Traveling with and Using Tilt Shift Lenses
by Felipe Rodriguez
I am a photographer based in Seville, Spain, producing mostly architectural and travel imagery, but I have a wide experience in other fields, like professional sports (mostly soccer), bullfighting, weddings or macro.
For my current main subject, travel and architecture (both are many times the same thing), I always use tilt and shift lenses, because I find compulsory correcting perspective and avoiding the keystone effect. TS lenses got somehow popular in the last years for producing that “model effect” by tilting the focal plane. But, even if I’ve done that many times just for fun, in my opinion TS lenses are a completely necessary tool for any serious architectural work.
If you look around when you are travelling, you will notice that not many people carry tilt and shift lenses, but I definitely do, for the exposed reasons. I see that most people get intrigued about the “strange” tool that I’m using to take pictures, with all those screws and knobs as a kind of Frankenstein’s monster lens… Only a few photographers seem to recognize the “monster”!
As we usually travel by air (I do love hitting the road with my car and a bunch of photo gear inside the trunk, but you cannot go too far in a few days), and, of course I would never check in any camera or lens, I just pick a wide TS lens and a fast normal or tele prime for my short trips.
My favorite TS lenses are the Canon 17mm and 24mm (Mark II). I’ve also used some Nikon PC lenses like the 24mm (fine, but not as much as its Canon counterpart), and the 45mm (stellar, IMHO), but currently I only have Canon TS lenses (the above mentioned, plus the old 35mm FD), that I use on my Sony A7RII. Curiously, I find much easier using those Canon lenses on the Sony than it used to be on the Canon DSLR bodies (the 5D Mark III was the last I had). In fact, the Sony’s fast and accurate focus check features and IBIS may even release you from the tripod that, otherwise, was almost compulsory to use (I swear I have no other link to Sony than being a satisfied user).
Many people may think that carrying a bulky, slow to operate and manual focus lens isn’t a very good idea. However, once you get used to them, you are able to work quickly and the results, if buildings or cityscapes are involved, are unique and much more rewarding than those you can get with a standard lens, no matter how fast it can focus…
But I wouldn’t like to bore you with my words, so let’s the pictures speak for themselves!
CLICK IMAGES FOR LARGER and BETTER VERSIONS!
Image 1: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, ISO200, Canon 17mm TS-E, f/8.0, Exposure 1/200. Hotel Lagorce, Vannes, Brittany, France.
Image 2: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 (Mark I), ISO 200, f/8, Exposure 1/500. Cathedral of Berlin, Germany.
Image 3: Sony A7R II, Canon 17mm TS-E, ISO 100, Exposure 1/200, f/9. Louvre, Paris, France.
Image 4: Sony A7R II, Canon 17mm TS-E, ISO 4000, Exposure 1/30, f/4. Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France.
Image 5: Sony A7R II, Canon 24mm TS-E (Mark II), ISO 100, Exposure 10 sec., f/11, ND 10 filter. Dom Luís I Bridge, Porto, Portugal.
Image 6: Nikon D810, PC-Nikkor 35mm, ISO 64, Exposure 20 sec., f/11 (guessed), ND 10 filter, panorama out of two shots. Ville Close (medieval town) of Concarneau, Brittany, France.
Image 7: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 (Mark II), ISO 200, f/9, Exposure 1/250. Beach, Le Havre, Normandy, France.
Image 8: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, ISO200, Canon 17mm TS-E, f/9.0, Exposure 1/400. Grand Canal, Venice, Italy.
Image 9: Sony A7R II, Canon 17mm TS-E, ISO 16000, Exposure 1/30, f/5. Seine River, Paris, France.
Image 10: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 (Mark I), ISO 200, f/8, Exposure 1/80. Victorian houses in red brick, Pont street, Kensington, London, England, United Kingdom.
Image 11: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon 17mm TS-E, ISO 1250, f/5, Exposure 1/40. Visitor inside Plaza de España building, Seville, Spain.
Image 12: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon 17mm TS-E, ISO 400, f/8, Exposure 1/25. Square panorama (two shots). AVE trains, Atocha Railway Station, Madrid, Spain.