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JRed

Tilt shift

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What the hell is it? Every time I see tilt shift pictures they're creepy, fascinating, and everything looks like miniature models. But how?

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Tilt & Shift, while now an effect setting on point & shoot digital cameras, refers to a technique used for years in studio & portrait photography. FWIW - the digital point & shoot effect really only emulates 'tilt', not shift.

The big ( like 5"x7" and up )view cameras mounted their lenses on a board at the front of a set of bellows. They would focus by racking that lens board in & out until what they wanted was in focus. Then they could tilt (literally) the lens board to control how much of the image was in focus - it lets them have a small slice of the photo in focus as opposed to the entire field that the camera would be focused on if the film & lens were ponted the same direction. There are also adapters for 35mm SLRs that will let the user tilt a lens, as well as (startlingly expensive)  lenses with shift mechanisms built in.

The 'shift' function of a lens on a camera allows you to keep the camera body pointed level and straight ahead, and as you shift the lens up or down with relation to center the photo can cover further up (or down) on a tall building or tree or etc. It's easy to see why that's usefull by taking any 'normal' camera and tilting it upwards to take a photo of a tall building. The resulting shot makes it look like the building is leaning backwards where a shot taken with a shift lens on a level film plane will look straight upright.

The effect setting on digital cameras tries to emulate that slice of focus we get from a tilt lens. by doing that, it looks like there is an oddly  shallow depth of field, just as their would be when shooting up close to somthing. Our eyes work very much like cameras (only better) and optics function pretty much the same way in both. The closer you get to a subject the shallower the DOF is. The net visual affect from the digicam is that the cars are like model cars and that sort of thing. Our brains know what a shallow DOF is, so the entire scene ends up striking us as though it were a model on a table top, not the view of a city from the fourth story of a building a block away from where the shot was taken.

What you're seeing is psychosomatic.

Well - or psychotic, depending on the viewer.

 

 

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Okay,cool. Now need to look for pictures with more shift to them because that sounds awesome. I'm guessing the digital effects are why some photos look almost normal and others I'd swear are of models; just camera quality differences?  I think it looks really cool, but I doubt my iPhone is gonna do it. xD

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Love tilt shift photography, though the proper lenses are very pricey I believe you can buy a lenses baby for a reasonable price which will get you into it. Not sure how good or how they work.

 

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10 hours ago, Several said:

Love tilt shift photography, though the proper lenses are very pricey I believe you can buy a lenses baby for a reasonable price which will get you into it. Not sure how good or how they work.

 

If you don't mind messing w/ sheet film, you can get into a 4X5 tilt shift camera w/ a lens (used) for less than a Canon tilt/shift lens for their (D)SLRs. But - especially if you don't have a darkroom - processing costs will quickly overtake any savings in the original purchase.

I always thought the Lens Baby stuff was all about special effects.

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