Tilt Shift Adapter Review


One of the benefits of a mirrorless system is the ability to adapt unusual lenses but you rarely hear about the adapters themselves. Most adapters aren’t that interesting but the Kipon Tilt Shift adapter is rather different. It allows me to turn any OM lenses into a tilt shift. In this review, I will focus on the adapter itself and particularly with a Tamron Adaptall 17mm f/3.5, but will briefly touch on the Zuiko OM 24mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.8.

Panasonic DMC-GX7 with Kipon OM-M4/3 Tilt Shift Adapter and Tamron Adaptall 17mm f/3.5

Panasonic DMC-GX7 with Kipon OM-M4/3 Tilt Shift Adapter and Tamron Adaptall 17mm f/3.5

The good:

  • Relatively Low Price.
  • Work with multiple lenses.

The bad:

  • No locking rotation.
  • Limited shift for certain lenses.

The fuglee:

  • Look what it did to the back of my lens.

Operation

The adapter is made of all metal. In its normal position, the adapter can be tilted down 12 degrees, shifted left or right 15mm, and rotated 360 degrees which clicks into 12 set positions. A release tab controls the shifting of the lens in 1mm increments while a locking screw control the tilts position, which otherwise would slip even with my lightest lens at 170g mounted. There is no locking mechanism for rotation which is a slight problem when mounting a lens because sometimes the whole unit twist by accident. There is another hole next to the locking screw which I have no idea what it is for and, of course, the adapter came with no instructions.

On the Panasonic DMC-GX7, the adapter clears the grip but it does not have enough space to leave your hand on the grip if tilted or shifted in that direction.

GX7-normalGX7-tiltGX7-shift

Vignetting

There are no optics in the adapter so the biggest concern is vignetting. The wider the lens the more noticeable the vignetting is. At the 17mm focal length, vignetting starts at 7mm of shift but image is acceptable until 10mm. With a 25mm lens, vignetting starts at 10mm and its acceptable until 13mm. A 50mm lens will eliminate vignetting completely even at the full shift of 15mm, except when combined with full tilt. Tilt by itself is not a problem on any of the lenses I tested.

Below is a comparison of the a normal image (left) and shifted image (right) taken with the 17mm. Probably not the best example but you can see noticeable distortion, vignetting, and slight color shift.

unshift shift

zuiko24mmrear

Bent rear protrusion from removing lens when shifted.

Issues

Due to the protrusion on the rear of the native OM lenses, it prevents the lenses from shifting to the maximum 15mm. The Zuiko 24mm and 50mm lenses can only be shifted 11mm and 6mm to the right, respectively. Both lenses can be shifted a full 15mm to the left and rotated 180 degree, effectively accomplishing the same function. One should be aware that the protrusion obstruct the lenses from being removed in shifted position and can cause damage if not reset to the center first.

Final Thoughts

My only prior experience to compare with is using an Arsat 35mm Shift lens, which relies on a knob to control shift and did not have a tilt function. I prefer the release tab since it allows for quicker adjustment and equal precision. I have toyed around with the Canon offering briefly and although it seem to have more solid controls, I cannot justify the $1,300-$2,200 price point for a single focal length when the Kipon adapter can be had for under $300 and allows for use with multiple lens.

17mm at full tilt, focused on the horizon.

17mm at full tilt, focused on the horizon.

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