Today I picked up a new tool for my landscape photography, a Canon TS-E 24mm tilt and shift lens.
In the days before digital photography (and to a lesser extent today by some specialists) photographers used view cameras such as this.
These cameras had movements, the bellows allowed the lens and front standard to be moved in relation to the film plane. This allowed the photographer to correct for perspective issues. With digital SLR cameras these movements were lost, until Canon released its range of TS-E tilt and shift lenses.
There are two aspects to a tilt and shift lens, in this post I will cover the first, shift (I only collected the lens this afternoon and haven't had chance to take some example photographs for tilt yet!).
Shift is used in several applications, in my photography the two that will be most useful are in correcting converging verticals in architectural photography, and stitching shots to increase resolution and get a wider angle.
Below is a quick grabbed shot of York Minster, taken at 24mm on my Canon 17-40 F4 wide angle lens, this is a conventional lens with no movements.
As you can see the Minster appears to be falling backwards, whilst it is an old building and needs continuous work to keep in good condition it isn't in the perilous state that this photo appears to show, the perspective created by tilting the camera upwards to get the whole Minster in shot has given this effect.
Here is the same shot taken on the Canon TS-E 24mm with some vertical shift applied. The camera is levelled horizontally and vertically and then the lens shifted upwards to bring the whole of the Minster in shot. Keeping the camera's sensor (or in a film camera the film plane) parallel to the subject prevents the falling backwards effect.
Whilst there is little artistic merit in these photos I hope they show the potential of a tilt shift lens, I think it will be a very useful thing to own.
As soon as I get chance I will take some shots showing the other aspect of the lens, its ability to tilt.