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I'm a newbie when it comes to photography.

I currently own a Panasonic Lumix GF1 and would like to learn the tilt-shift technique. How does it work, what tools do I need, what software do I need as well if any?

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Hi edwin. It sounds like you have many questions about tilt shift photography. This existing thread goes over most of your options, from true tilt shift lenses, to lensbaby, to software options: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/8559/… and this question deals specifically with how to achieve the effect in software: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/15929/… Unfortunately no lens exists that is a true tilt shift lens for micro four thirds to my knowledge. –  dpollitt Jan 31 '12 at 4:17
    
youtube.com/watch?v=UZAgYyI_V0w –  mattdm Jan 31 '12 at 5:01
    
While there are no native tilt-shift lenses in the m4/3 lens lineup, you could always connect an SLR tilt-shift lens via an adapter. As long as it has a manual aperture ring of course; there are some old Nikon and Olympus lenses that should do the job. The main problem will be that their focal lengths will be on the long side for your camera, I have a cheap and cheerful 35mm Arax T/S for my Canon, it is a wideangle for me and will be a short tele for you. But it will work. –  Staale S Jan 31 '12 at 10:26

3 Answers 3

No software is required.

You need a Nikon F-mount lens of your choice plus a Lens Baby Tilt Transformer. This is an adapter that takes advantage of the greater flange distance of the Nikon F-mount compared to the Micro Four-Thirds mount which adds Tilt-Shift capability in between. Very clever actually.

Specifically, you do NOT need to buy a tilt-shift lens which is very expensive. You need a standard lens and the adapter adds the tilt-shift part. You can get some awesome combinations that way and I have yet to see someone combine a fisheye and tilt-shift for example.

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That's a tilt-only thingy isn't it? So you get tilt, but not shift. Shift can be very useful in things like architecture photography. –  Staale S Jan 31 '12 at 16:04
    
Good point. We hear Tilt-Shift so often I forget they are different things :) An adapter like this could do the shift portion but I have not seen one. –  Itai Jan 31 '12 at 20:18
    
Thanks for the answer, really helpful. Have one more answer though: judging from the price of the tools, would it be better to get Sony NEX 5 since that camera provides the feature out of the box (may not be crisp, but comparable/acceptable). –  edwin.nathaniel Jan 31 '12 at 21:47
    
@itai: If you hang an old Nikkor PC (Perspective Control) lens on the adapter, the lens will provide the shift and the adapter the tilt, and there will be great rejoicing and happyness all around :) –  Staale S Jan 31 '12 at 22:03
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@edwin.nathaniel - No. Some cameras, like the NEX 5 perhaps and a few others, process their images to make them look like they were shot with a tilt lens (yes, tilt-only, even though they probably say tilt-shift). The only cameras I know that have shift built-in are the Pentax K-5 and K-7. None has tilt AFAIK. –  Itai Jan 31 '12 at 22:56

There's now a native tilt-shift lens option:

Photex 50mm f/2

Photex 50mm f/2

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That's a Zenitar 50 (a dSLR lens) on a tilt-shift mount. It's the mft analog to the old Hartblei super-rotators for dSLRs which were Russian medium format lenses on tilt-shift mounts. Because the lens is native to a larger format, these are never particularly wide. –  inkista Apr 24 at 15:42

If you're talking about the toy-miniature effect, you can do that in post-processing with a simple gradient mask or depth mask, and don't require any specialized hardware, although specialized software might help.

If you're talking about tilting and shifting in-camera, then you need a camera where you can tilt and shift either the lens plane and/or the image plane. Since the sensor in digital cameras is fixed, that means you need a tilt-shift lens.

Currently micro four-thirds does not offer any native tilt-shift lenses, so you'll either have to adapt a dSLR tilt-shift, or find a "cheap" Russian dSLR lens on a tilt-shift adapter on eBay, like the Zenitar 50mm f/2 [about $400]. However, the glass isn't great (think: Russian M42 lens), the focal length is so long you probably won't want to do architectural keystoning corrections or landscape shooting with it, and your only advantage might be if you put it on extension tubes to do macros with depth-of-field control.

There is another version that's tilt-only [about $200], but at that point just adding the manual SLR lens of your choice to a $30 tilt adapter would probably work better.

tilt adapter test Panasonic DMC-G3. OM-mount Olympus Zuiko 50/1.2. On OM->EOS ring on EOS->m4/3 tilt adapter.

Tilt-shift is definitely one of the holes in mirrorless lens lineups.

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