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Thread started 02 Feb 2015 (Monday) 03:03

# Tilt Shift Lenses for Landscapes

Feb 02, 2015 03:03 |  #1

Hi all, looking for some advice please. I recently bought a Canon EF TS-E 24mm tilt-shift lens. My main aim was to help create pin sharp landscapes. I have "googled" all weekend and found loads of advice however it is so in-depth with various calculations etc that to be honest I found it a bit confusing!

Can anyone explain in idiot's terms?!! I have attached my first attempt but as you might be able to see the ground in the foreground is not that sharp. It was taken at f/5.6 1/60 with a fair bit of downwards tilt and using a tripod. I focused by calculating the hyperfocal distance but as always although the calculation will tell you exactly how far to focus the lens doesn't enable the same level of accuracy.

Many thanks

Tom.

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Feb 02, 2015 11:07 |  #2

Marty
5D M4, 14/2.8 II, 24/1.4 II, 16-35/2.8, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8 II, 300/2.8, 200-400/4, 500/4 II, 24/3.5 TS-E, 17/4 TS-E, Zeiss 21/2.8.

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Feb 02, 2015 12:28 |  #3

Any detailed explanation for tilt photography would involve some crazy math stuff. The following is what I do in practice to achieve sharp focus. I suggest you use live view at 10x for manual focusing.

1) Pick arbitrary tilt value.
2) Focus on the far point.
3) Look at near point. What happens when you slightly decrease the focus distance?
4.1) If the near point becomes sharper, you need more tilt. Tilt more and go back to step 2.
4.2) If the near point becomes softer, you need less tilt. Tilt less and go back to step 2.
4.3) If the near point doesn't change much, go to step 5
5) Focus on the far point again.
6) Look at near point. What happens when you slightly increase the focus distance?
7.1) If the near point becomes sharper, you need less tilt. Tilt less and go back to step 5.
7.2) If the near point becomes softer, you need more tilt. Tilt more and go back to step 5.

Another comment regarding your photo: with a 24mm T/S, you would need to get much closer to the ground for the tilt to allow sharp focus front to back. I will spare you with the math stuff, but trust me. Try 1 ft above ground and tilt ~4.5 degrees.

Good luck!
-alex

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Feb 02, 2015 22:34 |  #4

If you are interested, here's a link to the Wikipedia article on the Scheimpflug Principal which explains the physics behind tilting a lens. http://en.wikipedia.or​g/wiki/Scheimpflug_pri​nciple

Basically what you do when you tilt a lens is angle the plane of focus so both near and far subjects will be in focus. Then you rely on depth of field to bring less important parts of the image into focus.

Speaking from view camera experience, if circumstances will permit, focus stacking is more useful, likely gives better IQ, doesn't require an expensive T-S lens, and isn't limited to the focal lengths available in your T-S lens. However, if the subject is moving or the wind is blowing, a tilt lens may be your only other option if you want front to back focus.

I think that, with modern digital technology, the shift portion of a T-S lens is more useful, but even that can often be done digitally.

Canon 7d MkII, Canon 50D, Pentax 67, Canon 30D, Baker Custom 4x5, Canon EF 24-104mm f4, Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro, Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC

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Feb 02, 2015 22:47 |  #5

- Dave |
Nikon D810
14-24mm f/2.8 | 16-35mm F/4 | 24-70mm f/2.8 | 70-200mm f/4 | Sigma 150-600mm

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Feb 06, 2015 14:13 as a reply to  @ Bcaps's post |  #6

Excellent! Just what I was after - a practical technique without a calculator or iPhone app in sight!!!
Many thanks
Tom.

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Feb 06, 2015 14:16 as a reply to  @ rgs's post |  #7

Thanks for your reply! I've had a go at focus stacking in the past but I use Adobe Photoshop CC and found there is (or at least was) some sort of software glitch and it didn't work at all. Maybe time to try it again.....

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Feb 06, 2015 14:20 as a reply to  @ rent's post |  #8

Thanks Alex I'll give that a try over the weekend!

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Feb 06, 2015 22:55 |  #9

I've owned the 17mm TS-E for some time now and find that I've never used the tilt function. Now, the shift function is what I bought it for. Great lens for architecture to get the shot in the camera that cannot be duplicated in post.

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Feb 06, 2015 22:56 |  #10

I also use the smallHD OLED monitor to achieve focus. Well worth the money.

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Feb 07, 2015 08:11 as a reply to  @ rent's post |  #11

Following rent's advice I took this today. f8 1/50 at ISO200, about 1.5ft off the ground (lowest my tripod goes). Plenty more playing required but not bad for a first attempt - everything is in reasonable focus!! Obviously the fence at the back of our garden stops a lot of view so will try and find a nice view in Somerset when I'm there Monday!

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Feb 07, 2015 13:55 as a reply to  @ thc1979's post |  #12

Hey that looks pretty awesome, Tom! Glad it worked out; and thanks for following up. -alex

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Feb 09, 2015 15:39 as a reply to  @ rent's post |  #13

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Feb 09, 2015 15:48 as a reply to  @ rent's post |  #14

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Feb 09, 2015 15:50 |  #15

There's definitely not enough TS-E pictures on this forum. Keep 'em coming please!

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Tilt Shift Lenses for Landscapes
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