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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L

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38 106858 Nov 30, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
87% of reviewers $985.59
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Compact, wide-angle lens which enables tilt and shift movements. The floating optical system, with an aspherical lens element, corrects distortion and other aberrations. High image quality and compactness are the result. Great for architecture, landscapes and other wide-angle shots.


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gene A.
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Registered: Feb 15, 2004
Location: N/A
Posts: 311
Review Date: Nov 30, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $887.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Very sharp in the center, beautifully made.
absolutely atrocious in the corners

The center sharpness of the lens is very good but at about 2/3's out from the center the image really degrades, and stopping down even to F11 doesn't help. I could live with wide open performance being poor but I thought it would improve stopping down and it really doesn't. I have also read many reviews discussing chromatic aberration and although its there it isn't very pronounced. I am shocked that a fixed lens with a slow maximum apeture and considered an L lens could be this bad, and thats before shifting, when shifted the problem is even worse. I don't think there is anything wrong with the lens because the center is acceptable but this thing is worse than my 24-105L or 24-70L and its not even a zoom.

Nov 30, 2011
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Registered: Apr 19, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 6160
Review Date: Feb 9, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $850.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very sharp even when fully shifted in each direction, nicely built, up to 90 degree lens rotation to allow shifting horizontally and vertically
T/S vertically to each other without possibility of simple rotation, some minor vignetting at top or bottom corners if lens is fully shifted

I bought the Mk I version of this lens used recently including hood and hard case. The date code of my lens states that it was made in 1997.

I read a lot of reviews saying that this lens is not sharp enough especially around the corners/borders of the picture frame. I do not agree with this. Fully shifted at f8 my lens copy is very sharp also in the corners of the shifted frame, much sharper than some of my other ultra-wide angle lenses. There is a slight chromatic aberration visible at the border of the shifted frame but this is easily removed by software if necessary. More visible is some vignetting at the top or bottom corners if the lens is fully shifted. I am not sure yet if this is induced by the attached lens hood. I observed this effect when the hood was attached.

Manual focus is no issue with this lens. I use it on my 5D II camera and either you can adjust the focus with the AF confirmation in the camera or by using LiveView and enlarged rectangular area to focus precisely. This is especially important when some tilt is applied.

I think that the shift function is more applicable for this 24 mm lens than its tilt function. The vertical shift is perfect to avoid distortions when photographing tall buildings or other architecture, while horizontal shift provides you with great scenic shots when 2-3 photos are merged to one panormama photo. The T/S functions can be both rotated together (not against each other, see comment below!) up to 90 degrees in 30 degree steps to allow for horizontal or vertical picture frame shifts and tilts.

Tilt and shift can be combined, but the original lens position only allows a tilt vertically to the shift (90 degrees shifted). This can be changed obviously by removing the tiny screws and rotating the upper lens part 90 degrees to align the tilt and shift function. So far I didn't do it myself yet, but I saw that the former owner of the lens must have done it at least once since the black color on the screwheads was removed by a screwdriver. There are some manuals with pictures online how to do this correctly. The new Mk II version of this lens allows a simple rotation between tilt and shift to avoid this more cumbersome procedue. In my opinion this is the only bigger advantage of the Mk II version since I consider the optical performance of both versions still somehow similar.

Another advantage of this T/S lens is the possible use of a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter making it a 34 mm or 48 mm lens on full frame cameras (with loss of 1 or 2 stops).

Overall this lens was a big enrichment for me and allows me to do some sort of photography I could not do with any of my other regular lenses. It is not a beginner's lens and it is advantageous if users are familiar of using MF instead of relying only on AF. I also recommend reading some literature online or in books about the theory of T/S applications (e.g. Scheimpflug rules).

If you want to spend more than $2K for this lens, you are worried about very minor possible optical flaws, and you want to have the more simplified full alignment or 90 degree angle between tilt and shift, you should look into the newer Mk II version. Otherwise the Mk I version is just perfect!

Feb 9, 2010
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Registered: Aug 28, 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 573
Review Date: Oct 16, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness and lots of perspective control. It can be a creative tool in the right hands. Its the cheapest 24mm you can buy for Canon that is worth considering.
Not much really. Maybe a bit of color aberration in the corners when shifted to the extreme. I would rate it similarly to my 35L in terms of CA.

If you want a fun 24mm lens this is it. I have sold mine but now I regret any minute of it. The new version better be much better than the old one. The manual focus forces you to slow down and take better photos. Panoramas are easy to do on the fly or with a tripod.

Oct 16, 2009
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Registered: May 6, 2008
Location: Finland
Posts: 9
Review Date: Aug 7, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 2 

Pros: Quite well made
It was very soft & unsharp, even at f8-11. So I sold it, lost money and was very dissapointed.

Aug 7, 2009
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Registered: Jun 9, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 51
Review Date: Aug 5, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: Very useful on film; one of the reasons I got into the Canon EOS system. Good distortion correction. Decent flare control. Good construction.
Soft in the center, and it gets worse into the (extended) corners. Lots of CA. Not a good choice for a digital camera or digital workflow where distortion correction is possible in PP. Somwhat clumsy handling.

I'm an architect and architectural photographer, and I've used view cameras all my life, and own or owned almost every shift lens made. I still have 5.

The 24TS-E has the poorest IQ of the shift lenses I still have, and only a few other shift lenses I have used in the past were as poor or poorer. The redeeming feature set (24mm, tilt capability) still made the lens indispensable on film, but with digital it has become pointless as a shift lens, my most common use. PP correction of a better lens can almost always provide the required results, and with better IQ in the end.

I had high hopes for this lens, because the old 35TS for the FD mount had the highest IQ of any shift lens I've used for 35mm. I only used it for film, though.

The lens is almost useless at f/3.5, which is fine with me for my purposes, but it isn't good enough at f/11 where it should be excellent.

The unfortunate thing with the Canon system is that there are few decent wideangle options below 35mm. The early 16-35 was very poor, worse than the 24TS-E, and while the 17-40 and new 16-35 are better, they're not really good. I now use a reasonably good copy of the Sigma 12-24 which is only decent at f/11 or so, and a variety of manual focus lenses from other systems, which is a bit of a kludge.

As a shift lens, the handling is rather clumsy compared with Nikon's shift lenses or the Schneider SA. Only part of that can be blamed on the additional tilt mechanism.

Aug 5, 2009
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Registered: Jan 23, 2009
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 2
Review Date: Feb 20, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Built like a tank. ofcource tilt/shift capability
None so far

I have this lens now for a week and did serval tests with it.
As others say, the bad reputation stopped me for a while to buy it.
I used it from someone else for some time and was very happy wit the results it gave.
The one I have myself gives the same very nice results.
But as mentioned also by others you have to give yourself time to learn how to use this lens.

Feb 20, 2009
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Registered: Sep 4, 2006
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 9, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Good creative tool. Close focusing, Takes the 1.4x and 2x converters
Cost, can be soft at f22, not a beginners lens

For landscapes, shoot at f11 with hyperfocal set at 8 feet, no tilt or shift, and you will get sharp pictures with nice colour.

Expect a learning curve with this lens once you start to tilt and/or shift.

Tilting the lens means that less light falls on one side of the sensor/film, which makes metering difiicult and might require you to use ND grads on the light side to compensate.

Be careful when using shift, in that you don't over-do it and make the buildings lean out at the top (as I did on some film shots!)

f3.5 is fine for landscapes, but might not suit everbody.

Try using the shift mechanism for producing stitched panoramas - using wide angle usually requires more shots covering a small area, but not this lens.

Only minor complaints about this lens. The locking screws could be bigger as they are fiddly in cold weather and don't lock that strongly.

I've not experienced some of the issues that some people seem to have

Feb 9, 2009
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 41
Review Date: Jan 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Built like a tank, good image quality and, very specially, a wonderfully creative tool.
It could be cheaper, couldn't it? :)

As other posters said, the mixed reviews of this lens had prevented me of getting it before. I was hesitating to invest so much money on a lens which was producing soft images, lots of CA, etc.... But, when finally I decided to bit the bullet, I gladly discovered that the lens is a real gem! My copy is really sharp, clearly sharper than both the 17-40 and the 16-35 (I) lenses I've owned, specially on the corners. And, yes, there is some amount of CA, but most WA lenses have it too and this one is not the worst by any mean, at least in my experience.
But, along with a good or very good IQ, you get an amazing tool for creativeness. I'm starting an architectural project and now I can't understand how I thought I could have accomplished it with the 16-35 lens... I am shooting everything again! And, last but not least, it is the tilt function, which is opening me a whole world of creative opportunities.
All in all, I am so pleased with this lens that I am thinking of getting rid of the 16-35 (totally ignored now!), and I've already bought the 45 TS-E. The 90 will follow as soon as my credit card stops smoking!

Jan 27, 2009
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Daan B
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Registered: Aug 15, 2007
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 7777
Review Date: Sep 6, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: see below
see below

When shooting landscapes or architecture I normally use my 1Ds3 + 24-70L and straighten things out in PP. Recently I got the change to test a TSE 24mm against my 24-70L @ 24mm. Tilting for landscapes/architecture would mean less degradation of IQ in PP. So I was interested in how the TSE 24mm would perform...

In default mode (without tilting or shifting) the TSE 24mm is a tad sharper in the center of the frame than my 24-70L @ 24mm (at all apertures). However, my 24-70L @ 24mm is noticebly sharper in the extreme corners of the frame (at all apertures). The TSE 24mm showed a tad more CA's than the 24-70L @ 24mm (at all apertures). Both lenses showed little distortions, but the 24mm did a tiny bit better than the 24-70L in this regard. IMO the 24-70L @ 24mm had better contrast and saturation than the TSE 24mm. Unfortunately I didn't test for flare.

I found that when tilting or shifting the TSE 24mm, there wasn't a noticeble decrease in sharpness compared to the default mode. Maybe contrast suffered a bit when tilting. I also didn't notice any increase in CA's when tilting or shifting. All in all, IQ remained of excellent quality.

I really love the built quality of the TSE 24mm. Very sturdy and durable. Built to last. It is a manual focus lens. But with LiveView it is very easy to focus. The effects of tilting and shifting are shown live on the LCD when using LiveView. You will have to meter before tilting or shifting. But when you can check the histogram, you can easy correct for any underexposure.

Of course the TSE 24mm coolest features are the tilting and shifting. Opening up a lot of creative possibilities. But after reading mixed comments, I was surprised to see that IQ is excellent in default mode, but more importantly, is more than acceptable when tilting or shifting.

Sep 6, 2008
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Registered: Feb 7, 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 0
Review Date: Feb 7, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 1 

Pros: Good build quality
As a standard lens quality no better than my 17-40 zoom. When shifted the image quality is poor. You cannot see the effect of tilt in the viewfinder.

I bought this lens primarily for stitched panoramas and architectural work. When I first trialled it I found that shifted, most of the outer edge of the image was fuzzy, even stopped down. This meant that most of the extra image created by shifting was unusable. I sent it back to Canon, who said that the lens was within their specifications. Tilt is difficult to use with this lens as it is difficult to see the effect in the viewfinder of my 1DsII. I have the 45TSE and 90TSE. They are both terrific lenses. AAt extreme shift, only the upper corners of the 45 are fuzzy. In addition the tilt effect is clearly visible. I bought the Schneider 28mm PC lens with a canon adapter. It does not have tilt, but the images are very sharp right to the edge when shifted. The result is stitched pans equivalent to approx 18mm lens and 30 megapixels.

Feb 7, 2008
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Buy and Sell: On

Registered: Aug 19, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 4106
Review Date: Dec 14, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness Parallex correction Ease of use

I hope my post can offset some of the more negative reviews of this lens.

For any photographer who earns a living shooting architecture and interiors, this lens is an absolute bare minimum in that photographer's lens inventory. It's simply a lifesaver when it comes to obtaining sharp, contrasty, distortion-free shooting.

The time it saves on location (and in post-processing) in and of itself makes this lens worth its rather high price (for a manual, slower lens).

Prior to owning this lens, I had to fiddle endlessly with my tripod and ball head to get everything to line up perfectly. Most often, I found myself crouching down in the most awkward positions in order to get ceilings, walls, floors and furniture to line up parallel. With the 24mm TS-E, these alignments are obtained in no time at all. The shift capability is also a lifesaver when it comes to avoiding your own reflection or other unwanted reflection in opposite-wall mirrors or other shiny, reflective surfaces. Just a few degrees of shift solves this common problem. I have not used the tilt capability at all.

As far as image quality goes, my copy gives me tack sharp, colorful, realistic images every time ... so much so that I often use this lens hand-held as a straight 24mm prime.

Yes, it will vignette as you approach the extremes of its shift, but hardly at all til that point.

I can't imagine not having this lens. I use it on my 5D for every single interior shoot I go on. My only wish is that there were a wider version.

Dec 14, 2007
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Registered: Apr 9, 2004
Location: Austria
Posts: 1
Review Date: Nov 15, 2007 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 3 

Pros: Build quality
Sadly Photoshop is doing a better job, vignetting, chromatic aberrations and soft at all apertures compared to 24-70 L

This was a fantastic lens in the film age, but on my 5D it is almost useless. I bought it after a Canon show about architecture where this lens was highly praised by the (paid) photographer. But after testing it I sent it back. Sharpness is at all apertures inferior to my 24-70 Zoom even unshifted, shifted it shows heavy vignetting, cromatic aberrations ocurr which are partly not removable. It is not a bad lens, but if I do the corrections (straight lines) in PS the results are simply better which astonished me a lot. Only use would be Tilt which works, but it is hard to see in the viewfinder, so the control is a little bit arbitrary. But even tilt can be made with software (or more depth of field) and the results are more controllable too.

Nov 15, 2007
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Registered: Jul 17, 2005
Location: Greece
Posts: 0
Review Date: Oct 15, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated


How does this lens compares with the Leica 28mm PC-Super-Angulon-R f/2.8?
Is there any comparison review that you might know of?
What is the difference between the Leica and the Schneider lens of the same type?
I'm sorry if I have posted this to the wrong thread since this is a review section.

Oct 15, 2007
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Registered: May 7, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 1003
Review Date: Jul 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: See below
See below

Contrary to some reports, the lens is not soft on a 5D. It may not outresolve the sensor (especially not when shifted), but the image quality from about f8 to f16, of a good copy, is very good both unshifted and shifted (until the last millimeter or so of shift) on a 5D. I have tried it on my rebel xti and it is soft on the rebel even though you're only using the center of the image circle -- there is greater pixel density on the rebel hence the need for higher resolving power of the lens. Also, chromatic aberration is present with my copy when shifted or tilted, but it is quite well controlled, on my copy. I tried a couple of copies when I bought it, the other copy that I sent back was as sharp in the center but the resolution fell off a lot more quickly when shifted than the copy I kept.

It's an unusual lens, even though the implementation of the concept is imperfect. I'd rather pay twice the price and have less chromatic aberration, more biting sharpness, and less distortion, but the lens I'd like doesn't exist, and might cost 3 or 4 times the price. At about $1,100 it's a good value, if not a bargain.

Jul 19, 2007
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Registered: Jan 11, 2006
Location: Mexico
Posts: 124
Review Date: Jul 8, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,069.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Wonderful lens, appears sharper than anything else if used right, built like a tank, CAN TAKE 1.4x EXTENDER!
Perhaps price, but you get what you pay for

This "little" lens is really wonderful, it really sparks creativity once you realize how much you can do with tilt and shift.

I just realized you can use it with the 1.4x Extender, which gives you a 31 mm Tilt Shift lens. With a 12 mm spacer I can get Macro 1:2 with Tilt & Shift!

If you're thinking about it go for it, no other lens can do what this little gem can!

Jul 8, 2007
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Aaron Hogsed
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Registered: May 31, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 12, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: One of a kind Good focal length, sharp

I had heard all the talk about the softness of this lens but I have had nothing but sharp and contrasty images. It compares very favorably with my 17-40L which is very very sharp.

Not a lens for everyone, if you don't know what you're doing you can get some bad images, but leveled up and square it is a great lens. I do wish it were a bit wider maybe 20mm at least for interiors.

Jun 12, 2007
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Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
38 106858 Nov 30, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
87% of reviewers $985.59
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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