Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
Illustration by Petra Stefankova

Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses

with Ben Long

Video: Understanding tilt shift

A tilt-shift or perspective control lens lets you alter the perspective in an image, allowing you to, among other things, restore converging lines to parallel. This allows you to shoot objects with a truer representation of their real shape. A tilt-shift lens is always a manual focus lens, so you won't find any autofocus switches or stabilization controls. Instead, you'll find this odd series of knobs and locks and switches. So let's go through them here. You are looking at this side of the lens right now, which is currently on the bottom side of the camera.
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  1. 4m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 46s
    2. Roadmap of the course
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 53s
    1. Words about focal length
      2m 6s
    2. Understanding camera position
      1m 47s
  3. 39m 19s
    1. What filters are for
      2m 37s
    2. Shopping for filters
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding neutral density filters
      4m 53s
    4. Applying neutral density filters
      3m 55s
    5. Polarizing filters
      3m 4s
    6. Some shooting tips for working with a polarizing filter
      2m 32s
    7. Using infrared filters
      9m 15s
    8. Processing the infrared image
      6m 7s
    9. Handling stuck filters
      3m 1s
  4. 38m 37s
    1. Working with ultra-wide lenses
      7m 19s
    2. Using a wide-angle lens
      4m 43s
    3. Understanding fisheye lenses
      4m 2s
    4. Working with fisheye lenses
      3m 59s
    5. Understanding fisheye exposure
      3m 3s
    6. Taking fisheye further
      4m 16s
    7. Processing fisheye and wide-angle images
      7m 38s
    8. Correcting tone in fisheye images
      3m 37s
  5. 35m 37s
    1. Understanding super telephoto
      6m 21s
    2. Shooting distant subjects
      8m 26s
    3. Compressing the sense of depth
      7m 53s
    4. Working with shallow depth of field
      5m 35s
    5. Working with teleconverters
      2m 38s
    6. Editing telephoto images
      4m 44s
  6. 16m 47s
    1. Understanding macro basics
      2m 47s
    2. Shooting close
      4m 52s
    3. Shooting macro
      5m 20s
    4. Working with a point-and-shoot for macro
      1m 58s
    5. Using a two-lens strategy
      1m 50s
  7. 16m 39s
    1. Understanding tilt shift
      3m 37s
    2. Correcting perspective
      4m 29s
    3. Creating the toy effect
      4m 41s
    4. Deepening depth of field
      3m 52s
  8. 32m 39s
    1. Working with specialty lenses
      2m 43s
    2. Using the Lensbaby
      9m 13s
    3. Working with the Lensbaby Macro attachment
      3m 50s
    4. Shooting with a Holga attachment
      3m 4s
    5. Using an alternative mount lens
      2m 18s
    6. Using super-fast lenses
      1m 47s
    7. Correcting Lensbaby images
      9m 44s
  9. 39m 48s
    1. Correcting perspective
      10m 41s
    2. Creating the toy effect
      6m 31s
    3. Getting the lo-fi Holga look
      11m 17s
    4. Reproducing the effect of a Lensbaby
      8m 17s
    5. Cropping and enlarging images
      3m 2s
  10. 2m 47s
    1. Choosing whether to borrow or buy
      2m 0s
    2. Goodbye
      47s

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Photography: Specialty Lenses
3h 50m Intermediate Dec 17, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long on location in San Francisco as he explores the creative options provided by the kinds of lenses and lens accessories that don't always make it into most camera bags.

The course begins with a look at several common and inexpensive lens attachments, from polarizers to neutral density filters. The course then explores ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses as well as ultra-long telephoto and macro lenses. The course concludes with a look at tilt-shift lenses, which are useful for architectural photography and special effects, and at offbeat lenses, such as Lensbaby and Holga attachments.

The course also contains Photoshop postproduction advice and examples that illustrate the creative possibilities that an expanded lens collection provides. And because some specialty lenses are extremely expensive, the course also contains advice on renting gear.

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
Ben Long

Understanding tilt shift

A tilt-shift or perspective control lens lets you alter the perspective in an image, allowing you to, among other things, restore converging lines to parallel. This allows you to shoot objects with a truer representation of their real shape. A tilt-shift lens is always a manual focus lens, so you won't find any autofocus switches or stabilization controls. Instead, you'll find this odd series of knobs and locks and switches. So let's go through them here. You are looking at this side of the lens right now, which is currently on the bottom side of the camera.

We've set it up this way so that you can really easily see what's going on. And I've got this switch here that says LOCK and this little knob here, and then I've got another set of them right here. These are locks for one of the movements of the lens. With these all locked down right now, the lens stays rigid. It can't move in any way. It just stays just like a regular lens does. So what I'm going to do first is unlock this switch and I'm going to turn this knob. The lock is a really hard lock. It absolutely makes sure nothing moves.

The knob lets me create some drag to give me a little more ease of making sure that the lens doesn't move more than I want it to. I've also got this switch down here. If I push this, I can rotate the entire lens. And this is not unscrewing the lens or anything. It's actually rotating it on its mount. So now I turned it 180 degrees so you can see the controls that are on the other side, and I've got this two knobs. So with those locks undone that I just undid, I can turn this knob, and look what happens. The lens tilts from one side to the other.

I don't actually have to use the knob either. I can just grab the lens and move it. And if I've got the lock completely loosened, this is actually very easy to do. So I'm going to put it back where it was, and let's look at the other locking controls that we had. So I'm rotating the lens back around. And now I'm going to undo this lock. And what that does is let me turn the other knob, which is again on this side of the lens and when I do that, the lens shifts from side to side.

So you can see it's shifting that direction and then shifting this direction. Now, what's cool is I can actually combine all these motions, so I can shift and I can tilt and if I want, I can then rotate. So this gives me a really fine degree of control of getting the front lens element into a very particular relationship with the rear element, and that's where things really start happening. That's why we get all of this power. Now, let's try and get this back to normal here.

One thing to remember about a tilt-shift lens is that it comes in a variety of focal lengths just like any other lens. This is a 24-millimeter lens, so it's got a very wide field of view. In the next few movies, we're going to look at what you can do with these various controls. Right now I just want you to understand what the movements are. Tilt is this movement from side to side. Shift is this movement back and forth, and I don't know what direction I'm pointing. There we go. Shift is this moving back and forth and again I can, if I loosen my locks enough, just shift these things, or push these things.

I don't have to use the knob. I just accidentally took a picture, a nice shot of the ceiling that I'll treasure always. Another thing to realize is that I can actually do one more rotation, which is to turn this so now I can tilt in this direction and shift in this direction. So I've got a tremendous amount of flexibility. So what can I do with all this power? Well, in the next few movies we're going to look at what you can do by twisting and bending your lens around this way, and we're going to start by looking at perspective correction.

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