Canon patents in-camera tilt-shift settings
Tilt-shift lenses aren’t particularly common. They’re often limited to things like architectural and cityscape photography. Or, they’re used for product photography to help correct or create a perspective shift. They’re very handy.
Typically, the exact amount of tilt or shift applied is a best guess. You can take measurements, but they’ll only be so reliable. Canon filed patent #2023160385 with the Japan Patent Office to display the exact tilt and shift amounts on the camera itself.
[Related reading: How To Build A DIY Tilt Lens For As Little As $66]
Canon Tilt-Shift communication
The “problem” described by the patent reads as follows:
To provide a lens device that makes it possible to check the amount of tilt on a display screen provided in an imaging device. The lens device is a lens device that can be attached to an imaging device, and includes an imaging optical system that includes at least one optical member that is moved to perform tilted imaging, and information regarding the movable range of the at least one optical member. and a transmitter thatt ransmits the image to the imaging device.
Canon’s solution is to provide communication between the lens and the body so that the camera knows what the lens is doing. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for it to become a feature, but I’m also not. Tilt-shift lenses aren’t exactly mainstream.
Tilt-shift lenses, as the name suggests, allow you to adjust the tilt of a lens or shift its position – shifting the central point of focus. Typically, they’re adjusted by loosening and tightening various knobs and then pushing the lens into the right spot before locking it back down.
This is done in order to shift the perspective, providing a unique look on a scene. Or, it’s used to change the plane of focus, allowing you to keep things in focus that aren’t all parallel to the camera. When abused, this can also make the world look miniature.
[Related reading: How tilt-shift lenses correct distortion and make things miniature]
Finding out what your actual settings are essentially relies on looking at the dials. You just have to hope it’s not at a dodgy angle. The new patent allows users to see the tilt and shift settings on-screen without even looking at the lens.
As well as confirming settings, it allows users to see how close to the tilt and shift limits they are. The fact that these measurements are communicated to the camera also offers the potential to store them in the metadata. So you can recall that data in the future to recreate a shot any time you like.
When’s it coming?
It’s a patent, not an announcement. So, there’s no telling if or when Canon will ever act on the patent. But Canon doesn’t make any RF Mount tilt-shift lenses. All of the Canon tilt-shift lenses still on the market are EF mount lenses. To use them with mirrorless, they need to go on an adapter.
And while it is only a patent, its publication could suggest that Canon’s got something in the works. Could we finally be seeing tilt-shift lenses come natively for the Canon RF mount? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I won’t be holding my breath, though.
There’s no way to link to the patent directly, but if you want to check it out, search for 2023160385 on the Japanese Patent Office website.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.