Pitched an idea to Canon last week - 1.2x teleconverter for TS-E lenses

May 31, 2015
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First, a tiny bit of background.

In 2007 I met Chuck Westfall at a photography convention north of Atlanta, GA. He was cleaning sensors and had a table full of lenses too. We spoke for a moment and he asked that I try the 14mm L he had on the table. I put it on my camera, but since I am an architectural photographer, the first thing I noticed was the barrel distortion and of course the converging verticals that are the bane of those who shoot buildings and interiors.

Flippantly, but also hopefully, I said "If you really want to get my attention, you need to make an 18mm TS-E lens". Chuck looked at me as if I had two heads and said "Do you have any idea how much something like that would cost?". I said "No. But I know a lot of guys with their Sinars and Horseman's gathering dust in the closet who would probably gladly pay 3500.00 for one if it existed".

About two years later... the 17 TS-E was announced. I would like to think that my idea had at least something to do with that. After all, Chuck did not say "Well, we have a lot in development so just hold on." He thought I was nuts.

So, the NEW idea. A 1.2x teleconverter SPECIFICALLY designed for TS-E lenses. Why? Architectural shooters like to fill the frame with their compositions and there is just TOO large a gap between the 17 TS-E and the 24 TS-E II. Bear in mind, camera placement is often dictated by structures when you shoot interiors and buildings. Backing up is often not an option.

If Canon had a 1.2x teleconverter for these lenses, then anyone with the 17 and 24, by adding a 1.2x teleconverter, would also have a 20 and a 28 in their kit. That would cost a little bit in speed, but people shot shoot this kind of stuff work off a tripod.

Image degradation? Based upon my tests with the 1.4x III teleconverter... hardly going to be noticeable. However, sadly, there is no way to get to either a 20mm or 28mm focal length with the 1.4x. The only that that CAN be gained is turning the 24 into a 35 or having two 24's when shooting with multiple cameras (which I do all the time - shooting with 3 in fact).

I pitched to idea to Chuck two weeks ago and he responded that it he gave the idea to Japan. Hopefully, his memory was jogged when I reminded him of my hare-brained idea for that 18mm TS-E and this might actually be considered.

Not worthy of being a rumor yet... but I am keeping my ears and eyes open. A 1.2x teleconverter is likely a very easy thing to make compared to a 17 TS-E. I think they could sell a lot of them to those who are in my line of work.
 

neuroanatomist

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Interesting idea, but maybe not the optimal timing.

My off-the-cuff response in the current environment is that you could buy a 5Ds, crop a fair bit, and still have more MP than if you filled the frame of a 5DIII.
 
May 31, 2015
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neuroanatomist said:
Interesting idea, but maybe not the optimal timing.

My off-the-cuff response in the current environment is that you could buy a 5Ds, crop a fair bit, and still have more MP than if you filled the frame of a 5DIII.

I have considered that. But architectural photographers tend to be somewhat purists. Most of the shooters I know cut their teeth on 4x5's and those chromes had to be composed completely 'in camera'.

We also tend to be gear heads and do not want to sacrifice pixels unless it is absolutely necessary.

Put it this way. If you line up 100 serious architectural photographers who shot Canon full frame cameras and owned both the 24 TS-E and the 17 TS-E, and offered them a way to compose an image with 20mm and 28mm TS-E equivalents, my guess is 80 of them would spend 500 bucks on a 1.2x teleconverter. Heck, paint it black to match the TS-E lenses and charge me a grand and I am in for sure.
 

HighLowISO

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May 14, 2015
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Interesting story. You should have asked Chuck directly if your suggestion was the start of the TS-E 17mm product. It could be he looked at you strange, because he knew the 17mm was in development and thought you had ESP or inside knowledge of the 'secret' project.

As for the 1.2 TC, I like purposeful built tools, and Canon says they are working on tools for specific purposes, so maybe. However the numbers of buyers would likely be very small compared to even those for the TS-E.

I would think serious architectural photographers will be eyeing the 5Ds, so what if the 5Ds had special firmware option to allow you to crop the different views right in the camera? Might not be a bad solution, and cheaper (not that that maybe maters). You'll have pixels to spare compared to the current state of affairs, so I'd consider pitching this idea as an alternative if you don't get the TC.
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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Mar 25, 2011
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HighLowISO said:
Interesting story. You should have asked Chuck directly if your suggestion was the start of the TS-E 17mm product. It could be he looked at you strange, because he knew the 17mm was in development and thought you had ESP or inside knowledge of the 'secret' project.


The lens development cycle is likely 5 years, two years before a announcement, prototypes would already be in test. The tooling to startup production would likely be on order two years in advance.
 
May 31, 2015
6
0
Mt Spokane Photography said:
HighLowISO said:
Interesting story. You should have asked Chuck directly if your suggestion was the start of the TS-E 17mm product. It could be he looked at you strange, because he knew the 17mm was in development and thought you had ESP or inside knowledge of the 'secret' project.


The lens development cycle is likely 5 years, two years before a announcement, prototypes would already be in test. The tooling to startup production would likely be on order two years in advance.

That would not be the first time I thought of a good idea but not in time, if that is the way it happened.

I remember in the mid 90's, as I listened to my 56k dialup modem squawk into my phone connection, thinking to myself "They need to modulate MORE than just one tone. I bet they could modulate a BUNCH of tones at the same time and filter them so that simultaneous data streams could come over one single copper line." Yep... it was in the works already and it was called DSL...

At any rate, I think Canon could sell more of the proposed 1.2x converters than one might first realize. The advantages are enormous to the workflow of the architectural photographer. With the advent of the 5Ds (I got mine pre-ordered within 60 seconds of B&H taking orders), I think the desire for it does not diminish. Shooters such as myself will look at that huge file and instead of being made content, will likely get greedy.

Anyway. The idea has been pitched and I got confirmation that it was sent as an idea to product development in Japan.