What does a Tilt Shift lens do for you?
I'm looking at lenses to photo some antiques for book quality shots and I will probably be using a light tent setup. Most objects will be between 4"-18" long. I looked at the 60mm Canon macro and the 100 macro but I feel like the working distance is going to be too far away. In the process of researching this I've come across the 45mm TS-E lens. Quite a bit more than I am really considering spending on a lens for this project but I was hoping someone could explain to me exactly what these lenses do ?

Comments (14)

Well actually they tilt and shift. The are for the most part used to architecture and building shots, etc. as they correct distortion in photos. No leaning backwards or forwards etc in taller building shots....They are not as far as I know used for macro work.Do a Google on them, lots of information.A picture is the expression of an impression.If the beautiful were not in us, how would we ever recognize it?Ernst Haas..

Comment #1

What Kimberly said, and they are also useful in situations where you have limited depth of field (because of a wide aperture or because of close focusing). Wiith the tilt mechanism you can tilt the plane of focus. Imagine some thing flat, such as a plate or lens filter, photographed from a angle so that with a regular lens you can't get the whole object in focus: with a TS lens you can tilt the focal plane so that it is all in focus..

The EF-S 60 mm macro iis an excellent lens, why do you think that the focal length would be too much for your work?.

Brian A...

Comment #2

Expanding on shift...

The shift feature let's you get more into the top of the frame than you would normally get if you did not tilt the camera up..

Imagine you point the camera at a two-storey house. If you hold the camera level, you get lawn and sidewalk, most of the first level, and only part of the second level..

If you tilt the camera up to get rid of the sidewalk and lawn and get the second floor in, the sides of the house now start to get closer together at the top of the photo. It's called keystoning..

With a shift lens, you leave it pointed straaight ahead so, to start with, the sidewalkand lawn is in the shot. Then you make adjustments to the lens so that the camera remains pointed straight ahed, (the back of the camera remains parallel with the front fo the house) and the front of the lens starts to move vertically up, and more and more of the second storey of the house is visible in the viewfinder, and less and less of the sidwalk and lawn..

And the sides of the house do not converge..

When you see old fashioned view cameras with the big bellows and someone underneath a cloth, if the front of the camera is higher than the back, "shift" is taking place, too..


Comment #3

So why do I see these lenses mentioned so much for product shots?..

Comment #4

I use tilt-shift lens and bellows in my product work every day. there is so much more you can do with this type of equipment in product photography!1. same as in architecture (converging verticals/horizontals)2. prevent a camera from being reflected in a reflective surface.

3. maximize/minimize depth of field. you can maximize it in one plane and minimize in another at the same time.4. make things look longer, or shorter, wider, or thinner.

5. make minor adjustments to framing, which is very hard to do otherwise in macro work..

Actually you were being quite wrong thinking that longer working distance is less convenient. it is opposite for the following reasons:the closer you are...1. the harder is to set the lights so you do not obstruct them.2. the more pronounced linear distortion is3. the larger your reflections will be in reflective surfaces..

The only instance whren you have to be closer is when you shoot something like a glass of wine..

For instance, something like these two photos could not be taken without T/S lns, or bellows.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Irakly Shanidze

Comment #5

The reason working distance is important for my project is because I'll be setting up my portable studio in people's places when I visit to photograph thier collections so I will likely have limited working space...

Comment #6

Are you going to be working in a bathroom? otherwise 100mm will do just fine, if you are talking about real macro.Irakly Shanidze

Comment #7

RE>... lenses mentioned so much for product shots<.

For shots where there are vertical lines (like the great bottle shot someone has posted) you can use the shift to keep the sides parallel..

Imagine a shot with a dinner plate and a wine glass..

You want the camera above the plate, and pointing down, so you can see the salmon. But you want the back of the camera vertical, so that the wine glass is not distorted. Tilts and shifts allow this..


Comment #8

Try shooting something that is 18" long, getting the entire object within the frame of the photograph and doing this with a 100mm macro lens and about 5 feet of working room.........

Point many cases I'll be setting up a light tent in someone's kitchen or living room to take photos.......from what I've seen so far, typically I won't have much room to work with and I'll be taking photos of things that are anywhere from 2" to 32" long on average....and I need to get the objects within the frame of the photo...

Comment #9

It's an awful difference between 2" and 18". I would not use the same lens for the two.Irakly Shanidze

Comment #10

Well, unfortunately I am not made of money and I need to try to make do the best I can with one lens. Hence the reason I am putting in the time to try to research this as best as I can. I need to find a single lens to do what I best as possible. Some of the zoom lenses I've looked at (i.e. Sigma 18-200) would certainly give me the working room flexibility I need, but most seem to feel that quality of the images wouldn't be as good as a primary lens. At this point...I'm leaning towards a 50mm macro.......

Comment #11

There is nothing wrong with renting. we do it all the time. one would go broke buying a specific lens for every job.Irakly Shanidze

Comment #12

You would do well to listen to Irakly. He's a well respected photographer. You are fortunate he viewed the beginners forum......

Comment #13

You can rent lenses? I didn't think this was something even to consider. Where can one rent lenses? It would be great to actually be able to spend a weekend with a few different lenses and "play" around with them. That would certainly be the easiest way to see what works best for my situation.......actually see the results etc...

Comment #14

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