Perspective Control

Perspective Control In Camera

Cambo Perspective Control Camera

What is perspective control? How can you achieve perspective control in your images?
In this article I will discuss the concept of perspective control and what it means in our photographs.

To achieve In-camera Perspective Control you must have either a view camera or a tilt shift lens. For the examples here I am using the Cambo Actus Mini B. More information about the Cambo cameras can be found at the end of this article.

Perspective control is the process of composing or editing of images to ensure that vertical parallel (or near parallel) lines remain parallel or near parallel.

Perspective Distortion

If the Camera is kept level then no distortion occurs.

Perspective distortion doesn’t occur if the camera is kept level as shown in the camera position above. Typically however this might not result in the image we want. As shown in the image below:

These vertical trees are straight and roughly parallel but notice that we have much more foreground than we probably desire.
Camera pointed upwards to show more of the tree tops and sky.

Perspective distortion occurs when the sensor plane is not parallel to lines that are required to be parallel in the photo. Most commonly this happens when the camera is tilted or pointed upwards–typically to include the top of a building or more sky or as in this case more of the tree-tops. The resulting photograph is shown below:

Notice that we have included more of the tree tops. While perhaps a better composition the trees have the feeling like they are receding or falling away from the camera.

Perspective Control

Notice that both the camera base and lens are level, however, the lens has been shifted upwards.

The camera and lens above are level but the lens is shifted upwards. This results in the the perspective of the trees to be maintained (vertical lines are parallel). Here is the resulting image below:

The roughly parallel lines of the trees have been maintained and the trees no longer feel like they are falling away from the camera.

The most frequent use of perspective control lenses and cameras are for architectural photographs. Using the same concepts as the tree photographs above the images below demonstrate the use of perspective control:

Keeping the camera level means clipping the top of the house.
Tilting the camera upwards includes the top of the house but the house looks like it is falling away from us.
Using the lens shift results in the top of the house being included in the image without the feeling that the house is falling over!

Perspective control in camera is the most precise method of achieving perspective control. These methods can be replicated using the tools found in most post process programs, however, post processed perspective control can result in distortion in other areas of the image. I prefer to get it right in camera.

The camera featured for these images is the Cambo Actus Mini B. It is designed as a digital view camera, giving all the features of the traditional view camera (shift, swing, and tilt). This camera has the capability to interchange digital backs (DSLR’s or Mirrorless) and offers a wide variety of lenses that are compatible.

For more information about the Cambo Actus Mini B or other Cambo perspective control cameras go to: https://www.cambo.com/en/actus-series/

This is a Canon DSLR equipped with a “Tilt Shift” lens. Note that the lens element has been shifted upwards. Tilt/shift lenses are less expensive than the full Cambo set up but offer fewer options and controls.