playing with tilt

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Bimjo, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    I've seen tilt, shift, and tilt-shift lenses for some time now and have always been curious about how they work. But, I've net been curious enough to buy one for $500+ just to try it out.

    Enter mirrorless universal digital back (aka Sony NEX camera body) and a tilt adapter and for $40 you can play without breaking the bank. So, I ordered a tilt adapter from China off ebay in m42 mount intending to use my Spiratone 18/3.5 lens for tilt work. As it turns out I like the SMC 55/1.8 better as a tilt lens so far, but the sample size is very small so no judgement can be made at this point.

    First up is the Spiratone @ 3.5. focus point is the "S" on the lower end of the ruler.

    Then I tilted the lens a bit (was just playing so I didn't keep track of settings for any of these shots) and got this:

    Interesting. Worth further investigation. So I moved to the hallway and added some distance to see what was what. Changed to the SMC 55/1.8 and shot wide open. First a shot focused on the near can.

    Then the middle can.

    Then the far can. Forgive the framing shift, these are cherry picked from several different shots.

    And finally the tilted lens shot.

    Remember, these are shot wide open. Stopped down a bit this could get really interesting. I must play some more when the weather clears and can move outside. I'm not sure I'd spend the money for a dedicated tilt-shift lens yet, but at least now I can experiment to determine if this is something I want to follow up on.
  2. JimR

    JimR TalkEmount Regular

    Mar 28, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Good demonstration. Seems like there would be many applications for this.
  3. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    Aug 22, 2012
    Nice stuff! I'd love to see where you go with this :)
  4. ErickSaint

    ErickSaint TalkEmount Regular

    Aug 27, 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    My friend has one of those $300 shift lenses from ebay. He has gotten some really cool shots with it. They really shine when you get them outside and walk around with them. I plan on getting one at some point, but the shift adapters seem to be a real cost effective way of playing around with some different options, other than being tied into one length.
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    My vision before starting this was to be able to shoot down the length of a snow covered fence, or down the length of a train car, so we'll see what happens. I suspect that once I get the kinks worked out it will lend itself to multiple uses.

    I'd like to try shifting a lens as well, but strangely the only shift adapter for the NEX is the Kipon for Nikon lenses. Not sure I'm going to buy a Nikon lens just to play with shift at this point.

    For tilt, and I assume shift, you are at the mercy of the image circle the lens can provide. Some will work better than others. The 18mm works fine for close stuff, not so much for shooting along a wall (I tried) so you can get varied effects with different focal lengths.

    The good news is the adapters come in most of the standard lens mounts so you don't need to buy a lens specifically to try this out, unless you're doing shift and don't already have a Nikon lens.
  6. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Thanks for sharing this Bimjo! This is quite interesting...

    I've seen and read about tilt & shift lenses before and always wanted one (back in the days of film), but they were absurdly expensive back then which I found hard to justify for a highly specialized lens. My understanding is that they were made primarily to correct perspective or vanishing point problems in architectural photography, and so most of it's applications would be tripod-mounted work. Seeing as perspective manipulation can now be made in Photoshop (I took the liberty of "shifting" your ruler pic below, as an example), I came to the conclusion that tilt & shift lenses (or tilt & shift NEX adapters) are no longer useful. However until I saw your pics, I didn't realize "tilting" can manipulate the DOF as well!!


    I guess the beauty of a tilt & shift adapter is that the manipulated image will have the original "sensor pixel IQ" whereas a Photoshop manipulated image will have the pixel formations disrupted by interpolation.

    Looks like you've revealed the tilt & shift's full potential here, Bimjo. Many thanks!! :)
  7. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Had a quick look... Looks like current adapters are only available as only a "tilt" or only a "shift" but not both... :(
  8. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Yes, I think shift works better for perspective control than tilt does, which would/does work better than doing it in post.

    And you're right, there are no inexpensive tilt-shift adapters available. It's one or the other. If you don't mind shelling out some hard earned cash you could get a Mirex or a Zoerk adapter, but you need a MF lens and it might be less expensive to just buy a Arax (or other Russian copy) tilt-shift lens. There are a plethora of <$200 Russian 50mm tilt-shift lenses on ebay that may or may not work well.

    I'd be the guinea pig, but I just picked up a CV35/2.5 and I'm in lens buying jail until I unload some gear. ;)
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.