I've been interested in tilt/shift lenses for a long time, but the budget has never been there to acquire one. Recently, however, I realized that the old Nikkor 35mm shift (no tilt) lenses are surprisingly affordable even compared to the Nikkor 28mm shift lenses. While the tilting ability would be nice too, shifting is useful by itself (the two are really unrelated functions, it's just convenient to package them together), so I decided to take the plunge. Shift lenses are often referred to as "perspective correction" lenses, which I find misleading. It is a fair description of the reason people want them, but it is not actually a description of what the lens does (in the same sense that a "zoom lens" is a lens that zooms). In reality, a shift lens is simply a lens that casts a larger than normal image circle and allows you to choose (by rotating and shifting the lens) what part of the image circle you want in your picture. It is not correcting perspective at all (which would imply that the lens was somehow doing something by itself to correct it without the camera being moved); it just liberates the frame from being centered around the lens axis. To keep your verticals vertical, the camera still has to be level. The shift effect can be simulated quite effectively by shooting a much wider non-shift lens and then cropping to a rectangle that was not centered in the original image, though of course you lose resolution doing it that way. (Tilt, on the other hand, cannot be simulated by a conventional lens.) In the course of some research online I learned that the 35mm PC-Nikkors basically come in three types. The early f/3.5 version, introduced in the early '60s, is not as desirable as the later f/2.8 versions because of an unfortunate lack of foresight in the physical design of the lens: the part of the lens that shifts extends far enough back that it can bump into a Photomic finder, whereas in the f/2.8 versions, the part that shifts is far enough forward to clear the finder. There are two f/2.8 versions, the first (introduced in 1968) with a chrome knob for controlling shift, the second (introduced in 1981) with a black knob. The black-knob version is said to have an improved optical formula that produces sharper images with less vignetting. So I ordered a black-knob PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 from Adorama. When it arrived, I put it on a Nikon F2, loaded the camera with Velvia 100, and headed out to experiment. 1. Nikon F2 with PC-Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 Since it seems to be mostly 24mm and even 17mm tilt/shift lenses that get the most attention today, I wanted to see if 35mm would be wide enough. What I found is that it's fine, at least for the kind of architectural pictures I like. I don't really care for architectural shots in which angles are grossly distorted, which is what happens when you shoot buildings with any kind of ultra-wide lens. It is often said of shift lenses that they must be shot tripod-mounted. I can certainly agree that a tripod would make it easier to keep the camera level, but it really isn't that hard to get good results while shooting hand-held. Just keep your eye on the verticals! 2. City Hall, Mountain View, California 3. Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View, California (City Hall on the right) 4. High School Way, Mountain View (which has no high school anywhere near it) There is, of course, more that can be done with a shift lens than this. Galen Rowell once created a very dramatic image of a skyscraper by shooting from a helicopter with the lens shifted the "wrong" way. These shots represent only a first acquaintance with the lens and the pleasure found in obtaining the desired results from using it in the "proper" way (albeit sans tripod).