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by Aditya

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I read that some people use tilt shift lenses for panoramic photography, and being that I currently have access to the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II Tilt-Shift Lens I wanted to give it a try. Do I just shift the lens the furthest each way? Do I have to take more then 3 shots to account for overlap?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Using camera movements for a panorama is a good idea, but using the shift ability of a tilt-shift lens is a little less than ideal.

Ideally, you'd want to make sure that the lens stays anchored in space, giving exactly the same point of view at all times, and simply move the sensor around in the lens's image circle by moving the camera body relative to the lens. That would mean that there is no parallax at all when stitching the images together. With the camera body mounted on a view camera as a "digital back", that's precisely what you'd do.

Unless I've been missing something glaringly obvious, though, it doesn't appear that the TS-E 24 has a mount available in front to the movement block, so keeping the lens anchored in space would be difficult unless you have something like a macro focusing rail. That would allow you to offset the camera by exactly the same amount as the shift offsets the lens.

The TS-E 24 II has ±12mm shift, so you should be able to get away with three shots (left, center, right) on an APS-C camera or two (left, right) on a full-frame. Since there will be parallax, though, you may have to take more images to get satisfactory stitching. Depending on the complexity of the subject field (how many stacked layers of depth there are), you may have to take more—5 to 7 with APS-C or 3 to 5 with full-frame.

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Oh, awesome answer! Your knowledge of view cameras really helps! –  dpollitt Aug 27 '12 at 16:27
Hartblei make tripod collars for Canon TSE lenses for this exact purpose: but the cost is 517 euros, which is considerably more than the alternative (a roll of gaffer tape), this is a rental lens, right ;) –  Matt Grum Aug 28 '12 at 11:14
For the combined price it would make more sense to get a used view camera (a 2x3 -- that's 6x9cm) with a bag bellows and a 38mm Super Angulon XL and just go crazy. –  user2719 Aug 28 '12 at 12:55
Yeah the ability to do these "shift" panoramas is merely a bonus feature of having a TS lens, not a reason to go out and buy one. You have got me thinking, though, you can now buy a "stitching back" to go on a view camera which accepts a 35mm DSLR body and lets you move it around to capture the whole film plane, which certainly has it's advantages over shooting a regular panning panorama (being able to visualise and compose the whole image on the ground glass being one of them!) –  Matt Grum Aug 28 '12 at 14:38
You can also do multi-level panoramas by rotating the direction of the shift. Not only horizontally and vertically, but at 45° in each of the four directions. You wind up with the example about 3/4 down the page here:… –  Michael Clark Sep 19 '13 at 8:20

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