Kenneth Morris Lee
View Camera Movements

Focus-stacking and tilt/shift lenses can be very effective but sometimes only a view camera provides a direct solution. If you are willing to shoot and process film, classic view cameras like the Sinar provide virtually unlimited geared movements front and rear. View camera movements are not only helpful to solve optical problems, they also provide creative options that are unavailable with ordinary cameras except during post-processing, if at all. For example, this rendition of a Remington Portable typewriter could have never occurred to anyone looking through an ordinary camera. Perhaps we could contrive it after the fact, but that would be a different matter.

To obtain some of these features using a digital camera, see the Cambo Actus and the Arca Swiss Universalis.


4x5 Sinar P and Typewriter
Note the use of forward tilt in front, backward tilt and swing in rear



Typewriter photographed with above setup using Sinar P
The plane of sharp focus is parallel to the keyboard which is skewed along 2 dimensions
The typewriter keys in the foreground are only sightly larger than those at a distance




Barn photographed with Tachihara 4x5 Field camera using upward rise, front tilt, front swing and front shift
The camera points straight ahead but looks slightly upwards and to the right
Sharp focus extends from the nearby blades of grass at the lower left to the barn in the distance




Cappuccino cups photographed with Sinar P using front fall, rear rise
The film plane is parallel to cups
The camera points straight ahead but looks downwards.
The cups remain straight.



Old truck photographed with Tachihara Field Camera using front fall, front swing
The camera points straight ahead but looks downwards.
The plane of focus matches the side of the truck, so entire subject is in focus




Old school house photographed with Sinar P using front rise and front swing
The camera points straight ahead but looks slightly upwards.
The plane of focus matches the fronts of the buildings



Hydrangea flower photographed with Sinar P using front tilt and swing
The camera back points straight ahead but focus goes from foreground leaf to flower, right to left




Path photographed with 4x5 Tachihara field camera using front fall and front tilt
The camera points straight ahead but looks downwards
Sharp focus extends from the foreground leaves to distant trees



Wooden rulers photographed with rear rise, front tilt and swing
The Sinar P camera back points straight ahead but focus is skewed in 2 dimensions.
Everything is in sharp focus and the lines remain parallel.




Typewriter photographed with front tilt and swing using Sinar P
The plane of focus is parallel to the keyboard from letter H to the top front of typewriter.




Telephone photographed with front tilt and swing on Sinar P
The plane of focus is parallel to the face of the phone, skewed along 2 dimensions.
The circular items remain round, not oval.




Bulldozer tractor treads photographed with Sinar P
Can you tell which movements were used ?



Remington Portable Typewriter photographed with Sinar P
Can you tell which movements were used ?