Posted by: photographytuition | January 27, 2012

Perspective control or shift lens

I’ve used a perspective control lens in my work as an archaeology photographer for many years: a Nikon 28mm f3.5 PC.

The lens works on any Nikon SLR camera. It’s totally manual everything but I’ve never found this a problem or a disadvantage.  On a digital SLR you see what you get so you guess the exposure, take the shot and adjust as necessary. Manual focus is easy enough.

The lens shifts in all directions. I used it mainly for photographing long sequences of walling and for keeping the sides of tall buildings looking parallel.

I’ll show you how it works.

28mm f3.5 PC shift lens. Taken with a D7000, 16-85mm lens at 62mm. ISO 800, 1/60 second f5.3

In the above photo the lens is shifted downwards.

28mm f3.5 PC shift lens. Nikon D7000 with 16-85mm at 62mm. ISO 560, 1/60 second f5.3

In the above photo the lens is shifted upwards.

The ability of the lens to shift upwards is the setting most commonly used. It is this setting that enables you to photograph tall buildings without the distorted look of the sides converging (getting closer together) at the top of the picture. So instead of the sides bending inwards they are absolutely parallel – the perspective control has worked.

Photo showing converging verticals. D7000 with 16-85mm lens at 16mm. ISO 200, 1/125 second f8. Exposure +1 stop.

Two photos, using a 28mm shift lens, stiched together. Note parallel or straight columns.

The above photo was made by taking 2 photos using the rising front of the 28mm PC lens and joining the photos together. The 2 photos are shown below. The stitching was done in seconds using a free program that came with a Panasonic compact I bought ages ago.

28mm PC lens on a D80. ISO 200, 1/60 second f number not recorded. Tripod.

28mm f3.5 PC lens. D80. ISO 200, 1/60 second fnumber not recorded. Tripod.

Above: the two photos I used to stitch together.

28mm f3.5 shift lens. D7000 with 16-85mm at 32mm. ISO 800, 1/60 second f4.5.

28mm f3.5 shift lens. D7000 with 16-85mm lens at 32mm. ISO 800, 1/60 second f4.5.

The above two pictures show the lens shifted on a horizontal axes. These are the settings I used for photographing walls or long sequences of buildings.

It’s essential to use a tripod when using a PC lens for critical work.

If you would like to try out the Nikon 28mm f3.5 PC lens or are interested in improving your photography skills in the Brecon Beacons or mid Wales why not join me on a Photography Tuition course?

To find out more see www.photographytuition.co.uk or email me will@phonecoop.coop

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