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Questions on trying to get better at using tilt on a tilt-swing

Greg Haag

Well-known member
I struggle getting the results I feel like I should be able to get with the tilt feature on my tilt-swing lenses. I feel like my technique and understanding needs to improve and would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction. I have included an image as well as some behind-the-scene shots. The image is with 5 degrees tilt on the Rodenstock 90mm, there is an improvement, but I think my technique is keeping me from getting better results. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations and should blend focus stacked images? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance,
Greg

Tilt 5 degrees.jpg

Tilt 5 degrees bts-1.jpg

Tilt 5 degrees bts-2.jpg

Tilt 5 degrees bts-3.jpg
 
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TimoK

Active member
You need more tilt or you should set your camera in higher position. In your picture it looks the camera is around 30-40 cm upper than the table. So you did need 13 - 17 degrees tilt to get the whole table in focus. If you use 5 degrees tilt, your camera should be 1 meter higher than the table.
I checked this in Harold M. Merklinger's tilt and shift table LENSTILT.XLS which I once have downloaded. It is a working excel file downloadable in this site named TABLESX.zip :http://trenholm.org/hmmerk/HMbook18.html
I recommend Merklinger's books, look here: http://trenholm.org/hmmerk/index.html#SR
 

dchew

Well-known member
Ok Greg but remember, you asked!! As Tim mentioned, the camera height relative to the table is not very much. That means you are going to need a whole lot of tilt to bring the intersection of planes up high enough. Try this as a test: Set your camera up perpendicular to and 5 feet above the floor. Set focus at infinity. Look at the floor in LV, and begin dialing in tilt. With your lens focused at infinity and the camera oriented perpendicular to the floor, you will find a tilt angle where things get in focus (should be about 3.4 degrees with a 90mm lens). You will find the whole floor gets sharp at the same time! Now lower the camera down to 4 feet above the floor and repeat the test. Should end up around 4.2 degrees of tilt. Again, as long as the lens is set at infinity focus and the camera is perpendicular to the ground, the whole floor will come into focus at the same time!
Now, dial focus in and see what happens. These are just experiments to help you learn how tilt works. Anders' Lumariver app is a fantastic learning tool along with the book link TimoK has.

Dave
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
Don't give up Greg! You'll find your rhythm with more practice. There are lots of ways to to do it. I use the "Focus far - tilt near" approach. It works the same for tilt and swing.
  • Set up the composition.
  • Focus at the farthest point you want in focus
  • Inspect the nearest point you want in focus and apply tilt until it's sharp
  • Inspect the farthest point again and focus
  • Back to the nearest point... apply more tilt
  • Use rise/fall/shift (depending on whether you're tilting or swinging) to recompose
  • Repeat until the plane of focus is where you want it
Once you get some experience, or if you use tilt tables and measurements, you can short-circuit this process by applying the estimated amount of tilt you'll need at the start.

The other thing you get better at with practice is planning where you want the plane of focus. In your example, you seem to want it parallel to the top of the table. However, depending on what else you want in focus in the scene, you might actually want it to angle up. Have you ever seen Tim Parkins' simple demonstration tool? It's an easy way to visualize what I mean: http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/dslr-tilt-shift/
 

TimoK

Active member
As Dave mentioned in his paper the hinge rule is as or more important than the scheimpflug principle.
For me understanding the hinge rule is the key thing to manage Scheimpflug!
I have been learning tilt and shift some years now with my Cambo Actus. When I first time understood how to set the hinge point right it was a big Heureka!
I also use the technique rdeloe described , but you can do it also by starting with needed tilt looked from tilt table and then tilting your focus plane using lens' focusing ring or other focusing method. In real world some iterations are needed before the perfect focus.
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Ok Greg but remember, you asked!! As Tim mentioned, the camera height relative to the table is not very much. That means you are going to need a whole lot of tilt to bring the intersection of planes up high enough. Try this as a test: Set your camera up perpendicular to and 5 feet above the floor. Set focus at infinity. Look at the floor in LV, and begin dialing in tilt. With your lens focused at infinity and the camera oriented perpendicular to the floor, you will find a tilt angle where things get in focus (should be about 3.4 degrees with a 90mm lens). You will find the whole floor gets sharp at the same time! Now lower the camera down to 4 feet above the floor and repeat the test. Should end up around 4.2 degrees of tilt. Again, as long as the lens is set at infinity focus and the camera is perpendicular to the ground, the whole floor will come into focus at the same time!
Now, dial focus in and see what happens. These are just experiments to help you learn how tilt works. Anders' Lumariver app is a fantastic learning tool along with the book link TimoK has.

Dave
Dave, as usual thank you so much! Two things I learned out of that, first, my expectations were unrealistic and second, that focusing method is like magic!
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Don't give up Greg! You'll find your rhythm with more practice. There are lots of ways to to do it. I use the "Focus far - tilt near" approach. It works the same for tilt and swing.
  • Set up the composition.
  • Focus at the farthest point you want in focus
  • Inspect the nearest point you want in focus and apply tilt until it's sharp
  • Inspect the farthest point again and focus
  • Back to the nearest point... apply more tilt
  • Use rise/fall/shift (depending on whether you're tilting or swinging) to recompose
  • Repeat until the plane of focus is where you want it
Once you get some experience, or if you use tilt tables and measurements, you can short-circuit this process by applying the estimated amount of tilt you'll need at the start.

The other thing you get better at with practice is planning where you want the plane of focus. In your example, you seem to want it parallel to the top of the table. However, depending on what else you want in focus in the scene, you might actually want it to angle up. Have you ever seen Tim Parkins' simple demonstration tool? It's an easy way to visualize what I mean: http://static.timparkin.co.uk/static/dslr-tilt-shift/
Rob, thank you so much for the information and the link! The link is a super helpful visualization!
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
So here is my simple ABC on Scheimpflug: Initial focus point 1/3rd the way into the scene; then add 1 degree of tilt for each 30mm of lens focal length -- at this point you should see most of the flat plane in focus and can tweak focus or angle very slightly if needed -- for closer in product work the slight tweak might be required*, but for landscape it usually isn't ;)

* If lens centerline is initially close to the plane desired in complete focus, i.e.; camera lower than normal working height, you will need more tilt; the converse is also true.
 
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Greg Haag

Well-known member
So here is my simple ABC on Scheimpflug: Initial focus point 1/3rd the way into the scene; then add 1 degree of tilt for each 30mm of lens focal length -- at this point you should see most of the flat plane in focus and can tweak focus or angle very slightly if needed -- for closer in product work the slight tweak might be required*, but for landscape it usually isn't ;)

* If lens centerline is initially close to the plane desired in complete focus, i.e.; camera lower than normal working height, you will need more tilt; the converse is also true.
Thank you Jack!
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
Ok Greg but remember, you asked!! As Tim mentioned, the camera height relative to the table is not very much. That means you are going to need a whole lot of tilt to bring the intersection of planes up high enough. Try this as a test: Set your camera up perpendicular to and 5 feet above the floor. Set focus at infinity. Look at the floor in LV, and begin dialing in tilt. With your lens focused at infinity and the camera oriented perpendicular to the floor, you will find a tilt angle where things get in focus (should be about 3.4 degrees with a 90mm lens). You will find the whole floor gets sharp at the same time! Now lower the camera down to 4 feet above the floor and repeat the test. Should end up around 4.2 degrees of tilt. Again, as long as the lens is set at infinity focus and the camera is perpendicular to the ground, the whole floor will come into focus at the same time!
Now, dial focus in and see what happens. These are just experiments to help you learn how tilt works. Anders' Lumariver app is a fantastic learning tool along with the book link TimoK has.

Dave
Dave, here are the results of your 5' test (there is a fairly significant crop on this). The first is with the camera at 5', camera level w no tilt and the second is same setup except with approximately 3.5 degrees of tilt, this was so easy, I feel like now I at least have a go to method I understand when I get out in the field. Thank You!!

Shift Test-1.jpgShift Test-2.jpg
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
Dave, here are the results of your 5' test (there is a fairly significant crop on this). The first is with the camera at 5', camera level w no tilt and the second is same setup except with approximately 3.5 degrees of tilt, this was so easy, I feel like now I at least have a go to method I understand when I get out in the field. Thank You!!

View attachment 180014View attachment 180015
You're not quite out of the woods yet. ;) If what you wanted was the floor to be acceptable sharp front to back, you're good to go. However, let's say you also wanted the first hinge in your door to be in focus too. This is actually a common scenario in the field, e.g., you want the meadow in front of the trees to be in focus, but you also want the top of the distant trees in focus.

This is why I like to pass on Tim's graphical tilt calculator: it shows nicely how the area that is in focus when you tilt is a wedge, with the pointy end of the wedge at the hinge. When you are not using tilt, there's an area in front and behind of the plane of focus that is acceptably sharp. It's the same with the "wedge" -- on either side of the plane of focus is an area that is acceptable sharp.

So to solve the hinge problem here, you just need to adjust so that the "wedge" that includes the plane of focus and the area on each side that is acceptably sharp includes the floor, along its length, and the hinge. In this example picture, the hinge is outside of the wedge.
 

Greg Haag

Well-known member
You're not quite out of the woods yet. ;) If what you wanted was the floor to be acceptable sharp front to back, you're good to go. However, let's say you also wanted the first hinge in your door to be in focus too. This is actually a common scenario in the field, e.g., you want the meadow in front of the trees to be in focus, but you also want the top of the distant trees in focus.

This is why I like to pass on Tim's graphical tilt calculator: it shows nicely how the area that is in focus when you tilt is a wedge, with the pointy end of the wedge at the hinge. When you are not using tilt, there's an area in front and behind of the plane of focus that is acceptably sharp. It's the same with the "wedge" -- on either side of the plane of focus is an area that is acceptable sharp.

So to solve the hinge problem here, you just need to adjust so that the "wedge" that includes the plane of focus and the area on each side that is acceptably sharp includes the floor, along its length, and the hinge. In this example picture, the hinge is outside of the wedge.
Rob, thank you for hanging in there with me! I am going to see if I can find a video to watch on Tim's graphical calculator to see I can get a better understanding. Also, see if I can find the answer on lens to sensor distance. Thanks again!!
 

rdeloe

Well-known member
Rob, thank you for hanging in there with me! I am going to see if I can find a video to watch on Tim's graphical calculator to see I can get a better understanding. Also, see if I can find the answer on lens to sensor distance. Thanks again!!
My pleasure Greg, but if you can get the plane of focus along the floor, then you're already there. Try this: you have a nice white wall at the end of that hallway. Put a sticky note with a mark you can focus on about 6" off the floor, on the wall. Now imagine that you're trying to get the plane of focus to go from the hinge point (at your feet) through to that sticky note. Use live view to check if the floor and anything else you want in focus (e.g., the hinge in the door) is acceptably sharp. You may need to decrease the aperture (to create more depth of field, i.e., a larger wedge), or you might have to move your note on the wall up or down a bit.
 
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