura: light-weight, compact, portable, beautifully built, and taylor made for the urban architect.
    I also saw a late model 6x9 Technika recently - complete outfit: Super Rollex 6x7 mags and two lenses. Absolutely gorgeous. A few half hearted bids appeared, then someone seeing it for it's true worth, snapped it up for the very reasonable 'Buy now' price. So it goes. And so I must go too. Here's me with the Technika III in Norway 2010. (... which takes a 'Rapid Rollex' 6x7 roll film holder.)
    Cheers, Kevin.
    00Zb6p-415105684.jpg
     
  33. "
    Zack, can you recommend a monorail specifically designed for roll film backs? I don't thing I've seen such a thing."
    Linhof TK s23.
    Linhof M679cs
    Linhof Techno
    Are all current 23 monorails.
     
  34. My mistake about not seeing any dedicated 6X9. I had found the Linhof cameras and didn't realize that all of them were 'automatically' intended for roll film backs.
    I've seen the Linhof Super Technika IV 4x5 Camera with 150/5.6 Fujinon-W Lens - $1200 on eBay too. And Kevin, that Misura, that one really looks just about perfect.
    You guys have been really great and have given me a wealth of knowledge from which to narrow down my choices. Thanks for all the fun help regarding the cameras.
    Very best shooting to you all, Bob
     
  35. Bob,
    The TK series predates digital and today works for film and digital.
    The M679 and the Techno were developed for digital (digital demands that camera controls be much more precise then film requires) but also accept roll fim backs.
    If the primary use is digital and the secondary use is film them the M679 or the Techno would be best. If the primary use is film and digital is secondary or not a concern then the TK would be best.
    You can download the Linhof brochures for these cameras here:
    http://www.linhof.de/download_e.html
     
  36. Yeah Bob, I had come across the Linhof line. Quite fantastic cameras that cover everything you can want in the format. I think my first step will be to get one of the budget alternatives that have come up in the thread, put a 67 roll film back on, grab a standard lens and just tote the thing around. Have some fun. Live with what it gives me. Get a basic scanner (V600) just so I can create a workflow. I know I can't approach photography like I do now. I'll have to be more strategic with my opportunities and keep to a given area of the city for each outing. When I fall in love with the format and get somewhere with the basic setup, I'll be able to investigate the next step up.
    Hey, about that question I had earlier about a nice fine grain film with low reciprocity? Fuji?
     
  37. Bob E., you're most welcome to whatever we can offer. Remember, that even if you can't afford state-of-the-art equipment now, that is in terms of the current market, there is some truly excellent equipment out there ready for the pickings, and you can always replace or add to the outfit at a later date. Turn the clock back a 100 years or so, and there would not have been a single photographer who wouldn't be totally in awe at even the most basic monorail on the eBay recycling heap. They would have lugged around some of the most cumbersome outfits, including mobile labs for preparing wet plates. It is easy to forget how lucky we are.
    Jonathan Eastland said in his Leica R Compendium, in notes about the ideal lens for this or that. "If you can't dig any deeper into your pocket, dig deeper into you imagination"
    Regarding "..nice fine grain film with low reciprocity.." Best if you take this question to the Film & Processing forum. Do a search before you post. This been discussed over and over, and there are several folk ready to share what they know about the current lines. Don't forget to specify B&W and/or colour, and how you intend to use it. It saves time having to read minds and asking the OP to give more information "so we can help you".
    Good luck, Kevin ;-)
     
  38. "Hey, about that question I had earlier about a nice fine grain film with low reciprocity? Fuji?"
    I would defer that to the film manufacturers.
     
  39. Bob E.
    For the initial learning process, there are 3.25 X 4.25, instant pack-film backs, that fit 4 X 5 cameras, and accept currant and readily available, Fuji instant pack film.
    The 10 shot film packs cost between $7.00-$9.50, less than a buck a shot.
    If interested, the used backs you're looking for are the Fuji PA-145, or the Polaroid 405.
    Marc
     

Share This Page