Why use large-format camera movements?
Large-format camera movements allow you to make images that would not normally be possible with common “fixed cameras” (my term).
An example of the benefits of camera movements is the depth of focus obtained in the photograph below of Lefroy Brook Leaf 01. It was made with a 210mm lens, yet manages to keep the majority of the leaves along the stream in focus over a wide distance.
This was achieved using movements and altering the plane of focus by tilting the back standard. Without movements, you could not achieve the same result just by stopping the lens down. The smallest aperture would not provide a sufficient depth of focus alone with such a long focal length lens.
What are large-format camera movements?
With a regular “fixed” camera, the camera lens and the camera back are always parallel with each other. Likewise, the lens’s plane of focus remains parallel across the film in the camera’s back.
Large-format camera movements include tilting or swinging front and rear standards. They may also involve raising or lowering the lens, and rear shift movements. These camera movements change the relationship between the lens focus plane and the film-back plane.
Using movements need not be complicated. I cover this topic early in my large-format photography workshops, and participants are using these techniques the same afternoon.
To get you started, I have prepared a handy PDF you can download and keep for future reference. For this 29-page booklet, I have prepared many photographic illustrations. Using my landscape images as actual examples, I describe the camera movements I employed and why I did so.
Please support this website by purchasing the booklet for less than a cup of coffee (AUD$5 ).