Tilt-Shift lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Westside guy, May 16, 2008.

  1. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #1
    Hi,

    I'll admit right off that I haven't thought this all the way through.

    For some reason I've seen several rather cool shots done with tilt-shift lenses recently; and learning how to use this sort of lens has piqued my interest. It appears to be a rather expensive area to get into, though; and, as far as i can tell, renting a tilt-shift lens is not easily done.

    Do any of you own a tilt-shift lens? If so, have you felt it was a worthwhile investment? I realize it's not an "everyday" lens; and it's certainly something I'd have to save up for (I'm not made of money, unfortunately).

    Additionally, what would "rotation" accomplish on a PC lens? I notice the new Nikkor is listed as being capable of tilt/shift/rotation.

    Thanks!
     
  2. seenew macrumors 68000

    seenew

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    #2
    I've used tilt and shift on view cameras, but not on SLRs. I don't know how much use you'd get out of it. With a view camera you're already doing a lot of setup for single shot, so having more control kind of goes with that whole deal. But when walking around with an SLR in hand you tend to do a lot less planning, and a tilt/shift lens isn't something you'd just walk around with.

    Basically I guess it comes down to whether or not you do a lot of planned out shots (typically meaning using a tripod, but not always), or do you not do as much planning, shooting 'from the hip'.

    If it's something you'd like to get into (portraiture, architecture) then yeah, go for it. Otherwise, it's just an expensive novelty.
     
  3. Martin C macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

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    #3
    I don't see it being worth the investment--the same effect is easily doable in Photoshop.
     
  4. Westside guy thread starter macrumors 601

    Westside guy

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    #4
    I should probably have specified that what particularly caught my eye is the interesting stuff you can do with depth of field. The usual examples people use, where you're "correcting" perspective on buildings and the like, aren't particularly interesting to me.

    If you poke around Bjørn Røslett's site, you'll find a number of examples - one is on this page (the pine cone photo).
     
  5. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #5
    No, you can't.
    A tilt-shift lens tilts the focal plane. PS can only transform the geometry of the image.
     
  6. ipodtoucher macrumors 68000

    ipodtoucher

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    #6
    A professional tilt shift lens that will gve you the modelesque look would run you about $4000 i think...but you can buy LensBabies for much cheaper, but they just tilt the focus and don't add that sharpness..
     
  7. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #7
    I was going to mention lensbaby also. I have one and I freaking love it. It isn't really a tilt-shift lens per say but man you can get some pretty cool effects.

    Great lens and it is reasonable pretty cheap too for a lens!
     
  8. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

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    #8
    We should keep in mind that one of the primary uses of tilt-shift lenses is for wide angle architecture work where you want *every part* of the photo to be in focus - and most importantly, not distorted. Wide angle lenses often distort the image (extreme example is fisheye) - tilt-shift lenses are also known as perspective-correction lenses.

    Good examples and explanation here:
     
  9. cube macrumors G5

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    #9
    Perspective-correction lenses don't need to tilt. You can get the older Nikkor lenses which only shift for cheaper.
     
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #10
    If you want to do this get a view camera. It's better and cheaper. Used view camera have gotten very inexpensive

    Why rotate? The tilt is only up/down rotatinf allows it to move on an axis that is not horizontal or vertical. Yes, you could rotate the entire camera bit that moves the frame too. Just get a view camera where you have frame size to burn

    Just to add a bit more. You'd use shift to correct for perspective and tilt to distribute sharpness. With a tilt, one edge of the frame is fouced at a different distance than the other edge of the frame.

    With a small format 35mm frame or the enven smaller DSLR frame the DOF is such that I doubt you need tilt. Andnow with Photoshop you can do the perspective correction on the computer.

    I was looking around recently and I can pick up a good used Sinar F for $350 and a 90mm lens for about the same. You have to scan the film Even with the price of 100 sheets of film the view camera is cheaper
     
  11. Martin C macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

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    #11
    ...and they look identical...

    You can pay a couple grand for one, I won't.
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #12
    No offense, but do you even know what I'm talking about?
    Follow the link provided by the OP and look for the head of Homer Simpson. Just because you can't afford the lens, doesn't mean you can do something similar with Photoshop.
     
  13. Martin C macrumors 6502a

    Martin C

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    #13
    Yes, I know what you're talking about. Sure, doing it in Photoshop isn't the traditional way of having the axis in the lens tilt to different angles, but compare the two and they look similar.

    Funny how you assume my financial situation when I am reluctant to buy a lens for a couple thousand dollars.
     
  14. cube macrumors G5

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    #14
    You can get a shift-only Nikkor for around one thousand.
     
  15. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #15
    Tilting the focal plane allows you to have things in focus that are not parallel to the film/sensor. Once you make the image, there is no amount of photoshopping with which you can recover that or get results that are even close.

    Photoshop can only alter the geometry (i. e. avoid falling lines), by it cannot bring things into focus that weren't in focus at the time the pic was taken.

    I'm not assuming anything about your financial situation, I'm just saying that in certain cases, the computer cannot make up for things you don't get right at the time you take the image. Plus, it doesn't have to be expensive, you can get a lensbaby for what, $200?
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #16
    Focus stacking.
     
  17. helium macrumors newbie

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    #17
    but if your subject is not perfectly still?
     
  18. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000

    taylorwilsdon

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    #18
    Then shoot it with a gun first.
     
  19. timswim78 macrumors 6502a

    timswim78

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    #19
    Google lensbaby. They are a cheap way to get into tilt-shift photography.
     
  20. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #20
    Ever shot a moving subject with tilt or rise or fall?
     
  21. helium macrumors newbie

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    #21
    yes plenty of times

    as an example think of a landscape... a field of flowers with a a gentle breeze moving them around. the sun is low on the horizon and there isn't much light. you want the whole field to be in focus, but you have to shot wide open because if you stop down the flowers will be blurred due to wind motion.

    I don't think photoshop could be of much help in such a situation, while a bit of back tilt would easily allow you to have the whole field in focus even with the lens wideopen and get the picture you were after




    or think about an architectural shot where you have people/cars/trees moving in the fore/background





    and even for those effects which you could obtain with photoshop.... why waste hours working in front of the computer, when you could have gotten better results with much less effort by doing things properly when you first took the picture? ;)
     
  22. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #22
    AFAIK focus stacking is usually used in macro photography and makes `everything sharp', i. e. you indiscriminately put everything parallel to the film plane in focus (pretty much like choosing a smaller aperture).
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #23
    Every time I've attempted that, I haven't been able to get a shutter speed that works- but that's always been with LF. In general, the right answer has almost always been to come back on a still day. In reality, with Scheimpflug you don't get the whole field in view (and to even come close you'd be _well_ outside the diffraction limits, let alone aperture sizes of small format sensors and lenses.) you get the closer and further points in focus, and there's plenty of room to blend exposures unless there's enough movement that you're not likely to get a good shot any way.

    In my experience, it's taken extreme movements to get fields of anything in the Scheimpflug wedge, more than is available in a small format camera tilt/shift lens. The only time you have a hope is a mountain slope.

    ND filters handle people/cars just fine. For trees, you just need a single shot, as they're generally aligned with the focal plane unless they're leafless and wide, when calmer days prevail if you want critical sharpness.

    I shot view cameras for a lot of years- most recently a Canham MQC 57, there are things they do well, moving subjects aren't one. Sometimes Scheimpflug works, sometimes you can't get enough movement to get everything in focus because of the arrangement of the scene, lens coverage, movement...- "better results" are obviously determined by what results you're seeking.

    Movements are often but aren't always the right answer, especially when they're very small movements like with a T/S lens on a small format camera.
     
  24. helium macrumors newbie

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    #24
    I never thought I'd find a fellow large format shooter on a forum like this one :)


    ok with LF we might have to stop the lens down a couple of stops to get sufficent coverage, but it's always better than having to close the lens all the way to F/64 and beyond to get the required dof


    ;) :D

    but with smaller formats wind is not that much of a problem


    you've lost me there :confused: :confused:
    when I get the closest and farther point in focus, also all the points in between that are on the same plane will also be in focus




    :confused::confused:
    for most work I always managed to get away with very very limited movements

    the canon lenses have up to 8 degrees of tilt
    which is more than enough for any kind of landscape work
    also since the focal leghts are much shorter there is a lot more depth of field to play with and less need for movements


    ND filters can get rid of them, but there are cases where you might want to keep them, and keep them still



    of course you can't do everything with movements
    but when possible it's alway better to do it with movements rather than waste time in photoshop after having taken the picture
     
  25. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #25
    If I could justify it, I'd have a BetterLight back now for landscape, but I sell more nature than landscape images.

    Digital has spoiled me, not that I don't still have some 5x7 Velvia kicking around somewhere. :)

    There's at least one active LF shooter here, I've got three LF cameras, but I haven't even picked one up in probably 4 years now. However, I think the upsidedown and backwards under a darkcloth crowd is pretty-well represented here. :)

    Depends a lot on final reproduction size, no? I mean, sure you get additional DoF from the sensor size, but then you get diffraction much sooner too, so I'm not sure they don't pretty-much cancel each other out other than in very bright light when landscapes mostly suck ;) But in terms of bellows becoming sails, sure, wind is not much of a problem even with a 400/2.8 compared to a 5x7 at full extension! :D

    "on the same plane" is the operative phrase, and with Scheimpflug on a view camera, that's usually a "wedge," which is why I talked of mountainsides, where that tends to work better than it will on a flat field of flowers, where you're never on that plane over the whole field unless you're shooting straight down from an aircraft or bucket.

    To me the typical LF landscape is some foreground element in focus and some background element in the distance, but high in the frame in focus because of the wedge Scheimpflug gives you with front and back tilt. Anything else can be shot on MF or a small format camera.

    When I've needed them for landscapes, I've always needed them to be extreme, versus just shooting at the hyperfocal distance. I can see where it would depend on the landscape though.

    I suppose it depends on the results you want- if I haven't just needed perspective control, then I've needed pretty good movements if I needed movements and not just hyperfocal depth of field.


    IMO, that depends too- I'd rather spend 2 minutes shooting for a focus stack than 25 minutes trying to get all the movements squared away if the light's changing quickly for instance (Otherwise, I'd rather enjoy LF given everyting equal.) Just like I'd rather shoot HDR than deal with high-actuance developers and several days printing in the dark room.
     

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