Canon TSE2435L 24mm f/3.5 Tilt & Shift Lens - Filter Size - 72mm
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- Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L is compatible with Filter Size - 72mm (L type lens)
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Compact, wide-angle lens which enables tilt and shift movements. The floating optical system, with an aspherical lens element, corrects distortion and other aberrations. High image quality and compactness are the result. Great for architecture, landscapes and other wide-angle shots....
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I won't list the range of movements this lens is capable of, you can visit the Canon website for that. All I'll say is that it does offer potential for doing some of the things the above large-format combination can do, without the bulk or the inconvenience. Although the range of movements, resolution and the final file size can't compare with a 5x4 monorail and a 75 or 90mm lens, you will go some way towards achieving a similar result when using this 24mm on a DSLR in confined spaces.
I'll admit I bought mine "used", for a trip to Barcelona where I specifically wanted to photograph some of the architecture.
Photoshop does a reasonable job, but if you want to avoid converging verticals you really have to employ the Schempflug technique (sorry if the spelling's wrong!).
In this respect the lens performed nicely. It's reasonably sharp, beautifully engineered and constructed, and it's compact enough to be very unobtrusive. For the Barcelona trip I didn't use a tripod with my 5D MkII, and hand-held all of the shots, raising the ISO to 800 or 1000 for interiors. In fact I'd go so far as to say I came back with pictures of the Sagrada Familia I know I wouldn't have got without this lens.
Although I've used it at full aperture with good results, it needs to be stopped down to f8 or f11 to get the best out of it. At these apertures it's capable of incredible clarity, contrast and reproduction.
My only gripe is that the lens does suffer from CA or "fringeing" in certain conditions. An example would be a pillar against a brightly lit window.
Other drawbacks are that it's manual focus only (not a problem for me), and the more extreme movements do frustrate the camera's ability to arrive at the right exposure. I resorted to manual exposure at times, which again isn't a problem for me. There is some very minor vignetting at extreme settings too, and you can't use filters without making this even worse. You can use a polariser with no problems,so long as it has a slim mount and you avoid the most extreme shift settings.
You'll need a really good eye for distortion too, and a spirit level that slots into the hot-shoe.
This model has been replaced by the MkII now, and I understand the CA issues have been addressed. I'll hang onto my Mk 1 for now though, as it performs well on the odd occasion I need the potential that only this type of lens offers.
Having got it I first shot a tallish building with my 17-55mm EF-S at about 24mm-f/8 on the 7D, I then switched to to this lens and took the same shot, same tripod position, same aperture. It's very easy to muck up shifting the lens and get odd angles through the viewfinder/screen (making Photoshop even more difficult). But examining the best results in Lightroom @ 100% I was impressed. Not only did I have a more natural looking building than my from-the-ground perspective should have allowed, but also better resolution, sharpness, colour rendering, absence of CA. This is from a lens that often seems to review badly (though the MKII is hailed as a God among lenses), versus the 17-55mm which is pretty good.
The results I got were shifted, so the lens was a few milimetres higher on the sensor than it had any right to be, and yet it was amazing. Subsequent shots confirm that resolution is very good in shift mode, certainly from f5.6 onwards. Maybe I have a good copy - better than the pro reviewers (except for Bryan at The Digital Picture maybe). Of course purists will tell you it's because it's a prime lens: but it's a pretty odd one since you can shift the barrel up and down, and tilt it sideways, and swivel it around in 30 degree stops at the press of a button.
Weirdly for a wide angle lens, it seems very happy to take a teleconvertor and even extenders for macros. The Canon EF12II ext tube works well, but the EF25II takes the front of the lens unmanageably close to a subject. Neither the extender or my Kenko Pro300 2x tele significantly alter centre sharpness to the naked eye (though it does at 100% and effects corner darkness and edge resolution much more, as does anyting other than slight shifting/tilting). I haven't really tested it fully tilted and shifted with the tele, but it certainly works as an emergency 48mm prime.
As a signed-up, die-hard zoom snapper I'm fully impressed, and now VERY short of cash as its so much fun and so high-res there's no way I can trade it back in.
Three drawbacks are price - not for the faint-hearted. Also, its complexity means it has manual-only focus. Finally it's very hard to figure out what to do with it and how to actually judge and control it at first.
But these shortcomings are what gives it a quirky appeal that goes beyond my normal electrojunkie cravings for extreme image stabilization and high-speed USMs. It feels like I've swopped my 7D for a venerable medium format camera where I have to think about things for a long time before I shoot them, sipping tea and working out exposure and angles. That can't be bad, can it?
If you're considering one, The Digital Picture, Photozone.de and Northlight Photo all have good articles/reviews (even if some arent impressed with overall resolution).