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Schneider PC-TS Makro-Symmar 4.5/90 HM

A Universal Tilt Shift Lens?

Tim Parkin

Tim Parkin

Amateur Photographer who plays with big cameras and film when in between digital photographs.

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With the rise in camera megapixels we inevitably begin to see the effects of diffraction as our prints get bigger and bigger. Many photographers have started to use techniques such as focus stacking to get the sorts of depth of field required while using sharper apertures such as f/5.6-f/11 but many photographers are also moving to perspective control or tilt shift lenses that allow the photographer to choose where to place the plane of focus, quite often setting the place almost horizontal to give the sorts of near far compositions made famous by David Muench. Setting the plane of focus in this way can give sharp focus across the important parts of the scene even when apertures such as f/5.6 are used.


The classic tilt shift lenses for modern DSLRs are the original Canon 24mm, 45mm and 90mm lenses and the new 17mm and 24mm lenses which show a much improved design (a new 45mm and 90mm are expected late this year).

The Nikon have only their original versions of the 24mm, 45mm and 85mm which although good don’t match up to the new Canon designs (come on Nikon!).

There were very few third party lens manufacturers that make tilt shift lenses. There are a few adapters - the Mirex that we’ve previously reviewed allows the use of Pentax, Mamiya and Hasselblad medium format lenses; the Hartblei lenses which are effectively medium format lenses in custom mounts and the occasional custom setup.tilt-shift-lenses

Schneider are currently the only company to offer a ‘universal’ set of tilt shift lenses - at this point they have a 50mm and 90mm plus there will be a 28mm released soon. Robert White kindly loaned us a 90mm in Nikon mount in order to assess the lens and we took it to Devon to test it out.

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