A unique and incredibly useful feature of large format film photography is the ability to apply camera movements to control the focal plane. The lens moves independently of the film holder, and the use of specific camera movements can help render the entire area of an photograph in perfect focus in a way that has traditionally been impossible with fixed-lens cameras.
Recently, a software program called Helicon Focus has been developed to replicate (and even improve upon) the effect of traditional large format film camera movements using digital capture. Helicon Focus creates a single, perfectly focused image from a combination of multiple photographs of the same image with different focal points. This approach to digital photography allows one to combine the advantages of digital capture with the capability of large format film cameras to render an entire scene in perfect focus. This macro photograph of cactus flowers blooming in Vedauwoo, Wyoming is the result of 9 images, each with a different focal point, combined in Helicon Focus.
Photo © copyright by Brett Deacon.