The Russians Are Coming!

Photography Jan 18, 2009

Hartblei is a name that is not very well know on this side of the pond. This Ukrainian lens maker recently moved it headquarters to Munich, Germany. And struck a major deal with Medium Format Digital Back giant, Phase One, producing the tilt-shift lens for their Phase One Medium Format camera. I recently acquired one of their older models, the Hartblei 45 mm f/3.5 Super Rotator in a Nikon mount. I am now learning the ins and outs of this fascinating lens.

Tilt/Shift lenses are used to control perspective, allowing a photographer to prevent parallax error when photographing tall buildings for instance, control Depth of Field, allowing the photographer to shoot close-ups at odd angles and still maintain proper focus, and to shoot panoramic images that are very easy to stitch together as they have no barrel or pincushion distortion due to lens panning: the lens shifts (horizontally or vertically) and multiple images are gathered without rotating the camera.

Here is a quickie panorama I made of my desk:

Over the next few weeks I will be taking this big fellow out and trying it’s various functions. I will post follow-ups when I have them ready.

Hartblei has released a new set of T/S lenses in many different mounts. T/S lenses are completely manual (the front half and back half of the lens is not directly connected to allow the tilt/shift/swing movements) so the camera will have to be operated manually. More info about Hartblei’s new lenses can be found here.


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