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Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review

Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review

Paired with a Photodiox Adapter and Sony a7sii

Updated: 07.30.2016
I’ve ditched the Photodiox adapter due to flare issues on the bottom left and right side of my images. Switched over to the Metabones IV. It’s three times the price at $299. But, it works perfectly with the Canon 17mm T/S lens and my Sony a7-x series cameras. No flare, no vignetting at all. Well worth it when pairing with a $2500 lens, you can’t compromise on quality.

Here is a visual review of the Canon 17mm Tilt-Sift lens.

Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review: As a luxury real estate photographer I’m always looking to up my game. I recently had a conversation with world renown, architectural, globe-trotting photographer, Tim Griffith. He suggested I’d benefit from Canon’s 17mm Tilt-Shift lens. After quick research and noting its incredible reviews, I pulled the trigger and purchased it. Holy Tilt-Shift Batman! Just came back from a test shoot with my new 17mm Tilt-Shift lens. This lens is definitely the Houdini of lenses. Each time I Shifted the lens I was stunned at how freak’n cool it was to be able to get an entire building in the viewfinder. IMHO a Tilt-Shift lens is just as important as the camera you are using. I often photograph luxury commercial real estate. Some of the buildings are so tall that even with my FE 16-35mm f/4.0 racked to 16mm I can not fit the entire building top to bottom in a single frame. And on the oft chance that I can fit the building into the frame it is severely distorted due to the wide angle lens. However, this is no longer an issue with a 17mm Tilt-Shift, it’s as easy as shifting up.

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Photographed with the a7sII and FE 90mm Macro f/2.8 @ ISO 4,000, f/5.6, 1/30th sec hand held. Transferred via Sony in camera Wifi and edited with Adobe Lightroom Mobile on an iPhone 6+

A couple of caveats: #1] Make sure that the focal plane is dead on perfectly horizontal to the building you are photographing. This will prevent distortion. #2] The front lens element is bulbous as in super convex. It’s really easy to pick up lens flare when shooting outdoors during high sun hours. I’d recommend using an umbrella or wearing a wide-brimmed hat to use as a Gobo to block the sun flare.

Before and After Shift Images: In each set, you’ll see the image taken with no Shift and the image taken with the Shift. The Non-Shifted image is truncated, as in the entire building is not in the frame. The Shifted image reveals the entire building. I’ve locked off the Tilt feature. In searching for tutorials of Tilt-Shift lens, I didn’t see any before and after pictures. I wanted to share these with you so that you can see the dramatic difference of the before shift and after shift images.

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Using the Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift on a Sony a7sii no-shift.

Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review

Camera and tripod in the same exact position. The angle of the camera has not been touched or moved. The Shift function of the lens is Shifted up.

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Using the Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift on a Sony a7sii no-shift.

Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review

Camera and tripod in the same exact position. The angle of the camera has not been touched or moved. The Shift function of the lens is Shifted up.

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Using the Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift on a Sony a7sii no-shift.

Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review

Camera and tripod in the same exact position. The angle of the camera has not been touched or moved. The Shift function of the lens is Shifted up.

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Using the Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift on a Sony a7sii no-shift.

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Camera and tripod in the same exact position. The angle of the camera has not been touched or moved. The Shift function of the lens is Shifted up.

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Using the Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift on a Sony a7sii no-shift.

Canon 17mm Tilt-Shift Lens Review

Camera and tripod in the same exact position. The angle of the camera has not been touched or moved. The Shift function of the lens is Shifted up.

 

The 17mm T/S is paired with a Photodiox adapter [$99] to my Sony a7sii. The verdict is still out on lens flare. I did notice a bit of stray light on the bottom left and right of some of my images. A step up is the Metabones IV at $399. Which makes sense when pairing an adapter to a $2500 lens. You don’t want to cut corners. Need to do a bit more testing to see if the Photodoix is a good fit.

p.s. I intend to use this lens on just about every architectural shoot from now on, and can’t believe it took me this long to get it!

Here’s a great 18+ minute video by photographer Vincent Laforet that covers all the basics and some advanced techniques of using Tilt-Shift lenses.

Marc Weisberg is an award winning photographer and Sony Artist of Imagery based in Irvine, California. Specializing in Luxury Architecture & Real Estate Photography, Food + Wine Photography, and Weddings & Family Photography, he’s easy to work with and produces clean, crisp, and technically flawless images. Marc’s photography is published internationally in over a dozen books and magazines. You can contact Marc by phone at 800.943.0414…. or email.

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