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Thread: Tilt focusing for MF

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    Tilt focusing for MF

    My first post - so here goes. Pardon the typos.

    Have been using P45 on Phase/Mamiya 645 AF. Helicon focus sometimes works well sometimes too much artifact; definitely too much post processing time. Am in process of researching to buy Arca rm3d or Cambo wrs 1000. Cambo seems easier to use, Arca allows for fine tune of focus but at loss of spontaneity - ie go to the card and then dial in the resulting distance. And if you lose the card .... well, just don't.

    I have seen a lot written and traded a few PMs with several folks on this forum and others over the past few weeks. Presets may be the answer if you can develop enough of them. Do you get there visually - get close then tweak?
    Do sliding backs offer enough detail to check focus accuracy on a near/far comp, or is that just asking for errors?

    For me there is a difficult to define aesthetic, a sense of wonderment, a sense of anticipation looking through the viewfinder or on the GG that I think I will miss that with straight zone focusing and a slide-on finder. So a GG solution, for composing at least, is attractive. If an image can be focused at need using tilts, so much the better.

    As an old 4x5 user (well, not really old - just shall we say former) I continue to be amazed at the incredibly critical nature of focus on MF backs. And they said digital is so much easier!!

    Harold Merklinger has posted an on-line calculator for tilt and DOF which might be a starting point - but, using his book, I quickly settled on visually focusing on the GG for 4x and 5x7 and never looked back. If GG focus is elusive on Arca or Cambo, it might be a useful supplement. The link is here - it leads to a page with multiple links - go to Harold Merklinger's Technical Photography Page http://www.trenholm.org/>>Scroll down to the View Camera Focus Page >> scroll down about 3/4 way to "spreadsheets" and follow the link - you get an excel spreadsheet that will calculate things for you - it will save to "neo office" for MAc users using that shareware program also. Sorry not able to insert the link for the final page itself - the only url showing was for that home page.

    Any thoughts you have to share will be appreciated. Leaning towards Arca but Cambo is attractive for many reasons including ease of use and what seems to be weight as well, with loss of a few usable lenses because of mount restrictions.

    thanks in advance

    ??

    Nye

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    Quote Originally Posted by nyesimmons View Post
    My first post - so here goes. Pardon the typos.

    Harold Merklinger has posted an on-line calculator for tilt and DOF... to "spreadsheets" and follow the link - you get an excel spreadsheet that will calculate things for you

    Nye
    I would have appreciated the spreadsheet, but I tried the link and got a "not found" error.

    Sounds as if you know most of the answers already, but I think live view is the only way to get consistent focus.

    I am getting an 86H, and Sinar eShutters, for remote daylight live view.

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    If you are to be using the camera as an architectural tool aswel as in studio i highly recoment to take a look at the Hartblei HB1 camera. I got one in the beginning of this year and ever since i barely used any other camera. ( i have had the Rm3d aswle as several Cambo WDS/WRS types) I now can use the fabulous Canon 24mm TSII aswell as my Nikon 85mm and the Leica 135mm on my 39Mp back.
    More info to be found on www.hartblei.de

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    focus on the tiny gg is a pain, though I agree the method is superior, it is not like 4x5

    I went with the HTS for the H hasselblad cameras and can use the standard viewfinder which works well. more limited than a view camera, of course

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    Have a look at the Sinar arTec. I know that there are maybe issues with supply in the US , however it is worth hunting one down to try out. For tilt/shift work it is a very neat camera!
    JOHN

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    Get yourself a really good high power loupe -- like a Schneider 8x or 10x -- and use the GG. Just make sure the GG is verified in line (shimmed) with the PoF.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    I wish some one would make a decent lightweight Medium Format Digital View Camera, with a full range of movements, preferably one that I could use with (47mm to 210mm) P3 lenses.

    I am thinking of modifying a 1930s? folding camera.

    ... and yes, I have thought about the ArTec, and I think, everything else on the market.

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I wish some one would make a decent lightweight Medium Format Digital View Camera, with a full range of movements, preferably one that I could use with (47mm to 210mm) P3 lenses.
    I'm not sure what you mean by "P3" lenses, but I have a modified Toyo 23G that otherwise fits your description (although perhaps it's not as light as you might like) and I have successfully used it with lenses between 35mm and 210mm, although not with a digital back. Below is a photo of an unmodified 23G with a DSA sliding adapter mounted.

    Toyo also offers the 23VXD, which is the 23G's digitally oriented replacement and a cross between it and their VX125 models. There are a few of them available on eBay right now, too...

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    Quote Originally Posted by Audii-Dudii View Post
    I'm not sure what you mean by "P3" lenses, but I have a modified Toyo 23G that otherwise fits your description (although perhaps it's not as light as you might like) and I have successfully used it with lenses between 35mm and 210mm, although not with a digital back. Below is a photo of an unmodified 23G with a DSA sliding adapter mounted.
    Thanks - by P3 I meant lenses mounted in Sinar P3 lensboards... which are light and compact, and expensive , so I would not want to buy another set of lenses for the occasional hike.

    What do these beasts weigh?

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Thanks - by P3 I meant lenses mounted in Sinar P3 lensboards... which are light and compact, and expensive , so I would not want to buy another set of lenses for the occasional hike.
    I don't know what size lensboards the P3 uses, but the Toyo 23G and 23VXD lensboards are 110mm square. I'll bet a good camera machinist -- the folks at S.K. Grimes, for instance -- can make an adapter that allows you to use one set of boards between your Sinar and a Toyo.

    What do these beasts weigh?
    My modified 23G weighs just under 7.5 lbs and according to Toyo, the 23VXD weighs 5.9 lbs. If I were to splurge on some more machine work, I'm fairly certain I could knock another pound off of my camera, but in the process, I'd also reach the point where I'd start compromising certain aspects of its functionality, so I'm not sure it makes sense to go there.

    I know there are lighter options available, but rigidity, stability, and geared movements have always been my top priority and I found every other camera I considered came up short in those respects, including even the much-vaunted Arca-Swiss models.

    That said, as a long-time view camera user, first with rollfilm (so I am used to working with a small image on the ground-glass) and then with sheetfilm, I really do miss having tilt/swing/shift available with my MFD outfit. It's for this reason I have held onto my Toyo 23G, even though I haven't used it for several years, because I hoped that one day it would be possible for me to use it with a digital back. (Be advised that 23Gs are not very common, so following in my footsteps isn't necessarily an option.)

    Although I'm generally happy with what my Contax/P30+ can and does do, there are nevertheless photos I am unable to take absent the use of movements that allow me to tweak the plane of focus. At the same time, though, I have become almost painfully aware of how tightly the mechanical tolerances must be kept where digital backs are concerned, which makes me wonder just how compatible digital backs really are with view cameras, especially when they're used outside of the studio, which is where I'd be photographing with it (i.e., tethering is not really a workable solution for focusing).

    I know the obvious answer is for me to try it and see, but that's easier said than done because it will require me to invest a fair bit of money in order to give it a fair trial and I'm reluctant to do that unless/until I know it will indeed work well enough for my purposes ... the classic "Catch 22." Besides which, given the increasing number of / interest in technical cameras of late, my guess is the answer to the question of how compatible digital backs are with view cameras is "not very," because they simply can't be squared-up to within thousands of an inch and then locked down tightly enough to actually stay that way.

    As such, I'd appreciate hearing the thoughts of people who've used their MF backs this way: Do the benefits of controlling the plane of focus outweigh the cost of having the back mounted to the lens via a less-than-absolutely-rigid view camera "body"? And to the extent they can be quantified, what are the actual costs, in terms of, say, sharpness and resolution? And having brought it up, just how effective are semi-rigid technical cameras with tilting lens panels at bridging the gap between using a digital back on an SLR versus using it on a view camera?

    (P.S.: Yes, I know the P30+ is a less than ideal back to use with movements, but the photos I'd be taking with a view camera would all be shot at night -- I suspect blackness will do a good job of hiding any color shifts! -- and then converted to B&W, so I don't think this will be an insurmountable issue for me. But if you think it will be, then I'd like to hear more about that, too.)

    [Update: Shortly after posting this, I recalled that I wrote a comparison review of my Toyo and Galvin medium-format view cameras way back in 2001. If you're curious, you can read it here: http://www.largeformatphotography.in...alvin-2x3.html.]

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    A good set of lenses with eShutters is 20k, so, if you can do everything with one set, that would be nice... the P3 boards are, I think 100mm. Would it not have been nice if they had standardized, like they did with 5 * 4, 5 * 7, 10 * 8?

    Alignment is not tooo important if you have a full range of movements, as you can adjust to compensate, but it would be a pain when you are pre-calculating and pre-setting your movements for remote operation. (I have a 10m tripod).

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    Re: Tilt focusing for MF

    arca swiss RM3D + Mline 2 is the only complete system... and you can share the same lenses with both cameras...

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