Shooting a Tilt-Shift Lens on 135 Film

Shooting a Tilt-Shift Lens on 135 Film

Ever wanted to fix converging lines of buildings as you look up from the street to take a photo? Ever wanted to isolate a subject in your frame to focus a viewers attention? A Tilt-Shift lens helps you do that, and more!

In simple terms, typically when your shutter opens light comes through the lens and goes straight onto your film. This is how a standard lens works. Your film plane and your focal plane are parallel.


First, lets imagine that your camera is pointing straight ahead but we've detached the lens and placed it on a pivot. It's still directly in front of the camera (and the film plane), but we can tilt the lens thirty degrees to the left. This means the film plane and focal plane are no longer parallel. You've "moved" the focal plane. If you've moved what's in focus, that means you've also moved what's out of focus. 

This can have dramatic affects and means you have more control over what is or is not in focus in an image without having to worry as much about their distance to the film plane.


Now imagine that the glass of the lens can move up and down, or left and right. By "shifting" the lens in any direction you can change the perspective of the light hitting your film. You can use this ability to counter the converging lines of an architectural photo. You'll typically be able to achieve nice straight lines all the way up!

If you were observant, these two actually use both Tilt and Shift!

Tilt-Shift Photography Samples

Here's some recent shots I made with a tilt-shift lens shooting KODAK 135 format film.

Large Format

Many large format cameras offer the ability to tilt and shift, so if you're looking for a new adventure in photographic creativity, check out what 4x5 and other sheet film cameras offer!

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