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Tilt Shift Photography Overview

Lesson 47 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Tilt Shift Photography Overview

Lesson 47 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

47. Tilt Shift Photography Overview

Next Lesson: Tilt Shift Lenses


Class Trailer



Nikon Lens Class Introduction


Nikon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Equivalent Aperture


Depth of Field


Maximum Sharpness




Hyper Focal Distance


Nikon Mount Systems


Nikon Cine Lenses


Nikon Lens Design


Focusing and Autofocus with Nikon Lenses


Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction


Image Quality


Aperture Control and General Info


Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses


Nikon Super Zoom Lenses


Nikon Wide Angle Lenses


Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses


3rd Party Zooms Overview


3rd Party Zooms: Sigma


3rd Party Zooms: Tamron


3rd Party Zooms: Tokina




Nikon Prime Lens: Normal


Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Nikon Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Primes: Sigma


3rd Party Primes: Zeiss


3rd Party Primes: Samyang


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hood


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Teleconverters


Macro Photography


Nikon Micro Lens Selection


Fisheye Lenses


Tilt Shift Photography Overview


Tilt Shift Lenses


Building a Nikon System


Making a Choice: Nikon Portrait Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Sport Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Landscape Lenses


Nikon Lens Systems


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lenses


Final Q&A


What's in the Frame


Lesson Info

Tilt Shift Photography Overview

Next up is the tilt and shift lens, as nikon often calls it, the perspective control ends, but it does weigh more than that, which is why I'm calling it the tilt shift linds they have three lenses, they're designed for the full frame sensors twenty four, forty five and eighty five, so we get ourselves a nice, decent, wide angle. We get ourselves a normal and a short telephoto lands now better just explained don't look at the screen, I don't want you to be offended here, I don't want to offend people here want to warn you that there is going to be some graphic cannon images on here and that's because I built this class or this portion of it a while ago when I had cannon equipment in order to work with, and I didn't have time to rework the concepts all applied to the nikon perspective control lenses just it's a cannon lands, please don't get mad don't write me letters, I don't need to see them on the concept supply, so tilting lands is where it points down or points up, and what we're do...

ing this for is we're going to change the plane of focus to either maximize or minimize how much focus we're getting in that plane of focus next up, we're going to do a shift where we're going to raise the lens up or we're going to push it down. This is also known as perspective control were controlling our perspective and we're going to do this also for panoramic reasons now you understand why this is the way it is on these cameras it's probably better to go back to our old view cameras, which had a base plate we had our lens on the front and we had our film on the back and we were able to independently move the lens and the back for various movements, so one of the things we could do is just simple rise and fall where we're bringing the lens up and down and that would change the image circle and the image that we're recording on the film plane so looking at it from above we can move the lens from side to side as well and this is a shifting movement we can shift left and we can ship right and so this is something that all large format cameras were able to do quite easily now the next option is tilting the lens you can tell the lens back you can tell the lands down and this is going to be changing the focusing system now we can look at the camera from above and weaken do it sideways which is swinging it from side to side and so these are the types of movements that we could do now a shift on eh modern day slr is gonna have a little knob on the side and you can move it up and down back and forth and this is going to be used to change our image that weaken rotate the lands and we could move it from side to side as well we typically can't do both at the same time with modern lenses but we're going to be able to choose one or the other now the reason we want to do this is because we don't like our buildings falling backwards this photo kind of looks like it's falling backwards we have converging lines they're getting narrower up at the top the architectural photographers want a straight on look were all the building windows and walls are straight up and down if they are in reality and so this is what we're going to use the shift correction for so one of the things that's unique about thes perspective control lenses is that they have a very large image circle it is much larger than the full frame area and that's what allows us to move the lens and see these additional areas it's kind of like a lens for a medium format camera that has a much larger image circle and so we were able to move the lens in many different positions without moving the camera so if we want to shoot a building and we want to get the line straight because we don't like our lines falling, we don't like our buildings falling backwards, right? We want to have straight lines on it. The idea is to point the camera straight ahead and move the land's upward. And if you do that, the lines will remain straight because the film plane is parallel with the subject plain. So this is what it looks like in video form from my camera, I'm going to point the camera straight forward, and then I'm going to lock the tripod in. Then I'm gonna go over to the lens and I'm going to dial up the lens so the lands is shifting upwards so that I'm getting nice straight lines on the building, and any time you are pointing the lens up, we're going to get converging lines. So I'm going to point the camera straight forward, and then I'm going to lock it in on the tripod, go to the lands and start dialing it up so that I can keep straight lines in my final photograph. Now, most of the time, I'm moving upwards on the movement, but from time to time you might find an area where you're pointing down in this case, I'm pointing down, and the lines are pointing their converging at the bottom rather than at the top of the frame, so I'm going to adjust my tripod and point the camera straight ahead. Which is up a little bit in this case locked the tripod and and then I'm going to move the lens down to keep those vertical lines straight so in this case, building lines are converging at the top I'm going to straighten it up now I can actually goto a higher location and I can shoot down on this and now I have converging lines on the bottom of the frame and fix it from the other direction and get fairly straight lines almost perfectly straight so any time you're pointing the camera up it's something you'll notice you'll get thes converging lines and so on video on the left side I point the camera straight ahead shooting vertically I've been adjusted and now I'm able to keep those lines perfectly straight and I have a much better aligned image now do you actually need to buy a perspective? Control lands? No, not really because you could take this twenty four millimeter straight lens that you shot you can take it into photo shop and you can transform it though you know how to select an area and transform it and you're pushing the pixels and you're squeezing them and you're ending up with a smaller area now the downside to this is it requires photo shop for similar program requires a little bit of time knowledge on how to use it and you end up throwing away about half your pixels so if you don't mind throwing away half your pixels which in some cases for small web photos is perfectly acceptable you could do this afterwards in post and so once you start understanding this you'll look at photos and you'll immediately tell if somebody did something to straighten up those lines because you know when you point your camera at something and you point it up it's going to kind of fall back and diminish as we get up to the top of that object it's not quite as effective but it can still be used for nature photography and so I point the camera straight ahead lock the tripod in and then adjust and this is a more accurate photo of the tree once again we can always go in and photoshopped the tree and fix it but we're throwing away about half the pixels and so if you do a lot of architectural photography it is really nice to be able to get those lines exactly straight because it does get irritating it seems like you want to bring a twenty foot ladder with you everywhere you go to photograph building so that you can get up to the right level and this solves that problem very quickly and easily right on the camera so with this shifting technique we're going to be able to fix these converging lines but the other benefit is that we're able to shift this from side to side and this will create a panoramic image and if we shoot multiple shots one hit the left one of the middle one at the right will be able to take all those pixels and create one very large scale image so we have a video running here on the top of your screen I'm going to go over to the left I'm gonna grab my left photo I'm gonna move it back to the middle takeout photo in the middle, move it over to the right get my third shot and these are going to be perfectly aligned very easy to stitch together panoramic ce and so if you want a nice high resolution panoramic that is a wide angle variety, you can do this very easy. One of the things I talk about in my fundamentals of photography class is panoramic stitching, and normally you will do that with a fifty millimeter or longer lands ideally one hundred or longer because wide angle lenses have distortion and if you shoot white angles they don't stitch quite right. But in this case the film is not really moving it's the lens that's moving back and forth and so this is going to be a much easier together stitch because the lens is changing and not the camera is changing because on the panoramic you're moving the cameras film playing around in this case the film playing its name parallel in all of the shots and so you're going to be able to shoot a truly wider angle shot different style if you wanted to get a small portion in the background panorama stitching would work very well, but for a really wide area, this is a great system for panorama city, and so if your lens just doesn't cover enough area, you can shoot one, two or three photos and stitch them together very, very cleanly in the latest rooms in the latest versions of light room, we'll have this built into the program, which makes it extremely easy to dio so in a case like this, you know what I'd like? I'd like just a little bit more to the left and I'd like a little bit more to the right and so aiken go left, go right, get those photos, put them all together and end up with a very high resolution wide image in this case, I wanted to go straight ahead, but I also wanted the top of the building and I was able to get to different images here so that I could put those into a square image. Now composing with the square is kind of a whole different little game there, but it's something that I don't mind doing it all in this case I put together two verticals I wanted to reach very far in each direction now the way that you will know my normally do this is that you're having a camera mounted on a tripod and you'll just turn the lens from side to side, take the first, second and or third shot if you want to get really exactly the way that you do this is you don't move the kid that you don't move the lens, you move the camera back and forth, and that way the lens stays in exactly the same position and it's the film plane that moves, and that is even the mohr, exacting way to get things that you don't have to do any stitching it all things should line up absolutely perfectly so this technique for shifting back and forth can be used for a couple of other creative uses, so here's a short video, I don't want my reflection in the window, all right? So I'm going to move my camera off to the side just a little bit, and now I'm going to settle the camera in, and I'm going to shift the lens over to the side so that the window is in the middle of the frame, which is where I wanted for this particular photograph, but you can no longer see my reflection because I'm actually shooting this from off to the side, and so this is a trick that architectural photographers would do in a room with mere for instance in order to shoot it straight on but to be not seen in the video and so here's the image of me reflected in there and here is the image of me shot from off to the side using the shift technique in another case I was down in death valley and I wanted to shoot something that was right at my feet but I did not want my feet in the photograph so I pointed it straight down and I shifted the lens up so that I wasn't getting my feet in the shot so I could get a straight shot down without my feet in the way so changing where the land sees so the other aspect is tilting and this is why and so the previous one is really the perspective control now we're getting into the tilting and this is to change our plane of focus and where we get to talk about our schlein flew principle all right so in this one we know where our image plane is we know where our lenses we know where we're focusing and let's say we want to focus on a flower well we're gonna have a fairly shallow depth of field right around that flower because it's close up but we also want the mountain and focus and we talked about hyper focal back in the aperture section but there's sometimes that even hyper focal doesn't get us all the way there okay, sometimes we need to focus in between in order to get the foreground and the background and focus and no matter what aperture we choose, we just don't have enough depth of field to do it, so what we can do is we can move our lens plane so if we tilt our lens plane a little bit like this logic would dictate at least to me that the focus plane would tilt the same amount as the lands plane but that's not what happens? What actually happens is the plane of focus and the lens plane meet up in an imaginary spot called the sly include intersection all right and that tilts the plane of focus quite steeply. And now when we said our apertures, we're going to be able to reach quite far with our depth of field for many types of shots and so a moderate aperture like f eleven we'll get everything from your feet to infinity in focus if it's at this right angle and so this is how I got a shot like this where I have the flowers in the foreground in focus and I have the mountain in the background my lenses pointed down and I have changed the plane of focus and so this is a common technique that a lot of landscape photographers will use in order to maintain the highest order of sharpness close up and in the distance and so lots of examples of foreground subject, sharp, background, subject sharp and so this is a video and let's rotate are lens a little bit, tilt our lands so that we now have the foreground and the background in focus and a still image on the right is the resulting photo of that situation? And so normally that would be to close that for you didn't focus with a normal lands and keep everything and focus even at f twenty two. And so lots of examples of the tilt shift lens lots of examples of the tilt chef lands. I can't help myself and it's, not just nature. You can use it in the city as well. You just need to find something interesting in the foreground to shoot, and once you have this ability, you suddenly start looking at the landscape around you differently start composing differently because you have more options in the sharpness that you can get from these because you don't have to shoot it f twenty two in order to get the shots, you're a death eleven but it's pulling the depth of field right where you need it, you can get just incredibly sharp photographs currently, this is the photograph that's hanging above my mental place right now, because it's so incredibly sharp I can blow it up so large. Normally I tend to use it vertically, but it can be used horizontally as well. It just doesn't reach as far from the foreground to the background. This is a video and this is what it would normally look like with the land set two relatively shallow depth of field when you focus up really close let's start the video and I'm going to tell the lands and you watch the background watch how much the background comes in focus I'm not focusing I'm tilting the lands now you might be wondering well, why don't I just stop my lens down to f twenty two or thirty two? Well, let's, take a look at the difference between a tilting linz and a non tell teen lands at f thirty two vs f eight here's the sharpness difference or I could say this is the diffraction problem you remember what we talked about diffraction closing our lens down to thirty two it has a very strong effect on sharpness if you go all the way down that far another reason why you don't want to stop your lands down too far is that it results in a very slow shutter speed so yeah f sixteen's pretty sharp but the problem is is that it resulted in a shutter speed of one eighth of a second and if we take a look at our subject in here or at least one of our subjects in the frame one eighth of a second is too long a shutter speed, and this is blowing in the wind and it's no longer sharp, so it allows us to shoot at faster shutter speeds to stop motion as well. So if there's anything moving in the frame and oftentimes this is flowers and grasses and other little things, you're able to get sharper pictures, foreground background with movement going on as well. Normally, if you just shoot the city f twenty two, these flowers might be blurry. Shoot it at f twenty two, you might have blurry penguins need a faster shutter speed. All right, so we're gonna wall here in seattle and we want the gum and focus. We want to see the gun. So how do we do this? Well, if we tilt the lens and as you can see in the bottom left your screen, we're going to get maurin focus. If we tilt it to the left, we're actually going to get less in focus, and so we could either go for more depth of field or less depth of field simply by tilting our lens in the right or wrong direction. And so let's let's, think about this diagram this we got our brick wall that's at our gum to the wall and think about all the different ways that we can shoot this with our camera so we can just angle our camera in and shoot it at f four wide open and we're going to end up with shallow depth of field. We could tilt it, reverse and get even shallower depth the field. If we wanted it, we could tilt it not at all, but used f twenty two, which is normally how we get lots of depth of field. But f twenty two has a lot of diffraction, so it's not truly sharpe the next option is to tilt the lens in towards the wall and shoot it wide open and you can see even then even at wide open, we're getting most everything in focus. The next step is to close down just a little bit, maybe death eleven and this is where we're going to get the maximum amount of sharpness from foreground to background will build the whole sharpest over a huge range if we do those two things, both f eleven and a slight tilt towards our subject. And so if we want to just shoot a normal picture with this kind of tilted off to the side, we're going to get a very unusual space of sharpness notice here we have blurriness on the left and right and an angled line where sharpness has run through the middle and I use this technique in order to get a picture of yosemite falls without the trees and focus. So when I'm doing is I'm basically angling that line of focus right down the middle toe where the falls is so that your eye goes to the falls and not to the trees, and so you can use this just as a creative tool to draw your viewer's eyes exactly where you want them to in the frame. And so in this case, I can have you read exactly the line in this sign because I could get very, very shallow depth of field, even though the lens isn't truly really fast lands. Now, with this we can go and do a reverse chelsea, as I mentioned before, and so this puts the slime fluke intersection above the camera, which is kind of an unusual place to put it because now the plane of focus runs in a very unusual position, and this is going to cause an unusual look to your images because now depth of field runs in a different direction, so let's look at a normal shot let's look at a reverse tilt and what it's going to enable us to do is have extremely shallow depth of field when we normally wouldn't be able to have this much or this shallow depth of field. And so this has been a technique that has been used recently for people to take fake miniature shots, and so they reverse the lands, and only a little bit of our subject is in focus just the top of the few buildings here, and what I'm doing with the camera in order to do this is I just tilt the lens upward and pointed at my subject, and so in this case, I'm tilting the lens upward, and I'm focusing on the penguins in the foreground, so the mountains in the background are very blurry, very effective if you have a high point to shoot, so I'm shooting from a bridge looking down, and it looks like a small model set because when you photograph models sets like this, you're using a macro lens, which has really shallow depth of field so it's mimicking that shallow depth of field book, and we have just a little bit in focus, and it just really looks like a miniature set toy cars this is actually in my living room looks like it's a fake set that's in your living room, and it does definitely give you just a different look to your photographs, so it's a this is a great lens to rent and just try out. And so tilting and shifting. There are some limitations with the nikon lenses as all the different orientations that you khun dio but tilting the lens forward to keep sharpness, shifting it from side to side for panoramic stitching reasons. Now I can get both in one shot and end up with a very high quality shot, tilting the lens forward, doing a side to side shot using three different images so that I'm getting as much data as possible on this, to keep it nice and sharp, once again, tilting the lens forward because I want the foreground and the background and focus. But I would prefer to have a little bit more information on the left, and we'll move it over a little bit to the right. Stitch two or three images together and end up with a very high resolution, wide angle image.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon® Lenses Part 1
Nikon® Lenses Part 2
Nikon® Lenses Part 3
Nikon® Lenses Part 4
Field of View
Nikon® Lenses Part 5
Nikon® Lenses Part 6
Nikon® Lenses Part 7
Nikon® Lenses Part 8
Nikon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.

Anna Fennell

Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.

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