I have used a Canon 24mm tilt/shift lens for five years now. I first purchased one 15 years ago for the rare moment when I felt like only caring my 35mm film camera instead of my large format 4×5. When that theory failed, I sold it for $400 to a friend, whoops! Then after the Canon 1ds M11 arrived I quickly snatched one up and began utilizing it in several different ways.
I take this lens with me everywhere. Now there are two new Canon Tilt/Shift lenses, which I will be taking with me everywhere. The reason, they are much sharper and the image circle is much larger. The image below shows the corners of an image taken with a 17-40mm Canon lens compared to the corners of the very same image taken with the very same camera but with the new 17mm tilt-shift. I have not tested the new 24mm yet but have been assured by Canon that the design is very similar.
What I am so excited about is how sharp this lens really is. So I took it with me high into the Sierra Nevada Mountains and put it through the paces. Yes, it withstood my special shoving technique of placing it in and out of my climbing pack! The new design is far better, making it easy to lock into place and loosen when needed. All the movements are far easier to make due to the better and tighter design. I don’t know the exact reason for the dramatic increase in sharpness but I can imagine it has something to do with its resolving capabilities. I have been staring at digital files for 10 years now, from all kinds of cameras costing as much as a nice BMW. I have never seen anything as nice as a drum scanned piece of 4×5 film, until now! I believe Canon has made a significant leap in image quality by introducing these two new lenses. I have since used the 17mm on a 1ds M3, 5D M2, and even a 1Ds. Yes, even tested it with my friend’s original 1Ds and realized how tremendous that camera still is today. The resolving power of the new design inspired me so much that I wanted to make some large prints. If any of you are visiting me at the next print workshop be sure to ask me to view these new prints.
This image above was made from two shots stitched together after shifting the lens side to side while the camera was in portrait orientation. And, a 100% enlargement from the file above:
I hope to post more about all the creative and cool ways to use a tilt/shift lens in the coming months.
Life is so very short. Take pictures of it.