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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Multi Format

    Confused about movements for architectural photography

    When I read about techniques for shooting architecture (mostly in 4x5) I always read that you need a camera with as many movements as possible, preferably a monorail camera. Now, I may be dumb, but I don't really understand what it is that requires such an extreme degree of movements. When I've searched for articles, most mention compensating for "keystoning" by using rise (as to avoid tilting the camera upwards), and I've also heard people saying that swing is good too, to get the entire building in focus. But as far as I know most field cameras have these movements as well (even my lowly Graflex has front rise), so what is it that requires the use of a monorail?
    "Art is is a picture of some dude I never met smoking under a lamppost at 6400 ISO and in BW."

  2. #2
    markbarendt's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Beaverton, OR, USA
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    Blog Entries
    The advantage of a monorail is typically more movement and more bellows reach.

    Although rare, there are times where my field camera really does reach a point where "I can't get there from here", so to speak.

    Will you bump the limits? ...
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Large Format
    Remember first rule in camera movements--the lens has to be able to cover it. And that translates into money.

  4. #4
    AgX is online now

    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Multi Format
    Quote Originally Posted by Cybertrash View Post
    When I read about techniques for shooting architecture (mostly in 4x5) I always read that you need a camera with as many movements as possible, preferably a monorail camera.
    The larger the movements the better. As said this necessitates a lens with large coverage.

    A large vertical movement however can also be achieved by combining vertical rise with indirect rise, with the latter necessitating horizontal swing. By this many movements come into effect.

    As in architectural photography one likely has to cope with several planes the same time the ability for more movements is beneficial. This however does add weight and instability, which may hamper again outdoor use.
    Last edited by AgX; 02-23-2014 at 05:50 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Large Format
    hi cybertrash

    it is true graphic, and graflex slrs have rise, some 35 mm
    lenses have tilt and shift but the main thing with a view camera
    ( or a technical field camera ) is the ability to keep the film
    plane parallel to the subject being photographed ...
    a lot of view camera users make it seem like a huge deal, a great mystery using a view camera. .. its not really ...

    what you do is just zero indent / zero everything out you get
    everything positioned so whatever
    your subject is is in the ground glass
    ( but distorted at this point since you probably tilted the head of the tripod/ the tripod )
    ... you then losen the camera back so the film plane is parallel
    sometimes there are spirit levels on camera anything will do
    a cheapo torpedo or post level ...

    then you adjust the lens to be paralell to the film once again ..
    so th camera comensates for the tilt of the tripod...
    if you want a little flair so distort the building or room again to make it more pleasing, you can do that with the lens standard or tripod or whatever

    so you dont really need a monorail, but sometimes it helps
    hope that made sense ...

    have fun
    Last edited by jnanian; 02-23-2014 at 03:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Honolulu, Hawai'i
    Large Format
    Rise/fall and shift are the most useful architectural movements, but sometimes you need tilt and swing on both standards to get more rise/fall and shift than are built into the camera (indirect rise/fall/shift, as jnanian describes), presuming you have a lens that with enough coverage to use it. Dedicated wideangle cameras for architecture often have only rise/fall, and shift.

    Shift is really useful for interiors, where you may want to do something like look straight down a hallway in the background on the right side of the frame, while showing a room in the, foreground that takes up most of the left side of the frame. Without shift, you either don't see the hallway (because the camera has to be too far to the left to capture the room in the foreground), or you move the camera right to capture the hallway and you lose the room on the left, or you use an ultrawide lens to get the room while looking down the hallway, and crop out everything right of the hallway, wasting part of the image and probably picking up some distortion from using a wider lens than would be ideal.
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com



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