If you are at the point in your photography where you are able to get decent compositions and exposures, you are probably ready to move to the next step, which is to correct distortions in your images.
If you like to travel and capture images of buildings, you will want to make sure that they are displayed at their best, and PTLens is an inexpensive solution that makes all the difference.
I use PTLens on almost every shot in which a room or a building appears … I cannot stand distortions, nor can I tolerate crooked lines, especially near the edge of a frame. It looks amateurish.
So … to clarify what I am talking about, here is an animation from the 5mm (28mm effective) calibration image that I shot with the F80EXR this morning. It shows three frames: the original image, the removal of barrel distortion, and finally the removal of keystoning distortion (caused by a slight lean upwards.)
Ok, so now you see what it does. Straightens lines and allows rotation and keystone removal. What you can’t see is that PTLens makes this almost trivial. I have CS4, and I can tell you that lens correction and removal of complex distortions is brutal through their interface.
I know that CS5 is coming soon (I will upgrade on day 1) and will have automated removal of distortions for most manufacturers’ lenses … but will it also support all the compact cameras out there? I would bet not. And considering the reasonable price for this plugin ($25USD), you get a lot of bang for the buck. The more cameras you have, the more valuable this plugin will be.
To close, here is an animation of an image of which I am particularly fond. I shot this while walking in London in July of 2007 and a couple of friends / coworkers from Texas and we wandered by Westminster Abbey.
I looked up and saw a composition I just had to shoot. I was carrying the D2Hs at the time (4mp professional dSLR) and had the 18-200VR (generation 1) on the cam. This was shot at full wide angle, and displays a lot of distortion.
Don’t let anyone try to tell you that you cannot get sharp images with Nikon kit lenses. They rock!