Achieving this look with or without movements??

jamessrogers

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Hi all,

This is my first post here so hope I'm doing it correctly!

I've recently started shooting with my Intrepid 4x5 with a Schneider - Kreuznach Xenar f4.5 150mm lens, and some of the results I'm getting I'm happy with, and others I'm not.

I'm trying to achieve a look like this: Wide and Shallowtumblr_myhsilcyut1qz82two1_1280.jpg

So far I haven't had much luck achieving this look.

The above image is shot on 4x5 film, could anybody help me and inform me whether this shot has used any movements or not to get that shallowness? The leaves that are in focus on the top left throw me a bit, I'm not sure whether they are in focus because of movements or they just happen to be on the same plane of focus as the subject.

And if no movements have been used, does anybody know what type of lens this is? How fast would it have to be in order to cut him off from the background that quickly?

Many Thanks!
 

Ian Grant

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An uncoated Triplet or tessar blens would help, There's no need for an exotic expensive lens there's enough DOF keeping the subject reasonably sharp from head to toe so it's not an f2.8 lens wide open. The slight soft flare around the trees indicates an uncoated lens.

Your Xenar is coated, and Schneider's early coating (pre Multi Coatin) was good I have a few and none flare even in quite extreme conditions. If you can find a pre-WWII 150mm or 165mm CZJ Tessar, or maybe even a 135mm f4,5 Tessar you should get that softer look.

I have a couple of Rodenstock Geronars which are Cooke Triplet design great for portraits at wider aperturesas the edges/corners are softer than a Tessar (Xenar) or modern plasmats but they are Multi Coated. There were many Triplets on 9x12 cameras before WWII a 150mm or even a 135mm will cover 5x4. Just make sure any lens is in a shutter and is not a barrel lens.

Ian
 

David M

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Shallow depth of field comes from wider apertures, not from movements. In this shot, the bottom right corner seems sharper than the bottom left so there may have been some front or rear swing involved, either deliberate or accidental.
The leaves at top left are further forward than the trunk and so are falling into the plane of focus. This could be controlled by movements, either swing or tilt, depending on the other effects that the adjustment produced.
A longer focal length will give the effect of a shallower depth of field, but the perspective in the image will be different.
(Well, all pictures are different, aren't they?) Longer lenses often have smaller apertures so you'd have to find the sweet spot that suited your own intentions.
Getting some shots you're happy with and some not is entirely normal. If all your shots make you happy, you're probably not trying hard enough.

A heretical thought: If you are scanning, you can add as much selective blur as you like, but some might think this is cheating or otherwise undesirable. I myself greatly prefer to see the image made in the camera, but I'm not a fundamentalist.
 
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Ian Grant

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I didn't address movements, little needed usually for portraits but in this case very slight tlt might have helped keep the outsretched leg tothe head sharp.

It's rare to use movements with portraits.

Ian
 

David M

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The original question asked if any movements had been used to gain shallow depth of field. Ian is quite right. Movements will not make the DoF any shallower, but might be used to make fine adjustments to the position of the plane of focus
 
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Ian Grant

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Movements can be used to make DoF shallower, it's not a technique I like or would use but there's plenty of examples of this exaggerated effect. All you do is tilt/swing the wrong way :D

The shot here may have used very slight tilt I'm viewing on a larger screen here in the darkroom :)

Ian
 

David M

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Well, pedantically speaking, that would increase the amount of blur, rather than make DoF shallower, but the effect would be indistinguishable on the print. (All other things being equal.)
I wonder if the front standard has been dropped a little.
 

Ian Grant

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I wonder if the front standard has been dropped a little.
Or just a low viewpoint. As the OP wants wide and shallow I'd look for a 135mm lens or even a 120mm, however the latter are harder to find and often have f6.8 max aperture (thinking Dagor and Angulon -I have both).

Ian
 

David M

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I think this question has provided a good practical example of how large format photography forces us into finding the best balance between competing requirements.
Would it be worth his experimenting with other kinds of lenses, such as a magnifying glass? The effect can be quite pleasing in good hands. Or should we say – interesting?

I seem to recall that large studio portrait cameras used to need a little front swing to get both eyes in focus, but that's not the problem here. The thought of wrestling something like a small sideboard into the woods makes me remember how lucky we are today.
 

Ian Grant

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I seem to recall that large studio portrait cameras used to need a little front swing to get both eyes in focus, but that's not the problem here. The thought of wrestling something like a small sideboard into the woods makes me remember how lucky we are today.
I have a large 12"x10" portrait/field camera that I bought off Ebay, the seller runs the studio and camera shop set up by his Grandfather in South Wales, His Grandfather and Father used the camera for portraits and weddings but it has no swing only front rise and a little fall and rear tilt. It's the same with all my early British field cameras and the 18x24 Reiskamera. I'm not sure front swing was ever added to British field or portrait cameras before WWII, a limited amount of rear swing was available on Gandolfi's and similar but it's not true swing and is the early forerunner of the way the back can be adjusted for swing/tilt on a Linhof Technika or MPP MicroTechnical.

The situation is quite different with US field/portrait cameras they commonly have rear swing, front swing was rare. All my Seneca 7x5 cameras have rear swing, as does my 10x8 Agfa Ansco Universal View. My 10x8 Agfa Ansco Commercial View has front swing but only because the original owner had asked for it, he was a student then lecturer at the Clarence White School of Photography.

Ian
 

Alan9940

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Many techniques could be used to achieve the desired effect... As already mentioned, there are older and/or soft focus lenses which do this; a large aperture (depending on lens used) along with some camera movements could do this; one technique that I used about a hundred years ago, which would give you this look, is to filter the lens with various material--smear petroleum jelly on a clear glass filter, use window screening with a hole in the center, crinkled plastic wrap, etc.

Come to think of it, it reminds me of a Lensbaby. I doubt, though, that these lenses would cover 5x4. But, that might be interesting, too...to have a circular image with this style to it. Hmm.......
 

David M

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Curiouser and curiouser. I believe those imitations of architectural model shots are made by using wrong-way tilt. Inevitably, there must be an app...
 

Ian Grant

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Come to think of it, it reminds me of a Lensbaby. I doubt, though, that these lenses would cover 5x4. But, that might be interesting, too...to have a circular image with this style to it. Hmm.......
Those wide angle/fish eye add-on lenses made for 35mm cameras will work with an LF lens. I did some testing while doing my MA with one on my Mamiya 645 great aberrations in large colour prints. I have tried one on my Wista but only visually but no issues with coverage, I must have tried it with my 150mm Sironar N. Would be wider and more circular with my 120mm Angulon. I think I have 2 or 3 that came with a job lot of darkroom and other equipment.

Ian
 

jamessrogers

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Wow, thanks for all the info all!

Quite a lot to research now, I guess I just need to keep getting out there with my camera and experimenting more myself with trying to achieve this look.

Here's another example of the 'wide and shallow' look I'm after, with this image I am pretty sure this is just a really shallow depth of field and everything falls off nicely into blur because it's so far back from the subjects.

1.jpg

Thanks for all the feedback

James
 

Ian Grant

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Might be a 90mm lens looking at the perspective, would certainly help achieve the look in this shot. You need to try a few lenses.

Ian
 

David M

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An extra strategy occurs to me. A small amount of fill-in flash (a very small amount) from the camera position, would help to differentiate the subject from the background. I'm suggesting a fraction of a stop, not full illumination, otherwise the image would look unnatural. You may well have objections to artificial light in principle.
It would need experiment, as always.
Black and white film would be quicker and cheaper for experiments with Ian's "a few lenses", even if your ultimate intention is to work in colour.
 
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