With a View: Part 5-
by Robert A F
van de Voort
This and the following articles will introduce the view camera
to the reader who is completely unaware of the possibilites, the
surprises and ease of use of the big black box, my favourite working
I like to do something similar again and use a row of items, instead
of a book or chessboard.
Starting close to the camera lens and disappearing on a 45-degree
angle, we place our "heroes". Alternatively, any similar
angle into the distance will do. Well let us limit the distance
to 30 cms to make it easier, but in principle this rule applies
If you use a 35 mm camera, you could focus on one item and get
the rest not sharp if you kept your aperture wide open.
The view camera would do the same if you kept all panels for
the lens and image in zero position (lens and negative are than
in the same relative position to each other), but wait, there
Imagine you extend the imaginary line made by your heroes towards
the camera and continue until it intersects with the imaginary
line of the image panel, still in zero position.
If you now " swing " the lenspanel in a similar direction
as the line of your heroes, but just - just a little less, the
imaginary line of the lens panel will intersect with the previous
two lines. Compris? I mean, understood?
Voila, all heroes are lined up sharp on your image panel! I hope
that you had the sense to focus on one hero first
.. J, you
might have to refocus a little, but you get them all sharp into
This is the top view and it shows how to swing that lens, of course
adjust it until it shows the lot sharp, this sample does not go
far enough, but you get the idea?
Is this a wonderful feature? Some of you might think this is
better than sliced bread, but these "all over pin sharp photos"
are a bit boring
and you might get sick of getting every
thing sharp. These view cameras are creative after all, so where
can we find some creative effects?
In the above sample we used the lenspanel to swing " in
line " with our line of heroes.
This gets them all sharp ok? What would happen if we kept the
lens panel in zero position and swung the image panel into the
imaginary intersection lines of the hero line and image panel
line? We could see the heroes all sharp again would we
How boooooooooring. But wait there is more
J the image now
will show distortion of your heroes as well.
This happens because if one side of the image panel is swung
backwards, part of the image has to travel further to reach the
image panel and will thus increase in size (see hollow white point).
Of course, the other side of the image panel will swing forwards,
the image projected by the lens will have now less distance to
travel from lens to image panel and get smaller in size (see solid
red point). This will create a creative distortion effect in size
In the illustrated sample, the two points are on the same distance
away from the lens. This makes it easier to understand I hope.
If the solid point was further from the lens it would be smaller
on the image panel if the image panel was in zero position.
The three lines will converge in one point, creating all heroes
sharp but you actually increase the perception of the size of
each hero compared to each other, in other words you have now
created a line of exaggerated perspective. Plus, bonus bonus,
you will find that at the edges of your image panel the image
is distorted. Circles will be projected like ovals, in other words,
the objects will stretch a little out sideways. I find the use
of the image panel quite creative because of the distortion factor
and other image shaping abilities.
The lens on the contrary is an aid in seeing, in collecting information
but not transforming any of its views. Together they make a brilliant
This article was first published in the Photographers Mail - New
Zealand - June 2001. Article copyright Robert A F van de Voort 2001,
can be reproduced unabridged with reference to author.
Lens With a View Series:
Hey guys, any questions or comments? It is so hard to explain a
view camera on paper and such joy to experience in real life that
words sometimes are failing me to explain it nicely. All the responses
received have been positive, thank you all for your feedback! Readers
are invited to view some of my escapades into photography on www.AlbanyStudios.co.nz
or send Email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
with your questions.
Robert van de Voort is a professional photographer and writer,
with his headquarters located on the North Island of New Zealand.
Robert's professional photographic career spans the course of
over 20 years, with work in stock, advertising, studio, digital
photography and much more! You can learn more about Robert and
see examples of his stunning work by visiting his website at www.AlbanyStudios.co.nz.
The staff at Profotos.com
would like to thank Robert for his generous article contributions,
and we would like to invite you to come back next month for part
6 of Robert's "A Lens with a View" series!