Limitations of Non-Movment Camera

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by cjbecker, May 14, 2012.

  1. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Ok so I have a problem and I need some help with it. Here is a little back ground first. I shoot medium format and large format camera. The medium format camera has no movements and the large format has full movements. This question is geared towards shooting portraits, with a tripod. 3/4 to full body portraits.

    For portraits I prefer to shoot eye level, and with the camera Level so I do not get any weird changes in proportions (not sure if thats the right word to use). I’m talking about like the equivalent of tilting a wide angle up and down.

    With the large format camera I put the lens at eye level, with the camera level, then drop the back down so it’s composed with the head at the top of the frame.

    With the medium format that does not have movements, I put the camera at eye level, and also with the camera level, but then it’s not composed the way that I prefer. The subject is in the bottom of the frame with lots of room above there head. The only way to correct that is but tilting the camera down or lowering the whole camera, but that either makes the proportions wrong, or makes the subject look down at you. Neither that I like.

    Is there any way around the problem of framing without a camera with movements?
     
  2. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Shoot the medium format camera handheld, and that way you can more easily choose the height. Or get barber's chair with a pneumatic rise column?
     
  3. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Hand holding does not change the fact that I prefer to have the camera level and at eye level with the subject.
     
  4. Allen Friday

    Allen Friday Member

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    Back up and use a longer lens on the MF camera. You will need more studio space, but the effect of tilting the camera down will be much less noticeable.
     
  5. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    So under the original circumstances, it’s not possible without movements?
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Crop the top?
     
  7. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    I don’t want to waste neg, I crop in camera.
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Put your subject on apple boxes so they are taller than you.
     
  9. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Then they are not at eye level.

    This is getting fun. :smile:
     
  10. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I shoot portraits with 35mm and sometimes MF. As long as I use relatively long lens, say 80mm and up for 35mm and 150mm for MF, prospective distortions aren't noticeable. It's quite common to keep the lens at subject's eye levels so you don't get this "looking up" or "looking down" (relative to subject's face) views which are used on purpose from time to time for specific effect. I don't use LF so I never have the benefit of movements but I never felt a need for one especially taking portraits of any kind.
     
  11. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    The only other option is to accept distorted negs and tilt the easel when printing to restore the correct perspective. But then you will have to ensure adequate depth of field when printing.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As Allen suggests, if you're close enough to be getting excessive distortion, then use a longer lens and back up. This is a completely normal photographic situation.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Have the subject lean forward slightly, and have the camera slightly lower than eye level and use a longer lens
     
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  15. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    I don't know if I understand your problem exactly.
    When you say "I put the camera at eye level" I suppose you mean subject eye level.
    If this is a "headshot" (primissimo piano, you only frame the head, from neck to top, with little room above head) the eyes should be at half height of the frame, you should have no problem.

    If this is a "bust" portrait (primo piano, from half chest up, leaving more room above the subject) maybe the eyes, depending on how you frame, would fall a bit above the middle of the frame. If you now put the camera at "eye level" you again have more space above the head in the picture, but you shouldn't have putting the camera at eye level as a goal.

    In this situation, I would just leave the eyes in the upper middle of the frame. I would just keep the camera "level" (and the subject "vertical") and frame without regard of the relation between subject eye and lens axis.

    If this results in "too big a nose" then your lens is too wide-angle for portrait and there is nothing one can do for that.

    Generally speaking close portrait lens are, on 35mm, around 85 - 100mm of focal length, i.e. they are slight tele lens ("portrait tele lens" so called not by chance :smile: ).

    With medium format you should use a focal length of around 135mm, keep the camera "level", and you should be able to frame your subject for a close headshot without any unnatural distortion and without any need to place the eyes of the subject in line with the axis of the lens, I suppose. You would focus on the eye closer to the camera, but there's no need to keep the eyes at the same height of the lens axis.

    Fabrizio
     
  16. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It's not a waste, it's a choice. Movements or cropping?
     
  17. DesertNate

    DesertNate Member

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    If your subject looks down at you when you shoot a normally composed photo, you're WAY too close and your lens is too short. Triple your focal length and take 4 steps back.
     
  18. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi clark

    can you point us to a portrait in your portfolio ( here on on your website ) that shows
    the style you are trying to recreated with your mf camera ?
    while i understand what you are trying to do ( rise+tilt )
    the easiest way to do that with a MF camera is to back up and use a longish lens, flatten the perspective &c.
    unless you are able to tilt your enlarger head and baseboard .. then you do one movement when you take the photograph
    and the other, when you make your print ... either that, or get yourself a MF camera that has a flexible body, so you can do all the things with it that you do with your LF camera ...

    good luck !
    john
     
  19. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Here is the thing. I prefer to use a lens in the normal range for portraits. This is for the 3/4 to full body. I dont really like how a long lens makes the image unintimant. For head shots I am still using a normal lens. 80 for 6x6 and 150 for 4x5. I love how they show intamicy in the portrait. You feel like you are right there with the subject.


    Then I am also doing envirmental portraits with a wide angle. 50 of 6x6. This is where the problem is most dominent. This was what i was doing last night and got frustrated. It was impossible to compose.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2012
  20. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    You either have to use a longer lens and stand back, or deal with the situation you now have.
     
  21. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    CJB137.jpg

    This is the style with the large format where I place the camera a eye level (or close) and then drop the back to compose.

    I don’t really have any good ones to show of the environmental with the wide angle, it’s not something thats normal for me I just plan on shooting more. I have some undeveloped negs of this circumstance though.
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    This is where Twin-Lens Reflexes and Hasselblads without prisms come in handy.

    Lower the camera and look down to compose. Then glance up and make eye contact with your subject as you shoot.
     
  23. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Then again the camera is looking up at them.
     
  24. dnjl

    dnjl Member

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    I think I understand what you're trying to say, and no, I don't think there's a workout that doesn't involve camera movements to achieve this. If you really need to use medium format, you could try a roll film back on your view camera, or invest in a Fuji GX680.
     
  25. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    Oh, well, for that, it's either you have movements, or you don't have them.

    For the medium format you can try some adapters like those:

    http://www.zoerk.com/

    you have to use a lens with a larger-than-normal image circle and adopt it to a MF through an adapter which gives you "movements". Some adopters give you both movements.

    In your case it is probably faster to just use a LF camera with a roll film adapter on the back.
     
  26. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    Thats what i’m thinking. I just need to have a medium format camera with movements. The gx680 does look it would be what I would like. But will probably end up getting a rollfilm back for the 4x5.

    I was just setting up th medium format and also the large format in my room, trying to see how I could get the medium format to achieve the style that i’m going for and I don’t think it’s possible in a quick fashion or easy fashion.