View Full Version : Photos using a 'shift' lens

05-05-2013, 12:26 PM
When I got my Pentax 6x7 Mk in 1979 I got the 75mm f4.5 'Shift' lens as I was getting some Architectural work for a company needing medium format transparencies of buildings for sale - I did a lot then suddenly the company went BROKE and all the work dried up ! I now use the shift lens occasionally for 'Club' photos -- here are a couple ---
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8511/8568736830_81e795d8da_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25850987@N03/8568736830/)
Pentax 6x7 03 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25850987@N03/8568736830/) by pentaxpete (http://www.flickr.com/people/25850987@N03/), on Flickr
A local Church -- here I used the shift lens to get rid of several parked cars underneath the blue board so I had to cut off the base of photo.
AGFA ULTRA 50 film processed in C41 myself Pentax 6x7 Mk II

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8389/8678798962_c42bb93aea_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25850987@N03/8678798962/)
Ultra 05 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25850987@N03/8678798962/) by pentaxpete (http://www.flickr.com/people/25850987@N03/), on Flickr

Here is an interior of a well-known Church on Pentax 6x78 Mk I and Ilford XP1 film. Time exposure + a few flashes from Mecablitz 45CT1
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3075/3140923969_1a4732f744_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25850987@N03/3140923969/)
All Saints Warley (http://www.flickr.com/photos/25850987@N03/3140923969/) by pentaxpete (http://www.flickr.com/people/25850987@N03/), on Flickr

Dave Swinnard
05-05-2013, 01:09 PM
After using s 28mm PC lens on my Nikons for many years doing arch. phot. in the '80s and '90s, I found that when I left that world, my go to lens when shooting 35mm (for myself) was still that PC lens.

Not always just to deal with the up-tilt issue, sometimes to exaggerate too, more often just for the angle of view. The fact is was a preset lens did not get in my way most of the time and I hand holding it wasn't an issue either. I took many trips with just that lens, the 25-50 zoom and the 105 for "details". I seldom shoot 35mm anymore but that's still my go to kit. (I'm partial the the F3, but have a wonderful F2, a seldom used F5, and a beater F just in case I need to shoot small and light.)

Back in the day I rented the 75mm shift for the Pentax 67 but the main kit was the Nikon and PC lens and a 4x5 with the 90mm Super Angulon - small for 35mm transparencies and large for colour negs. (local clients wanted prints, not transparencies).

These days, I miss a PC lens for my Hasselblad but have learned to "shoot around that" and have the 4x5 for times when movements are required. (and a different head-space to go with it...)

Ian Grant
05-05-2013, 01:14 PM
Shift lenses never really caught on as most commercial clients wanted LF anyway and they nearly all have plenty of movements so no need for specialist lenses.


Poisson Du Jour
05-05-2013, 10:58 PM
The principle of using shift is not fulfilled without a retrograde shift or tilt of the camera back. This is illustrated in the church shot; in terms of perspective the appearance is jarring. What should be happening is the camera (film plane) shifted to compensate for the shift at the lens — something the Hasselblad Flexbody does well, but which view cameras do superbly (one of very few instances where I would recommend a view camera explicitly over other formats). It's fine to move the lens up to take in more of the taller parts, but unless there is a corresponding correction at the film plain, the effect is compromised, hence the reason view cameras were once the go-to device for architecture.

I have used a PC lens on the smaller 35mm format since 1994, chiefly in landscape for correction of viewing angles and levels (tilt + shift) and not at all for "correction" of verticals because of the limitations of not having an adjunct correction at the film plane.

05-05-2013, 11:18 PM
I use a 17mmTSE for my commercial architectural & interior work - mainly due to the lack of distortion it produces. I have used the TSE feature on a few occasions, but it was the lack of barrel distortion (there is a little but it's barely noticeable to an untrained eye) that blew me away, and sold me on it.

I also have a 90mmTSE - and I use that for the selective focus when shooting food and details. It produces some great shallow focus images, that add a little extra to a typical "still life" image for clients. It also makes for an interesting portrait lens too.

05-06-2013, 05:18 AM
Thanks for all your interesting replies

Karl A
09-08-2013, 10:56 PM
Hi Pete, I think the key is to ensure that vertical lines remain vertical in your photograph. That is the advantage of a PC lens, it provides you the opportunity to frame your composition without tilting the camera back. If the the vertical lines are straight, you did it right. I'm not familiar with any need to adjust the camera back to compensate for this. I aim to get the camera back (film plane) level at all times, when vertical lines are an issue. Just my 2 cents...

09-14-2013, 01:21 PM
Thanks KARL -- your reply was worth at least 5 cents ---

09-14-2013, 01:27 PM
That is great, thanks for sharing. Sure beats lugging around a monorail 4x5. Tilt lenses are nice also, do you have one?

Of course to have verticals non-converging the camera back always has to be adjusted; that is the key point, the film has to be parallel to the structure. Of course everyone knows the cool thing that when they built the structure they made it plumb, so by making the film plane plumb you have made it parallel to the structure without lasers or complex triangulation :). Obviously in a camera like this the tripod head performs the function of film plane positioning, allowing an infinite number of choices in horizontal and vertical positioning.