Anyone who follows my blogs will know that I am in love with the Micro Four Thirds camera system and I also love using tilt shift lenses – I own some very expensive Canon professional tilt shift lenses such as 17mm, 45mm and 90mm TS-E lenses.
Unfortunately, these tilt shift lenses are cumbersome to use on Canon dSLRs as you MUST use live view manual focus assist to ensure accurate manual focus, and doing this necessitates activating the clunky dSLR live view function which requires moving the mirror up then dropping it down prior to taking the photo.
I can use these tilt shift lenses on my Micro Four Thirds cameras and get MUCH easier manual focus control but the 2x crop factor effectively converts these into 34mm, 90mm and 180mm tilt shift lenses (although I can go a touch wider using 16:9 on the GH-1) – which can be very handy to compliment my Canon 1D MIII which effectively uses these at 1.3x crop giving 22mm, 59mm and 117mm tilt shift lenses.
See some of my demo photos using the Canon TS-E 90mm on my GH-1 here – it is awesome for close up work!
You can also get tilt or shift adapters which enable this function for a wide range of legacy 35mm lenses, but the 2x crop limits how wide you can go – perhaps the widest rectilinear lens for 35mm cameras is 14mm and this then becomes a 28mm tilt shift lens – very nice but still limiting.
Now, a Japanese company, Hino (see translated page), has come to the rescue and will be releasing this year, a tilt-shift adapter for Micro Four Thirds which will give us incredible power – it will be electrically coupled and thus allow any Four Thirds lens to be used with full aperture control, EXIF data and if AF-compatible, you even get contrast-detect AF – imagine how cool that would be with the new touch screen Panasonic cameras such as the G2 – you could put an Olympus ZD 9-18mm lens on it and zoom out to 9mm giving an 18mm tilt-shift capability, then touch the the LCD at the subject area you want in focus and voila – fast touch screen tilt shift AF not previously possible on ANY system let alone at 18mm angle of view!! The main issue with such an adapter is that the small image circle of Four Thirds lenses will limit how much one can tilt or shift, but at least you should get enough that it will be very handy! The other limitation is they appear not to recommend using lenses heavier than 500g so that will exclude the Olympus ZD 7-14mm lens unfortunately – unless used with care.
If this is not enough, it is likely that Olympus will be producing a totally different type of adapter – an adapter for Olympus OM lenses which will enable them to be used at their native field of view on a Micro Four Thirds camera via a 0.5x wide converter, which will mean the light gathering power will be improved by 2 stops, but that is not all – the adapter will give all these lenses auto focus capability!
If you want dreamy shots, then the new Nokton 50mm f/0.95 Micro Four Thirds lens at $US750 may take your fancy!
If you want to try 3D images – check out Loreo 3D lens for Micro Four Thirds.
So hopefully you will be able to see now how I visualised the potential for this Micro Four Thirds system when it was introduced, and why I was an early adopter – the system is designed for fun, creativity and to be the camera you will bring with you – the best camera that you can have is the one you are willing to take!
And this is only just the start – just wait until they really get going with some technological advances – it will leave the mirror-based dSLR systems for dead within 5-10 years – and these dinosaur dSLRs will have advantages in a few niche areas only.