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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II Tilt-Shift lens

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II tilt/shift lens

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II lens fitted to a Canon EOS 5D MkII body.

Specification (in order of importance to me)

Focal length: 24mm
Tilt:  ±8 degrees
Shift:  ±12mm
Weight:  780g
Filter thread: 82mm
Closest focusing distance:  210mm
Maximum aperture: f/3.5
Focusing:  manual only

I wouldn't consider carrying such a heavy lens up a mountain without having a very good reason to do so, such is the extra effort involved.  However, the advantages of using a tilt-shift lens far outweigh the disadvantages in many situations if ultimate image quality is the goal. The main benefit for landscape work being the ability to tilt the plane of focus, allowing objects both near and far to be brought into focus simultaneously, rather than trying to strike a compromise by using small apertures to maximise depth of field.

Another use is to eliminate the problem of converging verticals whenever the camera needs to be pointed up or down, by keeping the camera level & shifting the lens.  Normally associated with architectural photography, it does occur in landscapes where there are telegraph poles, trees or buildings in the frame, particularly with wide angle lenses.  It's possible to correct for this in software, but there are penalties to pay with quality and the final crop which I'd rather not have to allow for.  Of coarse, if you're happy with converging verticals it's not an issue, although this lens can increase the effect as well if required.

Having said that, I have to say that for anyone making "normal" sized prints or for web display, this lens is a massive over-investment in equipment, both in terms of money & effort in use.  You'd be better off spending less money on a good quality, slightly wider angle lens, then adjusting the distortion & cropping in software to get similar results.  Unfortunately for my bank balance and my knees, I'll never be happy knowing I could've done a better job, even though at the image sizes you'll see on this website, no-one but me will know the difference, unless of coarse, you bought a large print...which would be nice ;-)