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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More Depth Of Field

Using A Tilt/Shift Lens • Intensify Now Or Later? • Protecting You From Yourself • Patience • Super Scans

This Article Features Photo Zoom

tech tips
A Canon TS-E 90mm lens was used to extend the depth of field from the owl’s clover to the gold fields in the foreground. With a breeze blowing, there was no other alternative. A Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II camera was used for the capture set to ƒ/8 at 1⁄180 sec.
Using A Tilt/Shift Lens
I’ve experimented with tilt/shift techniques. With all of the digital techniques available for altering depth of field (as well as perspective control), do you still find tilt/shift lenses useful? Helicon Focus seems to solve so many depth-of-field issues.
T. Shank
Roanoke, Virginia

Even with the capabilities of new software programs to extend depth of field and to modify perspective, tilt/shift lenses still are very useful tools for outdoor and commercial photography. When the subject, such as a field of flowers, is moving due to wind, a tilt/shift lens allows a more efficient use of depth of field in conjunction with a large lens opening to facilitate a faster shutter speed. Hence, one shot stops the movement and maximizes depth of field. This is impossible with a multiple-image composite using Helicon Focus.

You can achieve a unique perspective in flower close-ups by attaching an 8mm or 12mm extension tube between the camera and a 24mm tilt/shift lens. Also, the shift function of a tilt/shift lens is helpful when taking a three-image panorama with a D-SLR having a less-than-full-frame-sized sensor, especially in a location where you can’t set up to the horizon. Without concern for the nodal point, you can take a left, center and right image from a single position, and the images will go together perfectly in any stitching software because they’re from the same image circle.

It’s always better to have an original image with perspective controlled than to use software to undo distortions. In some cases, it even may be necessary to use both a tilt/shift lens and distortion-correcting software. The better the image captured, the better the end result.

Note that Nikon has added a new tilt/shift lens to complement the existing 85mm tilt/shift with its PC-E Nikkor 24mm ƒ/3.5. Canon continues to offer 24mm, 45mm and 90mm tilt/shift options.

Intensify Now Or Later?

I use a Nikon D200, shoot RAW and process in Lightroom. Other than saving postprocessing time on the computer, does a color-intensifier filter allow me to capture colors that I otherwise might not be able to achieve? It would seem, at first glance, that I could achieve the same effect as the filter by working with the RAW file.
Via the Internet

If you like the overall effect you get from an intensifying filter, you should use it at capture because, while it’s possible, it’s very difficult to match the filter colors in processing software. However, if you want to emphasize only some of the colors or areas of the image, post-capture software is the best answer. Nik Software (www.niksoftware.com) recently released a new program, Viveza, that’s very good at pulling particular areas out of an image and modifying them—whether you’re intensifying, lightening or darkening—without the need for complicated selections or layer masks.

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