I had the opportunity to have a play with the very expensive ($A3500) and heavy, unique Canon EF TS-E 17mm tilt shift lens yesterday – albeit, on my 1.3x crop Canon 1DMIII.
Although in essence it presumably gives an angle of view of 17×1.3 = 22mm on the Canon 1DMIII, it’s shift capabilities allows one to gain some nice images without having to resort to convergence correction in Photoshop.
The 17mm f/4 TS-E tilt shift has an unprotected protuberant front element which means filters are not possible and it does not come with a lens hood, which would have been nice – at least to protect accidentally hitting the front element while walking.
So let’s have a look at what it’s shift functionality can achieve:
Firstly, let’s look at the results we get using it as a normal wide angle lens to capture Melbourne’s Etihad football stadium – although many of the building lines are not truly vertical due to the round shape of the stadium, the necessity of angling the camera upwards creates distortion. This distortion can be corrected in PS but at loss of detail and loss of pixels from cropping.
Now, without any shift still, but this time keeping the camera sensor perpendicular to the ground to ensure vertical lines remain vertical. Now lines are vertical, but you don’t get to see much of the stadium.
NOW, we get to see the beauty of the shift lens, keeping the camera positioned as for the above shot we can now elevate the lens using the shift knob until we get the top of the roof in. As we have kept the sensor perpendicular to the ground, the vertical lines remain vertical.
And just to show how much we could get in if we shift fully downwards with camera still in same position, you can see how useful this technique could be for creating 3 overlapping images for stitching into a panoramic image.
I have purchased an EOS to Micro Four Thirds adapter and am looking forward to using this lens on my new Panasonic GH-1 when it finally arrives – I have some uses for having a 34mm equivalent tilt lens using the GH-1’s HD video with external microphone.
Now to wait for an EOS to Four Thirds adapter so I can use this on my Olympus E510 as well and have it as an image stabilised 34mm tilt shift lens!
Olympus have not yet made any tilt-shift lenses for their digital systems – perhaps they have an even better plan – tilting the sensor to make all lenses into tilt lenses, or with Micro Four Thirds, it would be easy to make a tilt-shift adapter so nearly all lenses become tilt-shift lenses?
See my blog on this here.