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Has anybody here used these lenses? I have been lusting over 24mm TS-E for sometime now, mainly for landscape and architecture photography. Now I am wondering whether I should consider 17mm instead of 24mm. I have heard people using 1.4x TC with the 17mm to get to 24mm. Is that a good combination? 17mm can't take filters and that bulge bothers me (in terms of keeping it safe). Any help sorting this out will be appreciated. I am planning to use this on a FF body.
Wide angel lenses already have a large depth of field, so there is not much to gain from the tilt function (and that "unlimited" DOF comes with an unpleasant limitation). Therefore it would make more sense to get the top quality Zeiss 21/2.8 for a few hundred bucks less, unless you really need the shift function for interior shots (those 12mm of shift won't get you very much on exterior shots).
I've been using the canon tilt shift lenses a long time (20+ yrs). The tilt function gives you depth of field. In general, I would think in terms of reverse order. Longest first (90 or 45 as it gives you DOF you cannot get any other way without resorting to stacking) and shortest last as when you get to 17 and 24mm you have a lot DOF to begin with. There are instances such as poppy fields blowing in the wind where to keep high shutter speed you need to keep the lens relatively wide open and being able to get the depth of filed by tilting rather than stopping down is a plus. I'm not a photoshop guru so others probably will want to comment on this but photoshop corrections can be made to get the corrections you used to do with the shift function. Shift can also be used to make panoramas easier but it is not essential. If you are not getting a t/s in this focal range, I would go for a zoom such as the 16-35. Flexibility in my experience trumps everthing unless you have a camera bearer to carry all your equipment.
I have both these lenses and Roger Cicala's take (see links in EJ's post above) is absolutely correct. Forget the clueless naysayers who think a 21mm prime will begin to give you the results of a TS-E lens.
If I could have only one I guess it would be the 24mm. However, I love the 17mm for my starscapes so would be unhappy at that prospect.
Re: the front element on the 17mm. I replace the excellent lens cap when moving the tripod between shots, it was an easy habit to develop. There are filter holders and filters for this lens. One of the less expensive schemes is described by Fred Miranda on his site.
There is a lot of info on the net about Tilt/Shift lens. Here are links to two of the most understandable tutorials I found.
Thank you all for your wise suggestions. EJ - I like your suggestion of renting. I was thinking about doing just that.
I'll also read-up on all the links specified here.
Wildflower - Thank you for your point-of-view. I like what you said "Longest first". Richard - Thank you for your opinion.
So apart from the Tilt and Shift functionality - this is what I find interesting about T/S lenses. You can use TILT at f/8 to get more DoF. For regular lens like (suggested) 21mm or any other, one needs to go to f/16 or f/22 to achieve that. And I understand that most lenses perform the best at f/8. Is there any merit to that thinking?
Only a TS lens will tilt and/or shift no matter how good another lens is reputed to be.
I have only the 24 Mark II; I don't use it everyday as I don't shoot landscapes every day.
I've had it for two years, and personally found the focal length too short for many landscapes. So I added a 2.0 extender (which is also used with a 100 macro and short extension ring on a 5DII). Having said that, if I was to do architectural photography (particularly interiors), the 17mm would likely be quite useful.
One other comment about tilting; with a truly flat landscape (like the ocean where I live), I often shoot wide open (f/3.5) - useful during the golden hours of the day when the light isn't the strongest.
Economics: the study of achieving infinite growth with finite resources.
You can use TILT at f/8 to get more DoF. For regular lens like (suggested) 21mm or any other, one needs to go to f/16 or f/22 to achieve that.
It is a common misunderstanding that tilt gives MORE DOF. It does not. It only allows to tilt the "box" within which the image is reasonably sharp*, allowing to bring objects that would be outside of that area inside it, but still leaving everything outside of it unsharp.
Additionally, the shape of that area changes from a box to a wedge, with the narrow part close to the lens and the wide part far away. This effectively increases the OOF areas and shrinks the DOF area.
This means, tilt allows to control what area of the image will be in focus and what area will not. A wide angle lens with tilt function makes sense only for product photography of small objects (jewelry and such), since lenses of 24mm and shorter have their infinity point around 10 feet or less and can be hyperfocused at f/8 to be reasonably sharp* from 2-3' to infinity.
I used to have the 24 TS-E for just that purpose (product shots), not because I needed more DOF but to be able to place the OOF areas where I needed them. And since that can be done more effective in PS, I sold that lens a long time ago,
I encourage you to rent lenses first before you dish out major moolah. Do yourself a favor and also include high quality regular wide angel lenses to see the difference. IMO low or zero distortion is more important for your application (architecture) than control over the OOF areas.
* DOF is defined as the area within which an image is "reasonably sharp", not absolutely sharp.
I agree that the tilt gives you control over placement of the area that is in focus. No longer does the back of the camera have to be parallel to your subject plane. You can set your camera for the composition you want and then use the tilt fuction to move the plane of focus to coincide with the plane of what you want in focus (my subject). That is why I've used tilt for flower work for 20+ years starting with the nikon pb4 and a 150mm schneider enlarging lens and later the 90mm canon with a 2x extender. The latter is not as sharp but much easier to work with in the field.
I don't do any architecture photography. If you are not familiar with it, you might want to review the Scheimpflug principle which is what you are dealing with. There are a lot of articles on the web.
Thank you guys for all you input/comments/suggestions. @Jens - I like your POV as well. 21mm was in my list but somehow felt that 24mm TSE offered little more - it is sharp (even is used without T/S features). 21mm is probably more contrasty (and light).
I probably will rent TS-E out to see if it suits my style or not.