Useful movements in a 4x5 field camera

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Ian David, Jul 15, 2009.

  1. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Hi there

    I currently have an old Horseman monorail. It is great indoors but really a bit too heavy and unwieldy for the field. So I am now looking at tracking down a wooden 4x5 because I would like to get out into the landscape a bit more with the bigger negs.
    One possibility that may become available is an Ebony RW45. These seem to be compact and light, and are also things of beauty, but my slight concern is about the limited range of movements on this model.
    I will mostly be doing landscape, probably with a 90mm lens, plus some general urban work.

    How annoying would/do you find the lack of front and back shift, and back rise on this camera? I know landscape work generally requires pretty minimal movements, but a bit of shift would sometimes for example be handy for panoramic shots without moving the lens.

    Grateful for your thoughts.
    Thanks
    Ian
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    With a bit of ingenuity you can get the movements you need by using the other adjustments. Such as when rear shift is desired and you have swing on front and back you can turn both the same degree and angle the camera to get the same effect. Study your movements well and you can get more out of the camera than is first obvious.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I like front shift in the field, because I don't always want the lens axis in the center of the frame, but it looks like you've got two ways of doing that on the RW45, one being indirect shift by swinging the front and back in parallel as Gary mentions, and the other being turning the camera on its side on the tripod head and using rise/fall as shift, since you've got a reversible back. You need a strong tripod head to tilt the camera on its side, but it's not an unreasonable thing to do with a lightweight 4x5" camera.
     
  4. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Hi Ian,

    In addition to the above mentioned, I think you will find that you will in general use mostly tilt, front rise, and swing, in that order, and even then, much less than you would around buildings, etc.
     
  5. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    You may work around the lack of movements but it will bug you sooner or later I am afraid.
    Why not have a look at a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA ? That camera has the movement you want and is not as expensive as a Chamonix.

    Peter
     
  6. Marv

    Marv Member

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    I use rear tilt, front rise and front shift, in that order. Never have had rear rise and don't know that I need it with front rise. I guess you can't miss what you never had.

    The front shift is nice as David mentioned. I use it for the times when I wish the camera was a bit to the right or left of where it is. Saves a LOT of re-leveling.

    Bottom line for me; view cameras are movements and without they are just a big, heavy camera.
     
  7. goldenimage

    goldenimage Subscriber

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    hi, most of my lenses are very wide angle and barley cover the format Im using whether it be 6x9 or 4x5, the only movement i use for my 47mm Sa that i use for my 6x9 back is back tilt, same with my 65mm sa for my 4x5. I like to use back tilt and make the foreground loom.
     
  8. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Thanks very much for your replies. Food for thought. I might have another play around with the monorail tonight (and pretend its a field camera with limited movements).
    It may be that I will end up doing more architectural stuff at some stage and the lack of movements may then be more annoying...
    Doubts, always doubts...
    Cheers
    Ian
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    The movements I use most for landscapes are vertical shifts, followed by lateral shifts, in order to avoid pointing the camera downward, upward, or to either side. After that, front tilt and sometimes swing. As long as these movements are ample in the front, you can have a totally fixed rear standard and still be fine. I personally prefer to minimize convergence by using shifts rather than rear tilts and/or swings anyhow.

    For me, if there was a field camera that was as capable as a Sinar F in the front, yet was a press camera in the back (albeit one with a revolving back), I would be happy.

    As it is, I think the Super Graphics and Super Speed Graphics are good choices as far as bang for the buck goes.

    This being said, a Sinar F travels surprisingly well in a backpack, lacks nothing as far as movement, and they are very reasonably priced now. My F1 weighs in at about 6 lbs. sans lens. Your Horseman may be just as good for carrying. The drawback is that they are a bit slower to set up than a folding camera, and if weight is a big issue, 6 lb. is prob. too heavy for a camera body alone.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2009
  10. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    If needed you can take a good back-pack of even a troley as long as you are not planning to do any climbing.

    A Sinar F would be a good alternative for a field though with th added advantage that you can use it in the studio aswell, or parts of it for a Sinar P2 set-up.
    For back-packing I would put the lenses on a Technika board and get an adapter-plate for the Sinar, in that way your lenses are less bulky to carry. I have that set-up and realy like it.

    Peter
     
  11. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Two thumbs up for the Shen Hao. I gave in and ordered one, and it arrived on Tuesday. The range of movements for such a compact camera is amazing. It's no monorail, but I suspect I'll seldom wish I had one in the field.
     
  12. Bruce Watson

    Bruce Watson Member

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    This is why I use a Toho. It's half the weight of an Ebony, and has full movements on both front and rear standards. If you value function over form it's even prettier than an Ebony. :D
     
  13. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    The movements I use in descending order of frequency for mainly Landscapes and occasional Buildings

    Front Rise (gets rid of excess foreground)
    Rear Lateral Shift (I like the slightly unusual perspective and it helps line/misalign objects & trees – on my Ebony the rear shift control is easier to access than the front when under the darkcloth)
    Front Fall (enhanced foreground gives a greater sense of depth to photographs)
    Rear Rise (only when I am starting to run out of front fall)
    Front Lateral Shift (only when I am running out of rear lateral shift)

    However, the choice of necessary movements is a very personal thing.

    IMO, you are probably best initially using your Horseman as a Field Camera and finding out what movements you like to use.

    Make your choice of Field Camera on what movements you do/don’t want

    It has always amazed me how little movement I actually want when using a 90mm – probably the classic case of “less is more”

    Martin
     
  14. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Thanks everyone for your further comments above. I think you are probably right Martin - movement preferences are a somewhat personal thing. But it has been good to hear some of those prefs here. Which Ebony do you use?

    I wish! The Horseman is a terrific sturdy studio camera, but weighs 10.5 pounds without any lens, tripod, film holders etc. Carrying it around with food and camping gear for a couple of days quickly gets tedious... (Some of the terrain I like to cover is pretty rough Peter, so the trolley idea is not the answer for me unfortunately...)

    Anybody know how good those personal jetpacks are these days?
     
  15. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    I have a 45S and love it - it is just a lovely tactile thing to use :D

    It has all the movements I think I will ever need and can easily handle my preferred lens lengths

    YMMV

    Martin