Master the use of a per­spec­tive-con­trol lens to achieve deep depth of field with­out the use of very high f-stops

Digital Photograper - - Contents -

How to use a tilt/shift lens for deep DOF

When shoot­ing with­out the sup­port of a tri­pod or mono­pod, it can be a chal­lenge to utilise f-stops of higher than f8, as this will re­quire the ex­po­sure to be length­ened, to avoid un­der­ex­po­sure. This in turn will in­crease the risk of in­tro­duc­ing loss of sharp­ness through cam­era shake. This is es­pe­cially prob­lem­atic when shoot­ing in­doors, where am­bi­ent light lev­els are al­ready low. How­ever, when shoot­ing low to the ground, as in the shot shown here, nar­rower aper­tures are es­sen­tial to pro­vide a range of fo­cus that cov­ers both fore­ground and back­ground de­tail. A so­lu­tion is to use a tilt/shift lens to ex­tend the depth of sharp­ness to cover all ar­eas of the frame.

While the tilt func­tion is most com­monly as­so­ci­ated with the char­ac­ter­is­tic minia­ture ef­fect to­day, it has been a sta­ple of DOF con­trol in the field of large for­mat and view cam­era pho­tog­ra­phy for many years. By care­fully tilt­ing the plane of fo­cus so that it in­ter­sects your near and far sub­jects at the cor­rect an­gle, both can be ren­dered in-fo­cus, even at max­i­mum aper­ture. This pro­vides a per­fect com­pro­mise be­tween depth of field and ex­po­sure time, al­low­ing the pho­tog­ra­pher to shoot hand­held and cre­ate com­po­si­tions with depth, even in low-light con­di­tions.

The shift func­tion can also still be used to cor­rect per­spec­tive.

The min­i­mal light in­side this church meant a wider aper­ture had to be used to keep the shut­ter speedhigh enough for a hand­held ex­po­sure3RO­TATE THE LENS If shoot­ing in ver­ti­cal ori­en­ta­tion, press the ro­tate re­lease lever and twist the front part of the lens so that you have ac­cess to the tilt con­trol knob. In this case, full ro­ta­tion to the 90° stop was used.In­set STAN­DARD WIDE AN­GLE,BLURRED FORE­GROUND

1PRE­SET MAX­I­MUM APER­TURE The aim is to achieve a shut­ter speed that matches or ex­ceeds the lens fo­cal length, so set a medium ISO and open the aper­ture to the max­i­mum set­ting, only in­creas­ing sen­si­tiv­ity if nec­es­sary.

6SHOOT AND RE­VIEW Zoom in dur­ing re­view to en­sure cor­rect fo­cus. Stop down by one stop if needed, us­ing the on-lens fo­cus pre­view but­ton (if present) to mon­i­tor DOF changes. Use shift to keep ver­ti­cals straight if re­quired.

2CAL­CU­LATE EX­PO­SURE Com­pose the scene, dis­re­gard­ing any fo­cus fall-off you may no­tice in the viewfinder, as this will be cor­rected. Choose an ini­tial ex­po­sure, al­though ad­just­ment may be nec­es­sary post-tilt.

4AP­PLY TILT COR­REC­TION Fo­cus the lens then twist the tilt con­trol to the max set­ting. At close fo­cus­ing dis­tances to the fore­ground, max tilt will likely be re­quired, but you can ad­just this later if needed for cus­tomi­sa­tion.

5AD­JUST FO­CUS­ING Ob­serve the back­ground sharp­ness as you use the man­ual fo­cus ring to fur­ther cus­tomise the fo­cal plane po­si­tion, un­til all ar­eas of the scene ap­pear sharp. Ad­just the fram­ing.

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