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Rokinon 24mm Tilt Shift Lens


A Tilt/Shift lens can help solve many problems when it comes to angles. The most common one is when looking up at a building and the top of the building is smaller than the bottom, (appears to lean back), a simple lens shift solves this problem, but some, if not most people just fix this in Photoshop or LightRoom, and make the sides of the building parallel.

For my example, I am after focal plane, and we use lens tilt for that. You should be aware of Depth of Field if you are reading this. If not, in basic terms, its the area in front, and behind the area of focus, that is also in focus. This focus area has depth.

No back to focus plane. When you focus on something, say 3 people standing in a row, from front to back. You can focus on the front person, and the back person is blurry, when you focus on the back person, the front one is blurry.

I mention this because as your rack focus back and forth, the focus plane is moving forward and backward, parallel to the end of your lens.


Now if you look at the picture of the watch to the right. (you can click it to view it bigger) you will notice that I pointed my camera down to it, and the focus is in the middle of the watch, not behind and not in front, thus the straps are blurry. This is because the focus plane is slicing through the watch at about the 45 degrees, because I am point my camera that way.

Imagine if we were directly on top of the watch, the focus plane would be top to bottom, but we would not have this view of the watch, we would have a top view. So to try and get the focus plane more parallel to the top of the watch, we can tilt the front of the lens down, separate from the camera.

Take a look at this diagram for an example.


I wont go into all the math, or angles, plenty info on Google to explain it. Even if I explained it, you will never take measurements, and draft it out for a shot, you will just tilt your lens till you like what you get. However, what I will do want to tell you is this:

  • Focal plane is parallel to the front lens.
  • The more you tilt the lens, the more the focal plane tilts away from the front of the lens.
  • Now just remember that, and do lots of test shots, and get familiar with it.

Here is the BTS (behind the scenes) shot of the watch: bts-rokinon-24mm-tilt-shift-lens-fp.jpg

And now the final image: Rokinon-Tilt-Shift-tilt-NR-RT-1024.jpg

Now I wont say you need a tilt/shift lens, but I will say, if you are a product photographer, or food photographer (a form of a product photographer) Then I would suggest you go back and look at your shots, and ask yourself, would a tilt have helped the focus?

Mike Bradley

Author: Mike Bradley

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