Free Tilt-Shift Instructional Videos: Part II – Using Shift to Correct the Keystone Effect

In the photos and video below, Darwin and I show you how to use shift on a tilt-shift lens to correct a perspective effect that occurs with wide angle focal lengths known as keystoning. In the first photo, Darwin used a wide angle lens (a 24mm) to frame an old building at the Nordegg Mine. Any time a wide angle lens is pointed up to frame a subject (or pointed down) we get problems with straight lines in the scene not being parallel to the edges of the image frame. Look at how the building looks like it’s leaning into the frame: this keystoning can be corrected by making the camera back parallel to the building and then using shift on a tilt-shift lens to return the lens to the original composition. The second photo shows the corrected image using shift. Watch the video to see exactly what we did (warning: high cheese factor!)

By the way if you really, really want to be an expert using tilt-shift lenses, then we invite you to take part in our special one-on-one, hands-on tilt-shift lessons in Kananaskis Country west of Calgary, Alberta (we meet in Bragg Creek). Complete one of these three-hour sessions with Darwin or me, and you’ll be a yogi-master of the tilt-shift lens! Cost for a private session is $300 plus GST. Grab a friend, share the session and pay less at $200 per person (max two participants per session). Contact us at info@oopoomoo.com to set up your session!

The new eBook on tilt-shift lenses has also just been released!

Available dates and times in August are as follows (1st come first served):

August 4: 9 AM – Noon (Full)

August 5: 9 AM – Noon (Full)

August 11: 9 AM – Noon or 3 – 6 PM

August 12: 9 AM – Noon or 3 – 6 PM

©Darwin Wiggett – Image shot with a 24mm lens tilt-shift lens without any shift correction.

©Darwin Wiggett – Image shot with a 24mm tilt-shift lens using shift to correct the keystone effect.

About the Author

Photographing the incredible beauty of natural things, filming quirky videos, trying new foods with unpronounceable names, curling up with a good book, sharing ideas on how to live lighter on the Earth...these are a few of my favourite things!

5 Comments

  1. Ed Knepley
    July 31, 2012

    What are the advantages of using the tilt-shift lens as opposed to doing the same (or similar) in software? (Apart from less P-P time and not losing part of each side of the image during the P-P straightening & resulting cropping.)

    I keep looking at these lenses and the the $$ vs. P-P trade-off keeps coming up P-P.

    Reply
  2. Samantha
    July 31, 2012

    Ed, the advantages are exactly what you state; with a tilt-shift lens no pixel is harmed in the making of the corrected image. In software, many pixels are cropped off and the entire image is altered to try and correct the converging lines. The software-manipulated image will not be as sharp as one captured in-camera with a tilt-shift lens. And yes, there is also the time saved in processing by getting it right in the camera.

    Expensive is right! Good question. If the only advantage of shift was perspective control, then most of us would not need or want to spend the money on a tilt-shift lens and would, when needed, rely on software for the occasional fix. However shift has many other functions that we go into extensively in our eBook from making seamless and ‘no pixel harmed’ horizontal and vertical panoramas to making giant megapixel monster images.

    Of course you can do some of this stuff in software as well, but the quality of unaltered pixels captured in-camera is hard to beat!

    Reply
  3. Yu Sheng
    July 31, 2012

    Sometimes I find that the vignetting caused by shifting is really annoying: the farther you shift, the darker the shifting side of the picture. This makes the exposure of the photo really unbalanced.

    And you also lose sharpness if you shift. TSE24II is amazing for the resolution of its central portion. But the sharpness decreases too quickly (base on my personal judgement) that I could only accept the image quality within 7~8mm shift.

    Not sure if this is just my lens’ problem.

    Reply
    • Darwin Wiggett
      August 1, 2012

      Yu – have you seen this link? – http://www.leeseungkye.com/blog/2012/3/tilt-shift-lens-dark-edge-mirror-occlusion – it may explain some of the vignetting problems you are seeing.

      If you set your exposure properly in the non-shifted position and lock this exposure setting in manual mode, then when you shift side to side or up and down your exposures should all be the same (shifting really fools the camera meter otherwise).

      Even shifted 10 or 11mm, tilt-shift lenses still have the same edge sharpness as a regular lens of the same focal length! Maybe you are just spoiled by the extreme centre sharpness of tilt-shift lenses ;-)

  4. Yu Sheng
    August 1, 2012

    Thanks Darwin. I’ll check that blog.

    And yes, I am really amazed by the centre sharpness of TSE24II. But sharpness is not the only sweet thing of TSE24II. Someone told me that Adobe Camera Raw does not have lens profile for TSE24II (I still need to check that) because there is really nothing to be corrected for TSE24II :)

    Reply

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