The PC-Nikkor 28 mm f/3.5 Modified Tilt/Shift Lens

In its "normal" position, the lens reaches 1.5:1 magnification The tilted position. Up to 45º tilt is possible, and can be applied as front or rear movements. Combined with up to approx. 11 mm of shift, this makes for unbelievable perspectives

Sometimes, a little extraordinary of endeavour is needed ... I felt this way when I involved myself in modifying the PC-Nikkor 28 mm to have full tilt/shift capabilities. Once the lens was disassembled there was no turning back, so I soldiered on to make this experimental set-up become operational. And did it work - oh yes... Click here to find an example of the kind of steep perspectives that is possible with this solution ("Spruce cones"). Remember - perspective is determined by the camera's position. If the focused distance is very short, a correspondingly steep perspective results. However, there is no way using an ordinary lens to get everything into focus at these short ranges. Enter the 28 PC, with its close-focusing and huge tilt/shift capabilities. Just see for yourself ("Toadstools")!

After some time, I acquired other PC and shift/tilt lenses besides my 28 PC-Nikkor. I now have a 35 mm f/2.8 PC-Nikkor (shift), a second 28 mm f/3.5 PC-Nikkor (shift only), a Canon 35 mm f/2.8 TS (tilt/shift) modified for Nikon "F" mount, and a 85 mm f/2.8 PC Micro-Nikkor (shift, tilt, and close-up capability). To make these lenses better adapted to the new generation of Nikon bodies, I have upgraded all of them (except the Canon lens and the 85 PC) with matrix chips. This allows the chip-modified lenses to meter with all programmed and auto metering modes on my D1-series cameras, as well with my F5. The new 85 mm f/2.8 PC Micro-Nikkor, being an AI-P and D chip lens by design, needs no conversion except for having its tilt axis reorientated to coincide with the shift axis; this alteration enhances its practical usefulness in the field.

On the D1-series cameras, my 28 mm tilt/shift lens is quite cumbersome to mount because the finder cannot be removed. You cannot rapidly swap lenses when the 28 TS is mounted. This is no big drawback since working with tilt/shift lenses calls for a slow and contemplated approach to the subject, no matter which format (digital or view camera) is used for the shots.

Wood Anemones (Anemone nemorosa) in a Beech forest at spring time. Getting this extended depth of field is a breeze with a tilt lens.

Nikon D1, 28 mm f/3.5 PC-Nikkor (modified) tilt/shift

© Bjørn Rørslett/NN

Final note:

I do not convert PC lenses for other people. Neither do I recommend contemplating a conversion of such lenses unless you have a supply of adequate parts, and are willing to risk permanently damaging the lens (it has to be split apart in order to remove the lens elements from the focusing helicoid). I used a Hama bellows with tilt/shift capabilities for my project. Converting a Canon 35 mm f/2.8 TS lens to "F" mount is the simpler approach, and less expensive as an added bonus.

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Last Update 13 December, 2002