This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
Introduction. One of the most important fields of commercial work for the photographer is the securing of perfect reproductions of castings and machinery. This work is not at all difficult, yet there are numerous points which need to be carefully considered in order that the best of results be secured. This class of work covers such a wide field that each subject cannot be taken up individually, and we will treat it from a general standpoint.
201. The majority of photographs of machinery, tools, etc., are used for catalog work and other forms of advertising. The conditions under which it is necessary for the photographer to work are often not the most desirable, yet it will be necessary that he secure the best of results, and for this reason he should be thoroughly acquainted with the various methods of controlling the light and making use of whatever illumination is at hand.
202. Little or no difficulty will be experienced in securing good negatives when it is possible to place pieces of machinery or tools under favorable light conditions, or where it is possible to move them about to receive better illumination. The difficulty presents itself when stationary machinery is to be photographed and, as is usually the case, the machines are crowded into a small space with one side placed quite close to windows, necessitating the working from the shadow side with the camera pointed toward the source of light. Under such circumstances it requires careful work to produce the best results. Therefore, the following instruction will be confined more particularly to the securing of results under difficult conditions.
Equipment. The equipment necessary for all classes of this work would include a view camera from 8 x 10 to 11 x 14 inches in size, according to the size prints desired, a good rectilinear or anastigmat lens, an extra medium wide-angle lens, a good rigid tripod with telescopic legs, and a magnesium blow flash-lamp or a coil of magnesium ribbon. With this outfit one is equipped for any ordinary emergency and can produce good results.
The Camera. A regular view camera will be found the most serviceable form to use, and it should take a plate not smaller than 8 x 10 inches. Where very large objects are to be photographed a camera not smaller than 11 x 14 inches should be used. The camera should have good bellows extension, and be equipped with a swing-back or swing-bed, reversible back, and rising and falling front. A rack and pinion for accurate focusing are very essential.
The Lens. The lens employed must give a perfect rendering of lines, and, therefore, should be of the rectilinear or anastigmat type. The regular rapid rectilinear lens will, however, answer practically every purpose where speed is not an essential factor, for this lens can be stopped down sufficiently to give an absolutely correct rendering of the subject. Owing to the fact that it is necessary to have a lens that will cover a large plate, the rectilinear type may be employed very satisfactorily by the photographer who has but limited means, and to whom the question of the expense of an anastigmat lens is an item. One can purchase two or three rectilinear lenses for the price of one anastigmat lens and with the former produce almost equally good results.