perspective correction - which combo to use?

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by geoffrey goldberg, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. I was wondering if people had particular viewpoints on which lens/combo to use to
    address wide angle shooting with perspective correction. Yes,view camera is ideal, but not
    for handheld work. The search is for the most portable for street architectural shots (hand
    held). So the options are either MF or 35 mm with a very good PC lens. I'm posting this in
    MF, as the lens knowledge here tends to be better!

    A few options seem to suggest themselves: Hassy or other with Hartblei, Rollei with
    Schneider 55 PC, Contax 35 mm with Zeiss 35 mm PC lens, any 35 mm with Schneider 28
    PC, or the Canon or Nikon choices.

    Have people had experienc with these? Looking to figure out the right way to get very high
    quality images, with handheld PC correction, and ultimately include some digital work.It is
    important to be able to check the composition, before taking, thus ruling out pro-shifts,
    Horsemans, etc.

    Or is this quest in vain?

  2. Keith Laban Photography
    "Looking to figure out the right way to get very high quality images, with handheld PC correction"
    Correcting perspective is an exacting enough task when the camera is bolted to a tripod. I use an ArcBody and wouldn't even consider using it handheld for this tpye of work even if I could. I suppose you might get away with using 35mm and a PC lens with further work in Photoshop but frankly if you really want high quality images you'll probably be fighting a loosing battle. Sorry.
  3. I agree with Keith.

    PC and handheld is almost an oxymoron.
  4. Another possibility might be a very wide-angle rectilinear lens, and cropping. Cosina ("Voigtländer") sell cheap 15mm and even affordable 12mm lenses, and (if you don't already have a suitable body) almost give away Bessa L bodies for them. Of course they'll need a tripod just as much as would the alternatives discussed above -- but they're smaller and lighter, and you might get away with a lighter tripod as well.
  5. Geoff - Folowing up on Peter's suggestion, I use the following technique occasionally - ideally with a tripod - but sometimes hand held. Pentax 67 body with 45 mm lens or Fuji 6x9 rangefinder with 65 mm lens. Take the picture vertically (portrait)with the subject in the top half of the frame. Then crop to 645. Followed by some Photoshop work. A Fuji 6x9 is probably cheaper than a PC lens for 35 mm.
  6. i have spent the past 20 years doing architectural work with a variety of systems - pretty much all 4x5" for the past 15 years. however, before the LF work, i did a large amount of handheld architectural work for book projects and documenting historic resources for cities, counties, and historical societies. i used both the pentax 67 with the 75mm shift lens, and the mamiya 645 with the 50mm shift lens. earlier i also used a nikon F2 with the 28mm PC nikkor. the 35mm system was not adequate in my opinion due to softness at the edges when shfited to any significant degree. both the pentax and mamiya systems were far better, and i never had any big problems handholding them. i used WL finders on both systems because it is much easier to brace the camera against your body to ensure a stable shot. the 75mm on the pentax worked prett well for most views, but ultimately is not quite wide enough for everything i needed to do. the 50mm shift on the mamiya is wider, the system is smaller and suffers from less mechanical motion due to mirror and shutter slap, and was in my opinion the better choice, although i prefer larger negatives. these days, where literally everything is scanned for publication or duplication, you might consider a mamiya 7ii with the 50mm lens, or the mamiya 645 with a 45mm and do your perspective control using software. if your goal is darkroom prints, i would recommend the mamiya 645 with the 50mm shift.
  7. I've used a Pentax 28mm f3.5 shift lens on my K1000 handheld on many occassions with no real problems. This particular lens has built in skylight, orange and yellow filters, so is particularly convenient if using b&w. If you shift beyond the recommended limits (which depend on orientation) the edges will get a bit soft. If you look hard enough you will also find a bit of chromatic abberation. These are problems suffered by most retro-focus wide angle and shift lenses. It is still a very sharp, high quality lens. I also use an old Nikkor 35f2.8 PC which is good, but the wider angle of the Pentax is often more useful. You may be able to use a medium format equivalent of this set-up hand-held, but personally I would prefer either of the Horseman, or Pro-shift that you have ruled out or a baby view camera used on a tripod. If going to this kind of expense they are likely to give better quality than a compromise design retro-focus shift lens.
  8. I thought the Hartblei is only available for focal plane shutter 645 cameras, so not for Hasselblad? For handheld use I would stick either with a 645 or 6x7 rangefinder and crop, or use 35mm camera with PC lens. Couple of options that you did not mention are Pentax 67 and its 75 mm shift lens and R Leica with its current 28 and old 35 PA lenses that can also be fitted to some other bodies. Yet another alternative would be XPan or other non-swing panoramic held upright and cropped from the bottom to shorter negative length (I have an example of this in my sadly still uncomplete website To get really straight images the most important thing is to keep the camera level. The lens then just have to be wide enough to cover the building.
  9. Thanks for the feedback. I guess there isn't an easy answer here. Anyone recommend a
    handheld 4x5, sort of a speed graphic approach? Would a Technica or some sort of field
    camera with a 6x7 roll back make sense? Big and heavy, but is it much worse than all the
    other MF systems with lenses?

    Don't mean to beat the subject around too much, but there is a wealth of experience here.
    Trying to juggle portability, composition (thus prefer not cropping afterwards - part of the
    sport is framing it right!), and quality. Age old quest?
  10. I have no experience of this kind of thing and no advice to offer that isn't merely what I remember or misremember of what I've read. Still, I'm puzzled by your reluctance to use a tripod. Why not use one? This isn't just a rhetorical question: if you say what you dislike about a tripod (for "street architectural shots"), maybe someone (not me) can give useful advice.
  11. geoff - i have also used a 1948 crown graphic for handheld architectural work over the years (it has been my "snapshot" camera on vacations for many years), and that approach can work, but is quite a bit more cumbersome than any of the MF solutions. if you go that route, consider kodak readyloads and readyload holder. but again, the mamiya 645 with the 50mm shift is a perfectly useable handheld system for architecture - i have done thousands of negs that way for the collections of the oregon historical society. tripods are always a better solution in general, but i have had fine success using both the pentax 67 and mamiya 645 systems for handheld work with no problems. feel free to email me if you have some specific questions i can answer.
  12. I've been using various shift adapters from Zork ( - some of which use P67 lenses, other Mamiya on either 6x4.5 or 35 / digital bodies.
  13. I have a Technika 4x5". It has no lensboard attached wire frame finder, so forget it for your handheld job. Shifting with the 4x5" WA lens (90mm) is nearly impossible. So with a rollholder your're limited to use movements with a portrait-focal length.

    Maybe you'll like a Plaubel Makina Pro-shift.

    My friend the Leica-junky isn't pleased with the results of his Schneider shift lens for 35mm.
  14. Don't know whether you are into digital, but I've had great success using a Mamiya 6 and correcting perspective with the "warp" function in Picture Window Pro. The Mamiya 6 is, of course, a good option for handheld MF.

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