Rear Standard Swing Question

Ian-Barber

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Under what situation would you use the rear standard swing on a large format camera.

Can anyone give any examples of when you have used it and why
 

Ian Grant

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Photographing a building at an angle where you want the plane of focus to be the façade of the building. It's something I get people to try when teaching about use of movements, I might use a fence or something instead depending on where we are.

Of course you can use front swing instead or sometimes both.

Ian
 

Alan9940

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What Ian G said...and, use the back swing if you want to introduce some "distortion" and the front swing if you don't. Similar to rear tilt whereby foreground elements will "loom" a bit, whereas front tilt doesn't.
 

Ian-Barber

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If using both rear and front swing, in general do you swing them in the same direction
 

Ian Grant

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Depends entirely on the angle, I like to demonstrate with extremes, you might need to use front or rear shift as well to use the centre of the image circle, it depends what camera you're using.

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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Should add it's no different to using front rise/fall and front/rear tilt. Look at the Wikipedia Scheimpflug principle image on this page imaging the ground is the wall or fence. You need to mentally think of how the three planes lens standard, rear standard and subject plane meet at one point.

Ian
 

Ian-Barber

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The more I read about the Scheimpflug principle the more I get dizzy but I am adament I need to understand it fully
 

Ian Grant

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The more I read about the Scheimpflug principle the more I get dizzy but I am adament I need to understand it fully

Try using the principle for extremes, sketch out how the planes merge to a single point if it helps (head on that's Infinity). One of the last times I demonstrated it for someone it was with was their camera, I said look those planes need to merge then adjusted the camera from the side and low and behold we had perfect focus across a table top image plane about 90º to the camera back so quite significant tilt. It was an MPP MkVIII so I 'd dropped the focus bed, but I'd never handled any MPP MicroTechnical cameras before - it was just luck that it was perfect focus but adjustment would have been slight if not.

Ian
 

David M

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Scheimpflug can be tricky to understand. To increase your confusion, try reading Merklinger who explains details you haven't yet imagined.
Here is a thought experiment, which is almost practical.
First choose a suitable subject with detailed objects at the top and bottom of the screen. Zero all camera movements.
Focus on a close object, which will be at the top of the screen. Instruct your (imaginary) assistant to hold the lens panel firmly at the top, so that it does not move and that part of the image stays in focus.
Loosen the tilt mechanism.
Now re-focus on a distant object, at the bottom of the screen, which will move the front standard backwards as you focus. The top of the panel, held firmly by your trusty assistant, will stay where it is and the bottom will be swung backwards by the focusing movement. You have now focused on two different points and the lensboard will be tilted. It will be obvious that the plane of focus has tilted.
You can do the same with the rear standard if you have rear focusing and also with swings if your camera has them.
I have found that most people can respond quite easily to the idea of "focusing on two different places at the same time" rather than being asked to visualise invisible, imaginary lines drawn in the air. The idea that the three planes "open like a book" seems to follow naturally as I wave my hands about. You can even point to the place on the ground where the spine of the imaginary book lies.
After this, but not before, the Scheimpflug principle comes as a welcome summary of what they've seen in practice.
I have to add that holding one part of the camera rigidly in place while you focus is much trickier than I'm describing here, but it does involve the enquirer directly in the process.
I've never explained the wedge-shaped limits of the depth of field at this point.

A note on swinging both standards the same way. If your camera had no shifts, you might use this in the situation where you are photographing a reflective object, like a framed picture, and want to avoid your own reflection in the glass. It will work for any situation where you cannot place the camera centrally in front of the subject. There might be a tree or a statue of Queen Victoria at the centre point. It creates the effect of using sideways shift. The alternative is to put the camera on its side and use front rise sideways, but this can give problems with a heavy camera.
 
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David M

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The Toyo website seems like an excellent reference. Thank you, Ian.
The first illustration on the Wikipedia page, of a model railway, uses the term "...tilted towards the right...". This can confuse beginners, so it's clearer to use the word "swing" for horizontal rotation. I assume that most people on the forum will already know this.
 

David M

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To answer Ian's specific question...
Another use for rear swing would be if you had a scene with (shall we say) a tree on one side of the image and quite close to the camera. You might choose to adjust the plane of focus by swinging the front. On the other hand, you might want the tree to appear bigger in the frame. In that case, you'd move that side of the screen further away from the lens. The image of the tree on that side would increase in size, because of its greater distance from the lens and would also be more sharply focused. I suppose, although I haven't tried it, that you could increase the effect by a counter-swing of the front standard and even more adjustment of the back. It might be easier to use a wider lens and move closer.
Otherwise, (the other) Ian's comments about the front of buildings might be a more common use, but I did once find a Victorian article on movements that suggested the best use of swings was in photographing processions from an angle. A moving procession demands a wide open shutter to give enough shutter speed, so stopping down for DoF would be impossible. Sadly, I've lost it; it might have had more gems to offer.
 
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Alan9940

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David's explanation is a good one, but when it comes to near/far objects in focus and tilts it's helpful to keep in mind whether we're talking about axial or base tilts. Both have the same result, but are a little different in practice to get near/far along the plane of focus.
 

David M

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Yes indeed. I find it tends to be a bit clearer under the darkcloth than inside the head. Not necessarily easier, of course.
One thing we haven't mentioned is choosing where we can tolerate (or even embrace) out-of-focus areas.
 

David M

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Yes, I had forgotten that. Thank you.
If you look at Atget's images, there are often dark upper corners, although they must have been caused by too much rising front rather than excessive swing or tilt. We have no information on his camera, (other than the plate size) but apparently he used a casket set of lenses. It makes me wonder about those Victorian picture frames with an arched top. Was it an aesthetic choice or was it to cover vignetting?
 

David M

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Well, Atget produced a good deal of fairly routine stuff as well as the ones we admire. Some of the charm is due to the interest of a vanished Old Paris. Don't despair.
Both he and Ralph Gibson served in the Navy. Is there a connection?
 
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