This aubergine 1973 Porsche 911 is owned by former Head of Photography, John Gulliver of Ravensbourne University. Having completed my photography degree at Ravensbourne I was aware of Johns beautiful classic Porsche and asked if I could borrow it to shoot a series of images for a talk to explain the differences between wide angle and TS lenses for Canon UK & IE. The camera body of choice for this series was a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II.
The first two images demonstrate wide angle distortion. The first image (Left) was shot using a wide EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 24mm, you can see that the bonnet is elongated stretching the car towards the viewer; this type of shot is great for use in editorial magazines as it really grabs the viewers attention. The second shot (Right) was shot using an EF 50mm F/1.2L USM, automatically you can see the proportions are different to the first image and are closer to the true shape of the vehicle. Our eyes generally see between 50-90mm, anything wider than this (wide angle) will distort your image so the proportions are not correct, anything longer than this and you will start to compress the image. For advertising purposes I always avoid shooting wider than 50mm unless the brief requires it.
So you have decided to shoot a wide angle as you want to throw that bonnet towards the viewer and you have decided to shoot from a higher viewpoint to make the car sit lower. To get the whole car in the frame you have had to tilt your camera down; which has then caused your verticals to start converging. This happens as when you tilt your camera your sensor is no longer in line with your verticals and instead forms more of a parabola shape, to keep your verticals vertical you must always have your camera level. So how can we keep our camera straight and be able to get the angle and composition we want? This is where the tilt-shift lens comes into play, we are not using the tilt-shift lens for its cool blurring facility but instead so we can tilt the composition to get everything in that we need. Once the camera is lined and levelled up you simply tilt the lens to get the whole car in, this makes sure the sensor stays aligned with the walls and you end up with vertical verticals. (Left EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 24mm / Right TS-E 24mm F/3.5L II)
When shooting rig shots you have no choice but to shoot a wide angle as to get enough space between camera and vehicle to shoot at 50mm is not always practical or safe. I usually shoot between 17-24mm using an EF 17-40mm F/4L (Right @ 17mm), however as Canon had sent me a load of gear to try out I thought why not shoot as wide as I can. The image Left was shot using the EF 11-24mm F/4L USM @ 11mm, this is Super-Wide and to me the distortion has almost made the 911 look Banana shaped, not very flattering! Therefore I have come to the conclusion that I will never shoot rig-shots wider than 17mm.
I hope that this little blog has helped you get an idea of how and what you can use different lenses for, I would like to thank Canon UK & EI for lending me the equipment to test and the opportunity to present my talk at The Porsche Club GB.