Canon TS-E 24mm Hands On

© Robert Huber

© Robert Huber Photography

With the announcement of the new 17mm and 24mm TS-E lenses from Canon (version II), we decided to do a comparison review of the two different versions, to be released in two parts. We will be testing the 24mm versions.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 24mm 1:3.5
Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 84° (without tilt or shift)Image circle dia. 58.6mm.
Focus Adjustment: Manual focus, Overall linear extension system
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.3m / 1 ft.
Filter Size: 72mm
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.1″ x 3.4″, 1.3 lbs. / 78.0 x 86.7mm, 570g

This lens offers the user the ability to make tilt and shift adjustments, which are perpendicular to one another. The lens can be rotated in order to facilitate the use of these adjustments in both directions, but they are always perpendicular to one another. Upon purchase, you can send this lens to Canon and they can make the adjustments parallel to one another (at your expense). Build quality of this lens is very solid. There is a heavy feel during focus, which allows one to be very precise. Out of all three ts-e lenses currently available, this is the only one to be considered as “L-series”. Unlike many of the other L-series lenses, this is not a weather sealed lens. There is a small amount of chromatic aberration towards the edges of the image circle when shifts are taken very far.

The first thing some people may ask about this lens would be, what is it used for? Why would someone want to spend so much money on a lens if such adjustments can be made so easily in Photoshop? The quick answer: they can’t. Although you can make small corrections for convergence in Photoshop, essentially you are not doing the same thing. There is also one thing that can be done with this lens that is impossible to replicate in Photoshop: the Scheimpflug principle.

The Scheimpflug principle allows a person to control the angle of the plane of focus in relation to the angle of the film plane. When pointing the camera at a downward angle towards a flat surface which is not parallel to the film plane, this lens will allow you to put said flat surface in perfect focus, regardless of aperture.

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© Robert Huber Photography

That being said, Scheimpflug is not so easy to employ with this lens. It is much easier in my opinion to put a loupe on a ground glass to check focus than to take 50 different shots and zoom in on a tiny LCD screen. Nonetheless, this lens is quite fun to use. It has a very close focusing distance, and the adjustments are more than ample. When you move the lens around they don’t seem like much, but they really do let you do quite a bit.

In conclusion, this is a great lens for anyone doing close quarters still life or product work, but the restriction of rotation leaves a bit to be desired.

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