Fun with tilt shift lenses I – the Canon EF 45mm TSE

Written by Gary on October 12th, 2008

Yesterday I decided to go for a short drive in the country-side and I found a fantastic 100 yr old rusting, dilapidated, farmhouse.
I was only there a few minutes when a 4″x5″ large format photographer on a group photo excursion arrived with the farmer who kindly allowed him onto his farm to photograph this building, and they kindly allowed me in as well.

We had a brief initial discussion and quite naturally he scoffed at my 35mm format tilt shift lens and he set about taking several photos each requiring considerable time to not only adjust exposure, focus but also the tilt and shift of his lens.

I would love to see what he achieved as 4″x5″ negatives produce beautiful large images full of detail which is not possible with current digital cameras.

I couldn’t resist the irony as I quickly made a few adjustments to mine and took this “snap” of him – purposely making him the focus and blurring the building – this is one of the benefits of the tilt-shift lens – you can alter the plane of focus – including rotating the tilt of the lens as I have done here:

tilt effect

I have added a bit of vignetting in Lightoom and converted to monotone in PS but no selective blurring or sharpening in PS was used. That’s his massive backpack he uses to carry his large format equipment – part of the price to pay for getting the best image quality.

Now to demonstrate another of the uses for this lens – by using shift, not only can we avoid converging lines by being able to keep the camera sensor plane parallel to the subject plane, but we can avoid self-portraits when photographing reflecting surfaces such as windows.

self-portrait window

Now with a bit of shift, we can get:

shift lens

For more tilt shift photos see here for my main index of Canon images by lens


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Walter B. says:

    Hi, could you give me more details about the GH1 adapter you used with the TSE-shift tilt lens. I’m very interested in buying one and any info you can give me will be appreciated.

    Great post and very very informative. I am a new blogger and if I come even close to the strength of this posting it would be great.

    Thanks, WB.

  2. admin says:

    check out adapters on

    I bought my Canon EF – MFT adapter from RJ on Ebay – if he doesn’t have one listed you can message him.

    Mine works fine but the release lever is a bit stiff.