How Good Is This Ultra-Affordable Tilt-Shift Lens?

Tilt-shift lenses are a powerful tool for photographers, offering control over perspective and depth of field for creative and technical applications. However, professional tilt-shift lenses are often prohibitively expensive, which makes this lens an intriguing option.

Coming to you from Christopher Frost, this informative video explores the 7Artisans 50mm f/1.4 tilt-shift lens, a budget-friendly option priced at $199, and examines its capabilities and image quality. Frost begins by demonstrating the shift and tilt functions of the lens. The shift function, typically used for perspective control in architectural photography, has limited effectiveness at 50mm. However, the tilt function, which adjusts the plane of focus, proves more intriguing. Frost showcases its creative potential for artistic photography and product photography. Despite its affordability, the lens boasts a maximum aperture of f/1.4, allowing for shallow depth of field and low-light work.

Frost conducts tests on both full-frame and APS-C cameras, revealing the lens's strengths and weaknesses. While sharpness is impressive when stopped down, the lens exhibits noticeable purple fringing and low contrast at f/1.4. On APS-C cameras, these issues are exacerbated at wide apertures, but image quality improves significantly when stopped down to f2.8 or smaller. The lens' performance is consistent regardless of whether the shift function is employed.

The video discusses other aspects of the lens, including vignetting, distortion, close-up performance, and flare resistance. Frost notes moderate barrel distortion and vignetting, particularly when the lens is shifted. Close-up image quality is relatively soft at f/1.4 and f/2 but improves at f/2.8. The lens exhibits significant flaring at wide apertures, which is mitigated by stopping down. Coma is also present at f/1.4 and f/2 but is largely replaced by sunstars at f/4. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Frost. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments