Automatic perspective AND lens correction: Jobo’s new LensTRUE covers all the angles

by Felix Esser

posted Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM EDT

At Photokina in Cologne, Germany, manufacturer JOBO showed off an intriguing new system that could make tilt/shift lenses obsolete. It's called the LensTRUE, and it's a little grey box that attaches to your camera's tripod mount and records its inclination. The data is then used during post-processing to automatically straighten the angles in your architectural or product photos. Sounds like a winner? So though we, and took a closer look at the LensTRUE.

The idea behind the LensTRUE system is that by knowing the optical properties of a given camera/lens combination, as well as the vertical and horizontal inclination angles of the camera during the capture of a photograph, the resulting image can be corrected in terms of both perspective and the lens distortions. The prerequisite for that, however, is that LensTRUE is familiar with the combination of camera and lens that the photographer is using.

When the little LensTRUE box is attached to the bottom of a camera, it continuously records the camera's inclination using an accelerometer similar to those used in smartphones. The data it collects is later matched with the photos from the camera's memory card, and JOBO's own processing software 'LensTRUE final,' can then automatically correct the images to compensate for lens and perspective corrections both.

The capabilities of the system, according to JOBO, go far beyond those of a common tilt/shift lens. Whereas a tilt/shift lens can usually only be used at angles of a maximum of 11 degrees, the LensTRUE system can correct perspective in pictures that were taken with a camera inclination of up to 35 degrees. On top of that, the processing software takes all of the optical variables of the camera/lens combination into account when correcting an image, going far beyond simple straightening actions that most common photo editing programs are capable of.


The exact mathematics behind the LensTRUE system are beyond us, but during a demonstration at Photokina we saw some very impressive results. And the possible fields of application for the LensTRUE go far beyond photos containing converging lines. The device can also be used for portraiture and fixing the proportions of a subject's face, or for automotive photography where the shots require super wide-angle lenses and very close shooting distances, while proportions of the interior or exterior of a car need to be rendered accurately.

So far, the database that LensTRUE uses to determine the optical properties of a given camera and lens setup includes Canon DSLR bodies and a collection of EF and Zeiss lenses, but the spokesperson at JOBO's Photokina booth reassured us that it will be continuously extended with more setups, not necessarily limited only to the large DSLR brands and their respective lens collections.

The LensTRUE can now be pre-ordered directly from JOBO for €990, which is about $1,270 US. Availability is scheduled for November, though at this point it doesn't appear that shipping beyond Germany is possible. If you're located outside Germany and are seriously interested in the system, though, you can inquire with JOBO via the company's online contact form.