Tilt Shift Digital Toy Camera

Tilt-Shift lenses are designed to help 35mm and medium format cameras achieve the same effect as a large format field camera. The bellows of a field camera allows the photographer to tilt the lens left and right, and shift it up and down relative to the film plate. There are a whole bunch of technical reasons to do this, which you can look up on the interwebs if you so desire.
They are also used to create a “miniaturising” effect on images. By choosing a “plane” of focus rather than a strict focus point, tilt shift lenses can make the world look like your father’s train set.
The big problem is that a decent tilt shift lens starts at $2000… A lot to pay for a “toy” lens. A caveat though, for an experienced architectural photographer, tilt shift cameras can really help in a completely non-toy way!
I purchased a little tilt shift point and shoot camera from Photojojo a couple of months ago. The NeinGrenze 5000T TiltShift Digital Camera has a very german sounding name and a very non german build quality. The instruction book is not much help, and the unit is built to the price – $AU100 or so. Meh, you get what you pay for.
This was my first real crack at it. I actually thought I had acquired a dud piece of gear, but I clearly didn’t understand how to use it. The first couple of shots I took were just from a “normal” perspective and the camera just spit out images that had no miniature effect and of poor quality. I really had to rethink it.
You really need to get up high and make sure that subjects are quite small. Taking shots from a high perspective seems to get the best results. Light is very important – bright conditions and colours are important in achieving the effect. And I am not sure how great the sensor and lens are when they have to come in under a hundred bucks!

Under the right conditions, the camera makes a great little image. Fun to look at and very compact, the NeinGrenze does enough to evoke a smile…

I often buy cheap toy versions of gear to see if I like them. Before I bought a medium format camera, I had a couple of Holgas – not really a direct comparison, I suppose?

I have always had a hankering for a tilt shift lens but they are uber pricey. This little camera delivers the raw effect that I love – the virtual miniaturisation of the subjects – for the cost of a cheap point and shoot.

You can get one here if you so desire….


And find out more here


You can also create a similar effect in photoshop – there are plenty of tutorials like this one on the web.


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