Tilt Shift Lens questions

DanP

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Dec 8, 2014
62
13
I am thinking of buying a tilt shift lens; probably the TS-E 24mm F3.5L II. Although most user reviews on B&H are very positive, there are a few that mention problems with fringing, cheap locking knobs that jam, and easy access for dust. I'd appreciate receiving any comments on these potential issues, or any other issues, from owners of this lens. Also, is it easy to focus manually through the viewfinder (5DIII) or is it necessary to use live view with magnification. Finally, what percentage of the available shift and tilt ranges can you use before image degradation becomes apparent. I anticipate using the lens for photographing buildings and would try it for landscapes. How does it compare to a 24mm prime for landscapes (I have the Sigma 24mm F1.4DG HSM (Art))? What do you primarily use the lens for? I'm open to suggestions on the other available Canon tilt shift lenses, but am assuming the 24mm is the one to get for my anticipated uses.

Thanks.
 

Sashi

EOS M6 Mark II
Jun 10, 2013
60
0
Purely my own experiences with the lens.
No problem with fringing, the knobs feel cheap but haven't jammed and no problems with dust.
Focussing is the same as using another lens, viewfinder or live view, I tend to to use live view.
Also, I find it sharper than my other lenses at 24 when used without t/s, I don't have a prime for comparison.
I did have a friend who had soft cornered, but canon replaced it(he did have to compare it to a picture from another 24mm, things are never that easy.)
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Jul 21, 2010
24,647
2,162
IQ is excellent, knobs are fine. No dust if care is taken, but understand that the lens mount is totally open at the back.

I find live view a much better choice - magnification helps achieve crisp focus especially with tilt, and it avoids the metering problems caused by the movements.

I have both the 17 and 24 II, probably use the 17 more (you can crop, but sometimes you can't back up, and a shift pano precludes keystoning correction.

Note that the TS-E lenses take the TCs (although they're not reported in EXIF), and the 17 + 1.4xIII gives a very good 24mm. OTOH, if 24 is wide enough it's much more convenient to use filters (I have the Wonderpana and a couple of the salad plate filters for my 17, the 82mm screw-ins are easier!).
 

Freddie

EOS 90D
Mar 2, 2013
107
1
I have used the 17 TS-E for architectural, real estate, and landscape shooting for over five years and love it more every time I shoot with it. It works very well with the 1.4X TC III if you want a 24mm focal length. Canon Direct has them occasionally as refurbished stock. The warranty is the same as new. I've bought most of my Canon gear as refurbished for the last few years although I did not get the 17 TS-E under those circumstances. All my refurbished gear appeared as new and functioned perfectly. Attached is a recent real estate shot done with my 17 TS-E.
 

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kirispupis

EOS RP
Oct 4, 2011
467
35
www.calevphoto.com
I have the TS-E 24 II, TS-E 17, and TS-E 90. I have no problems with the knobs and image quality is excellent through the shifting range. Sorry to be blunt, but if you're comparing these to non tilt-shifts then you may be better off buying a standard prime. I also have an 11-24 and 16-35/4 and the lenses couldn't be more different. For architecture a TS lens gives you the ability to keep your verticals straight while adjusting your composition up and down. You can try to adjust this in Photoshop but it's not the same.

In terms of which I use between the 24 and the 17, I generally use the TS-E 17 for interiors and the TS-E 24 for exteriors. I also often use the 24 while travelling, while I rarely use the 17 unless I'm in Europe. The main issue with the 17 is it flares light crazy, so you have to be very careful when the sun is in the shot. The 24 handles flare very well. Also, for landscapes the 17 is often too wide. One other advantage of the 24 is it has a great near focus range, so it serves almost like a wide angle macro lens.

Here's a recent real estate shot with the 17.

6O6C1485-HDR.jpg by Joseph Calev, on Flickr

While here's one showing a closeup with the 24.

A Chill at Home by Joseph Calev, on Flickr
 

DanP

EOS M6 Mark II
CR Pro
Dec 8, 2014
62
13
Thanks very much to all for the comments - they were very helpful. I have ordered the 24mm and look forward to learning how to use it. I think I will use it primarily for exteriors and landscapes, and hope I don't also need to buy the 17mm later (the wife would not be pleased, but I guess there's really no reason she needs to know). The sample pictures provided were great, but I'd be interested in know how much of the unique look to the pictures is due to the lens and how much is due to post processing. They look surreal to me, but very pleasing.
 

kirispupis

EOS RP
Oct 4, 2011
467
35
www.calevphoto.com
In terms of what part of it was the lens, look at the first image I posted. Notice how most of the table is in the frame. Now look at the windows - particularly the one on the right. Notice how the entire window is in the frame, but not much of the ceiling. Now look at the verticals and notice how they are straight. This is what a TS lens will do for architecture. In this case the TS-E 17 gave me enough freedom to place the right amount of window in the frame and get the table. A rectilinear lens would have shown more of the ceiling.

In the spider web shot, notice how most of the spider web is in the frame while the beams are still vertical. In this case a rectilinear lens could have gotten the same shot by raising and lowering it, but of course a TS made that a bit easier. What I was trying to show in that shot was the close focus ability of the TS-E 24 II.

This is another shot that displays the effect. This is with the TS-E 17 and even then I had to pan it up slightly to get the entire building in the shot. You can see this in how the buildings to the left and right of it lean.

Burj Khalifa Morning by Joseph Calev, on Flickr

Compare it with this shot where I didn't pan up. See how the building doesn't even fit in the shot?

JSC_2832.jpg by Joseph Calev, on Flickr
 

Freddie

EOS 90D
Mar 2, 2013
107
1
The unique look you're referring to is, of course, post processing along with HDR processing. The TS-E lenses are wonderfully sharp and they allow perspective correction which helps to preserve sharpness across the frame. They do not give a different look to any image other than that. The lens is not magical.
No one has mentioned that the tilt feature is useful for interior real estate and architectural photography as well. You can straighten keystoned images but you cannot add depth of field with a normal lens without stopping down further than you may wish to. Once I have established a point of focus that works, I tape my 17 TS-E so that focus does not move throughout an interior shoot. With the tilt, I can have incredible depth of field from the floor directly in front of the camera to the farthest reaches of the room I'm shooting. All my shooting is done at f/8 which seems to be the sharpest aperture for my particular lens.
 

privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,038
3,112
120
Freddie said:
The unique look you're referring to is, of course, post processing along with HDR processing. The TS-E lenses are wonderfully sharp and they allow perspective correction which helps to preserve sharpness across the frame. They do not give a different look to any image other than that. The lens is not magical.
No one has mentioned that the tilt feature is useful for interior real estate and architectural photography as well. You can straighten keystoned images but you cannot add depth of field with a normal lens without stopping down further than you may wish to. Once I have established a point of focus that works, I tape my 17 TS-E so that focus does not move throughout an interior shoot. With the tilt, I can have incredible depth of field from the floor directly in front of the camera to the farthest reaches of the room I'm shooting. All my shooting is done at f/8 which seems to be the sharpest aperture for my particular lens.
Tilt is very limited in its application for 'Real Estate' work, using tilt transforms the area of focus from a three dimensional rectangular box to a wedge which means close to the camera you have less dof.

For landscape and some architectural images tilt is the best invention ever and cannot be replicated in post with any software. Here is an example of mine http://www.canonrumors.com/forum/index.php?topic=24454.msg479974#msg479974
 

Freddie

EOS 90D
Mar 2, 2013
107
1
If the tilt is done judiciously, it works very well for me. I don't go for more than one mark of forward tilt. That gets all I need in focus without losing focus upward or downward. I've been using that for five years with no complaints from the clients yet. More tilt does give you other options for extreme focus correction but it then becomes more of an effect than a tool.
 

privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,038
3,112
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Freddie said:
If the tilt is done judiciously, it works very well for me. I don't go for more than one mark of forward tilt. That gets all I need in focus without losing focus upward or downward. I've been using that for five years with no complaints from the clients yet. More tilt does give you other options for extreme focus correction but it then becomes more of an effect than a tool.
Your example shot had nothing with height in the foreground. Tilt changing the area of focus from a box to a wedge has nothing to do with judiciousness, it is an optical fact. I have shot 'Real Estate' with the TS-E 17 since it came out and rarely use tilt in that discipline, and when I do it is to put the plane of focus sideways onto an adjacent wall or feature.

Clients generally don't have a clue, or any interest, in how we achieve the results we do, they also rarely notice issues that drive us to distraction. In my experience they do, however, notice the most curious anomalies that we never consider. Things like power outlets (I have had to put them in and take them out), centralised sound systems in ceilings, the colour of central air handling controllers, pool lights, trees supports, shrubbery in season or out of season, and myriad of landscaping and building paraphernalia etc.
 

Freddie

EOS 90D
Mar 2, 2013
107
1
Okay, I will have to respectfully disagree and continue to work in the way I have found best for my business. Different strokes as they say. May we always have happy and affluent clients.
 

privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,038
3,112
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Freddie said:
Okay, I will have to respectfully disagree and continue to work in the way I have found best for my business. Different strokes as they say. May we always have happy and affluent clients.
Like I said, it isn't a matter of opinion, it is a matter of laws of optics and physics. Here is a link that includes some lovely examples of how tilt actually impacts dof http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/article_pages/using_tilt.html

For the fullest understanding of tilt, and using focus and dof with a tilt and shift lens or camera here is a link to the book on the subject go here, it is free! http://www.trenholm.org/hmmerk/index.html#FVC
 

Freddie

EOS 90D
Mar 2, 2013
107
1
Thank you for the references.
I'm assuming all this is being presented in an entirely altruistic effort to improve the photographic results for us all.
I shot with a Sinar F for many years so I'm assuming your educational efforts will help all of us to understand the advantages and disadvantages of shooting with a tilt-shift lens.
I will continue, however, to be as judicious and pragmatic as possible while using my TS-E.
 

privatebydesign

Garfield is back...
CR Pro
Jan 29, 2011
9,038
3,112
120
Freddie said:
Thank you for the references.
I'm assuming all this is being presented in an entirely altruistic effort to improve the photographic results for us all.
I shot with a Sinar F for many years so I'm assuming your educational efforts will help all of us to understand the advantages and disadvantages of shooting with a tilt-shift lens.
I will continue, however, to be as judicious and pragmatic as possible while using my TS-E.
Entirely altruistic, I might come across as blunt on occasions but that is because I don't have the luxury of time some do, I am not into points scoring (unless you are also Pookie) and have posted those same links many times as they are the best way I have found to get an introduction to tilt which, unlike shift, it is far from intuitive.
 

Freddie

EOS 90D
Mar 2, 2013
107
1
I don't post here enough to know who "Pookie" might be. That moniker sounds more appealing than it probably should.
Education can be gruesome at times but, no, tilting is not easy to learn.