Guide To Producing Tilt-shift Photography

[Bhautik] is back again with more tilt-shift photography.  This time, hes brought us a quite in depth guide to tilt-shift photography. He covers the technical side of how tilt-shift works, showing the differences in several methods. There is a breakdown of different cameras and ease of modification as well as links to several of his past projects. He even shows comparisons between instant tilt-shift Photoshop methods and the real thing, pointing out key things to look for to identify the real deal.

26 thoughts on “Guide To Producing Tilt-shift Photography

  1. This is as ironic as it is revolting. The concept of a tutorial on how to use a tool, from someone who obviously hasn’t even the slightest conception of the most basic functions of that tool, would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.

    Someone here should maybe read up on what T/S lenses are actually capable of, and maybe publish spots by people who actually know what the fuck they are doing with them. Otherwise you are just encouraging people like this to continue to destroy good equipment attempting to act like they know what they are doing.

    This is sort of the photographic equivalent of publishing the “hack” of using a microcontroller board as a doorstop by a self-described “programmer” that doesn’t know how to code or own a computer.

  2. @Stunmonkey: If there’s an error in my working or description, please don’t hesitate to email me with corrections or suggestions (my contact details are in the tutorial).

    However, I think it’s possible that you might not have actually read the article.

    There’s a reasonable description of the functionality of T/S lenses (both tilt and shift functions) in the ‘How does tilt-shift work’ part of the article. There is also a brief treatment of the mathematical relationships that drive the position and tilt of the in-focus volume in the appendix.

    If you still feel that I haven’t addressed what ‘T/S lenses are capable of’, please let me know and I shall endeavor to correct the omission.

  3. @Caleb Kraft

    There is a lot available on the subject, but in short the T/S lens (and the related movements of professional cameras) are some of the most varied, useful, and technically complex concepts in photography. Scheimpflug Movements would be a good place to start.

    One can control almost all aspects of perspective, even the apparent location from which the photo was taken from, the apparent distance it was taken from, choosing which aspects of the photo are in and out of focus regardless of actual distance or relative placement, altering points of convergence, making objects look larger or smaller, closer or further away, and altering the apparent size/distance relationships to each other of objects in the frame, just for a starter.
    There are advanced classes just to understand the basics, one that require the use of graphing calculators. It is not just a simple toy. It is one of the most subtle tools in photography.

    Those ignorant of its uses can crank one of its movements all the way to one side, ignore the other movements, and get images that look like bad macro photography – what we see here – but that is a very small part of what these lenses are capable of. Even then, knowledge of the proper use of the lens can produce images that look EVEN MORE like miniatures than just cranking the tilt all the way the wrong way.

    This “tutorial” would be like someone writing a tutorial on the iPhone 4 and only covering its use as a nutcracker and drink coaster.

    1. @stunmonkey,
      Thanks for the reply with some info. Please continue to supply good constructive input with your comments. It is appreciated.

      I’m trying here. I’m herding people towards constructive criticism. Please also help.

  4. @stunmonkey: I belive you’ve skimmed, but not actually read the tutorial. Replying to a few of your criticisms directly:

    The tutorial explicitly _starts out_ covering Scheimpflug movements; I do refer advanced readers to the appendix (and a number of other excellent resources, such as Merklinger’s discussion on view camera movements) if they want to look more deeply into more exact placement of the focal planes.

    It’s also repeatedly stated that the lenses are capable of many more things that just miniaturization. While I don’t consider myself an artist by any stretch of the imagination, a number of the presented photos in the tutorial demonstrate this principle fairly well.

  5. I think it’s more the approach of taking a fairly expensive piece of precision optics and hose-clamping it into a rubber boot that looks similar to a dust cover for a CV joint.

    I’ve seen this approach before, and it makes me cringe. There’s no way in hell I’d do this to my D300 or any of my $450+ lenses without a proper mount. You can pick up used bellows fairly cheap these days.

  6. I would be much more impressed with a tech that can make photos of miniatures look more like reality — perhaps by using a very small aperture and long exposure to provide sufficient depth of field — than by attempts to make photos of real things look like the poor quality photos we get of miniatures because our tech for photographing miniatures is so bad.

  7. I’d ignore Stunmonkey. His girlfriend just left him and took all of his lenses.(left the camera, though. Just no lenses.) Also, he is obviously reading a different tutorial.

    localroger: this tutorial is totally for you, because that’s actually covered pretty early on.(I have read the intro and page 1. I was waiting for the rest until I got home. Really fascinating!)

  8. Well OK, I’m also reading a different tutorial. But the link for “Tilt-shift: How does tilt-shift work?” appears earlier on the page, and sounded more interesting, so I clicked that instead.

  9. @Stunmonkey/all commenters who comment before reading

    yes i do agree that this is not the best tilt shift article but caleb is probably not a photogracker like my self (yes i invented a new word photographer-hacker … get it? … meh >_< ) but he is doing his best to keep hackaday diverse and for that i applaud him
    and unless hackaday is looking to hire a photogracker (*couch* i have a rather diverse photography hacking portfolio */cough*) than suck it up and take what you get

  10. Stunmonkey – is your objection that the tutorial is too shallow? It spans to several pages, with links to other places for further reading and even suggestions of a good book discussing the psychology of the subject. I’d say it’s pretty good as an introduction, which is what it aims to be.

    And medix – is it the lenses that normally sell on ebay for under £10 that you don’t want to damage? Or would you not want to put something cheap near something expensive? Because I don’t quite understand either of them on a site about hacking.

  11. Tilt shift photography — an ancient and simple technique that’s about to become the lens flare effect of 2010.

    Please stop educating the retards — art and design is mediocre enough as it is.

    1. @all,
      Stay on topic, don’t personally insult other commenters. You won’t be deleted for being negative or disliking the post. Only if you get offensive/trolling. Please try to give information supporting your dislikes (or likes for that matter).

  12. Great! A 10+ year old hack makes hack-a-day! I’ve have a plunger mount since ’98. Hope the digi photo guys understand that stuff like the predates digital all together.

  13. @Lokifish

    Sure the ability to do this has been around probably as long as cameras have… and then someone figured out how to make it work.

    Now there’s several possible T/S lenses with the inspiration for more people here to try to replicate it digitally, make it easier and/or cheaper, and maybe read the section on how to tell the difference between real T/S and Photoshopped versions and figure out a way to eliminate those differences (or enhance them if wanted).

    A long, long time ago I used to watch the intro to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood — the simulated flyover that was really just a model — and wondered, even at age 6-8, how to make it more realistic and how I might get MY neighborhood to look like ‘toys.’ The “How does tilt-shift work” section brought that all back for me and got me thinking about what to do with my digital PLUS what I might accomplish if I tried some techniques while doing underwater, coral reef photography. (Mixing kid ideas with adult talents — that’s hacking. After all, a lot of stuff here is nothing but sophisticated “toys.”)

  14. Stun monkey wrote
    ‘This is as ironic as it is revolting. The concept of a tutorial on how to use a tool, from someone who obviously hasn’t even the slightest conception of the most basic functions of that tool, would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.’
    Stunmonkey is clearly a knob…
    What’s wrong with you sunmonkey? Never tried to emulate one thing with an another?

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