New film with Shift/ Tilt Lenses and Extreme/ EX1

I went out today, near where I grew up, to test out a couple of new lenses. Hartblei 65 and 85mm shift/ tilt lenses. If you don’t know what a shift/ tilt lens is there is loads of info on the net about them. Basically you can alter the optical path of the lens so the focal plane changes. For example on some of the shots the dead centre from top to bottom, all the way to infinity is pin sharp with the left and right of the frame is very out of focus. It’s used to create interesting effects and alter perspective.

Shot as usual on the EX1 and Letus Extreme. I still had some trouble on some of the standard wide lenses getting perfect edge to edge sharpness. What happens is when focus is set on the lens for me to get the edges in focus I have to change the focus of the EX1, but then the centre of frame goes slightly soft. I realised what is going on. I am not zooming into the 35mm frame enough. Hence the soft edges.

Here are some pictures of the lens and the setup.

The Short is called “Lost Times”. It has quite a personal feel for me. It’s a place I used to go to most days as a child. I haven’t been back for twenty years so it was very moving for me to be there. It’s not supposed the be original or profound. It’s just a test of the new lenses stuck to music. Sorry if it feels too familiar!

There are some post vignettes and it has all been graded as usual with Magic Bullet looks. Mostly shot 1080p 25 with the overcrank shot at 720p 25. All the blurs are optical. Nothing is done in post.


  1. Nice one, Phil…

    You’re getting the spherical focus plane of your bigger lens, methinks. The focus plane of a lens at infinity is theoretically flat (i.e. on a single plane) but in actuality it’s really not a flat plane at all, but more like a very large sphere.

    There are various lens designs that then try to make the sphere as large as possible, resulting in a focus plane over a small piece of film (the camera gate) that’s as flat as can be.

    When doing this kind of thing full time, we have a lot of cameras and lenses to test, and in around six months of fooling around, we’ve only gotten a Nikkor 55mm macro to project an absolutely flat focal plane over a larger camera gate than intended. If you use the lens as a projection lens (collimator, etc) you can actually see the focal plane as a ring going wide and narrower, and then to a dot (or circle) in the center along the axis of the lens. Mostly that flat dot is just wide enough to cover the gate. Sometimes not even that. (This is not lens coverage/fall off, but focal plane).

    I think the Hartbleis are not designed as well, is all. You’re using Scheimpflug, right?


  2. Beautiful footage and gorgeous colors! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and techniques, I truly look forward to learning from them.
    Peace and Blessings,

    Danny Hidalgo

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