SHOOT SHARPER IMAGES AT WIDE APERTURES
Master the use of a perspective-control lens to achieve deep depth of field without the use of very high f-stops
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.