Sometimes you just want to have a little fun with your photography. Tilt-Shift lenses are as old-school as you can get. Replicating the abilities of all the old bellows front ends on view cameras, T-S lenses can serve an important purpose or two.
They tilt. Tilting helps control the Depth of Field. Tilt the lens towards the subject and you increase the DOF. Tilt it away and you lesson DOF. We’ll get back to that in a minute. In fact, Vincent LaForet – an awesome shooter – loves his tilting. He makes some incredible DOF manipulated images.
They shift. In the “shift” mode, you can make tall buildings stand straight up so they don’t keystone. When you shoot a tall object, you tend to tilt the camera up. By shifting the lens up, you can keep the sensor plane paralell to the rising objects and they will therefore stay parallel. Yet the shift upwards let’s you see the entire object.
The excellent braintrust at Lighting Essentials actually brings you a tech-sheet on shooting with a T-S lens. It’s a superb primer.
But the gist of this article was “Tilt-Shift on a Budget”. T-S lenses tend to be wonderful – but very expensive. Yet lots of folks want to achieve the “tilt” effect – going very whacko in the depth of field rendering. And for this I present you with the excellent little web page – known simply as the Tilt-Shift Maker. The image above was rendered through it – and by golly – it’s kinda fun to play with. You get a number of individual controls and you can really exercise control over this effect – without paying the big bucks to do it real. Sometimes – without the right gear – you have to break our rule of getting the best shot in camera.