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Using the TS-E17mm f/4L tilt-shift lens: the widest in the world!

By Gary Schmid, donderdag februari 06, 2014
With the advantage of tilt-shift it was easy to correct the converging vertical lines. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a TS-E17mm f/4L lens; the exposure was 3.2 secs at f/16, ISO 160.

With the advantage of tilt-shift it was easy to correct the converging vertical lines. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a TS-E17mm f/4L lens; the exposure was 3.2 secs at f/16, ISO 160. © Gary Schmid

As mentioned in one of my previous blog entries I wanted to give a tilt-shift lens a try. After learning all about photography in the analogue age I'm used to the concept of tilt-shift from the large format cameras I used. And now we have this option on a DSLR camera - it's different, but very interesting!

One of my main fields in photography is interior and exterior work and as much I love the EF14mm f/2.8L II USM and the EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM for my photography, I really missed the possibility of some tilt and shift work.

Recently I was with my assistant Habeeb Alaswad on a photo shoot in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and I had the TS-E17mm f/4L with me. Firstly, if you lock the movement at "0" you can use this lens as a normal 17mm. Maybe not like any normal lens as this one has exceptional sharpness and resolution combined with very low distortion. Of course it shows its strength by offering a tilt and/or shift option. This lens is designed for architectural photographers to correct converging verticals but is also liked by landscape photographers, too, to increase the depth-of-field by tilting the plane of focus. For product photography, it also gives great advantages by keeping a plane of focus in line with the product (but for products I would recommend the TS-E90mm f/2.8).

With a range of ±6.5° tilt and ±12mm shift it gives you a wider range than that normally found on a DSLR. I was very impressed with the easy rotation that's possible with the of the tilt and shift mechanisms. Also, the other knobs used to adjust and lock the tilt-shift are easy to access and handle in the field. And on our shoot in Almaty, Kazakhstan, during a blue hour outdoor session at -20° Celsius, I was very thankful for its ease-of-use!

This lens is definitely a winner for any architectural or landscape photographer. It is designed with Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) glass to minimize and compensate for chromatic aberrations, with a specially coated aspherical element for the highest possible glare-free image quality. It is another great lens in Canon's L-series range!

Behind the lens during the freezing evening hours in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Behind the lens during the freezing evening hours in Almaty, Kazakhstan. © Gary Schmid