Like large format view cameras, the Swing/Shift system employs bellows, swings, tilts, rises, falls & shifts for a variety of effects. You can distort the shape of a subject, remove unwanted objects from the frame, or shoot straight into a mirror without catching the camera’s reflection. Access to shifts and swings also provides nearly total control over the focus plane, for extremely deep—or shallow—depth of field. Distant objects and extremely close ones can both be sharp in the same frame. Or you can limit focus to a particular object, isolating it even from objects the same distance from the lens.
A two-shot of a driver and front seat passenger as seen from the driver’s window doesn’t require f/16 if you effectively increase the depth of field by tilting the lens instead.
Focus and Shape Control
Tilting or swinging the lens can alter both apparent depth of field and an object’s shape. Shifting the lense lets you reposition objects within the frame without changing the relationship (angle) between the object and the film plane.
The combination of these two movements gives you control over perspective distortion which affects the shape of objects. For example, shift the lens up (rise) to capture the full height of a skyscraper, keeping the film plane parallel to the building for a distortion-free perspective.
Conversely, you can emphasize the height of the structure by tilting the lens up, causing the side walls to appear to converge at the top.
Extremely Close Focus
The Swing/Shift System uses bellows with a built-in rack and pinion mechanism, which extends for close focusing. Depending on the lens’ focal length and the object distance desired, extension tubes may be required.