Thursday, 16 July 2009


Fork in path, Thirlspot, Cumbria, May 2009

As Colin Griffiths comments on my last post, I enjoy the process of lugging a big camera up big hills. But it is results driven. I want movements for angle of view & focal plane control. I want fine detail and smooth tones for large prints.

For the details and tones it is (for me) prohibitively expensive to go digital.
On investigating tilt-shift lenses for 35mm it's becoming clear that the only way to properly do the movements I want is to have a large focus screen.

The more I investigate options, the more I find I have the right one.

I'm thinking of poking around with Helicon Focus, which will be cheaper than a tilt-shift lens, but it can't do some things. Subject movement is an obvious one (and I work quite a lot in windy conditions). Soft clouds is another - I like to use a front tilt to extend depth of field in the land, which helps soften up focus on the clouds. Sure I can do all that in software, and use multiple exposures.

Here's the thing, though. Using movements in the field takes no more time than running a series of careful exposures and the time I need for the final processing is a whole lot less.

Digital solutions? Here's a couple of ideas.
  • Auto multi-focus. I set start and end points for focus and the camera runs a series between them.
  • Digital tilt focus. Can be manual with confirm or auto. Define the points you want in focus and adjust accordingly, just like the manual process. Asymmetric tilt/swing would help a lot for manual (auto can do fancy simultaneous movements). 2 points needed for single-axis movement (tilt or swing), 3 for 2 axes (tilt and swing).
Of course, there is one problem that all this digital stuff doesn't fix: reliance on power in the field. Maybe we'll get really good solar panels that will sort that out too.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I like comments, especially constructive ones.
Comments get emailed directly to me before publishing , so if you want to get in touch drop a comment.
All comments moderated by me before being published, keeps the spam at bay.