Tiltshift lenses provide so much more than the selective focus-look we all know so well.
The Reverse Scheimpflug
PHOTO: SATORU MURATO
Murato threw most of a Boston street scene out of focus by tilting his 80mm f/2.8 Hartblei Super-Rotator lens up rather than down. Shot with a Canon EOS 5D, 1/250 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200.
This one isn’t actually an official term for this look, but it fits. Here, you deliberately tilt the lens in the opposite direction to that which will give you extended depth, and thus severely limit the focus to one small area of your image. Popular uses include portraiture, for those images with just part of one eye in focus, or the miniature effect, where the limited focus can make street scenes look like a toy city.
How it works: By tilting or swinging the lens opposite to the plane of the subject, focus gets confined to the narrow pivot point on the plane of focus. Again, this is technically not a limitation of the depth of field, because the blurry parts of the image have been thrown out of focus, not just out of the depth of field.
How to do it: As with the Scheimpflug Effect, educated trial and error. Start by focusing with the lens straight, centered on the one feature you want to keep focused—a portrait subject’s near eye, for example. Then tilt or swing the lens in a direction counter to the subject plane—here, the plane of the subject’s face. For toy-miniature landscapes, it helps to shoot from a high vantage point, so that you look down at the view. Larger apertures more severely limit the area of focus, so check with depth-of-field preview, as well.