Another astounding lens
I actually borrowed this lens from Canon a year ago for testing and just happened to have a small assignment shooting a large antique tractor truck for a calendar while I had the lens. I was absolutely blown away by the image quality then and knew that I would have to own this lens at some point. And while I'm still shooting architecture most of the time, I don't anticipate using it much for that except for the possible detail shot of wrought iron, woodwork, etc. very occasionally. But for product shots both large and small, this lens is amazingly sharp. And of course being able to utilize the Scheimpflug principal will yield the great benefit of getting the image correct in the camera instead of compromising any pixels in post production. I also own the Canon 17mm & 24mm TS-E lenses. Those are both stellar optics and travel with me everywhere. This lens however, due to it's Gaussian design and focal length, is sharper, has NO chromatic aberration or barrel distortion, and just snaps into focus albeit manually. Pretty good performance for a 21 year old lens.
The only downside is the fact that while the orientation of the shift and tilt can be altered, a small screw driver is required or you can send it to Canon's repair facility. The lens is delivered with these at a right angle to each other and upon delivery I changed this so I could tilt and shift in the same direction. A pleasant surprise for me after doing this is that the tilt and shift controls are on opposite sides of the lens and for that reason are much easier to manipulate; they don't get in each other's way.
While I don't think much about macro photography, except when my children inquire about it, just yesterday I had the need to put this lens to the test. A friend who shoots portraits had an SD memory card which was causing problems so I used this lens focused to the nearest distance along with flash to shoot some quick snap shots of it. The detail allowed me to see physical damage to the card that wasn't apparent with the naked eye, and that was repairable and saved two hours worth of images for her. Again, at closest focusing distance there were no aberrations. I was amazed. And I've seen many examples of nature macro shots with creative blurring/focusing which I want to try.
The only negative issue I can imagine with this lens is the size of the image circle. In certain situations I can see where an image circle larger than 58mm would be helpful. This will have little to no impact on anything I'm required to shoot.
And lastly, Hollywood seems to have caught on to the value of all 4 of Canon's tilt-shift lenses since a major lens manufacturer is reworking and reselling these lenses in their barrels with gearing for follow focus and mounts for the major camera brands in that arena. I'm thinking Canon can probably thank the 5D Mark II and its' acceptance for movies and television for that.
January 15, 2013
Old school fun for product & portrait photography
Although manual focus is old school, optically this lens is about as good as it gets. The build quality is on par with a L series lens. This lens has a bit of a learning curve through the additional creativity this lens provides makes it worth the effort. It has been one of the most used lens for product & portrait work.
April 25, 2010
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