Additional Perspective on Tilt-Shift lenses

A Problem of Perspective
A Problem of Perspective. Notice that the posts nearest the left and right edges of the image do not appear vertical.

In my previous article on tilt-shift lenses I talked about tilt and how that affects the plane of focus.  It is a pretty great feature, and it is (I believe) behind the increased energy we’re seeing in the press and from camera manufacturers about these lenses. But it’s far from the only trick these little wonders can perform, today we’ll talk about the most basic use of  shift (including what the large format guys would call rise and fall), to correct perspective in a photograph.

Perspective control using shift has been a staple of architectural photography for decades. When photographing a building from ground level, perspective causes the top of the building (which is farther from the camera) to show smaller in the image than the bottom. In seeing the real world around us this effect appears quite natural, but in a photograph the effect often makes the building appear as if it were falling over backwards. What we need for the image to “appear” more natural is a way to reduce the perspective-induced distortion of the shape of the building. (more…)

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Tilting at Focus

Last week I wrote a bit about the reasons tilt-shift lenses were becoming more  popular in the DSLR world. This week I’d like to provide a simple example of using tilt in an image to increase effective depth-of-field, and offer a basic overview of how that’s done.

No tilt
No tilt, shot at f/3.5.

Tilt dialed in
Tilt dialed in, about three degrees. f/3.5. Focus is near the nearer of the two lens caps. If you look to the left of the table, you'll notice part of a cat tree, note that the upper parts of the cat tree are more in focus than the lower parts.

To demonstrate what a difference this can make, I ran a quick example with and without tilt using the older ::amazon(“B00009XVCD”,”Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L”)::. (To make the effect a little more apparent on these small screen samples I focused the image without tilt near the “near” lens cap. Of course, in that image I could have chosen to focus farther into the image–which would have blurred the near image somewhat to reduce the blurring in the far image, but both would have still been out of focus. Both images were taken at f/3.5 with a ::amazon(“B000V5LX00″,”Canon 1Ds Mark III.”):: (more…)

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Why a Tilt-Shift Lens may be in Your Future.

Canon TS-E 24/3.5L (1st generation)

For many years, 35mm camera users have often been able to safely ignore the subject of camera movements. Not so for the large format folks, the relatively large film plane of a 4×5 view camera requires photographers to go to lengths even in the simplest images to get a deep depth-of-field, lengths that often include both camera movements and enormously tiny apertures (e.g., f/64). Our smaller film (or digital sensor) areas come along with a comparatively deeper depth of field. For better or worse, we may not wish to maintain our ignorance much longer.

If, like many photographers, you keep a close eye on gear announcements, you’ll have noticed the trend. While Canon had been selling three tilt-shift lenses for years, more recently they updated the 24mm tilt-shift with the ::amazon(“B001TDL2O0”,”Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II “):: (greatly improving it’s optical quality) and added a ::amazon(“Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L”,”17mm”):: to the lineup. In the same time frame, Nikon announced and began to ship ::amazon(“B0013BEEUW”,”24mm”)::, ::amazon(“B001BTG3NW”,”45mm”):: and ::amazon(“B001BTAZHM”,”85mm”)::. What’s behind this new excitement? (more…)

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