Recently I got an almost entirely frivolous new lens. It’s the AstrHori 85mm f2.8 Macro tilt lens. In short: I LOVE it.
Before I go much further, here is a link to a gallery on my professional site of some photos taken with this lens.
On the practical side, this lens has some benefits over other lenses. Firstly because it is a tilt-shift lens, the frame has to be larger than a standard lens. This is because there needs to be a larger frame to tilt the lens. So while AstrHori calls this a full frame lens, which is larger than standard, it still needs to be larger, and you will get strong vignetting at an extreme tilt. But there is so much room to play.
Where this really pays on the practical side is the edge-to-edge sharpness when the lens is locked in at a standard barrel lens state. Great for portraits or product photography. Still, on the practical side, it is a fantastic macro lens. These uses alone would make me happy. Plus, you can make money on portraits and product photography, which is as practical as possible.
The gallery above and all the photos I’ve taken with this lens so far have been to work with the tilt-shift aspects of the lens. This requires you to play around and find out what works for you and is not. There is a whole new world of creative options. Best known for the “Minature World” effect on Instagram and elsewhere, tilting and shifting the lens dramatically changes the plane of focus. No longer simply linear to the lens in a standard barrel, it can now be off at any angle of the image.
Plus-minus is that it is a manual focus. All tilt-shift lenses are at the point and time. This can be used creatively as a plus, combined with the tilt, and used in portrait or product photography. I am so excited to see what I get into. One becomes master of the frame on a portrait in new and exciting ways.
Clearly, I love this lens. It’s not the greatest for all things, and it has some flaws, but it wasn’t costly, and on a price vs uses case: it’s a winner.