Review: The Tilt-Shift Lens Advantage

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eBooks have become plentiful, to say the least, and it’s no wonder.

Easy to produce and distribute, great for building brand and community, eBooks done well can drive serious revenue. They’re an important marketing vehicle that has a firm place in the customer journey .

Of course, plenty of eBooks fall into the ‘get what you pay for’ category. You know the ones I mean.

They’re poorly written and edited, and recycle information. Even at the low end of the eBook cost spectrum (those that cost $4 or less) it’s disappointing when your purchase doesn’t meet expectations.

It was therefore with mild concern that I dropped $20 on The Tilt-Shift Advantage from oopoomoo. a concern that was admittedly mitigated by a couple of factors.

First, I’ve long admired Darwin Wiggett’s (1/2 of the oopoomoo equation; Samantha Chrysanthou, his life and photographic partner, is the second half) landscape photography and general fun-loving attitude.

I’m also a long-time subscriber to Darwin’s blog (he now blogs with Sam at oopoomoo.com ), and the digital marketer admires his blogging approach. His posts have always been about his audience rather than himself (there are far too many photographers who could gain from his approach, BTW).

Still, as photography-related eBooks go, $20 is on the high end, but The Tilt-Shift Advantage has been worth every penny. I also think the price tag makes sense based both on the eBook’s quality (more about this later) and specialized subject matter.

Who Should Buy It

I purchased The Tilt-Shift Advantage as a prelude to test-driving a Canon TS-E 24 mm II on a trip to the Steens Mountain area of southeastern Oregon. While I’d seen tilt-shifts employed by other photographers, and was familiar with some of their advantages, I hadn’t used one and had little notion of the tilt-shift workflow.

The Tilt-Shift Advantage eBook was perfect for my level of knowledge and experience. My test drive would have been far less positive had I not.

If you’re a photographer experienced with tilt-shift, you don’t need this eBook, but photographers who lack extensive experience with these remarkable tools will benefit from The Tilt-Shift Advantage.

Soup to Nuts Tilt-Shift Goodness

It delivers thanks to the broad range of in-depth information it contains. The Tilt-Shift Advantage:

  • Introduces the main technical advantages of tilt-shift, and provides a thorough explanation of each
  • Describes other benefits such as how to use tilt-shift lenses to create seamless panoramic photographs or high-resolution images for big prints
  • Addresses a full range of use cases, including in-camera perspective control and creative focus, the tilt-shift miniaturization effect, and using tilt and shift together for deep depth of field, and creative and technical control
  • Provides guidance deciding whether tilt-shift is for you, and selecting the right lens (i.e. focal length)

Included throughout the eBook is Darwin and Sam’s vivid photography, along with informative illustrations that convey tilt-shift concepts. The eBook is packed with informative sidebars, too, ranging from the factors that make tilt-shift lenses so sharp to tips on how to avoid image degradation.

The eBook’s technical explanations are pared down to the most salient details; it avoids technical jargon, explains things in an understandable way, and includes plenty of links to additional (and more technical) resources.

The true gems in The Tilt-Shift Advantage are the workflow descriptions. Darwin and Sam provide thorough, concise, simple direction for each of the use cases listed above.

Their workflows allowed me to very quickly get my camera set up and ready to go on multiple occasions on my trip to Steens (in particular, Big Indian Sunset , one of the first tilt-shift images made on the Steens trip; a nine-image composite panorama created as I perched on a steep hill over a sheer, 1000-foot drop, in a stiff and cold wind as the light quickly faded — thank you, oopoomoo!).

Production Quality

I have simple expectations when buying an eBook — even for a measly $5 — which is that it’s well organized and written. I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly in this regard and say with confidence that The Tilt-Shift Advantage is top notch. It’s organized into easy-to-digest chunks, and is well written, edited, and designed.

My single knock on oopoomoo’s eBook is its lack of a table of contents. I’ve gone back to its workflows a handful of times and a table of contents linked to its chapters would be the perfect addition. This is a minor complaint, though, about an eBook that overall is excellent in all the ways that matters. [Edit: After publishing this post, I was contacted by Stephen DesRoches, who helps design and produce oopoomoo's eBooks. He let me know that the lack of a table of contents has been addressed.]

Conclusion and More Tilt-Shift Lens Information

I’ll state here, as I do elsewhere, that tilt-shift lenses are tools. Expressive photography is within ourselves, not our equipment, but the tools we use can help expand possibilities.

If you’re interested in seeing what tilt-shift can add to your possibilities, check out The Tilt-Shift Lens Advantage eBook . The tilt-shift lens workflow is complex and this eBook is a fantastic resource that will have you up and running in no time.

You should also test-drive a tilt-shift lens before taking the plunge. Tilt-shifts are incredible tools, but they’re expensive, too. If you’re serious about your photography, I’m in the camp that the investment is worthwhile. And it’s easy to get your toes wet — simply rent a tilt-shift lens. This is exactly what I did and it worked out extremely well.

All in all, I’m blown away by the image quality delivered by the Canon TS-E 24 mm II, so much so that I’ve written several tilt-shift blog posts since taking that test drive (and subsequently purchasing a TS-E 24 mm II) at Steens Mountain.

If you’re not familiar with in-camera control and image quality that tilt-shifts deliver, start with the primer. Then check out the rest of the posts and most important, take a tilt-shift test drive for yourself!