What's wrong with these Summicron shots PART-2

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by leon chang, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Following up on my previous thread regarding the diagonals in my Summicron-M 35 f/2 asph- shots, here are some more pictures I scanned. Let's go through them one by one and let me have your comments. I'm still puzzled.... NR 1: This one looks perfectly OK to me, I don't think I tilted the camera or whatever. What do you think? NR 2: Look at how the traffic light on the right seems to be leaning to the left. Look at how the man and other objects in the left lower corner are leaning forward. What's wrong here? The lens? Me? The viewfinder? NR 3: Look at how the television tower in the center and the gray/ white building beside it are leaning a bit to the right. Why is that? NR 4: This shot looks ok to me, what do you think? This leaves picture 2 & 3 questionable........ . Is this something I have to live with when using a 35 mm lens? Please see my previous thread for some more info. Thanks a lot for yr help, this is really important to me. Leon
  2. First, can you shoot one picture that's in sharp focus, please? The first is blurred due in part to a slow shutter speed. The second is not in focus, either.

    Once we have a sharp image perhaps we can find out what the heck is going on.
  3. Leon, What is it that you are asking/looking for that wasn't answered in your previous thread?
    If you want perfectly straight parallel lines and perspective, get a SLR, a tilt/shift lens, a grid
    screen, and a tripod.
  4. 3 & 4 - Normal behavior for a wide angle lens that is tilted up. Your verticals are converging. How often do you shoot w/ a wide? <p>To me, this looks different that what you posted yesterday - those were just crooked = unlevel camera IMO.
  5. If it's so important to you, why haven't you sat down with a tripod, a bubble level, and a reasonable plan to eliminate variables?
  6. You've been sent by Philip Greenspun, yes? <p>
    Even a $5k camera outfit needs pointing in the right direction.
  7. What Keith said. Or, flip-flop on one foot and a boot on the other.
  8. In most of these photos you have converging verticals. On a rangefinder camera like a Leica, you have two options:
    1. You can avoid the problem "in camera" by making sure that the film plane is parallel to the subject plane - that is, by making sure not to point the lens upward.
    2. You can fix the problem in post-processing, for example by using the Photoshop crop tool's "perspective" option as illustrated on this page.
  9. Dear Leon,
    Please find attached a quick and dirty analysis of your four pictures. In every case the camera was both, more or less tilted and rotated. That's a normal thing to occur unless you work with a tripod or take very much care in framing and levelling. This holds true for ANY kind of camera, be it a rangefinder, a waist level finder or an SLR. Don't believe the b*llsh*t that is being spread by the uninformed.
    That said, I know persons who are quite challenged (or untrained) in composing a levelled picture while others seem to have an innate sense for succeeding. One very easy trick to achieve control (which I already mentioned in your previous thread) consists in framing with both your eyes open - which can very easily be done with a RF camera, if you are righteyed. Try it, it works wonders.
    Furthermore, as already explained by the more helpful forum members, keep in mind that wide angle lenses will reveal defects in leveling much more easily than standard or tele lenses. Tilting upwards or downwards will result in converging perpendicular parallel lines, as are very widespread in urban landscapes (walls, poles, etc.).
    BTW, judging from your first two samples you must be quite tall a guy - or wearing high heels most of the time... ;-)
  10. Are we talking about a camera, or sighting in a rifle?
  11. Hey, I always appreciate Lutz's contributions, competence, and effort.
  12. Leon, these pictures show that you are improving. In the first picture, I feel the camera was tilted a bit to the left, causing the train and the building in the background to lean to the right. I don't think it hurts the picture at all! It makes it look a bit dynamic, IMO, as if it's moving.

    In the second picture, I agree with Lutz: camera aimed upward and tilted to the right. Once again, you guided off the left edge of the building, in an effort to compensate for the converging vertical. It looks like you really like to shoot architecture, as do I. If you don't want convergence, you really need a wider lens: a 24, or even a 21. But first, here's a suggestion: hold the camera for a vertical shot (portrait position); keep the back vertical (no tilt) and select only the most interesting part of the building for the shot. If more foreground than you wanted appears in the picture (the street, usually) either crop it out or make it part of the composition.

    The last two shots look very good to me, for hand-held work. Any criticism would be nit-picking.

    You're getting there, Leon.
  13. Way to go , Lutz - I learn something new today.I found with frame lines on M6 it help me compose better with verticals and horizontals. I hopelessly shoot crooked pics with my used to own Canon 1D.
  14. Most look pretty normal for a 35mm lens when the back is not vertical.

    #4 shows an interesting phenomenon. Notice the inward curve to the columns on the left. 35 mm RF Summicrons do not do this. I would believe this to be from the film not being absolutely flat in the scanner carrier.

    Any camera will do the "defects" you complain about unless you put it on a tripod, level the back, and use a perspective control lens.
  15. Leon, my only comment, that may not apply to these pictures, which do appear to be improving and some fine to me, is that you also have to keep in mind that everything built or growing in the world is not plumb and level. My grandfather was a brick mason and it required some skill to repair old structures in a way that looked "invisible" because he often had to balance the defects. I'm not saying that a radio tower will be far out of vertical, but with most architecture and certainly trees, and particularly something like telephone poles and street lights, they will often be out of plumb enough that you have to take the time to examine your composition. I have to do this with respect to perspective also. Even if you have "straightened" everything up, the view through a wide angle lens on an SLR or a good viewfinder for a wide can give you a deceptively enticing perspective, and then you develop the shot, and its blah.

    I agree as others have suggested that you need to try using a tripod about now and take as long as you need to examine everything. Observe. Make notes on a note pad. Few achieve art without hard-earned craft.
  16. Leon, two observations:

    1. In my experience, trying to line up a single vertical line in the subject with one of the vertical framelines often results, paradoxically, in the final picture being out of kilter. Why? In handheld shooting, I find that if I pay too much attention to keeping the camera square on one axis, I tend to neglect the others. I line my shots up better when I shoot quickly and intuitively -- or use a tripod.

    2. I personally find it easier to keep everything lined up "properly" when using a lower magnification viewfinder. When the image is smaller, you can take it all in at a glance, including the frame lines, without the need to scan the viewfinder. Not having to scan the viewfinder with your eye is one of the rarely-touted advantages of the .58 finder. And to focus a 35mm lens accurately, at any aperture and distance, a .58 is all you really need.
  17. Lutz, Mark, Rob

    It's a delight to read your well informed comments. Thanks a lot!

    For everyone's info: I have a 0.72 viewfinder and indeed the view is quite big, often to big to accurately judge. Lutz; You're right I'm a tall guy :)
  18. SCL


    Not to beat a dead horse, the above comments are right on the spot...but, Leon, you really need to practice to achieve the results you desire. The comments suggesting you use a tripod and level are a good starting point in that they will help you train your eye to properly see the scene being photographed. Most of us don't regularly use a level or tripod as they are unwieldy, draw attention, add weight, and of course diminish the spontaneity of taking the picture. Nevertheless, by practicing periodically with the tripod and level, you should begin to build up a series of mental "markers" which will help you get the results you want when you are not using these crutches. Good luck and don't give up in frustration.
  19. You should occasionally become aware that you can crouch down, kneel down, bend down, sit down AND also step on a bench, climb a railing, ... to get a better perspective. Lowering yourself would have helped on the train picture for example. Maybe climbing on a planter around the Reichstag might have helped on some of the others ...

    Think flexibly! And good luck becoming a better operator of your gear, which is - unfortunately - completely innocent of operator misuse.

    One day you will get this all down pat, I wish and hope for you.

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