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Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

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29 86396 Dec 21, 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: 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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Registered: Jan 28, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 769
Review Date: Feb 3, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,300.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp as can be, non-existant CA, shift, shift, shift, have I said shift yet?
Expensive, bulbous front element, relative inability to use filters

This lens is truly astounding. I've owned/played with other ts-e's (mostly the 24mm ts-e mkI), and this lens just blows it out of the water. Before you even get to the shifting/tilting advantageous, the unshifted/untilted 17mm is just incredibly sharp.

Now, add in the ts-e factor, and this lens is redefining what a lens can do. Tilt shifts certainly existed before, but given how wide this lens's truly amazing what one can do with this lens. Everyone always talks about how one can fix perspective in processing, but one cannot mimic some of the things this lens can do in processing (shifting out of the way of mirrors, creating an incredibly usable shot out of camera/elminating the need to frame large and then crop, etc)

Now, I bought this lens to use it....and I will certainly do so. However I must admit, that this lens is just as sexy/appealing on a shelf/mounted on the camera as the 85mm L (which I always considered the purtiest lens out there). This lens is CERTAINLY not meant to be collected, but rather used.....however, you certainly won't be dissapointed by the looks or build quality of this lens.

I'll be buried with this lens.

Feb 3, 2010
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Registered: Dec 25, 2009
Location: Croatia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jan 15, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,320.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, wide and excellent for architecture and landscape. Tilt and shift similar to what was only possible with Sinar / Cambo etc. EXCELLENT !!
Price, but worth every cent, no filter or hood. You must be carefull with lens

Because of TS-E 17mm, TS-E 24mm and EF 14mm, I bought the Canon (before was a Nikon fan) and start shooting architecture in "leica" format. Before I was using Cambo and Hasselblad. If you shot architecture or landscape that's for you and you would not regret!! My Hass. is waiting for "normal" priced ful format digital Back. Hope it will come in 2-4 years.

Jan 15, 2010
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Registered: May 8, 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 143
Review Date: Dec 4, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp right into the extreme corners, sharper fully shifted than 17-40L, very little vignetting wide open for a 17 mm lens, very little CA.
The bulging front element, or rather, not being able to use a filter, no lens hood.

I compared this lens to a Sigma 12-24 EX, 17-40L, Nikkor 14-24 G ED with G-EOS adapter, and pictures on the internet taken with the Zeiss ZE 21. IOW, lenses roughly covering a similar AoV.

A cropped centre from the Sigma at any aperture or FL doesn't even come close to the unshifted corners of the TS-E 17. And let's not talk about vignetting or CA. The 17-40L is not sharp in the corners from 17-20 mm, which is where the TS-E 17 easily beats it. No competition in CA or distortion either. The Nikkor 14-24 is not as sharp in the corners, not even with the TS-E shifted partly - vertical panos (12.8 mm comparable AoV) look at least as good in the corners. CA is slightly less with the TS-E, flare is better controlled in the TS-E. Vignetting is a little worse with the Nikkor than it is with the TS-E at the saem f-stops, and the latter is significantly lighter and less top heavy. The 5D II seems to struggle a little with the Nikkor and light metering, which it doesn't with the TS-E unshifted and/or untilted.

The Zeiss ZE 21 I haven't tried personally, yet, but based on photographs studied on the internet, it clearly vignettes a lot more than the TS-E, could be slightly sharper in the centre, but loses in the corners. Considering the TS-E is considerably wider, this is no mean feat.

Of the best (U)WA lenses on the market today, which can be used on a Canon body (TS-E 24L II, TS-E 17L, 24L Mk II, Zeis ZE 21, Nikkor 14-24), currently 3 are made by Canon, which is quite the landmark shift - pun intended.

The TS-E 17 is in a class of its own, not in the least because of its performance when shifted and/or tilted. It is one of those rare UWA lenses, which amaze one over and over again, due to its IQ from corner to corner, essentially at any aperture. Contrast, colour, sharpness, and yes, even bokeh are all contributing to the Wow!-factor of the images rendered by this lens. Add to this the tilt-shift possibilities and creative freedom this provides - what more can one want? Ok, F/2.8 at the same size and price would hav been nice Smile.

Very highly recommended.

Dec 4, 2009
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Mac D.
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Registered: Apr 9, 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 458
Review Date: Nov 6, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: excellent sharpness edge to edge, build quality.. CA, Flare, Vignetting and Barrel distortion are barely factors.
Price, No filters, vulnerable front element, manual focus only
Nov 6, 2009
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Registered: Jul 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 32195
Review Date: Oct 17, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,500.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The abundance of sharpness :D, pretty flare resistant (must be the new SWC coating), allowing plenty of movement, more so than the other older TS-E design, the ability to change the direction to be parallel or perpendicular to each other done by yourself.
The lens cap is bulky but I couldn't think of any better design with such a bulging front element like that. I wish Canon would put in a simple gelatine filter holder at the rear, more for ND filter but I realized that this lens was designed more with architecture in mind rather than landscape. I don't care about the polarizing effect on an UWA lens anyway. So, that it doesn't accomodate any filter doesn't bother me much.

This has taken the first place of my favorite TS-E lens lineup formerly occupied by the TS-E 90mm. Granted, the two are completely different beasts but nonetheless :D.

Prior to this lens, I felt that Canon was lagging behind in the (ultra) wide angle arena, not only compared to Zeiss and Leica but even to Nikon. This lens has definitely changed my view about Canon's ability to produce great wide angle lenses. Canon must have felt the heat and finally came up with this unique and truly amazing lens. I gladly said good-bye to my 16-35 Mark II. In my book, this TS-E lens is comparable to my continued to be used Nikon 14-24, which is impressive being a zoom lens but this lens, with its tilting and shifting action, can do some tricks on its own.

Oct 17, 2009
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John Mills
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Registered: Aug 23, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 380
Review Date: Oct 10, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, rectilinear, flare control is good without hood, build quality, good contrast and colour, big shift movements.
No lenshood.

This lens is just so sharp and straight. I rate it with the Schneider 90mm XL and my Rodenstock 90mm Grandagon. Thank you Canon worth every dollar paid.

Oct 10, 2009
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Roy Pertchik
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Registered: Dec 4, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 3349
Review Date: Sep 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: This review will sound like a stupid review because there is nothing bad to say. Sharp from corner to corner wide open, shifted, tilted (when appropriate), CA negligible if at all.
Needlessly bulky lens cap. Will need a home brew to fit 5.65x5.65 sheet glass filters for circ pol and ND.

Couldn't be happier with this lens. It's stupidly sharp all over, wide open, and shifted it's still pretty sharp in the most extreme corners, too. Stopped down, it's fantastic every where. It no CA to speak of. Astounding. Shifted, it's equivalent to an 11mm lens on a FF. Surreal.
Buying this lens allowed me to sell off my 16-35 II, which was no where near as sharp in the corners or even in the center. Also selling off 24T&S. I now carry the 17mm T&S, a 24L 1.4, a 50L 1.2, a 70-200 2.8IS, a 1.4TC, and with two bodies (ff and cropper), I have everything I could possibly need.

This is not only the best wide Canon has made in many years or possibly ever, it is also a great, great optic that I am certain will become a legend.

If you like tilt and shift, you will be very hapy with this as your wide end solution.

Sep 27, 2009
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: Spain
Posts: 84
Review Date: Aug 30, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Uniqueness, sharpness, overall image quality, build quality, lack of CA, lack of distortion, wideness.
Expensive, wideness (sometimes...), unprotected frontal element, no filters.

This is a truly unique lens: I'm glad Canon did it! With it, Canon shooters can achieve certain imagery that no other people using SRLs can...

The image quality is simply stunning. After using it, all my other TS-E lenses (the 24 Mk I and even the 45) seem lemons.

Of course, corner sharpness, if shifted/tilted, is not the same, but anyway the images are amazing.

It's very hard to hand hold the lens, even with an appropriate focus screen, but, well, any serious architectural work can hardly be done without a tripod...

Aug 30, 2009
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Registered: Aug 29, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 61
Review Date: Aug 29, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,350.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Ultra wide angle lens that is near perfect even with shift and tilt. Coupled with Canon's 21MP full frame sensors you get one of the best set ups for architectural photography.
Cost is expected. The big problem with the lens is lack of lens hood to reduce flare and help protect protruding front element.

Prior to purchasing a copy of this lens I was able to rent the 17 and both versions of the 24 for paid and personal architectural work. The new 24 has slightly better CA control, costs slightly less and most importantly allows for the use of a lens hood and front filter. However, the 17 is significantly wider than the 24 and in my book the must have for architecture or wide landscape photography.

I have more detailed reviews and photo galleries for all three of Canon's wide angle tilt/shift lenses on my website:

Aug 29, 2009
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Registered: Jun 13, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 250
Review Date: Aug 27, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,499.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: This lens is a boon for interior views in tight spaces and for landscape shots when you want everything in focus far to near. You can make panoramics by using the shift and photoshop with no problem. Tilt and shift can be shifted independently. Add a 1.4 tele extender and now you've got a 24 mm tilt shift as well.
It's large and it's expensive and you have to be careful. Nothing that anyone who cares enough about photography to buy this lens will be disturbed by.

Aug 27, 2009
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Registered: Jun 9, 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 191
Review Date: Aug 16, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $2,460.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Huge image circle, excellent flare control, very good optical performance considering large image circle, good implementation of tilt and shift controls and relationship between them.
Size, unnecessarily large lenscap making stowage difficult, unprotected front element, far corners could be better.

I've had lots of shift lenses from other systems, and some tilt and shift lenses from Canon, starting with the 35TS, which was outstanding optically but a bit clumsy to operate. Later I got some of the current TS-E lenses, including the 24 which was marginal optically. The 24MkII is a huge improvement, and the 17 is just as good, which is astounding.

This lens has the same angular coverage as an 11mm lens for full frame would have; it puts to rest some of the criticisms that Canon can't design a decent wide angle. Finally, a very good very wide lens!

This is a very practical lens in tight spaces and almost a necessity for any serious architectural photographer. I won't use the tilt much on this focal length, but the shift capability is amazing.

I would have killed for this lens in my film days, but even on digital you can't get what this lens provides any other way.

My faith in Canon is restored.

Aug 16, 2009
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Registered: May 12, 2005
Location: China
Posts: 24
Review Date: Aug 1, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Much wider than 24mm, Sharp to the corners, Minimal CA, Minimal distortion, Excellent built, Excellent front lens cap design
Protruding front element, Cannot use filter

I have been using 24mm TS-E MK 1 for a few years, mainly for architectural photography during travelling to Europe (for holiday). I found it not wide enough for many situations, where I could not stand back anymore to have the view that I wish.

Now the 17mm TS-E allows me to do so.

It is sharper than 24mm TS-E MK 1 and has much less CA. It is also sharper than my 16-35 MK II when used as a normal 17mm lens, and has less distortion too.

I mainly handholding the camera when using 24mm TS-E. Handholding 17mm TS-E is more difficult but still OK, if you use grid screen and not looking for 100% perfect alignment. But using a tripod and bubble lever is definitely better.

I only use its shift capability and found tilt capability little use for the type of photography that I take. The DOF of 17mm stopping down is already big enough in most cases.

The main negative thing about this lens is the protruding front element, which is risky for damage and attracts attention. My way to protect it is to point the lens down when walking in a crowd. Putting on and off the lens cap may mean lost in shooting opportunity.

Some sample photos during my recent trip to Austria. About half of the photos inside this album are taken using 17mm TS-E.

Aug 1, 2009
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Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
29 86396 Dec 21, 2016
Recommended By Average Price
93% of reviewers $2,284.69
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating

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