Question about asymmetric tilts

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Michael R 1974, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    The view cameras I've used all had base tilts so I have no experience with asymmetric. I know everyone has their preferences, but I'm trying to figure out if there is ever an advantage to base tilts vs (fixed axis) asymetric tilts when focusing. The applications I'm concerned with are landscape/urban landscape and architetcure. Not close-up or studio work.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Mark_S

    Mark_S Subscriber

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    On my camera I can tilt the lens in two ways, one is a base tilt, and one is rotating across the axis of the lens. I do mostly landscape, and use movement mostly to adjust the plane of focus, rather than perspective control.

    In the end both axis and base tilt do the same thing, but most of the time, I prefer the axis tilts since they are more independent of focus.

    I usually set up the camera, and focus on one portion of the image (point A) that I want in focus, I then add movement to bring a second point (point B) that I want in focus into sharp focus, then go back and adjust focus to get point A back into focus, and iterate until both points are in sharp focus at the same time, then adjust aperture to pull everything else that I want into focus, and expose. When using base tilt, I find that after I do the movement to bring point B into focus, there is more focus adjustment needed to get point A back, and more iterative steps until I have both in sharp focus.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Asymmetric tilt gives

    -) a larger way over which to move the outer part of the image into focus

    -) (in case of adjustable tilt axis) the ability to place the axis at one point that needs to be in focus and then swing it untill the other important pont is in Focus.
    Then the framing can easily be corrected again. Makes life easy...
     
  4. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Thanks. Mark, that's how I've always worked too.

    AgX, got it, but are there circumstances under which it might actually be an advantage to have base tilts instead of asymmetric tilts? (of course assuming the asymmetric axis is fixed).
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Base tilt is asymmetric.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    With base tilt the axis is even out of the image area. That disqualifies it for being asymmetric.
    (Of course this all depends on definition.)
     
  7. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    True. Of course I mean asymmetric within the image area/ground glass.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    You can find different ways of working with any system.

    The attraction of asymmetric tilts is that you can focus at the tilt/swing axis on the groundglass, tilt/swing the rear standard, and whatever is in focus at the axis will remain in focus while you tilt to find your second focus point. And then if you want the tilt on the front standard rather than the rear standard, you read the tilt angle using the scales or a separate device, and then apply the opposite tilt/swing to the front standard, and reset the rear standard to the neutral position, adjusting focus and composition using rise/fall/shift as necessary.

    For tabletop work, this is attractive, because the DOF is short and you might have a lot to get in focus, so cameras that have this feature tend to be studio cameras like the Sinar P and Linhof Kardan Master GTL, which have geared movements and scales. I know Ebony has asymmetric tilts and swings as well, but do they have scales? Without scales, you would need a device like a clinometer-compass to measure the tilt and swing angles to transfer movements from the rear to the front standard.

    In distant landscapes, it's not usually such an important feature, since the tilts and swings tend to be fairly slight. For architecture, where you're using rise/fall/shift more than tilts and swings, except for indirect rise/fall/shift, asymmetric tilts aren't so useful.
     
  9. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    David, as far as I know the Ebony cameras (even the "U" models with asymmetric tilts) don't have any scales. I assume everything would be done by eye.

    My question has more to do with something like a Sinar P2 vs a Sinar F2, or a Sinar P2 vs any of the Arca Swiss cameras (which don't have this feature).
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    A Sinar P/P2 lets you determine the tilt angle on the rear standard by eye, and the scales let you apply that movement relatively easily to the front standard, if you want front tilt instead of rear. You could do the same on a camera without scales, like the Ebony, as long as you have a device for measuring the tilt and swing angles.

    An F/1/2 lets you determine the tilt angle with a built-in calculator, based on the near and far focus points that coincide with dashed lines on the groundglass, and once you know the angle from the calculator, you can apply it to either standard.

    Both work pretty well. The P is a bit faster to use, but the F is more portable.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Got to play with a Sinar F once, and use the scales. It is darn handy when you have a well defined plane you are trying to focus on.
     
  12. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Indeed. My first LF camera was a Sinar A1. Should never have sold it. That's why I'm thinking about trying to find a Sinar F2 or a P2 (asymmetric tilts).
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I actually had the great good luck of having Per Volquartz show me how to use it, it was his camera and we were at the mining museum in Tonopah Nevada.

    The most direct way I can put this is that asymmetric focusing moves LF from the realm of toy to tool.
     
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  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Sinar patented two completely different systems of yaw-free settings, one designed for the P-series, the other for the F series. Then other folks marketed yaw-free when their patents expired. This kind of control might be helpful in certain tabletop studio settings or for architectural photography when you're dealing with fairly consistent planes. ... But frankly, I don't pay any attention to it anymore, since I mainly encounter complex plane of focus issues in landscapes. And for architectural shots I generally level the camera first anyway. But I do use both axis-tilt and base-tilt cameras, or ones with both features, and it's just a matter of staying in practice with either. ... Having good equipment and being comfortable enough with it to operate spontaneously is far more important in my opinion than the general debate.
     
  16. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Here is a thought that has always messed with my sensibilities….

    If you have a lens with a very limited amount of movement, like my 65mm Grandagon, 170mm IC, 10mm of rise / fall / shift, would it not be better to apply rear tilt / swing rather than front tilt / swing since when you do the former, you are tilting or swinging the projected "Cone" of image circle all around rather than the back movements being adjustments to the plane of focus only?

    I just want to know if I am correct in my thinking that you would less likely run out of image circle if you make tilts and swings using the rear standard…is this right?
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Yes PMK-25, less likely to run out of movement, BUT back swing and tilt messes with the geometry of the subject matter, parallax etc... Front swing and tilt does not.
     
  18. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Ah, right, like the David Muench "Flowers in your Face" effect. The 65mm is the only lens I have with a small IC / limited movements, the rest are either at or beyond the limits of the movements of my camera, so not really an issue.
     
  19. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    One should become proficient with both back and front movements, or using them combined.
     
  20. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    One? I would think we all should...:tongue:
     
  21. pasiasty

    pasiasty Member

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    parallax with a view camera?
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I may not be using the right word there.

    What I'm referring to is the manipulation of the geometric relationships of the subject matter within the composition.
     
  23. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Drew, if memory serves, you are a Sinar user. I'm considering going back to Sinar after having gone to field cameras for a while. This is for 4x5 only, nothing larger. My first Sinar was an A1 (basically an F1 with a flat rail). I'm considering an F2 or a P2 at this point. Any thoughts? Some people (mostly Arca fans) say the P Sinars are much better than the F models. Obviously the P2 is heavy as hell, but I'm not sure I care much about that anymore. I'd rather have the most precise camera. But I always found the A1/F1 to be pretty good, so I'm wondering if the P2 is worth the extra weight. The nice thing about the P2 is the asymmetric tilt, but not a necessity - some people find asymmetric tilts, DoF scales, angle calculators etc. on the Sinars to be just gimmicks. Note sure.

    Have you ever made use of the DoF or angle calc aids on your Sinar(s)?
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I mostly shoot an 8x10 Phillips, but I had all kinds of Sinar odds n' ends laying around and luckily found a relatively clean old 4x5 Norma with the
    original tapered bellows in exceptional shape - much more versatile than the later Sinar square bellows, although they're interchangeable. It's
    a wonderful system for both architecture and for very long focal length lenses - just a pound heavier than similar Sinar F2 configurations, but
    distinctly more stable, and still far lighter and more portable than the P series. I did learn all those depth of field calculator things etc, but
    quickly ignored them. The Norma is not yaw-free like the F and P series, but for me this is a non-issue. Yaw free helps if you're doing swings
    and tilts at the same time when the camera is not level, like pointing down on a tabletop shot with a consistent plane of focus. In landscape
    photog things are generally just to complex for any rote formula like that, and in architecture one generally levels the camera first. People do
    love their Arcas too, but Sinar is way more abundant and more affordable at this point, and certainly easier to find parts and components for.
    If you do go for a Sinar F make sure it isn't a Frankensinar stitched together from mismatched standards then deceptively described. The
    true F2 front standard is much more durable than the 4x5 F1 or F+. The F2 metering back on the rear standard might not be important, but
    the spring is softer form inserting darkslides. For sheer durability the Norma system is superior to the F, though the F is smoother to operate,
    and the trick with any Norma is to find one still in good condition - they're easy to tune-up if everything is there and not worn out.
     
  25. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Thanks for the response. I agree "yaw free" is no big deal for me considering the photography I do. You can work around it anyway, but in fact I can't recall a single time I even had to deal with it, and there are only a handful of situations in which I've even needed simultaneous tilt/swing.

    Interesting you mention the Norma. Mark Citret got back to me to answer some of my questions about the Toyo VX125 and he said he actually sold the Toyo about ten years ago and went back to using the Norma.

    It's such a difficult decision. I don't use long lenses, so that helps. My longest lens is a 300mm and I really only use it at fairly long distances. I'm down to that Toyo model, Sinar, Arca, and perhaps a non-folding Ebony. The Ebony is obviously somewhat of an outlier in the mix in that it has no scales, indicators, nothing. But there are plenty of photographers who find all the scales virtually useless anyway. I didn't use them much on the Sinar A1. The Ebony and the Sinar P would offer asymmetric tilts, but I'm not convinced this is a deal-breaker feature. Maybe you can save a few iterations vs base tilt if one of your focus points falls nicely on the axis, but people did without asymmetric movements for a long time. Still not crazy about a wooden camera, but who knows.

    The jury seems to be out on rigidity when it comes to Sinar vs Arca. It appears to be one of those things. Some people love Sinar, others swear by Arca. The Arca F-lines appear to be slightly more portable than a P2. Lots of Sinar parts out there, but not a lot of full cameras, and you make an important point about franken-cameras when it comes to any modular system. And I'm having a lot of trouble when looking at used F2 cameras. You just don't know what you're getting. If I decided to buy something new, the problem with Sinar is I don't even know who distributes it in North America anymore.

    Another option is of course the Technikardan 45s. Some people complain about rigidity at longer extensions, but since I rarely need more than ~30cm (and usually considerably less), I'd be far from its maximum extension so perhaps rigidity becomes a non-issue. Certainly if I decided on a new one it would cost less than either a Sinar P2 or an Arca F-line Metric. But what makes Linhof a wallet killer is the price of accessories. Bag bellows (which I would definitely need) for example.

    Then there's the fresnel thing. My A1 didn't have one (none of the Sinars come standard with it) and it wasn't much of a problem for me except with a 72mm lens. On the other hand I find it harder to focus with a fresnel (my current camera has an integrated ground glass/fresnel like the Ebony and others), so that's another variable.
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    hi mark

    i think you mean " parallax control " the art of making things ... un-convergent ( or not ) :smile: