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Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

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28 72029 Oct 26, 2016
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93% of reviewers $2,284.69
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The widest tilt-shift lens in Canon's lineup, the new TS-E 17mm f/4L lens expands shooting possibilities exponentially on EOS Digital cameras. Designed with UD glass to minimize and compensate for chromatic aberrations, with a specially coated aspherical element for the highest possible glare-free image quality, this tilt-shift lens offers a diagonal angle of view of 104 on a full-frame SLR camera.

New TS rotation lets users freely combine tilting and shifting within the range of /- 90 in the direction of movement. The lens also has an improved tilt & shift knob with an enhanced range of movement of up to /- 6.5 and 12mm repectively, with a revolving function for better operability. It uses a circular aperture for beautiful out-of-focus areas and has an SWC lens coating to control ghosting and flare to a far greater degree than with earlier coating technologies.

Focal Length & Maximum Aperture: 17mm 1:4
Minimum Aperture: f/22
Lens Construction: 18 elements in 12 groups
Diagonal Angle of View: 104 (without tilt or shift)
Image circle diameter: 67.2mm
Focus Adjustment: Manual focus, rear focusing system with focusing cam (with floating system)
Closest Focusing Distance:0.82 ft./0.25m (maximum close-up magnification: 0.14x)
Aperture Control: EMD with 8 blade iris diaphragm, circular aperture
Max. Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.5 x 4.2 in./88.9 x 106.7mm (maximum lens length), 28.9 oz./820g
Lens Cap, Lens Hood & Pouch: Provided


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Registered: Aug 27, 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 8761
Review Date: Oct 26, 2016 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Widest TS lens available! Great opportunities for images.
Very suspetable to flare and ghosts from sun or other light sources hitting front element.

Purchased used and found problems with focusing, resulting from misaligned elements and focus stop. Sent to CPS and got it fixed beautifully for under $150, which the seller refunded to me. I'm happy to put up with a little inconvenience if it means a perfectly tuned and and cleaned lens! Smile

Since then, this has been one of my prized lenses and gotten me many shots of buildings and twilight cityscapes that are astoundingly beautiful. The lens has great contrast and color.

This was the final lens to complete my collection of TS-E lenses, the heart of my Canon imaging.

Oct 26, 2016
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Registered: Jan 3, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 13059
Review Date: Jan 5, 2015 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fantastic sharp, corner to corner, a must for archetecture, landscapes..
Cost and some learning curve

After many years of keystoning of buildings and structures, I finally bit the bullet and bought one used from Fred. One of the best buys ever!

Jan 5, 2015
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Michael Watt
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Registered: Jan 21, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Aug 20, 2013 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, Scheimflug principal employment,
Unprotected Bulging front element requires extreme care when using

Forget snap crackle pop auto everything photography, being manual focus this lens will slow you down and bring you back to optical basics. Using this lens coupled with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and live view it feels like Ive returned to my college days of using a view camera. Although it does not have the diversity of manipulating the sensor plane the scheimpflug principal can still be achieved and with stunning results. I love this lens. My previous lens for landscape work was a Canon IF 17-40mm f/4 L USM Lens that proved to be a good workhorse but could never achieve the depth of field that I lusted for in landscape captures. The engineering in this lens is superb which is why it burns a huge hole in your wallet. But once coveted and the laws of Scheimpflug take hold you dont look back. Also the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4 L Tilt-Shift Lens controls CA (Chromatic Aberration) very well. My only gripe is that you have to be extremely careful with this optic as it screams out to be scratched and damaged with its bulging front element. Also no lens hood can be employed to help protect the lens and minimize lens flare. However the creative possiblities that this lens offers will soon transform itself from a tool to a toy that will find you still playing with it well after ever other lens has gone home.

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The above are some takes using this lens.

Aug 20, 2013
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Registered: Jan 9, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 1669
Review Date: Oct 23, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,900.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Tilt, Shift, Sharpness, Wide angle
Size, Cost

This is my 3rd T/S canon lens, starting with a 24TSE on the 20D, followed by the 90TSE, and now the 17 on a 5DIII.
This is my Favorite by far. I sold the 24 because on the crop sensor it gave me awesome panos and LOTs of MP addition. When i moved to the 1DsII, suddenly the shift was not nearly as noticeably, and gave me larger rectangles, than wide panos.
I decided to sell the 24TSE and invested in the 17 instead and that was an excellent choice. Other than the lack of a filter, this is by Far the better lens. On the 24TSEV1 I had, switching between orthogonal and linear t/s was a PAIN. This one is never more than a level and a turn away, and it can be stopped at 45* increments!
Images are so sharp, the 10X live view looks almost as good as the no-zoom live view. The FOV on this lens makes everything look incredible, and the focus range is amazing!
Add to this that it takes the 1.4X and 2X very well and you have a Great lens which can easily double as 2 or 3 lenses depending n how much you want to bring into the field with you. Its a heavy lens, but its Built like a tank. The rotating cap location is a bit annoying since you have to reinstall it every time you move since the elements are so exposed but its not to problematic. For those that dont know why it costs so much, look at those front 3-4 elements. Those dont polish themselves and that curve must be insane to build. Working for a lens company I can tell you, the only reason it isnt 2-3X as expensive is because they can make thousands of these lenses.
It is not for the undaughting, however, youll need to understand the t/s principals to make this lens shine.
If you think youll enjoy some Scheimpflug, pick up this lens!

Oct 23, 2012
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Registered: Jul 23, 2005
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 520
Review Date: Apr 8, 2012 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, good flare control, no CA, great build. Amazing versatility and creative potential. Stitched, shifted shots can be made enormously wide.
Hair-raising front element. A bit bulky. Price. No filters.

I recently succumbed to the temptation of my first T/S lens and have only had this a few days. It's challenging to use with a steep learning curve but very very sharp, not quite so good in the corners when shifted to extremes but 12mm is a hell of a lot. Chromatic aberration is virtually absent and flare control seems very good given the nature of the front element.
It feels to be of very high quality. Other than the price, the biggest limitation is the difficulty using filters but that's the nature of the beast. Looking forward to using this for landscape on the 5DIII and 1DIV.

Apr 8, 2012
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Registered: Nov 21, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 155
Review Date: Nov 5, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Exceptional sharpness even shifted, smooth controls, very well built. Look cool too.
Protruding front element, while pretty tough is easy to bump or scratch if not careful. Price.

Absolutely disagree with Dave-S on shift color and focus issues, we've used every TS lens from Nikon or Canon and this out outshines them all. Don't expect view camera tilt performance from a lens designed for 35mm and you will be fine.

We don't compare to film because digital is not film. Analog lenses don't have to be as perfect as digital lenses - 'nut said.

This lens outperforms any prime at this focal length (including the coveted 17-35 Nikon zoom which is a great lens) and is the sharpest and clearest wide angle lens we've used. Our IQ on product and architecture shots went up an order of magnitude when we purchased this lens.

I was talked out of buying the 16mm in favor of this lens, and so far, I have not been disappointed.

My only complaint is price - I don't see how this thing can be that expensive, but I don't set price points. The lens has paid for itself in the first month we've owned it.

Nov 5, 2011
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Registered: Oct 21, 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 1234
Review Date: Jun 21, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great build awesome IQ overall super package lens.
Protruding front element is a worry..

As my first tilt shift lens its been an awesome learning experience.
I've found its razor sharp and an excellent performer before you start to take advantage of the TS functionality.
Unlike the previous post i found its performance very much inline with reviews with little CA and very sharp until you use a combination of Tilt and Shift towards the extremity's of the image circle.
Even then its still extremely good quality.
Anything less than the extreme boundaries provides excellent IQ and its now my go to lens for all my wide angle shooting.
Highly recommended and a very enjoyable lens to use and learn to explore its unique possibility's.

Jun 21, 2011
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Registered: May 5, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 2
Review Date: Jun 19, 2011 Recommend? no | Price paid: $2,374.00

Pros: solid construction very good as a short focal length, rectilinear lens
horrible performance when tilted mediocre performance when shifted a lot

What a heartbreaker!

Before ordering this TS-E 17mm f/4L, I checked all the review sites. None tested its performance when tilted. It looked good by the tests they did do. So I ordered it.

The following results and observations are from testing the lens in carefully controlled conditions on two Canon 5D Mark II bodies.

I have been using view cameras and/or tilt-shift lenses for over 30 years. There are lenses that are optically designed to perform well when tilted and/or shifted. This is definitely not one of them.

The TS-E 17mm f/4L optically turns to junk when tilted. Tilted as little as 1 degree, the image quality visibly deteriorates, and it is only useable tilted up to 2 degrees. When tilted 3 degrees or more, the image quality becomes bad beyond belief (for a Canon L lens that is designed, marketed, and sold as a TS lens).

If you absolutely MUST use this lens in tilted mode, just know that you must stop down to f22, use a lot of software sharpening, and know that your final image size will only look acceptable up to maybe 4x6".

When UNTILTED, this lens performs amazingly well for a 17mm rectilinear lens, with very little geometric distortion and chromatic aberration. At f4, the corners are a little soft, but with selective software sharpening and vignetting compensation, a usable image can be created. f5.6 is very good, and f8-11 creates images that need no help at all. Very nice and amazing for a 17mm rectilinear lens!

Its shifted performance is mediocre, as the outer edges of the image circle deteriorate in quality. If you shift only a few millimeters and stop down to f11-16, you can come away with an acceptable image.

So here's the bottom line. If Canon chose to sell this glass as a 17mm rectilinear wide-angle lens, it would be a masterpiece, or close to it. If they chose to put it in a mount that allowed shifts of just a few mm, it would be nice. But when packaged in a mount that allows tilts, it becomes a major disappointment and a real black-eye for Canon. Canon needs to hire someone from Schneider or Rodenstock to learn how to create glass that can be tilted, because this lens doesn't even come close. The lens feels and looks nice, and operates smoothly. But all for naught.

I returned this lens for a refund.

Jun 19, 2011
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Registered: Nov 4, 2009
Location: China
Posts: 234
Review Date: May 23, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: rotate 180 degree in 2 way, sharp sharp sharp, 17mm
no filter or any option filter holder .

I have had 17-40L, 16-35L ii, S 12-14mm...
This 17mm L far batter than above lens for the sharpness and color contrast especially in crop

I keep it in 9 because Lens design can't mount any filter .
This is one of important reason when day time with strong sun lights if i can't mount any filter for shoot any building or water move.

I prefer TSE24mm L II (auto pano easy nowadays)

Here with some image (just a few shot)

Love tilt shift ,will look forward to the 45mm and 90mm upgrade.

May 23, 2011
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Registered: May 23, 2006
Location: China
Posts: 17
Review Date: Mar 29, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: sharp sharp sharp, TS abilities (doh)
price, flares, no hood!!!!!!

I struggled long time with this purchase, it was down to the ts-e 17 and ts-e 24 II.
even though i could have finally use my 82mm slim cpl filter with the 24mm i chose the 17mm for its sheer wideness.

the sharpness was even better than i expected.
i dont find the lens as flare resistant as many do.
yes its good but i am a night photographer and so i have to struggle with a lot of bright lightsources but the flares that appear are very concentrated and can me stamped away easily.

the one thing that gets me down is that canon didnt included a lenshood. hey you can still use this lens without TS function and then a lenshood would be possible!

Mar 29, 2011
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Registered: Mar 23, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 721
Review Date: May 20, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Outstanding IQ from close to far distance subjects. Amazed by the detail this lens can capture compared to my previous UWA Canon (16-35ii)
Unnerving at first with so much glass and so little protection - but you get used to it and just need to be a little careful. Cost is high!

I thought long and hard before purchasing this lens and sold a lot of gear to get it. It's very hard to 'try out' lenses here in the UK so I bought it after just a very brief trial at a CPS event locally.
After a month or so of use, I'm amazed by the IQ of this lens - that's the first thing that strikes me, having been a bit frustrated by the 16-35 I used to own - itself a very good lens but with the 17TSE I can get amazing detail with subjects near or far. And that's before you consider the ability to tilt/shift. So far I've had little need for much tilt as the DOF is brilliant as is. Shift is much talked about for architectural work but it can also be invaluable for landscapes - particularly where towering cliffs are involved.
I've been pleasantly surprised by how little I've needed to clean the glass to date and also how controllable flare seems to be with a little shading from your had, a bit of cardboard or similar.

May 20, 2010
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Rajan Parrikar
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Registered: Sep 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 2189
Review Date: Apr 16, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Superb optical performance (contrast, colour, sharpness, minimal distortion), Outstanding mechanical construction, Ability to Tilt and Shift
Cost, Not amenable to filters

This lens makes possible images that were hitherto difficult to score. It is an indispensable tool for architectural and landscape work. This is not a lens for the casual shooter. Optimal use and mastery of it take practice and time. The end result - the images it helps create - is pure joy.

TS-E 17 has a bulging front element that protrudes out, so care in handling is called for.

Apr 16, 2010
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Alan Goldstein
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Registered: Aug 20, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 30
Review Date: Apr 2, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,399.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Incredible
None - worth the price. This is big and heavy but well worth the size and weight for what it does.

I can't add anything to the other reviews. I can only say that as a long time architectural and interior photographer, this and the series II 24mm TSE lenses are a dream come true. Both are just very very amazing lenses and I really can't think of any way they could be better. (Unless technology some day allows them to be made smaller and lighter without compromising the image quality.)

Apr 2, 2010
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Registered: Sep 9, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 507
Review Date: Mar 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Amazingly wide, hardly any CA, good sharpness acceptable even when fully shifting, very little distortion.
Does not accept filters. Does not accept a lens hood. With night images lights sometimes cause some minor flaring.

I love this lens. My only quibble is that I wish I had it earlier. Living in Hong Kong this lens allows me to take architectural images I could only dream of. I already owned Canon lenses. And if I didn't this lens would make me switch to Canon.

Very often I combine different shifts to come to very sharp 40+ Megapixels super high resolution images on my 5D mark II. I have not been using the tilt ability yet.

My flickr stream has many images taken with this lens.

I also posted 2 slightly higher res samples.

Full shift up:

A pano of two images. Neutral and full upward shift.

Mar 15, 2010
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Registered: Feb 23, 2010
Location: Greece
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 23, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, excellent flare control
Protruding front element, oversized front cap

I expected this lens to be really good.
It performs better than I expected!

Sometimes I have to double check the EXIF, to convince myself that I am looking at a photo taken with a super wide-angle lens. The shift function does wonders, and the ability to rotate the shifting mechanism is very useful.

I have made some large prints, and the details I can discern does not stop to amaze me.

The build quality is stellar. Believe me, I have dropped the lens (sigh).
My advice: only remove the cap to take a shot and replace it soon after.

This is my favorite, out of many L lenses I own.

Feb 23, 2010
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Registered: Mar 11, 2005
Location: Denmark
Posts: 2
Review Date: Feb 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: VERY best wideangle I've ever used. Sharp from corner to corner at every aperture. Flare and ghosting very well controlled.
You can't use filters! Pricey!

Sets new standards for Canon wideangles!

Feb 9, 2010
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Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
28 72029 Oct 26, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $2,284.69
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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