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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #1
schmoelzel
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Default Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8

Greetings from warm and summer-like London Ontario Canada!! This past week has been quite fruitful for myself; my new glass arrived and I was lucky to get some great weather to try out the new arrivals. I decided that I needed a lens that would let me take product shots for my tea-shop (www.theteahaus.com) but even though I often use my 35L and 17-40L to great effect, I had read a lot about a tilt & shift lens making this type of photography much more effective. I had tried a Hartblei tilt & shift lens last year but honestly never really put in the effort to learn how to use it. These lenses do take a lot of practice and patience! Firstly, they are manual; meaning forget about AF performance..........you have to focus manually because you are altering the focus plane. What they let you accomplish is to shoot at a fast aperture (f2.8 in this case) but get your whole subject in focus without having to stop down the lens. Why would you want to do this? Well, a lot of product shots are taken with real-life backgrounds rather than just plain white studio back-drops. If you were to stop the lens down (and increase your DoF), your background would obviously also be in better focus and distract from your main subject. By moving the the focus plane, you can get your subject in focus but still retain your wide aperture and the blurred background. Sound confusing Join the club!! I have read and read and am still confused by all this............I am sure someone here on the forums can give a more detailed and technical explanation (Scheimpflug principle).




How does it work? As you can see in the shots of the lens, there are two adjustment knobs; one lets you tilt the focus plane and the other lets you shift. Tilting gives you that 'strange' looking focus plane effect while shifting lets you compose panoramic-style shots. The shift is most useful in architectural photography and tilting is very useful with product-style shots. Of course you can leave the lens as is and it becomes a very good 45f2.8 lens. There is also a small switch (very very small!) that rotates the whole lens in a circular motion (counter-clockwise). Haven't explored this too much yet but I am sure it will come in handy.

The next two shots try and demonstrate why the tilt is so helpful.

No tilt



Full tilt



Is it sharp? Right to the meat of the matter!! Probably the most common question concerning any lens and sometimes seems to take on an importance far beyond what most people can distinguish! But for all you 'sharp-freaks' (me included!!), it is a very sharp lens; wide-open performance is excellent and stopped down it gets even sharper. Colour is very very good and accurate!! I was pleasently surprised that I have had to do very little colour correction even with my 1D set to AWB. Detail is very well resolved and contrast is top-notch. I am surprised that this thing doesn't have a red ring around the barrel! I would say that performance-wise, it is similiar to the 50f1.4 maybe even a tad sharper. That's a very good pedigree to relate to for any optic!!

How is the AF (autofocus)? In a word, non-existant!! No lie, this $1200 optic has no auto-focus capabilities since it does shift the focus plane. The AF ring is smooth and precise; with the fast aperture and no tilt applied, the focus is clearly observed in the viewfinder of my 1D. I think that with cameras with smaller viewfinders, it might be a bit of a chore to see the tilt effect. I also have a EC-B view-screen installed (that's the one with a split-prism) and this helps quite a lot too. The one nice feature this lens has is that the focus point will beep when you have achieved focus. That 'beep' sure sounds reassuring when you are trying to focus on a moving two-year old!!

Could I use it as a door-stop? My favourite question to answer in these mini-reviews: NO!! It is not very heavy and any door would easily blow shut with this optic holding it open.

Does the hood work? I don't see why it wouldn't but I was surprised that the included hood (strange since it's not considered an L lens) isn't of a petal-type. As you can see by the pics of the lens, it is very similiar to the 85L hood, only not as deep. It is very wide (has a large diameter) so some might complain that it has a hard time being stored on the lens when in a camera bag.

Bokeh? With a fast aperture (f2.8), this lens renders OOF highlights very well and subject isolation is good. Because it is a fairly wide focal length, you really have to get close to your subject if you want to blur out the background. Again, I would compare the quality of the bokeh to the 50f1.4, which is a compliment!

Well, there you have it! My first brief impressions of this very specialized type of optic. I can see that it will take a little while for me to get proficient with this lens but there is fun in the learning!! One more point to add here is that this is the first lens that I actually read the manual for!! It is a very thick booklet and goes into some detail as far as the principles of tilt/shift photography. The shot of Julia (no tilt or shift) is the first shot I took with this lens........obviously there was no tilt or shift since I had no idea how to tilt or shift the lens! Thanks for reading and looking. Comments and questions are always welcome and I will do my best to answer them!!

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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #2
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

The usual masterful work. You may not have committed the theory to memory, but you've got the practice down pat.

On the hood - well, it has to be able to accomodate the lens tilts and shifts, so it's got to be extra wide. Petal hoods closely fit the lens coverage, but you hardly know where that's going to be on his, especially if tilt & shift are realigned.

Scheimpflug principle in brief - tilt the lens so the focal plane extended, the subject's desired plane of focus, and a perpendicular to the lens axis all converge at the same point for maximum DoF.
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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #3
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

How does it work for say a building? Any noticeable difference?
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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #4
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

cj, what do you mean? Do you mean the shift function or tilt?
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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #5
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Schmoelzel, please tell me why you don't write for magazines? Oh, I know. You're just too good. I always look for your posts.

It's also fantastic to see your Julia growing up. Your photographic talent is amazing.

As to the lens, curious why you decided on the 45 instead of the 24. I've been wanting one of these tilt/shift lenses for quite sometime now. One day, probably after I add what I believe to be your favorite lens to my collection (85L sound familiar?) and the 300 f2.8.

Thanks. I'd love to see more samples of that lens at work.

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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #6
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

In John Freeman books he always talks about Tilt shift lens and how they make a building look straighter instead of the leaning back look. Just wondering if this lens does this. Looks like a great lens whatever it does.
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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #7
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjm
In John Freeman books he always talks about Tilt shift lens and how they make a building look straighter instead of the leaning back look. Just wondering if this lens does this. Looks like a great lens whatever it does.
Yes, the tilt/shift lenses do that in spades.
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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #8
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Thats what I thought. Actually come to think of it I think John Freeman uses this lens.
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Old 16th of April 2006 (Sun)   #9
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Lots of Tilt shift references (with an emphasis on tilt, not shift)

http://hame.ca/tiltshift.htm

Several galleries, and read the section of "Technical Explanation of T/S Photography".
And references to on line reviews of T/S lenses (including the one I wrote on the Hartblei 35).
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Old 17th of April 2006 (Mon)   #10
schmoelzel
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon
The usual masterful work. You may not have committed the theory to memory, but you've got the practice down pat.

On the hood - well, it has to be able to accomodate the lens tilts and shifts, so it's got to be extra wide. Petal hoods closely fit the lens coverage, but you hardly know where that's going to be on his, especially if tilt & shift are realigned.

Scheimpflug principle in brief - tilt the lens so the focal plane extended, the subject's desired plane of focus, and a perpendicular to the lens axis all converge at the same point for maximum DoF.
Thank you Jon for the kind words!! Still have a lot to learn with this optic but half the fun is in the learning!! I am very surprised that this isn't considered an L lens........build, colour, contrast, all remind me of my favourite Canon L primes. It does have the L pricetag though!!
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Old 17th of April 2006 (Mon)   #11
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjm
In John Freeman books he always talks about Tilt shift lens and how they make a building look straighter instead of the leaning back look. Just wondering if this lens does this. Looks like a great lens whatever it does.
It will. That uses the shift, rather than the tilt, so you can keep the camera parallel to the building and raise the lens. Think of it as using a hugely excessive wide angle lens and cropping out just the part you need.
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Old 17th of April 2006 (Mon)   #12
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

they really gotta disable the 8) smily - (f/2.8) can't really be taken seriously...

and they need to only have , and not and (that second one is : oops : to you and me)

anyway...A really full featured review, excellent. I still don't quite understand the whole tilt shift thing (I remember seeing something about it making buildings appear straight instead of getting narrower...whats that about?), but I'll just google it and spend some time reading.

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Old 17th of April 2006 (Mon)   #13
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by schmoelzel
Thank you Jon for the kind words!! Still have a lot to learn with this optic but half the fun is in the learning!! I am very surprised that this isn't considered an L lens........build, colour, contrast, all remind me of my favourite Canon L primes. It does have the L pricetag though!!
was the camera the 1Ds used for the child (Julia) pic?
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Old 17th of April 2006 (Mon)   #14
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Don't forget, a Canon service center (or you yourself!) can modify the lens to tilt AND shift on the same axis (by default they're 90 apart).
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Old 18th of April 2006 (Tue)   #15
schmoelzel
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Default Re: Canon 45 TSE- Mini Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Negative
Don't forget, a Canon service center (or you yourself!) can modify the lens to tilt AND shift on the same axis (by default they're 90 apart).
Good point....might do this; just not yet!!
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