You should all know how I love my panoramas by now, well I am thinking about investing in a 17mm tilt-shift, so decided before making a (substantial) dip into Mr Visa’s pocket that I should probably try one out. Last weekend I got my hands on a TS-E 17mm F4 lens. There’s an excellent explanation of the tilt shift lens theory HERE.

First impressions were the it was a chunky piece of kit, solid in every way from the mount to the lens itself. A few test shots on the evening in my flat revealed great creative opportunity. On Saturday I ventured out to London to try it out for real. The weather was appalling so it was quite tough to find somewhere where I could shelter in the dry and still have a partially interesting vista. I shot about 200 images of varying types whilst trying to get to grips with how the lens actually worked.

Here’s a horizontal pano, three images stuck together using the shift function

Shard, London Bridge (Mark Blundell)

Obviously unable to check out image quality on my camera fully I was excited to get home and see the full res versions. I was amazes ant the sharpness all around the image. There is a slight vignette at either corner of the fully shifted image, but this is totally forgiveable. Barrel distortion is virtually non existent, straight lines remain straight, and verticals remain upright. and CA is also very minimal. What struck me was the quality and sharpness. Those of you who know London will know this view and at least approximately where I took this from and how far away Strata is – around 1/4 of a mile I would imagine. The image below is a 100% crop from the centre of the above.

I reckon that’s pretty good for a wide angle. Unfortunately I didn’t take any comparison images with my 12-24 Sigma or 17-105 Canon.

In Summary –

Pros:

Awesome sharpness // Ability to take VERY wide angle images and stitch them together. // Funky miniature effects//

Cons:

It’s not a cheap toy by any means. // 17mm has the bulbous lens that could get damaged easily, especially for me as I shoot urbex.  // No filter thread

Will I get one . . .well most likly. I’ve tasted the ‘L’ Cool Aid and that means its game over for lower spec glass. The decision os whether to go for the 24mm or 17. I like panoramas and interiors, so the 17 sounds like the best bet. Reading various groups the famboys seem equally split, the majority verdict seems to be – get one, then get the other!