Shift or Wide?
|We have already
explained (here) that in
some situations what is needed is not a wider
lens but just a shift lens.
On this page, we look at that further, along with the
whole issue of converging verticals in
First, we look at a further example of an ultra-wide-angle lens, compared with a shift lens that is slightly less wide, but this time we are using a different wide-angle lens and a different shift lens.
|On the page that
introduces shift lenses (here),
we compared a Zenza Bronica 40mm lens that had been
specially-modified to Pentacon Six with a 45mm ARSAT
On this page we compare the probably-unique Schneider-Kreuznach 40mm Curtagon for the Exakta 66 with a 45mm Hartblei shift-only lens.
More information on the 40mm Curtagon can be found, starting here. The results of other tests with the very same 45mm Hartblei shift-only lens can be seen here.
|Leeds Castle, Kent
(Yes, it is in Kent, not in the great city of Leeds in Yorkshire in the north of England.)
Pentacon Six Fuji PRO160NS negative film 1/125 f/19
40mm Schneider-Kreuznach Curtagon lens for Exakta 66
The Curtagon gives us a great wide-angle view of the front of the castle.
However, the composition of this picture would be much better if we trimmed most of the gravel drive at the bottom of the image.
45mm Hartblei PCS shift-only lens in Pentacon Six mount
From exactly the same position, we can see the reduction in the width of coverage when using a 45mm lens.
The Hartblei lens is here shifted 9mm up, resulting in a major reduction in the amount of the drive that is shown at the bottom of the image,
while more sky is visible than would have been the case with a non-shift 45mm lens.
Which of these images is better? That is of course a matter of opinion. However, I consider that the section of another building to the right in the Curtagon image adds nothing to the image, and the expanse of gravel drive at the bottom of the image detracts from it. Of course, if there had been a procession of ducks walking across the gravel, that might have shown the superiority of having the widest-possible lens. Unfortunately, there were no ducks in the vicinity. So I consider that in this instance, the 45mm shift lens gives a more pleasing image. A tiny bit of the other building on the right can be seen, and in real life we would of course crop that out, but the purpose here is to give a fair comparison between the two lenses. It is pleasing to note that with the Hartblei lens shifted 9mm up, there is no sign of vignetting (darkening of the corners of the image).
there are some other considerations:
Results obtained with the Wiese shift-only version of this lens can be seen here. The images shown there reveal what happens when the lens is shifted further than is advised for 6 × 6 format.
Converging Verticals and Residual Perspective
As stated in our introduction to shift lenses (here), using a
shift lens is often the best or only way of avoiding converging
verticals, in which the building appears
to be falling over backwards. However, even on
that page we saw, with some of the pictures of St
Albans Abbey, how difficult it can be to eliminate
converging verticals completely: even with an
extremely wide-angle lens, or with a shift lens, one
often still needs to tilt the camera up
a little, to get in the top of a building, or to get a
Perhaps we are sometimes too anxious
When we look up at an imposing building, the
verticals do converge in our view of it.
However, our brains, aware of the angle of our heads
and how buildings actually are (normally with parallel
walls), cleverly compensate for this, and we don’t
seem to notice the converging verticals. It
is only when we look at a wide-angle picture that
we notice the effect, and generally perceive it as
Wide-angle lenses, and especially wide-angle
shift lenses, enable us to reduce or even eliminate
the phenomenon of converging verticals. However,
when we see a building that was obviously photographed
from a low perspective, looking up, and the sides of
the building are absolutely parallel in the image, our
brains, which are trying to compensate for expected
converging verticals, can stretch out the top of the
building and generate in our mind an image where the
top of the building seems to sprout out, appearing to
be wider than the base, even if measurement of the
components of the image would indicate that this is
not the case.
I am grateful to Schneider-Kreuznach for their
suggestion that – even if we have a super-wide-angle
shift lens – our brain will perceive the image as more
normal if we deliberately leave in what they call “Residual
Perspective”. At the time of writing this
page (which is October 2018), their article on this
can be found here: https://www.schneideroptics.com/pdfs/photo/PC-TS%20Anleitung%201-12%20en.PDF
The article is entitled “Schneider Kreuznach PC
Tilt/Shift Lenses User Manual” and it is about the
PC-TS SUPER-ANGULON 2.8/50 HM, the PC-TS MAKRO-SYMMAR
4.5/90 HM and the PC-TS APO-DIGITAR 5.6/120 HM
Aspheric. Of course, none of these lenses is for
the Pentacon Six, or even for the Exakta 66, for which
they produced the lenses. The first two lenses
are for “full frame” 35mm cameras, whether digital or
analogue, while the third lens is for the
Mamiya/Phase-One System, which covers a range of
formats including Medium Format. However, the
principles do apply to us and using shift lenses on
the Pentacon Six.
On the final page of this brochure, Schneider
They continue by informing us that:
Visitors to this website who wish to learn more
about shift and tilt lenses will find a lot of
interesting information in this article by
Schneider-Kreuznach. They are real experts in
this area, having been producing shift and shift-tilt
lenses for decades, including the 55mm Super-Angulon
that they manufactured for the Exakta 66.
It is also possible to obtain shift movements
with non-shift lenses, via the use of
suitable bellows. For more information, see here.
Next section (Other advantages of shift lenses)
To continue to a test of the Hartblei 45mm shift-only lens, click here.
To go back to the section on Other Accessories, click here.
To go back to the beginning of the Lens Data section, click below
and then choose the range of lenses that you want to read about.
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To go back to the beginning of the lens tests, click below and
then choose the focal length that you want to read about.
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© TRA October 2018 Latest revision: October 2019