In making the test images for the previous post, I reacquainted myself with the frustrations of using live view in its present incarnation to adjust tilt angle and focus. What I really want is to be able to see magnified views of two portions of the image of my choosing simultaneously, so I can see what’s happening as I adjust the two interacting controls.
I don’t know of any live view that works that way. I was feeling grumpy about that today, but then I stumbled on a website that proposes an entirely different way of setting the tilt angle, by measurement. You can read about it here.
The key measurement you need to use the Summerhayes method is the perpendicular distance from the lens to the plane that you want in focus. In landscape photography, that plane is usually the ground, and thus all you need to know is how high the camera is. If you’re using the camera at eye height, and you’re of anywhere near average size (male or female – given the accuracy to which you can set a tilt/shift lens tilt angle, it doesn’t make any difference), the angle you want to set your tilt to is one degree for a 24 mm lens, 1 ½ degrees for a 45 mm lens, and 3 degrees for a 90 mm lens.
While we’re waiting for that wonderful day when we get dual-window live view, we can just do the following: set the tilt angle, focus anywhere in the intended focal plane, check the extremes of the focal plane, and make the exposure. Very nice work, Mr. Summerhayes.