M43 for Architecture - Tilt Lens Options

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Boatman, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. I have been doing some architecture photography with my GH2 and would like to step up my work a notch. Two things I'm looking for are a wider lens than my current widest lens, the Panasonic 12-35, and a tilt lens option. I have been thinking that getting out of the m43 format and going to the Sony A7 might be necessary to accomplish this. That would be an expensive change and would it be necessary?

    Fotga and DLC both offer low-cost, m43, tilt adapters for Nikon or Canon lenses. Both Nikon and Canon have APS-C zoom lenses in the 10-24mm range. Sigma and Tamron also have ultrawide lenses for APS-C. Can anyone comment on using one of these APS-C ultra-wide lenses on a m43 camera, with or without, a tilt adapter? I don't know if the available tilt on these adapters is sufficient, either. Comments on them would be appreciated.

    I understand that this arrangement would be completely manual to use, but that is not an issue. I am very familiar with using manual lenses and buildings tend to hold still.
  2. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    For architecture you probably want a shift lens adapter rather than a tilt adapter.
    The highly expensive perspective control lenses offer both Tilt & shift in a single lens, but I've not seen any adapters that do that. Shift will allow you to correct converging verticals whilst tilt will alter the plane of focus.

    I have a tilt adapter for Pentax lenses, but I think I've only used it with 50mm primes. It's a very cheap model and mine tends to get jammed on the camera body making me very reluctant to use it!
  3. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    I'd be skeptical. The one review on Amazon for the Nikon/Sony adaptor is poor.
    The thing looks like a lensbaby - which is designed for the opposite of high precision architectural work. Sadly, I think you need to go full frame and use the Canon or Nikon shift lenses. Or, get a 4x5 view camera :wink:.
  4. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    to the OP ... I agree with Petro on this

    tilt will allow you to control focus plane, which while important on a 4x5 camera (and its large aperture lenses even for wide angle) is not so critical for smaller formats like 43rds.

    I've illustrated this on my blog here:

    you may also find this technique useful ...
  5. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    For my job I take photos of the insides of rooms. I was using various lenses but once I realized that the fisheye will do the trick, I haven't used anything else. I don't think this is exactly what you're looking for here, but it was the solution for me.
  6. Thank you for your comments. Clearly, I have mis-understood how a tilt-shift lens works and my idea is bogus - but then, that's why I reach out and ask.

    Thinking this through further though, if there were a shift adapter that would allow use of a wide APS-C lens, wouldn't the additional coverage of the lens designed for a (slightly) larger imager be an advantage? It does not seem to me that such a device would be that difficult to create, though it is not going to happen in my garage!

    TJ - when you use your fisheye indoors, do you correct the distortions afterwards in post production, or just go with the distorted image? In my case, I need straight lines. I can achieve this now by doing a stitch of two or three images using my 12-35 lens and then correcting in either Lr or Photoshop Adaptive Wide Angle, depending upon how much correction is required. For a few shots, this is adequate. For higher volume it would be too time consuming.

    I think the obvious answer may lie in the Panasonic 7-14mm lens, which is fairly distortion free, and any distrortion should be easily correctable in PP. This is an expensive lens, though, and would lock me into staying with the m43 format.
  7. dcbrookes

    dcbrookes Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 24, 2010
    Herefordshire, UK
    Back in film days I used a 5" x 4" Sinar camera with rising front for architectural photography, and I photographed many of the medieval cathedrals of England with this kit. Fast forward to the recent past, when I have been trying to emulate some of those camera movements with M4/3. I have tried using a Fotodiox shift adapter with a couple of "full frame" lenses (because these project a larger image circle that a M4/3 lens, they allow about 9-10mm of lateral movement). The first lens I tried, a vintage 17mm Vivitar was too soft and lacking in contrast. I then tried a new 14mm Samyang (Rokinon), but this suffered from far too much flare for interior work lit only by natural light. After using the Olympus 9-18 for a while, I eventually bit the bullet and bought the Panasonic 7-14 mm. This gives far the best results - it is very sharp, has very little flare, and very little distortion. I have modified the lens with a rear-mounted UV filter to eliminate the purple patch problem, and I am now getting very satisfactory results: I would go so far as to say that I love this lens, and would not want to be without it! Although it is best to keep the camera plumb to avoid converging verticals, I have found that a reasonable amount of convergence can be corrected while still giving good sharp results (I use DxO Viewpoint). The IBIS on my Olympus E-M1 means that I can get sharp interior shots hand-held at quite amazingly long shutter speeds.

    I hope this helps you in coming to a decision.
  8. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    If you are strictly doing paid critical architectural work and not real estate work, then a Sony A7 would be an easier path. Samyang makes a 24mm tilt-shift lens that's pretty inexpensive. I've tried the tilt-shift with my focal reducer and Nikon lens wide open and the effect is just not the same as with a true full frame. I shoot Nikon full frames. UWA is easier to achieve with full frame. But if you just need extra wide for indoors non-critical architectural work, then either a Panasonic 7-14 or the Olympus 7-14 with MMF adapter would do just fine. Then use Photoshop to correct for the tilt. m43 has inherently more DOF than full frame, so the shift part may not be as crucially needed. The Panasonic lens is sharp and a capable performer just like the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. If you are willing to wait for the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8, then that would be a good choice.

    So this depends on how useful is m43 to you and if you are willing to look yourself into that format.
  9. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
  10. Looks like Kipon has a shift adapter for m43 to Nikon lenses. It is reasonably priced at about $150. The Nikon 10-24 is somewhat more expensive than the Canon 10-22 but Kipon has not released a shift adapter for Canon yet. The adapter and either lens gets close to the price of the Panasonic 7-14 lens, so it is still a hard decision as to which way to go.
  11. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Yes they do; but there are times that I noticed when they start to move. Which was helpfull, because that's an indicator for me to start drinking water at the next bar, when I use to go out with friends in Hoboken. :wink:

    I am in favor of this recommendation too.... Cheaper than a A7 but then again Film has a special place in a photographers Arsenal (and heart) , but if your not into film at all anymore, no need to start again.

    I agree that purchasing a Shift adapter and a new wide angle Aps-C lens, like for instance the Sigma 10-20mm, could probably cost close to what the Pana 7-14mm sells for and not be as wide, but than again you would have had some Perspective control with the former setup. I think that route would only make sense if you already have some legacy lenses to use, or you can score a good deal on a used wide lens. The Panasonic 7-14mm lens is a great wide choice, and yes it is expensive, but it does sell pretty well on the used market so if you were ever to switch you would not loose out totally when liquidating.
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