Tilt Shift

Yes – I finally got one! It is the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4 L ultra wide angle lens. Here are some technical specifications and unboxing photos:

  • Focal Length: 17mm
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 104º
  • Lenses / Groups: 18/12
  • Shift Range: ±12mm
  • Tilt Range: ±6,5°
  • Aperture Range: f/4.0-22
  • Rounded Aperture
  • Manual Focus Only
  • Internal Focusing

After evaluating the pros and cons of investing in such a specialized piece of equipment, I decided to take the step and see how it can improve my architectural and urban photography. What kept me from acquiring the Canon TS-E 17mm for a long time was obviously the price – Amazon currently sells this lens for USD 2.100. However, a tilt shift lens offers some really unique features that I would like to mention:

  • Probably the most interesting feature is that a Tilt Shift lens can help avoid parallel lines to converge on an image
  • The lens provides an incredibly high resolution and sharpness even in the corners due to the large image circle
  • An asperical lens reduces image distortions
  • Four ultra-low dispersion lens elements reduce chromatic aberrations in the corners
  • Sub-wavelength structure coatings minimize ghosting and flare
  • Independent Tilt and Shift Sliders
  • The entire lens can rotate ±90° to switch between landscape format and upright format
  • Locking screws prevent accidental shifts and tilts
  • L-Series – the lens is extremely well made and durable due to metal structure and weather sealing
  • Includes Canon LP1219 soft lens case

With these features, the Canon TS-E 17mm is predestined for architectural and real estate photography. When holding the lens in my hands for the first time, I wasn’t expecting so much weight – but this is totally fine as it will be set up on a tripod 90% of the time. Due to the L-qualification, the build quality is top of the line. I am fascinated by the precision how every moving part slides when moving the tilt or shift units. There is even a protective rubber-like surface between the tilt and shift parts that prevents dust or spray water from entering the gaps – although I am not planning to use it in the rain. The focus ring has a convenient size and rotates very smoothly. Manual Focus is certainly something to get used to, but it still works pretty good when keeping the shutter button on the camera half-pressed while focusing and waiting for the camera to indicate an in-focus situation with a short beeping sound. Altogether, I am looking forward to taking it on my next journey!!

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