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Canon 1D Mark III with tilt-shift lenses

Here I have selected a focus plane to pass through her left eye only. Hand held, available light at ISO 1000. No PS except for minor skin blemish touch up. The result is a nice sensual image.

But the Canon 1D is a sports camera!

  • yes, I know, this camera was designed for sports and action photography, but its Live Preview makes perspective control photography so much easier even though it is not a full frame camera (would be nicer still if it was full frame - but you can't have everything).
  • up until now, digital photography with tilt-shift lenses has been difficult as these are manual focus lenses, and digital SLRs do not have the best facilities for ensuring accurate manual focus.
  • sure you can use the AF-confirm - but this only allows you to choose one of the AF points, and often the subject you need in sharp focus falls outside the circle of AF points, and unlike normal photography, you can't focus then recompose as the whole idea of the tilt-shift lens is that your plane of focus is no longer parallel with your film or sensor and so you must focus without moving the camera.
  • likewise, buying a split-image focusing screen will not solve your problem for the same reason.
  • you could get a magnifying viewfinder attachment, but this only magnifies the central portion and again is not that easy to use.
  • BUT now at last, there is a truly great improvement - the  digital camera live preview with its 10x magnified image - much scoffed at by Nikon & Canon users when brought out by Olympus - but they are finally realising how useful this feature really is.

So how does the Live Preview help with tilt-shift?

  • firstly, it seems that the actual focus effects of tilting the lens is more obvious on the LCD screen than in the optical viewfinder.
  • BUT most important is the ability to accurately manual digital cameras and focus on any part of the frame at 10x magnification without having to move the camera which you cannot afford to do in this photography.
  • in addition, you can see accurate depth of field effects
  • furthermore, if you have composed the image with the camera hand held, you can move the small LCD screen box to the subject you want in sharp focus, zoom in, adjust focus critically then without zooming out and potentially losing position or focus, have reasonable confidence that you have not lost your composition and can take the photo without zooming out or reverting to optical viewfinder usage.

Steps in using the Canon 1D Mark III with a tilt-shift lens:

  • establish correct lighting and composition of subject
  • determine what your desired plane of focus should be to give sharpness to only the important components of the scene and blur the rest out - you need to think about this and then apply your knowledge of how the tilt-shift lens changes the plane of focus.
  • set desired aperture, ISO, shutter speed or exposure setting (eg. Av as you want to control the aperture yourself)
  • then adjust your tilt-shift lens (eg. amount of tilt and amount of rotation) and approximate focus until you have the desired effect
  • go to Live Preview on the camera by hitting the SET button (assuming you have Live preview enabled on the menu)
  • with the scene composed exactly how you want it to be, use the rear toggle to move the LCD screen box onto the subject point you wish to be at maximal sharpness
  • zoom in to 10x then adjust focus manually then either:
    • press shutter to take the image immediately to avoid losing focus - not needed if using a tripod with stationary subject.
    • zoom out or press SET to revert to optical view before pressing shutter.
  • you may need minor exposure compensations depending on degree of tilt/shift.

This is heaps of fun - great for portraits, macrophotography, still life and even landscapes which include near and far objects that need to be in focus. I'm very happy I bought the Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 tilt-shift lens. I have selected a focus plane to cross through her right hand and her left eye.

photo/canon1diii_ts.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/03 23:22 by gary

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