I have posted reports on both of Canon’s new TS-E lenses (aka tilt/shift), the 17mm f/4L and the 24mm f/3.5L II, and I have been using them full on since receiving them earlier this year. They’re great optics. It’s clear how much of an improvement they are and how much they stand out the first time you use them.
Now, architectural photographer Rainer Viertlböck has posted two tests comparing them with his medium-format digital back, a 33mp Sinar e75, coupled with Rodenstock’s high-end view camera lenses; the 23HR, 28HR, and 35HR. Rainer used the Canon lenses on a Canon 5D Mark II.
Many are in agreement about how great these new Canon lenses are but I don’t know that anyone, myself included, expected them to compare so favorably against a medium-format digital back when used with view camera lenses. In the 17mm TS-E test, the Canon doesn’t have quite the detail or resolution of the medium-format kit but it comes awful close. This holds true even when the Canon files are res’d. up to match the Sinar e75 resolution.
In the 24mm TS-E II test, the Canon does a much better job than the Sinar/Rodenstock combo in controlling flare from tungsten light sources.
Every digital kit is a compromise of sorts. With a DSLR you have flexibility but loose in sharpness; with a medium-format digital back you gain in sharpness and resolution, but are more limited in workflow, operability, and the cost of entry is orders of magnitude higher.
It used to be that one of the main factors in digital architectural photography tipping the scales toward medium-format digital backs was the ability to use view camera lenses. This combo offered a photographer image quality which a DSLR with SLR style lenses could never attain. Well, never is broken and that compromise is looking less like a compromise and more like a choice based on style and needs.
My Canon 17mm TS-E and 24mm TS-E II posts:
- Quick Look – Canon 17mm f/4L TS-E Lens
- Longer Look – Canon 17mm f/4L TS-E Lens
- Live View is My Friend (features the Canon 17mm TS-E lens)
- Canon’s TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Lens
- What’s It Take to Fill a Space and Make It Your Own? (features the Canon 17mm TS-E lens)