Using a Tilt-Shift Lens for Focus Control

Inspiration March 21st 2014 10:45 AM 5 Comments

The tilt-shift lens can provide many different options for photographers. Jay P. Morgan of the Slanted Lens likes the focal length of the 45mm 2.8 because it gives him great focus effect and it can be used in small spaces without causing distortion.

In this video, he takes us on set at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California with the 82nd Airborne to show us how to use the 45mm 2.8 tilt-shift lens for focus control. Morgan begins talking about how the tilt-shift lens works.

Watch the Video

Playing with a Tilt-Shift Lens

If you stand straight on to the subject and point the camera straight on at the subject you will get a normal look for a lens. The subject will be in focus and the background will be out of focus evenly.

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If you swing the camera to the right the subject and the left side of the background will be in focus and the right side of the foreground will fall out of focus based on the shift of the plane of focus.

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In this image, the camera was swung to the right. It’s a neat effect to have the nose to the place in focus along with the subject.

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When you swing the camera to the left the subject and the right side of the background will be in focus and the left side foreground will fall out of focus. This is based on fact that we have to move the focus back to the subject each time we move the camera.In the next image, the camera was swung to the left, which made the nose of the plane to go out of focus while keeping the subject in focus. I love this effect.

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You can tilt the lens up and down to change the effect. On the side of the lens, you can rotate the lens 90 degrees and the swing from right to left becomes a swing up and down tilt. If you tilt the lens up, the background above the subject’s head goes out of focus and the background below the subject will come in to focus. If you tilt the lens down, the background above and behind the subject’s head will be in focus and the background below will go out of focus.

[REWIND: Extraordinary Focus Changing Tilt-Shift Timelapse]

For the photo shoot, Morgan set up inside a C47 with the door open. He had smoke directed through the door from the Rosco 1700. Rather than fight the sun, he set his color balance to tungsten to allow the sunlight to go blue. He shot at 200th of a second and f5.0 with the ISO at 160. That allowed for shooting strobe inside the airplane while balancing them with sunlight streaming through the door.

The Final Images

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Gear List

Conclusion

It was interesting to watch as Morgan showed how to use the tilt-shift lens in this tight space environment to create some amazing images. I love that this lens allows for you to focus on a subject anywhere in the frame and leave everything else out of focus. This is a lens that any photographer who likes to take creative shots would love to have in their bag.

via The Slanted Lens

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Lonnie Thurston

About

Lonnie Thurston is a wedding, nature, and sports photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area.

5 Comments

  1. Brendon

    That last image… Wow.

  2. Pye

    What a great use of tilt-shift for the composition. Love it!

  3. Anthony Thurston

    I agree, pretty sweet use of the tilt-shift!

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