Why Don’t You Need Tilt-Shift Lens For Photography
Tilt-shift photography is a technique that allows you to change the focus of your photo after it’s been taken. It can be used for architecture or product photos and .to create dramatic effects such as blurring out the background.
However, tilt-shift lenses are expensive and often not worth it if you’re just starting with photography because other cheaper alternatives will give similar results.
Tilt-shift lenses are often used for photographing miniatures, fashion photography, architecture, and landscape.
They are also known as perspective control or PC lenses. These types of lens are ideal for changing the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF). It is exciting but not necessary too. However, it can be done with standard kit lenses and in post-processing.
Why Are Tilt-Shift Lenses Used
Tilt-shift lenses are commonly used to
* Increase the depth of field (DoF) but devoid of any blur in an image. The POF can be designed vertically or horizontally depending on the orientation of the camera. With this lens, you can make static objects appear more dimensional by focusing sharply on them while other parts appear defocused.
This is called selective focus photography.
* Control perspective of an object in post-production. The view of any object can be manipulated by shifting the lens parallel to it while keeping the camera stationary. The POF changes concerning the distance of the shifted lens from the object or scene, not the shift in the position of the camera/lens.
* Tilt-shift lens can change the angle of view and control depth of field and perspective in images and videos. The focal length remains the same, but magnification changes as the lens are shifted upwards or downwards.
Tilt-Shift Lenses Are Not Needed
You can do all those stuff with your regular kit lenses too. It is just that you have to spend more time in post-processing to achieve these effects. All it takes is a little practice, and you are good to go.
I know what you are thinking. “What about the actual hardware? Who will carry around all those bulky lenses?” Well, I have already told you that there are many ways to do the same thing. You can replicate all that stuff with regular lenses too.
Problems Using Tilt-Shift Lenses For Photography
- Expensive lenses, not suitable for low-budget high-quality lens seekers.
- Tilt-shift photography needs a lot of practice, so it is better to avoid tilt-shift lenses if you are new to this field.
- Weight is an issue with many photographers while using shift/tilt lenses.
- The DOF in the images is shallow because of the nature of these lenses. You should be close to your subject if you want shallow DOF (more than 1 foot).
- The aperture remains fixed at all times, so it may not be suitable for videographers.
- These types of lenses are available in Canon / Nikon mount only; if you are a Canon or Nikon user, these lenses are just perfect for you.
- For shifting the lens, you have to hold the camera in an awkward position, and it is tough to achieve that using regular kit lenses.
- Most tilt-shift lenses are not weatherproofed, so professionals avoid them if they are out in bad weather conditions.
- There are no full-frame lenses available for Nikon users. These are only available in crop sensor format.
- At times, it can be challenging to achieve the desired shift when using these lenses with large camera bodies like Nikon D700/D3, etc, because of limited space between the lens flange and the turret.
- Tilt-shift lenses are ideal for shooting images, not videos, because you cannot change the aperture during filming, and there is no zoom facility.
Required Gear Checklist
- A camera with a full-frame sensor (Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D700 etc.). You can opt for APS-C sensor models, too (Nikon D7000).
- A lens with a fixed aperture of F/4 or lower might be considered ideal, but f/2.8 is fine too. If you can’t afford it, go for the cheaper variant.
- Tilt / Shift lenses are available in different focal lengths like 24mm, 45mm, or 90mm. You can choose any of these according to your priority and requirement.
- A sturdy tripod is a must for this type of photography because it needs total concentration.
- Cable release / Intervalometer is necessary too if you are shooting time-lapses on a tripod
- Stop down the aperture to F/8 or F/11 before shifting the lens; it will help you achieve better results.
- A panning head can make your life easier while shooting on a tripod. It is very difficult (or almost impossible) to create motion blur using tilt-shift lenses for scenic photography. Still, you can get some nice motion blur using these lenses for portraiture or product photography.
- You can use any brand’s 70-200mm F/2.8 zoom lens as a substitute if you do not have a dedicated tilt-shift lens. Still, it is better to use the original because of the image quality factor and durability/reliability.factor (after all, you are investing a lot of money to buy these lenses for photography).
The primary purpose is to highlight the pros and cons of tilt-shift lenses for beginners who are inclined towards purchasing these lenses. If you want to shoot portrait or product photography, invest your money in a good lens because it will serve well even if you have a full-frame DSLR body.
But if you are looking forward to shooting landscape or architecture photography, you should invest your money in a good DSLR body (with specialized lenses) instead of buying separate lenses.
Q. I am a beginner and still confused about whether to invest in a tilt-shift lens. Is it suitable for me?
A: These lenses are not suitable for beginners because they demand a lot of practice and patience to get the desired results. If you do not have any background knowledge about landscape/architecture photography, I suggest you buy a standard DSLR lens first and then move on to tilt-shift lenses / Ultra Wide Angle / Fisheye lenses. It will give you an overall idea of various types of photography, then only invest your money inexpensive (and specialized) lenses.
Q. Which focal length should I choose for landscape or architecture shots?
A: A 24mm or 45mm standard lens is considered ideal for landscape/architecture photography. For art pieces like paintings, mosaics, etc., you can use a 90mm tilt-shift lens with ease.
Q. What are the most common mistakes beginners make while using tilt-shift lenses?
A: Most beginners try to focus on small objects (when they tilt or shift their lenses), resulting in blurred images. This is the most common mistake beginners make while using these types of lenses.
Q. What aperture should I use to get pin-sharp images?
A: Stop down the aperture to F/8 or F/11 before shifting or tilting your lens. It will help you get the best results. You can also adjust your ISO settings or use a tripod to avoid camera shake if required.