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Brian O'Callaghan's picture

Tilt/shift lens in Winchester

Just like Mark I was in Winchester Cathedral at the end of November (and the Hospital of St Cross). I was experimenting with a rented 24mm Canon tilt/shift lens. I wonder what members think about any virtues of such a lens (£200 to rent for 3 days, £1800 to buy) when compared with fixing perspective in Lightroom. Certainly there is a loss of data in post-processing, and you have to anticipate what will be lost, which can be tricky at the margins. Are there any downsides other than cost. It certainly slowed me down, but that may have been a good thing.

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Mark Rowe's picture

Hi Brian,

Really pleased to see other photographers perspectives on how to shoot the cathedral at Winchester. Your shots are fantastic!

I’ve never used a tilt shift lens and would love to try - a whole new skill to be learnt, I fear! Lol

Lightroom does a good job of fixing perspective, but it’s a pain to get it perfect or to an acceptable level. It certainly seemed worth it to rent the tilt shift first before investing that level of money, like anything it will, of course, come down to how much use you can get out of it. Personally, I’m on the fence, although still intrigued!

Once again, great shots and thank you for referencing back to my captures too, appreciate it :-)

Have a great day.


Chris Jablonski's picture

Great images, Brian! Particularly like your toning. You create an airy atmosphere with a real sense of space..

I don't do much architectural photography, but am seriously considering the Nikon 19mm equivalent for landscapes, partly to manage DOF using swing rather than focus-stacking, but mainly because I'm sick of converging verticals if I shoot a landscape with a lot of sky. Trees, and electricity poles slope inwards, waterfcraft look distorted, and so on. I like to get everything more or less right at the time of shooting, and I suspect this gives better compositions and cohesion in images, because the concept is there in toto from the start.

Downsides I can see are cost, 900g weight, and the fragility of that front element in the field when it is so exposed on an already cumbersome lens..

Brian O'Callaghan's picture

Thanks both for kind comments. On cost, assuming you have the money in the first place, having borrowed once I'd debating buying. If one assumes that it will retain half its cost in re-sale value, I'd only have to rent it about 9 times before I'd have been better off buying one.

Re Chris's kind comments on tone, I feel like I'm in a running battle with lighting engineers who seem to want to create weird lighting effects in ancient monuments. I understand that we need light so people don't fall over stuff, but surely it is possible to light a building without always being aware of the light source and artificially bright areas contrasting starkly with areas of darkness. And I haven't even got started on the colour of lights (hence the B&W).

Excellent work. I am guessing they permitted a tripod in the Cathedral?
I use a 17TS-E for my architecture work. It made a smoking hole in my wallet but was well worth it and paid for itself on the first two jobs.
It is slower to use and I often need a slight touch up in post but the quality is inarguable. I pair it with a 1.4 TC to make a low cost 24 TS and get brilliant results, albeit with the loss of one stop of speed but as I am usually shooting at f8 it is not an issue.

I do use it off tripod on occasion but the tripod is much better.
I also purchased the 11-24 zoom as I am often in situations where I need speed. If I don't need much perspective correction it works splendidly. Perspective correction makes a minimal impact on IQ in my experience but as noted it can be hard to anticipate what losses will be incurred at the edges. It is best used in those situations where action stopping at a wide angle is needed when a stitched panorama won't do.

Brian O'Callaghan's picture

Thank you for your encouraging comments. Yes, they didn't object to a tripod at all.

That was my question too. They didn't allow tripods when I visited 15 years ago.

The 24mm TS-E is my favorite lens and I couldn't do my work without it — even with the abilities within PS and Lightroom. But I've never thought about traveling with it.

I love how the manual focus and shift adjustments slow me down and make me think about the photo I'm taking.