Originally Posted by M_Six
I've read that many folks who shell out big bucks for a T&S are disappointed that they can't get perfect shots right away. I understand it's a huge learning curve. I've seen lot of stellar images where the photog used just tilt or shift and then claimed that someday they'll learn to do both. Obviously it's not an easy lens to master. I do like your first shot a lot. Faux-Miniatures are ok once in a while, but they're gimmicky and get old after a bit. The real value in a T&S (IMHO) is the ability to have an enormous DoF all in crystal clear and sharp focus, like your first shot.
That is common with bodies as well. People get a 5DIII and get upset because their photos aren't immediately improved. I had no such delusions about the TS lens. I've always wanted one because I love to shoot architecture and landscapes. And while I am going to get some books on the subject, I felt just getting out there and playing with the lens was the best way to start learning.
The amount of possibilities and adjustments with this lens is mind boggling. You can Shift up or down, perpendicular to or parallel to the horizon, or anywhere in between. You can shift diagonally, etc. Then there's 90 degrees of rotation on the Tilt function, so you can be shifted and then Tilt parallel to or perpendicular to the Shift plane, or again at angles in between. Each combination gives a different effect. Learning which configuration of Shift and Tilt to use for a particular effect with such a high amount of possibilities is the fun part!
However, to your point about the real value of a TS lens and clear and sharp focus, that can be achieved with using only Shift. The first image that I posted that was sharp all the way through was shot with camera level, shifted up about 10mm, stopped down to f/18, and a long exposure. It was a dead on shot, so it didn't need Tilt to move the plane of focus.
I do think the other value of the TS lens is the ability to use Tilt to selectively focus and get creative effects with DoF. I never have been interested in faux miniature effect - agree it gets old - but the Tilt effects, I really want to practice with.
When I shot film, I used to go out with a notepad and write down the frame number and my settings so that I could remember later what I did to take a shot. With the advent of digital photography and embededd EXIF data, that has become unnecessary. However, the amount of Tllt and/or Shift does not get recorded with the EXIF data, so to help myself learn, I am thinking of starting to jot down the amount of and angles of Tilt and Shift I use in each shot so I can start to make sense of the different effects from different configurations of the lens. Unless there is a way to get that data recorded into the EXIF data...
Here's another shot from the same set, using both Tilt and Shift. The camera was angled up towards the sky (slightly) but I wanted a straight line and straight palm trees, with some lights out of focus for a bokeh effect.
Palms of Christmas
, on Flickr
I really like it, but as I said I am learning, so I would love comments and critique on what you (and others) think as well.