A twisty shifty sorta thing
It’s a Special Perspective Control Close up application telephoto lens
or just plain PC lens Tilt/Shift Lens (Perspective Control, control of the plain of focus)
Last post I spoke of a special one of a kind Nikon only zoom micro (Nikon’s name for Macro lenses) lens. Well let me introduce to you another of the exotic Macro lenses that most people are not familiar with. You see I never look at a tool as an only one job only sorta tool, I love to try things and have found this lens and its abilities to be just what my Muse ordered. It has some nifty attributes . . . let’s see how we can not use it for it’s intended purpose eh! . . .
Close up & Macro have limited DOF so the part of the subject that is in focus is a sliver at best, that means your subject and the plain of focus had better be parallel to each other and you’s better be using a really small aperture to get the best DOF as possible . . . what if you didn’t want a head on or full top or bottom or side view, but rather an angled shot down the length of your subject with all of it in focus not just a shallow sliver? What if you could tilt your plain of focus to match the angle of the subject. Enter the PC lens, it allows for just that, mainly designed for control of parallel lines in architectural photography (in the case of 35mm format it offers very little control) it allows us to position the camera and then adjust the plain of focus so more of the subject is in focus.
I could paraphrase many great article on the web but instead I will add a few links at the end of this post for you, this is just a quick overview of a fascinating Macro lens that is one hell of a tool. Granted you will only get 1:2 magnification as is but if you add a few things you can get all the way to 1:1 life size and beyond. But for the purposes of this article I will show you some fun uses and additions for hand held shooting.
First lets get a quick look at this all manual lens. There is a newer version The PC-E series (the E indicates electronic aperture control), It operates the in the same manner with that one exception, otherwise they are the same lens.
Weighing in over one and a half pounds
Yes the front of this lens grows like Pinocchio’s nose but that is just part of the quirks you learn to deal with, actually it does not get in the way nor does it hinder the picture creation process. That bucket sized hole in front acts like a lens shade most of the time and do add the lens hood when shooting normal shots, but don’t worry flare and ghosting are not a big issue with this lens, especially when shooting macro, It is 77mm filter thread size, but beware those are plastic threads so be careful.
Shift is fun for making Panoramas . . . 3 shots and blend, however you will get some fall off and vignetting when shifted fully but when doing Panos you’ll be cropping a bit . . it’s loads of fun the do vertical panos as well.
That last photo shows you the bare rear flange, only the chip contacts communicate to the camera body. Oh that plunger you see at the top just left of the tilt knob is the manual aperture control knob, pushed in it closes the aperture, in the up position you are focusing wide open, you must meter with it pushed in, another caveat if the lens is shifted or tilted near extremes it could mislead your metering.
Like I said, as is, this PC-Micro can focus all the way from infinity to an impressive reproduction ratio of half-life-size (1:2) at its closest focusing distance of 039 meter, just add a cannon 500D closeup filter/lens to the front or/and a nearly (1:1) when the PK-13 ring is added. I love the 77mm 500D closeup lens for the versatility it affords me. So what do I use this lens for the most, flower photography. I can shift and tilts the plain of focus to my hearts desire.
Can’t afford this or it’s newer cousin the E series . . . then look to a cheaper version with the Lens baby composer pro another of the tilty shifty thingies . . . add the 80 lens to it and you have basically the same thing. Want more but still can see the cost for a name brand, then look at after market lenses like “Rokinon” or a few of the other Chinese knockoffs or the Russian knockoffs . . . stopped down they can be sharp enough, it really depends on the look your after.
For the purpose of this quick post I just wanted to share the lens with . . .
here is the link to a short video I produced using this and other Nikon Micro Nikkor lenses including the PC-85
The video titled “In my Macro Garden” shot in my front yard within 20 feet of my front door.
Mir.com Lens & Tech info plus a bit of history
Kevin Dobler , A different take on this great lens
Bjorn Rorslett An old review with some keen insight
Nikonians great resource on this lens and other lenses with some good insight on using this lens
enough said . . . now go forth and make pictures . . . cause Digi said so!