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macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
I'm not a fan of gear threads on this site and hesitate to share this. Having said that, I was excited to hear about this product.

Tilt/shift lenses (or in Nikon speak PC lenses) give you some of the controls of a view camera on a DSLR. Often expensive and "niche", they let you control for perspective/geometric distortion created by photographing straight lines with the camera tilted up or down (the shift bit) and also let you change the plane of focus (the tilt bit).

Much more complicated than that, as shifts (more accurately rise/fall and lateral shifts) not only let you set the sensor plane to be perpendicular to the subject and then adjust the position of the subject in the composition (to keep lines straight while placing your subject where you want it in the composition), but can also keep the reflection of the camera out of the composition with reflective subjects.

The tilt/swing changes the plane of focus which can be used to bring "everything" into focus for landscapes or other applications without having to stop the lens down excessively. Or let you change the plane of selective focus to control what is in and out of focus in a composition.

TS/PC lenses are expensive and often a bitch to use. Nikon PC lenses by default have their tilt/shift functions orthogonal to each other, which isn't optimal for landscape/architectural photography. You will often want to center the lens in the vertical plane to keep lines straight and then shift up or down for compositional reasons. Depending on the subject you will also want to tilt in the same plane to achieve near/far focus. Have to send it back to the factory to be able to do that though. And then you are **** out of luck if you have a subject where you want the tilt/shift to be in orthogonal planes.

Canon TS lenses are more versatile (and there are other TS lens options as well) but they can be annoying to use in practice as some have to be adjusted in a specific order to achieve the desired result (based on internet hearsay and not experience). And I'm not a Canon shooter. Currently using a Sony a7rII for most things.

The Cambo Actus Mini solution seems interesting.

Anyone have any experience with this? I am feeling tempted. For what I am currently shooting this seems like it would be very useful with the Cambo 24mm lens. Could also use Nikon lenses for macro work with the bellows. But primarily would use it for landscapes/architecture with the Sony body.

Haven't pulled the trigger yet. Doesn't have all the utility of a *real* view camera. Some of what this does can be *fixed* in post (though my personal experience shows that this isn't always optimal regarding perspective corrections and the focus plane tilts/swings *can't* be fixed in post). But found this interesting and thought others might as well.
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Reactions: kenoh and needfx


macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
Looks interesting. I recall long ago going to a Calumet demo for a "view camera" that fit a DSLR on the back and was designed to move the camera around so that it would create "panels" of a final image that could be stitched together and thus make a super high pixel final image. I always thought that something like you are asking about here that also carried a back that shifted the camera around electronically or with a proper "jig" would be a superb tool in the field and in particular, interior shots.

I'll just say - find out what the return policy is if you cannot go to a store and see it or rent it first (which would be ideal).


macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2008
I have never used the Actus Mini but can vouch for Cambo gear as being very well made tools. I had spotted the Actus before and wondered about it. One of the big benefits is the ability to use it with some very fine optics such as the Schneider and Rodenstock large format lenses. These will have leaf shutters but I don't know if it is possible to sync these up with a 35mm body. If you could then you would be able to get some faster sync speeds which would be really helpful when shooting reflective subjects.

The downside would be its portability. Although it may be solidly made, setting it up on location would be more time consuming than a tilt-shift lens. If you get your hands on one I would love to hear how you get on with it.
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