Chapter

The basic design of the view camera has changed very little over the last one hundred years. Actually, there was very little to change. The camera is simply a light-tight box with a lens mounted on one side. The lens projects an image onto a piece of light-sensitive material on the opposite side of the box. Unlike some 35mm cameras, view cameras are completely manually operated and lack such features as automatic focusing, built-in exposure meters, and motor winders. Instead, a view camera...

The Violin And Saxophone

This photograph was made for a poster promoting a music festival sponsored by a local college. I used a 4 x 5 monorail camera with a 180mm lens. The instruments were placed on a background of dull black velvet on a platform about 18 inches from the floor of the studio. The camera was positioned on a tripod as close to the platform as possible and then aimed severely downward to give the appearance of being on top of the instruments. The careful viewer will note that the camera is actually above...

St Bartholemews The Great 1917

Frederick Evans was an English photographer best known for his pictures of English cathedrals. Most of his work was done between 1895 and 1910. Evans used a variety of cameras, including an 8 x 10 and a 4 x 5 (these are still called 10 x 8 and 5x4 cameras in Britain), a 6V2 x SV2 (referred to as a plate or full-plate size), a 4V2 x 514 (a half-plate camera) and a 3Va x 4Va (a quarter-plate camera). Evans was a strong advocate of using the longest lens possible in any situation and giving the...

Film Characteristics

When you begin using a view camera, you quickly learn that your choice of films is a little different from the wide range of films available for smaller-format cameras. The slow, fine-grain, black-and-white films, such as Kodak's Panatomic-X and Ilford's Pan E aren't available in sheet-film sizes, and neither are Kodak's Kodachrome slide films. The high-speed color films aren't made in sheet-film sizes, either. However, there are many good films available, including some that aren't made for...

Exposing The Film

Making a photograph sometimes involves finding fortuitous weather conditions, allotting several hours for set-up time, or even traveling a long distance to the scene. With all the work it takes to make a photograph, it doesn't make sense to expose only one sheet of film. I'm not suggesting that you bracket several exposures and then pray that one of them turns out all right. However, it is simply good practice to make one or more back-up exposures. This will guard against processing errors,...

Bears Belly Arikara circa 1903

Edward Curtis was a commercial photographer in Seattle, Washington, who became fascinated with the vanishing American Indians. He worked feverishly from the 1890s through the 1920s to record what he felt was a vanishing way of native American life culture. Curtis used a variety of cameras during his career. He did his early work with a 14 x 17 glass-plate camera, but by the time he made this photograph, he had settled on a 6 2 x m full-plate Premo view camera. This camera was made of mahogany...

Atrium Pool And World Trade Center New York City

One of the secrets to a good architectural photograph is to make it look easy and natural, hiding all of the work and thought that goes into it. For example, a great deal of thought about lighting, camera position, and manipulation went into making this natural looking scene. The camera used was a 4 x 5 monorail style with a 65mm lens. The 65mm lens is very wide for the 4 x 5 format and because of the short projection distance between the lens and the film plane, it has very little coverage....

The Table Setting

This interior photograph is a good example of how to use the front-tilt adjustment and what its limits are. The subject plane extended from the near edges of the plates (I decided the backs of the chairs were not important) into the living room in the background. I used a 4 x 5 wide-angle camera with a 90mm F8 lens. The front of the camera was tilted to bring both the plates and the small incandescent lights along the top of the frame into focus with the lens wide open. If I had tilted the lens...

Back View

Have sophisticated focusing devices that determine the amount of tilt and swing and the -stop settings necessary for a given situation electronic shutters are now used on some cameras in studio situations and exposure meters that slip into the camera back have also been invented. Some camera systems include interchangeable bellows, film backs of different sizes, monorails of different lengths, and such accessories as lens shades, roll-film backs, viewing hoods, and special filter holders....

Optical Principles

Light travels in a straight line unless it is bent while traveling through a clear or translucent object. In photography, this object is the lens, and it must bend the light rays reflected by the subject until they form a sharp, clean image on the film plane. The point of infinity is generally considered to be a distance 200 times the focal length of the lens out into the scene (for example, the point of infinity for a 6-inch lens is 100 feet). As the camera moves closer to the object, the...

The Wine Glasses

This studio photograph was made as a personal assignment and promotional piece for the photographer. A 4 x 5 monorail camera with a 240mm lens was used. The camera was carefully positioned beneath the tops of the glasses so all the top rim would show all the way around the edge. A very slight amount of front swing was used to move the focal plane into closer alignment with the primary plane of the scene that extended from the nearest glass on the right to the far edge of the glass on the left....

Roy Ellensburg

This photograph was made with a 210mm lens on a 4 x 5 camera. The setting was outdoors and natural light was the only light source. The rough edges around this photograph again indicate the use of Polaroid film. In this case, it was Type 55 Positive Negative film. This product provides you with both a positive (print) and a negative that can be used to make additional prints at a later time.

Yaw

Yaw is one of the terms often used when discussing the advantages and disadvantages of one monorail camera over another. Yaw occurs when the tilt pivot point is located above the swing pivot point and both adjustments are used on the same standard. The front or rear standard then rocks left and right when it is swung because the platform on which it rotates is no longer level. If you have lined up vertical lines with the edges of the frame or with a grid pattern on the groundglass, and then...

Film Processing

If you will be working with color film, you should find a good, professional-quality color lab to process your color sheet film. Trying to do it at home is impractical unless you process it in large quantities, in which case buying the necessary equipment will be very expensive. Processing black-and-white sheet film in a home or small darkroom can be done easily with a little practice and a minimal investment in new equipment. There are three ways to process black-and-white sheet film in...

Reciprocity Corrections For Blackandwhite Films

In some coses, the exposure times indicated above are longer than those recommended by the film manufacturer. However, the exposure times in this chart have worked well for me and are a good place to start until individual experience indicates otherwise. It is far better to err slightly on the overexposure side with negative film. In some coses, the exposure times indicated above are longer than those recommended by the film manufacturer. However, the exposure times in this chart have worked...

Reciprocity Corrections For Colortransparency Films

With some transparency films, a long exposure time causes a color shift. Information about color shifts is included along with the technical data enclosed in each box of film. If a color shift is inevitable, it becomes necessary to use color-correction filters on the lens during exposure.

Fresh Vegetables

This table-top photograph is typical of the food photography done in studios across the country. This image was made for a magazine article, and the art director expected to receive a 4 x 5 transparency for the reproduction process. Brooks used a 4 x 5 monorail camera with a 90mm lens the short lens allowed him to move in closer to the scene to fill the frame. This close camera position forced the perspective by slightly enlarging the size of the tomatoes in relation to the asparagus and the...

Fronttilt Forward

Another solution is to tilt the lensboard toward the subject plane (forward in this case). This adjustment rotates the depth-of-lield area so thai I aligns with the subject plane. This adjustment permits the use of ll, which will shorten the exposure. The subject's shape remains the same because the top and bottom of the film area remain the same distance Irom the center of the lens. A third solution is to tilt the film plane away from the subject plane (backward in this case). This adjustment...

The Post Office

Architectural photography is one of the specialties available to the photographer who can handle a view camera and likes working with both natural and artificial light in a variety of settings. Architects are very demanding clients they expect a great deal of professionalism, perfectionism, and creative ability from a photographer. However, they are also very dependent on good photography so it is possible to build a long-term relationship with an architect client if you can handle the work....

Lenses And Shutters

Lenses for view cameras come in many shapes, sizes, and focal lengths. Some of them are designed to be used on view cameras of various sizes, while others are limited to only one format. View-camera lenses are sometimes given focal-length designations in both millimeters and inches for example, a 210mm 8 lens. This happens more frequently with the longer focal-length lenses and with many of the older lenses made for 8 x 10 cameras. If you have been using a smaller camera and have found a...

Backshift Right

Shifting the back of the camera (and hence the film plane) to the righ doesn't affect the subject-to-lens alignment, so the objects don't move in relation to each other. The film area has shifted to the right part of the image circle, moving both objects to the right side of the frame. A rightward movement of the lens puts the left side of the image circle on the film arec, so more of the right side of the scene is recorded on the film. Moving the camera back to the left doesn't change the...

Backswing Left

A third solution, which may be used for interpretive reasons or because the lens has limited covering power, is to swing the back away from the subject plane (left in this case). This adjustment changes the relative distances from the center of the lers and the right and left edges of the film area, and changes the shape of the subject plane. The back swing leaves the film area in the center of the image circle, so this adjustment can be used with a lens of limited covering power.

Chapter Five

The view camera generally has four basic movements or adjustments the rise and fall, the shift, the tilt, and the swing. These adjustments allow the lensboard and the groundglass to be realigned independently of each other. They can be moved up and down, and from side to side the vertical movement is called a rise and fall, and the horizontal movement is called a shift. When the lens is pivoted around its optical center, it is said to either tilt (up and down on the horizontal axis) or swing...

Frontswing Right

A second solution is to swing the lensboard toward the subject plane. This rotates the depth-of-field area so that it now includes the entire subject plane at II. The shape of the plane remains the same because the front swing adjustment doesn't change the relative distances between the center of the lens and the right and left edges of the film area. The front swing adjustment requires a lens with a large angle of coverage.

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fllfllltti flllllflllllllllllllllll These photographs illustrate (he use of the rise, fall, and tilt adjustments. The subject is a tall vertical building. The first photograph includes all of the building, but its shape is distorted because the camera is aimed upwards, and the film plane is no longer parallel tc the plane of the building. In the second photograph the shape of the building has been corrected because the camera is now aimed squarely at the building, so the film plane and subject...

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Won't change the building's perspective as long as the camera position remains the same. I was using a 210mm lens, the widest lens I had for an 8 x 10 camera. The negative could be enlarged in the printing stage so that the building fills the frame. 3) Elevate the camera's position. This wi I change the perspective and make the building seem a little shorter, but this is preferable to having dark corners. Having a shooting platform on lop ol a car is useful for solving this type of problem...

Residential Interior

I used some extreme shift movement in order to create the image I wanted of this home interior. My client on this job was the architect. I positioned a wide-angle, monorail camera with a 75mm lens so that it could record the fireplace down the hallway on the left side of the frame. In order to keep everything square and somewhat symmetrical, I kept the film plane parallel to the vertical walls and the counter in the kitchen area. This camera placement and adjustment created an image on the...

Tibetan Monk

Environmental portraiture with available light is generally not done in large format, but actually the view camera can create memorable portraits when it is used with care and sensitivity. This portrait was made with a monorail camera and a 150mm lens. No adjustments were used on the camera. The film was Ilford HP5, and the exposure was Vis sec. at 22Vi One of the advantages in using a view camera for this type of work is that the photographer can't peer at the subject through the camera...

Effigy In Durham Cathedral

Whenever I feel a little overwhelmed by a subject, I put my camera and tripod down and just walk around until I can get a feel for what I am seeing and experiencing. After an hour or so spent contemplating Durham Cathedral in England, 1 began to focus my thoughts on this area of the interior. The strong vertical lines of the columns, the pattern on the near column, the position and the pose of statue on the monument, the light coming through the window, and the darkness in the recessed spaces...

Ranchland San Luis Obispo

Morley Baer made this photograph with an old wooden 8 x 10 field camera and a Goerz Artar 480mm 19 lens. The Artars are apochromatic lenses and are a favorite among many of the 8 x 10 landscape photographers. They are very sharp and yet produce a smoothness across the tonal scale unmatched by other lenses. Using a long lens 1.6 times the normal length of 300mm 12 shortened the distance between the rocks on the lower right and the peak in the distance. The front was tilted forward because the...

Jim Galvin

This photograph was made in the studio with an 8 x 10 camera, a 360mm lens, strobe lighting, and orthochromatic film. Orthochromatic film is primarily sensitive to blue and green light. It is only minimally sensitive to the red end of the color spectrum. Today, the principal use of this film is for scientific purposes where red sensitivity is either unnecessary or undesirable. Historically, this film was used extensively for male portraiture, because the film's low response to red tones gave...

Building A Lens System For A 4 x 5 CAMERA

125mm or 300mm, depending on interest The chart above suggests a plan for buying the lenses that will be most useful for your own photographic purposes. If you are using a view camera other than a 4 x 5, refer to the chart on page 31 to find equivalent lenses for a larger or smaller format. A good way to find equivalent lenses for your new large-format camera is to take your favorite 35mm lenses and multiply their focal lengths by 3 for 4 x 5 and by 6 for 8 x 10. When moving up from medium...

Death Valley

This photograph was made with an older lens, a 10-inch Protar combination. Protar lenses frequently came in sets with elements that give several focal lengths depending upon the combination of elements used in front and behind the shutter. They have become a collectors' item and, consequently, are somewhat expensive. As with all older, uncoated lenses, they produce negatives with less contrast and edge definition than those made from new, multi-coated lenses. Nevertheless, these older lenses...

Color Film Data continued

Ektachrome 100 + EPP Ektachrome 100Z Ektachrome 200 EPD Agfachrome 100 Fujichrome 50 Fujichrome 100 Fujichrome Velvia 4x5, 120 4x5, 120 4x5, 120 4x5, 8x10 Polacolor Type 59 4x5,8x10 80 use negative film. Actually, it is best to use both whenever possible. A transparency can be used by the color printer as a guide for getting the correct color balance in the print. Reciprocity failure also occurs with color film when the meter-indicated exposure time is longer than one second. Although some film...

The Zone System

Toned Gray Paper Texture

The Zone System of exposure and development for black-and-white photography has been around for over forty years. It was formulated by Ansel Adams and Fred Archer while they were teaching at the Art Center in Los Angeles, California. Ansel Adams, Minor White, Fred Picker, and many others have written numerous books and magazine articles describing the Zone System. It is a simple, straightforward method for arriving at predictable, predetermined densities on the negative that translate into the...

Blackandwhite Film Data continued

Manufacturer's Suggested Film Size ISO El Notch Pattern This film is not available in the United States. 600 daylight 400 strobe and tungsten One problem often encountered with larger-format cameras is the need for exposure times that are longer than one second. This is because the depth-of-field requirements can't always be met by using the camera movements, so it becomes necessary to use smaller -stops, between 22 and 64 than you are accustomed to with a smaller camera. Smaller -stops mean...

Developing sheet film yourself

Sheet Film Hanger

Should be jostled to dislodge the air bubbles that may form on the film's surface. The water in the presoak tank should be the same temperature as the developer in the next tank. The presoak should last for approximately sixty seconds. 3. Set your timer which must have a luminous dial that can be seen in the dark for the longest development time required by the negatives in this batch of film. Move the negatives requiring the longest development into the tank of developer. Be sure to jostle the...

Film holders

Sheet-film holders come in two varieties the standard holder and the Grafmatic holder. The standard holder accepts two sheets of film, one on each side. Once the first sheet is exposed, the holder is turned over, and the second sheet is ready to go. Standard sheet-film holders for 4 x 5 and 8 x 10 film sizes are readily available on the new and used market. Film holders for other sizes may or may not be available new, but they are available on the used market. In either case, unusual-size...

Creative Applications

Nikki Pahl

After learning how the view camera works and how to process prints using the Zone System of exposure and development, it is easier to appreciate the technique and planning behind each of the following pictures. These photographs were made by a cross section of view-camera photographers and are evidence that there is no one style of view-camera photography. On the contrary, the view camera is the photographer's ultimate tool for achieving a highly personal style of photography. This photograph...

Their designs and purposes

KEEPING THE SAME ANGLE OF VIEW ACROSS DIFFERENT FORMATS 165mm 180mm 210mm 8 250mm l 0 50mm 90mm 150mm 6 300mm 12 100mm 180mm 7 375mm 15 210mm 8 240mm 9 300mm 12 375mm 15 450mm l 8 450mm 18 480mm 19 600mm 24 750mm 30 92 81-84 74-79 65-68 61-62 53-55 This chart compares lenses with similar angles of view across different camera formats. The angle of view determines how much of a scene is recorded on film. These comparisons cannot be exact due to the different proportions of the film formats for...

The scheimpflug rule

Large Format Scheimpflug Rule

The view camera allows you actually to rotate the plane of focus and the depth-of-field lines until they align themselves more closely with the subject plane if it is not parallel with the film plane. The Scheimpliug Rule states that a subject plane will be rendered with greatest sharpness when the planes of the film, subject, and lensboard are extended and meet at a common line above, below, or to the side of the camera see diagrams on page 47 . You can rotate the plane of focus and...

Fita Plane First Model Hd Image

Fita 5x7 Camera

Moving from a small, hand-held camera to a view camera can be an anxiety-provoking experience. Everything seems new it is almost like starting over again. The view camera can do so much more, but it won't do anything automatically. Among other things, lenses have to be set manually, each sheet of film has to be loaded into the camera, a tripod is a necessity, you'll have to learn to use a hand-held exposure meter, the image on the groundglass will be upside down and backwards,...

Using The View Camera

An imprint of Watson-Guptill Publications New York No book like this is ever done completely alone. Friends have critiqued drafts of this material, loaned equipment to photograph, contributed images of types of work I have not done, and made suggestions of what should and shouldn't be included in this kind of book. Without their help this book would have been much more difficult to prepare, and it certainly wouldn't have been done as well. To the following friends and colleagues I extend my...

Wideangle Lenses For Various Formats

Twin Lens Camera Old With Gun Flash

Some wide-angle lenses provide a greater angle of view than other, more gentle, wide-angle focal lengths. The most extreme wide-angle lenses produce the greatest degree of distortion, which is most noticeable with objects closest to the camera. Some wide-angle lenses provide a greater angle of view than other, more gentle, wide-angle focal lengths. The most extreme wide-angle lenses produce the greatest degree of distortion, which is most noticeable with objects closest to the camera....

Filter Factors For Blackandwhite Film

This filter-factor system was developed by Gordon Hutchings of Orangevale, California. He designed it to make sure that a scene's shadow areas receive enough exposure and aren't thin and underexposed on the negative. Shadow areas are primarily illuminated by blue light, and blue light is most severely curtailed by yellow, orange, and red filters. This filter-factor system was developed by Gordon Hutchings of Orangevale, California. He designed it to make sure that a scene's shadow areas receive...

Front View

Sinar Monorail 4x5

The Sinar F1 camera on the left is a monorail view camera. The Tachihara model on the right is a field, or flat-bed, camera. There are two primary styles of view cameras the monorail camera and the flat bed, or field, camera. They are generally used for different kinds of subjects, but there is some overlap in their applications. The wide-angle camera and the closeup camera represent further refinements of the monorail design, and the press camera is a variation of the field camera. The...