How To Photography: Shift/Tilt Lenses Make Panoramas Easier for Serious Amateurs and Professional Photographers
A PC, or shift, lens is designed to move up and down or left and right in relation to the sensor. In other words, you can shift your view of the scene or subject matter while the camera remains in one position.
Maintaining a very precise shift point for each separate images is less critical, since you’re able to capture your set of photos at a variety of shift points, and still stitch them together seamlessly for an excellent panoramic image.
Thanks to digital photography technology, it is much easier to create stunning, spectacular panoramic images…if you are shooting with a compact or point-and-shoot camera, as they tend to include a panorama mode. The DSLRs that serious amateurs and professionals use, however, don’t have in-camera panorama capture, so such an image must be typically created in editing software by combining several separately shot frames.
The challenge is that you must still shoot those separate frames and that can require buying specialized equipment, such as a pano head, which in turn means you must upgrade your tripod. With the head and a bigger tripod, you suddenly find yourself hauling heavier equipment to the remote locations where you know great panoramic images are waiting.
A pano head is certainly a valuable tool, but until you gain some experience with it, your results may be less than you expected. Adjustments must be precise, long zoom lens are notorious for “accidentally” changing your carefully selected focal length and you may find yourself spending a considerable amount of time assembling and disassembling your pano rig and missing the images you wanted to capture.
If panoramic images are important to the portfolio you are trying to build, then you should seriously consider a perspective control (PC) lens, which are often known as shift/tilt or shift lenses. They can be a real advantage and make the creative process much easier and more enjoyable. Plus, you’ll find that the panoramic technique can be equally effective in creating within a vertical orientation as well as the popular panoramic wide view.
Digital photographers that have experience with a shift lens often use it to create landscapes with a complementary foreground feature, which is one of the compositional secrets to better landscape images. For example, you’ve found a landscape scene that appears worthy to be photographed; however, the inclusion of a foreground element will significantly enhance your vision for the shot. With a shift lens, you can easily capture a series of frames with the background remaining in the background, but each succeeding frame in the series reveals more of the foreground until your final image includes as much of the foreground element you want to show. Stitch the series together and you’ve created a much more appealing panorama photo.
By using a PC, or shift/tilt, lens, you can avoid buying specialized equipment and you don’t have to worry about the entrance pupil moving, which eliminates parallax problems when combining the separate images.
The actual shooting technique with a shift lens is rather simple: Select the beginning and ending points of the panoramic image you want to create with the shift feature. Then, center your camera to correspond with shift 0 between those two points.
Canon currently offers four tilt/shift lenses: TS-E 17mm f/4L, TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II, TS-E 45mm f/2.8 and TS-E 90mm f/2.8. Nikon’s perspective control lenses include the PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED, PC-E NIKKOR 45mm f/2.8D ED and PC-E Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/2.8D.
Copyright© 2012 Canon Inc
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