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I've just seen this tilt-shift compact camera on the web and I was wondering if it was any good. I'm interested in experimenting with this style of photography, but I don't have £1,000 to spend on a Canon lens for my DSLR.

I know I can achieve the effect using image processing, but it still takes time and I'm after instant gratification.

I also know that a compact camera lens won't really produce the same quality images as a DSLR lens.

I should also make it clear that I know that it won't correct perspective. I am after producing the miniaturising effect.

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Tilt/shift even in lens is not very instant, especially for beginners! It is quite difficult I have found! –  dpollitt Dec 27 '11 at 19:52
    
For about the same price, you can get the LensBaby Muse (the cheaper plastic version of their lens with an accordion-tube "mechanism") which will let you play with tilt using your DSLR. At about twice the price, you can get the Composer version (glass with a ball-and-socket tilt mechanism). Neither is a TS-E-quality optic, but either saves you a kilopound. –  user2719 Dec 28 '11 at 1:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I believe the camera sold on Photojojo is actually made by NeinGrenze, and is listed on that website as the 5000T model.

This tilt-shift style camera does not technically fit the "tilt-shift" definition in my opinion. The reason being that it is a fixed lens, therefore you do not have the option to actually do any tilting or shifting.

You are forced to live with the amount of tilt built in, which will limit the apparent depth of field, and cause the focus to be limited. The shifting portion is also fixed, which means that you cannot photograph regular items without seeing odd effects. If you photographed a person standing in front of you at the same height as you, head on, you would see distortion. On the other hand, you may avoid convergence of parallel lines such as in photographing skyscrapers from the ground, but since the amount of shift is not adjustable, this will vary.

Overall, this is a toy camera, and marketed as such. It will give you a fun effect, similar to a lomo or toy camera, but it is not meant to be used in a professional manner. But it sounds like you are looking for a fun camera for experimentation, and that is exactly what you will get with this unit, have fun!

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As a side note, when I want to experiment or play with tilt-shift, I just rent/hire the lens for a reasonable weekend rate, as I don't have a need for one permanently. At least here in the US, I can do that for about 1/3 the cost of this toy unit, and get the full benefits of my DSLR and tilt/shifting. –  dpollitt Dec 27 '11 at 19:51
    
Ah - interesting on the hiring idea. I'll have to look into that. –  ChrisF Dec 27 '11 at 20:01

This isn't a tilt-shift lens for correcting perspective in architectural photography, which is what the £1000 Canon lens is for. Well, it may have a slight fixed correction built in, as dpollitt says.

This lens produces the miniaturised effect by blurring the top and bottom of the photo. That's all.

If you want to do that (minature effect) without software, you could try unmounting a 50mm lens and holding it at a slight angle in front of the camera body (or get some cardboard and tape and build something to hold it in position).

If you want to use software to do it quickly, try Topaz Lens Effects. They have a 30-day trial. Blog post here with an example of how to do it.

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I know that it won't correct perspective. I am after producing the miniaturising effect. I should have made that clear. –  ChrisF Dec 27 '11 at 22:25

To do it 'properly' requires expensive optics. If you can do the offline image processing option, then try this online tilt-shift generator:

http://labs.artandmobile.com/tiltshift/

If you've got a smartphone then you can get the effect more or less instantly using apps like Instagram - certainly works on iPhone, and I think they may have an Android version too. But there's a number of phone apps that will do this for you.

Edit The above is aimed more at answering the final point in the question about only being after the minituarising effect, with preferably instant gratification. The smartphone alternative is one I would look at, if applicable, as it is pretty near instant. In terms of the camera itself, I think it could be a bit restrictive - fixed focus lens - especially compared to the phone solution I mentioned.

I think the key thing in the camera description is "Lovely vignetting and a 5MP sensor put you squarely in lo-fi toy-camera territory, like shooting with a Lomo or Holga". So it's not going to be sharp (where you want it to), and colour balance is going to be someewhat artificial (the Lomo/Holga bit).

If that's not important to you, can you really go wrong at just £100?

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I see you have 201 rep, which is puzzling to me, as this is clearly spam. This post does not answer the original question at all, and is clearly an advertisement. –  dpollitt Dec 28 '11 at 1:02
    
I wouldn't call it "clearly spam" (it refers to a free online app and a phone app from different vendors), but it does seem to miss the main point of question - why is NeinGrenze 5000T (not) any good? If you'd answer that, providing alternatives would be fine. –  Imre Dec 28 '11 at 6:17
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It is not spam at all. My rep is 211 as I do not frequent this site very often, but I was one of the very early joiners (user #425). I have no connection with the sites or application named, other than the fact I use both. Please don't make assumptions on zero information. If you don't like my answer, then fair enough, but the info is put there in good faith. Yes, it's short and brief, but I hope someone searching here for tilt-shift information may actually find it useful, even if it does not completely answer Chris's question. –  Greg Whitfield Dec 28 '11 at 7:39
    
Unfortunately I don't have a smartphone :( –  ChrisF Dec 28 '11 at 16:43

No.

It's a small sensor. That means it's going to have a large depth of field. Doesn't matter that the lens is permanently tilted. You're not going to get the "macro effect" the site claims.

Don't bother with the lens baby line, either. I made that mistake in looking for a cheaper tilt-shift lens. :)

If you really want to go the cheap way, you can buy a medium format lens and fit it to a smaller format camera. Google that, and I'm sure you'll find step-by-step instructions.

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+1... Lensbaby is great fun but does not really give you a tilt effect. –  mattdm Dec 28 '11 at 1:57

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