Last post, I talked about Rise and what its benefits were when you want to move an object in your composition.  This post is going to be about the field camera movement Shift. It is very similar to Rise and Fall, and you turned the camera on it’s side. It would be the exact same motion.

4X5 Shift:

Is where you move the front or rear of the camera to the left or right to change where the objects are in your composition (what you see in the ground-glass).  When shifting the front of the camera, at the lens board, the spatial relationship of the objects in the image change.  This is the same effect as moving the camera either right or left.  It is important to note that with my field camera there is no shift at the rear of the camera like you would be able to do with a view camera, so with the field camera we have to rely on front shift only.

Field Camera in Neutral Position

Camera Top View with Front Left Shift

Field Camera Top View with Front Right Shift

Shifting the front lens board of the camera is actually very easy.  Start by looking at the front of the camera and the bottom of the lens board.   There will be a knob (with this Wista 4X5 it is a red dot) that represents neutral or no shift.  See below image.

Front Knob To Control Shift

After you locate this knob, just loosen it and the front will be able to shift very easily by hand.  Do not force the movement.  Loosen the knob enough that the front moves freely.  It’s that simple.

When finished, I recommend setting the camera back to neutral before the next shot.  Always starting in a neutral position helps me get the composition I desire faster.  It is usually easier to start from a neutral position and then Shift the 4X5 Camera.

Don’t forget to look at the images on my site in the galleries starting at:  Hopefully you find some of them inspirational for your own photography adventures, or maybe you find an image you want to call your own.

While I share this journey with everyone on the internet, I will attempt to keep explanations simple and easy to understand.  If you have any comments, question, or feedback please leave them in the comment section.  I look forward to hearing from people.