Controls

All control handles and surfaces are oversized for several reasons...

They're more comfortable in use, whether by gloved hand, young hand, old hand, or by those who may have reduced power in their grip. A large amount of torque can easily be dialled in if necessary, and clamping action is assisted by the use of thrust bearings. 

There are detents to help with verticals on the front and rear standards, and there are levels in three positions, one at the front of the front extension, one which can be slid out from under the back, and a pair of levels on the top of the front standard. 

The new cameras will have the rear standard bubbles located in the focusing screen itself, so that levels can be checked where you actually need them, while you're making the picture.

Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117 Carbon Cameras C1117
C1117 Front Swing
C1117 Control Rods
C1117 Control Rods
C1117 Rear controlled Swing and Tilt Tested with 2.6kg Petzval
C1117 Pantograph
C1117 oversized controls
C1117 oversized controls
C1117 Flip out level

There aren't very many Ultra Large Format photographers in the world, but according to a recent poll I carried out, a fairly large proportion of them regularly use longer lenses, longer than your arms. The fast pace of human evolution has not been kind to the Ultra Large Format photographer, and some of our primate cousins might be better adapted than we are to adjusting the front of the camera from under the darkcloth.

Some front movements are fairly easy to set: rise and shift, for example- you can take a direct measurement off the focusing screen, and transfer the required adjustment to the front standard, in the case of rise, and front shift can be replicated using rear shift. This camera doesn't have rear rise or fall.

Other movements are far more iterative, particularly swing and tilt. It's possible to set base tilt and swing from behind the camera with lenses up to around 500mm at infinity, but beyond this is a stretch. The larger the camera, the more movements you might need. For those who use small cameras, a fraction of a degree might be all that's necessary, but ULF users are far more demonstrative.

Given that your lens has sufficient coverage to allow it, front movements can be very useful, depending on the image you're making. If that image contains geometry that you need to control, then rear tilts may not be acceptable.

Take the example of the truck in front of O'Reilly's Lobster Co-Op in Kennebunkport. That image was made using a large amount of opposing front and rear shift, to put the truck at the axial centre of the image- and a huge amount of front tilt, and a little swing, to put the plane of focus in a wedge running from the grille to the sign on the shop, and back to the floats on the left. Rear movements would have been entirely inappropriate, unless converging verticals and horizontals were acceptable. I used a Nikkor M 450mm on 11x17, so coverage wasn't an issue...

An experienced photographer will often know approximately how much tilt to start off with, and that tilt can be preset on the front standard base. This camera also has front axis tilt, operated by screw drive, and that screw drive can be operated via an extension handle while you're under the dark cloth. The carbon fiber shaft and handle weighs very little, and allows control of up to 15º, 7.5º forward and back.

The camera's front extension uses a duorail design- the front standard slides on a double carriage. This design allows the front swing to be controlled from behind the camera using a carbon fiber pantograph- which is scaled so that a large input produces a small movement, so there is far more precise control than by moving the standard directly.

The pantograph is operated via another carbon fiber rod and handle- in use, one of the two clamping screws is loosened; the front standard is more than adequately supported using just one screw which operates via a thrust bearing, allowing the front standard to rotate around this axis.

Again, both of these remote controls are optional, and might only be useful for longer lenses, or to make a particular type of photograph. Many photographers will tell you that front movements are unnecessary anyway, but those photographers might never need to control the geometry within their pictures to the same extent as someone who shoots buildings, or still life. The camera can still be operated in the usual way, of course, which, when used with longer lenses, means iteratively...

The focusing system for this camera is also new, or at least, I haven't seen it used on any other camera with regard to the calculation of depth of field being calibrated to indexable revolutions of an eccentrically handled handwheel. No doubt, as with anything else I've written here, if I've got that wrong then it won't be too long before I'm corrected. The focusing system has it's own page, Focus and Focus Spread.

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