Monday, 4 February 2013

Tilt adapter for Micro Four Third - Part 1 - Introduction

This post is an introduction to the topic. See the next article for some advise on lens selection, and the following one for instructions to build a simple adapter.

Tilt-shift pictures are getting quite popular nowadays, especially the tilt effect that gives a miniature effect to pictures. This is especially beautiful in videos, an example is shown below.


Many cameras, including mine (Panasonic DMC-GX1), include a "fake miniature" effect, that digitally blurs the top and bottom of the image to simulate a tilt lens. But I don't like so much the idea of post-processing, so I decided to use a real tilt-shift adapter.

The basic idea is to put an adapter between the lens and the camera body, that allows the lens to move around. By tilting the lens at some angle with respect to the camera sensor, you can simulate an exaggeratedly narrow depth of field, that makes large objects look like miniatures.

Example of tilt picture. Taken from the 10th floor of a building, with my self-made adapter.
28mm lens, tilt ~16°, f/2.8, 1/1600s, ISO 160.
Alterations in GIMP: contrast stretching and saturation.
(click on picture to zoom)
Commercial adapters can be fairly expensive, around 2000$ for that one (including the lens). Even for the Micro Four Third system, you could pay up to 500$ or so.

This guy had a great idea of a self-made adapter, using a plunger, hence the name of his adapter: "plungercam". Please follow the link, that explains a lot about how tilt-shift works, and what kind of lenses would work.

In these posts, I will just focus on the Micro Four Third system, and my version of the plungercam. The next article will focus on lens selection, and the following one on a simple DIY adapter.

Self-made tilt adapter, mounted on my camera.
The plastic piece is flexible, allowing for relatively free movement of the lens.