Any GXR lens suggestions for Alaska trip?

Started Apr 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Tom Caldwell
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Re: Tilt-Shift Talk
In reply to F Stop Fitzgerald, May 15, 2012

F Stop Fitzgerald wrote:

Hi Tom:

Yes it's an FD lens. I'm not fully certain what you mean about the exposure issues with the EF version on the EOS, as I don't own one. But I assume you are correct that on the GXR I should be able to see the exposure on the EVF and histogram. Also I often have a handheld light meter with me so I should be good with regard to exposure?

With the EOS version on a dslr the image through the ovf is fine and you can see the results of tilting or shifting. But with shifting the while lens is moved up or down physically and consequently anything above a modest movement upsets the cameras built in exposure meter which no longer gives the camera correct exposure advice. Therefore you have to set camera manually. Not a big deal but it needs a bit of experimentation to get just right. How they managed with film I don't know but probably used a manual meter for correlation as you have suggested. However an EVIL-type camera with what you see is what you get exposure should be much easier. Beware that at the extremities the lcd and evf will gain up or down so that you can still focus correctly but will no longer give a representation of true capture exposure. But mastering a more "cranky" lens is half the fun.

I have been meaning to try my EF tilt shift with the GXR but have not had an EF-> LM adapter, however one is on the waves. However my efforts are not going to be as successful as yours because the EF lens only works wide open on non-EOS cameras.

I am new to this kind of lens and it will take a while for me to understand what you are saying in terms of advice.

I primarily bought the lens to alter the focus and make people and large objects appear to be miniatures when shot from a high angle and a long distance in Alaska. I plan to use this effect with the time-lapse function of the GXR.

The principal idea of the shift function is to enable the camera to be held on the horizontal plane when taking tall buildings and thereby reduce or eliminate the perspective effect of "pointy" tall buildings caused by angling the camera upwards to fit the whole building into the frame. It is more architectural detail function rather than a wilderness one. However it will give a more true to shape image for any tall object. The tilt function on the other hand allows more of a wide object to remain in focus at large apertures by simply altering the dof across the image. Therefore a substantial building taken at (say) f3.5 and not from a full on right angle perspective might have parts out of focus. The tilt function allows this to be mastered. It is mainly for architectural use but this does not stop it being useful to record any wide scene in this manner. Perhaps you outdoors Alaskan images do not need wide apertures in which case the tilt function might not be so useful.

You can deliberately reverse the tilt to throw parts of your image out of focus if this is a requirement of your image. Likewise you can get some interesting effects with the shift function by creating perspective effects where none actually exist.

It is a large and very heavy lens that takes a while to master properly. But like all such specialist lenses it is a real winner when you find the appropriate subject matter. In use it needs a deliberate and careful style. It is a modern version of what a bellows camera was all about.

The lens might lead to an engrossing interest in older US architectural history. I would be very interested in taking one around some older small towns and recording their buildings ... don't get me wound up .... (grin).

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Tom Caldwell

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