Professional Bellows Camera

Professional Bellows Camera is a large format, bellows-based field camera suitable for detailed landscapes as well as portraits.

The lens is tilted with regard to the film plane of the camera, so that it mostly allows a limited vertical or horizontal shift. This tilting of the lens plane with regard to the film plane is known as selective focus. Due to selective focus, objects on one portion of the photographic frame are focused sharply, while the objects in the rest of the frame are blurred. This tilt on a Professional Bellows Camera helps to compensate for any parallax problems that occur in architectural photography. As a result of parallax, parallel lines are caused, which progressively appear closer as they move farther from the camera.

Small format cameras like digital cameras constructed with 35mm technology and other 35mm cameras provide numerous options to serve the purpose of a Professional Bellows Camera. Considering the low end, single element lenses on plastic bellows are available. Though some are tough to handle, a few of them have screws for adjusting the lens angle with regard to the film plane. For higher end bellows feature, rail mounted systems are used which resemble the design of large format studio-based bellow systems.

Medium format cameras make use of either 120 or 220 film types, and provide more image area and finer detail compared to the 35mm small format camera. Quite a few medium format cameras are no longer in use, but the older systems with a professional grade provide bellow systems. Though many of the medium format cameras launched during the last three decades of the twentieth century lacked bellow systems, some professional medium format ones launched much earlier used bellows. Bellows were usually included to make folding cameras of high quality, and bellows of medium format cameras wasn’t adjustable enough. With the passage of time, medium format bellows designed to match the market system, were studio rail systems rendering high adjustment.

A Professional Bellows Camera is always thought about as the large format camera. Large format cameras usually use 4 x 5 inch film on smaller ones. Larger cameras use various sizes such as 11 x 14 films. As a matter of fact, most large format cameras happen to be bellows cameras. They are usually of two types. The first one is the rail mounted studio type camera wherein the film plane is mounted over the back of two rails. Monorail systems use only one rail. They can be customized and further, the bellows and lenses can be interchanged to suit close-up photos as well as wide angle landscapes. However, rail cameras are both heavy and complex to use.

The next type namely, the folding field camera features tilt as well as shift adjustments. It is not quite adjustable or easy to customize. High end Professional Bellows Cameras are manufactured still by Cambo, Linhoff, Calumet, Arca-Swiss, Wista and Toyo.

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