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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lens Tech: Specialty Lenses For DSLR-Shooting Pros

For every job, there’s a perfect tool. Most photography can be handled by your core set of glass, but every once in a while, you need something different. These lenses don’t come out of your bag every day, but when you need one, nothing else will do.

This Article Features Photo Zoom

AF-S Nikkor 500mm ƒ/4G ED VR
Digital image manipulation has stolen a lot of the thunder from old-fashioned optics. Thanks to digital design, lenses are lighter to carry, more precise and able to cover bigger ranges than ever before, but it’s still the glass itself that provides the best, sharpest images that have ever been seen. And in fact, there are still a variety of lens effects out there that even powerhouse image-editing suites like Photoshop won’t be able to easily replicate. Whether delivering the ultimate control over composition or producing seemingly magical possibilities, rest assured that there’s a lens available that will be able to produce any effect that you may need.

Canon EF 400mm ƒ/4 DO IS USM
Tilt-Shift Lenses
View cameras offer a number of advantages over DSLRs besides bigger image sensors. Two of the most important are shift and tilt. With a view camera, the photographer can shift the lens up to get an entire building into the frame, while keeping the image plane parallel to the building. This eliminates the converging vertical lines produced by tilting a DSLR up to get the whole building in the frame (and in so doing, placing the sensor at an angle to the building). You also can shift the lens sideways to get a straight-on shot into a reflective surface like a mirror without the photographer and camera’s reflection appearing in the shot. Tilt movements allow the view-camera user to adjust the plane of focus via the Scheimpflug principle to increase or decrease depth of field without adjusting the aperture. If you tilt the lens so that lines drawn through the film/sensor plane, the lens plane and the subject plane all intersect at the same point, then depth of field will be maximized.

Normally, a DSLR user can’t do any of these things. However, Canon and Nikon offer special lenses that provide tilt and shift capability. Besides their tilt-shift capabilities, these specialized Canon TS-E and Nikon PC-E lenses have extra-large image circles, so that the shifted images don’t get “cropped.” Schneider offers the 28mm ƒ/2.8 PC-Super-Angulon in mounts for Canon, Nikon and Sony/Minolta AF mounts (like the Canon and Nikon tilt-shift lenses, it’s a manual-focus lens), with shift but not tilt capability.

Canon’s tilt-shift lens lineup includes the TS-E 17mm ƒ/4L, TS-E 24mm ƒ/3.5L II, TS-E 45mm ƒ/2.8 and TS-E 90mm ƒ/2.8. Nikon’s PC (Perspective Control) lineup includes the PC-E Nikkor 24mm ƒ/3.5D ED, PC-E Micro Nikkor 45mm ƒ/2.8D ED and PC-E Micro Nikkor 85mm ƒ/2.8D.


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