Simulating view camera movements in the darkroom

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by PhotoPete, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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    I recently switched to shooting with a 4x5 and while I love the perspective and focus control possible with swings and tilts, I hate how heavy the gear is. This got me wondering if there would not be a way to simulate the effects of front and back tilt and swing in the darkroom, rather than the field.

    If I consider the plane of the negative to be the plane of the subject, then the plane of the lensboard in the enlarger would correspond to the front standard's plane and the plane of the easel to the rear standard's plane, right?

    In theory then, I could adjust the perspective and the focus by tilting the easel and the focus alone by adjusting the angle of the lensboard relative to the plane of the negative carrier.

    Has anyone tried anything like this? Does it work or am I completely off-base and overlooking something incredibly obvious?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I often tilt my easle to adjust perspective and square things up if needed. Swinging the lens allows sharp focus on the tilted easle.
    My Beseler 23c has a swinging lensboard making it a simple operation.
     
  3. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    Yes, it works to a degree, but very hard to reproduce time after time due to movement of the easel, etc. Swings and tilts on your camera can be easily locked in place. Not so with an easel that you have to open and slide paper into, etc.

    Bill
     
  4. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Tilting the easel or the negative stage will give you the perspective effects of rear tilt and swing (though not the focus effects). It will make a trapezoid into a rectangle, in other words, in one plane, and is handy for small corrections. I do it all the time with 6x6 and 35mm shots where I want the lines to be as square as they can be, and it's a well established technique.

    If your enlarger has a tilting neg and or lens stage, you can use the scheimpflug rule to keep the whole negative in focus as you tilt the easel.

    Easel tilting will not replace the effects of rise, fall or shift, which can maintain rectilinear perspective in all planes, though you can achieve the same effect by shooting with a wide lens, keeping the camera level, and cropping out the excess--at the expense of increasing the enlargement factor.

    Easel tilting will not replace front tilt and swing either, which can be used to control the plane of focus at the time of exposure. If it's blurry on film, you can't make it sharp on paper (without masking or manual retouching).
     
  5. PhotoPete

    PhotoPete Member

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    I'm glad that my thinking was not so far off and that this will work, if only in a limited fashion. Are there after-market 'swinging lensboards' for most enlargers (I have a Besseler 67C and an old Omega D) and is that the standard term for that item?
     
  6. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

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    I have a D2V that I wish had a swinging lens capability. It doesn't seem like it would be a difficult accessory to produce but I don't know if they ever made one.
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There's a tilting neg stage for the Omega DII, D-2, and D-3 (not sure about the later models) called the "Distortion Correction Attachment." It also rotates the neg 360-degrees, so that you can tilt in any plane. It uses its own neg carriers, which are different from the standard Omega neg carriers.
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have a Durst S45, which kike a Durst S138, Offers tilting of the baseboard, easel, and lens stage. It is capable of sraighteneing and correcting horizontal and vertical vergences to a large degree. Another Durst model iffers either 4 or 5 adjustments and is very capable. It is not everyday that one finds themselves concerned with the covering power of an enlarging lens.

    Durst, in a brochure that I have, circa 1970, states that the ease of doing these adjustments in the darkroom with a subject that is at an approximate infinity position suxh as a buikding with no foreground objects to be concerned with is so easily done in the darkroom that camera adjustments are a waste of time. Durst and I have a major difference of opinion here. They must be a lot better, to put it very mildly, at it than am I. I favor the camera as the easiest place to make the adjustments.

    As a second consequence assume that you have in your photo a street lamp 25 feet from the camera and buildings 400 feet away. You have pointed your camera upward to save time knowing that you will correct it in the darkroom. Aint gonna happen..nfway. The degree of convergence of the street light will differ from the buildings and trying to corect one situation will leave the other uncorrected with darkroom manipulation.

    Go ahead and try ity it. Make my day by proving me wrong.

    You would best be advbised to keep your adjustable camera with you and benefit from the excercise of carrying it. You will not be sorry when viewing the prints.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    A little testy today, Claire? This is a suckers challenge... you know you're right!
     
  10. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Not testy just certain.
     
  11. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    I have mentioned several time in my posts that this was a respected and common darkroom procedure/practice performed by most everyone in the past.

    Charlie....................
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    This procedure is called 'rectifying' and is used in making maps or mosaics from large quantities of aerial photos from planes that are not always flying straight or level.

    Since it was in widespread use at one time, they made both an enlarger and an easel with this tilt capability built in. Could be that some of them are still available on the 2nd hand market. They were called "rectifying printers" or "rectifying easels".

    If you used the corresponding rectifying camera, built in data was printed on the border of each exposure that gave a printout of the gyroscopic information (deviation) of the plane from its planned course and this could be dialed into the equipment in the lab to auto correct each frame. Without the special camera, you had to guess, and most often it would correct the print but overall the entire map would be pretty useless as scale would not be exact. I have seen a road vanish from one photo pair to another pair through manual correction which distorted the edge at a junction between all 4 frames.

    Of course, this is all now done by sattelite mapping.

    Sorry, but I have nothing more to add other than the name and use.

    PE
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    don't forget when doing something like this, to stop your lens down all the way to increase your dof, otherwise you will be sol.

    -john
     
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  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    "I recently switched to shooting with a 4x5 and while I love the perspective and focus control possible with swings and tilts, I hate how heavy the gear is."

    Go to the gym, get some exercise and/or a lighter view camera. You body and doctor will be happy you did when you get to be an old f..t like me and you will be a better photographer for it.

    John Powers
    on a diet and walking every day
     
  16. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    There are used Graflargers around, and Linhof made something similar. These turned view cameras into enlargers, so you had camera movements available in the enlarger.

    Lee
     
  17. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I think that unless one has adjustments available on each of the three stages that there reaches a point of image degradation through diffraction. At least that has been my experience. When one tilts the paper easel, then unless you have adjustable lens stage and negative stage you are confined to stopping the enlarging lens down. Enlarging lenses have the same limitations so far as diffraction that taking lenses have.

    I have one enlarger that I would not consider doing this on (Saunders 4550 VCCE)...another (Durst 138S) that would allow me to do it with ease.
     
  18. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Another problem with correcting perspective with an enlarger is the loss of part of the negative's image. A wider angle lens must be used in the original shot if correction is necessary in the darkroom. Also, some dodging may be required to even out print exposure.

    Some enlargers can tilt both negative and lens plane. My old DeJUR Professional 4x5 is one. Little stopping down is required
     
  19. Jim_in_Kyiv

    Jim_in_Kyiv Member

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    Another option is to get a shift lens for the 35mm for those times where you want a light kit but more flexibility. Kiev makes one that isn't expensive, and I haven't heard any complaints about it yet (not that I've been asking about it, either).
     
  20. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Tilt the enlarger head one way and the easel the other. Tilt the lens towards the projected intersection in space of the first two. Done with precision, you will be in focus top to bottom.

    Add a rulled grid to the easel to set up the parallel lines and remove it when you add the photopaper.

    The top of the image gets stretched in width to match the bottom so you no longer have converging parallels. It is a different correction than in camera as the image is stretched lengthwise some.

    More exposure is needed in the wide stretched top than the bottom. Figure the difference and do a base exposure for the narrow part and then a slow burn top to bottom to get the extra exposure for the top of the pic.

    Phillips PCS130 enlarger has all the controls to do this perfectly. It is a total pain without the proper enlarger controls. This is mostly why I bought the machine.
     
  21. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Charlie and Claire are both right.....it's all a matter of degree. You can get some perspective correction in the darkroom - but if it's waaaaaay out you are not going to make it look right. Like any other aspect of shooting you want to get it as right as you can at the camera, and spend your time in the darkroom wringing the best out of a good negative, not trying to fix poorly shot negs. Back when I worked in the studio, I spent a lot of time trying to make prints that would meet the client's requirements from stuff some of the guys shot very sloppily. It's a PIA!!! And it's never going to be as good as if you put in the effort at the camera.
    Just my tuppence.
    Bob
     
  22. Peter De Smidt

    Peter De Smidt Member

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    Well, I usually shoot medium format on vaction, and with these negative I regularly correct keystoning in the darkroom. Luckily my negative and lens stages are very easy to tilt. It's not that hard, but as pointed out above, the amount of adjustment is not as great as with a view camera, and you end up enlarging part of the negative more than the other, which can look odd if enlarged too much. I used this technique here: http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=13437&cat=500&ppuser=2946
     
  23. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Well, Peter - you certainly did a masterful job! That one cought my eye in the galleries but I overlooked the method you used - great job. I have only used ithis method uhm.. shall we say... "creatively" because with a simple enlarger anything else is very hit or miss...

    As to the rest of you guys, I hate you all - now you made me look at what I want in my next enlarger... and five minutes ago I was not even thinking about getting one, much less what I want in it! (of course just kidding about the hating part!):D:D:D

    Peter.
     
  24. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I think I agree with Claire here.

    Everything that I do with an enlarger, is to prevent soft edges on enlargments
    Glass Carriers, longer than normal lens for film size,Apo Lenses *flat field*
    To think one can work an enlarger like a camera kind of makes me think I have been doing something wrong all these years.

    If I am not in alingment ie baseboard, negative stage and lens stage, I do get out of focus prints in one section of the image.
    When I align the three stages and use a glass carrier , I do get sharp images edge to edge.

    I find a very subtle difference in *grain structure *by closing down two stops from wide open. Knowing that my enlarging lenses are not the same as camera lenses , makes me wonder where all this dof is at the base board level.

    Am I missing something in my enlarging proceedure????
     
  25. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Bob, I don't think you're missing anything...looks to me like you've described some of the basics of best practice enlarging procedure. I tried to reinforce the idea that I think planning on fixing something in the darkroom when you are shooting is usually not the best approach. I do come back with stuff I worked carefully on that turns out to have 'issues' with printing - I just don't plan it that way. My old DeJur enlarger (new retired) had tilts at both the negative stage and lens stage to facilitate this kind of thing. Very few modern enlargers have these features. You can do a small amount of it, but it has serious limitations (as highlited by PE in one particular application) and it is very easy to degrade the image in other ways when you start down this path. I think with landscapes, if I am shooting with a camera without tilts/swings etc, my preference would be to search for compositions that don't scream 'fix me'. If I was doing architecture for a client, a good field camera IMHO is the only way.

    Bob
     
  26. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    I agree for the most part in what has been written:

    Just for fun, I'll mention just how difficult it was to get and keep the old DeJur Professional 4x5 enlarger in any kind of alignment, let alone square. I share this only because I have paid my dues in money, blood, wasted paper, chemicals, sweat and tears in attempting to maintain some semblance of sharpness corner to corner with the DeJur. :smile: I thank my lucky stars for Omega and Besseler.

    I have had no trouble over the years of using the simpelest enlargers for the corrections being discussed. A film holder, a roll of film etc. all serve as tools to aid in tilting an easel. Really pretty simple and straight forward. Some times imagination can be one of your best dark room tools!

    Charlie.............................