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Zeiss 35mm f/2 Distagon T*

Review Date: Jul 10, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness (already at large apertures), colors, contrast, rendering, build, smooth focussing ring, great value.
Minor barrel distortion, lens cap hard to put on (that goes for all Zeiss lenses it seems).

I love this lens. I mostly use it for night panorama's at f/5.6. It's incredibly sharp already by then and the contrast and colors are superb.

Images speak louder than words. An example of a night panorama I took with this lens @ f/5.6 with my 5D mark II. Around 5,000 * 2,500 pixels.


The lens is almost as sharp as my benchmark Zeiss MakroPlanar 50 2. Which I think is a really strong performance for a 35mm lens.

The minor barrel distortion it exhibits can be fixed in Photoshop in a minimal amount of time.

Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II

Review Date: Oct 1, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, no CA, contrast, no distortion, build.
Balancing act of stopping down for corners and diffraction. See below.

A fantastic piece of engineering by Canon. I also own the 17 TS-E and both lenses are fantastic. For an architecture photographer it should be a reason to consider Canon especially paired with a 5D mark II (or 1dsMark III). In my opinion using live view is vital for focussing especially when using tilt.

If there is one minor drawback that I found it's the fact that you need to stop down significantly to get "sharp corners". The corners on the 17 TS-E seem to hold down better. A related quibble is that you seem to lose sharpness when stopping down more than on the 17 TS-E. Therefore I sometimes combine images using the "stopped down version" for the corners only.

Images speak louder than words. You can find a high resolution sample here. Reasonable amount of shift used. Taken at f/10.


Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

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.