Nikon 45mm PC-E Review

The Nikon 45mm PC-E is a curious creature. It was designed by brilliant engineers to create super sharp images in low light as well as maintain straight lines on buildings. However, in certain hands (mine included) it can be used to create mysterious focus effects and utra-wide panoramas. (get the full specs at B&H -af link).

Note: This page is constantly evolving, so make sure to bookmark it and check back as my experience with this lens is always changing.

My Lens For Americana

Cisco Utah

The 45mm PC-E is my favorite lens for photographing Americana. At 45mm, it conveys close to a normal focal length, much like your eye would see. Which I like for my style of Americana because it provides a very familiar feel to the viewer. However, because it tilts, I’m able to mange the element of focus in a much more creative way.

My Lens For Architecture

The PC stands for Perspective Control. This lens has many fantastic qualities, but the one feature that separates it from other lenses is its ability to correct converging angles when photographing architecture. Had I used a traditional lens, the facade and palm trees would have appeared to coverage on themselves towards the top. The Nikon PC-E lenses correct for this and keep those beautiful historic lines square.

My Lens For Panoramas

The PC-E series of lenses are fantastic to create large panoramas. This is a 3 image panorama shot with my Nikon 45mm PC-E. You can click on the image to see a larger version if you want. The lens allows you to shift it in various directions so you can make a wider image without having to deal with parallax. If you really care to know more about that, feel free to leave a comment and I will answer any questions you might have. Secondly, I was using a 2 stop graduated neutral density filter to compress the tonal range so I could get it right with a single exposure. Finally, I also used a technique in post processing to help add the dimensionality in the clouds I witnessed. Yes there was quite a bit of “technical” stuff involved in making this image. However, I had about 3 hours to sit on a ridge, shoot the S*** with my buddy, and plan it out. Then it was just a matter of executing it. If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.

Considerations

  • It’s Not Cheap! Click Here to check the current price at B&H.
  • Live View – It is very hard to see the impact of the focus effects through the viewfinder. I will often shoot in ‘Live View’ mode so I can zoom in on the LCD to see what is going on.

A Few Of My Favorites

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Comments

  1. K B says

    Thank you for this! How you were able to get your panoramics to be more square than long? Did you shoot 3 horizontal, then shoot vertical? Can you give a little more technical info?

    • says

      You bet, I’m glad you liked it!

      I’m not sure which one you are referring to, but the only Panorama Photo is the one with the clouds over the mountain. The rest are just the standard single image with a 45mm FOV.

      Hope that helps!

      Justin

    • says

      I take that back, the other panorama is that mobile home. As for the way I shot them, I just did three images by shifting the lens right, center and left. It creates the perfect pano perspective. I love it!

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