Skip to content

Scheimpflug Principle Explained in Simple English

Tim Layton 16x20 Ultra Large Format Camera With French Derogy 1856 Lens -

The Scheimpflug principle is an optical principle used in photography and other forms of imaging. It is named after its inventor, Austrian army officer Theodor Scheimpflug, who first described the principle in 1904.

The principle states that if a plane (such as the film plane in a large format view camera) is not parallel to the plane of the lens’s aperture, then the plane of focus will no longer be a plane, but rather a curved surface.

By tilting either the lens (front standard) or the film plane (rear standard), the focal plane can be made to coincide with a desired plane of focus.

This is particularly useful in situations where you want to achieve sharp focus on multiple objects or planes that are not parallel to the camera.

The Scheimpflug principle is commonly used in large format photography, where the lens and film plane can be tilted independently to achieve the desired focus. However, it can also be used in smaller format cameras with the use of specialized tilt-shift lenses, which allow for tilt and shift movements to control the plane of focus.

By tilting the lens or film plane, the Scheimpflug principle enables photographers to create unique images with sharp focus across multiple planes, as well as creative effects such as selective focus, miniature or tilt-shift effects, and exaggerated depth of field.

If you are a photographer or interested in learning about analog photography, I have an Analog Photography Membership Community that is the only community of its kind where you can learn and explore analog photography in depth. I also have an extensive training library of video workshops and guidebooks if you prefer to download the videos and books for offline use.