wide angle lenses recommandation for architectural photos

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by chi_chang, Jun 19, 2010.

  1. I have a 5D and a 24-105mm f4. I need a wide or super wide angle lens to do architectural photos including some high rise buildings. I did some reserches that I need a tilt-shift lens. But canon t/s 17mm is over my budget at this moment. please recommand good lenses. also, just wondering if that is possible not using tilt-shift lenses and still doing a good job? Many thanks!
  2. Canon 20mm f2.8 USM has received some pretty good reviews in the past. A tilt-shift lens helps in getting that last bit of DOF, but if you move back far enough where you don't have to tilt your camera up to break the parallel plane where the image hits the sensor you should be fine IHMO.

  3. Get a TS-E 24mm MkI secondhand. This will work much wider than your current 24 because you can shift and stitch to get wider, I think you can stitch to get an effective 17mm fov without moving the camera. The CA and other defects the MkII improve on can be mitigated far more effectively in software now.
    You can use software to "fix" shift, the more important architectural advantage of the TS lenses, but not the tilt as well. Though software shifting is not as good as doing it with the lens. Take a look at the newest version of LightRoom for the vastly improved lens correction capabilities, they are very good and fast.
    Hope this helps, Scott.
  4. +1 to Scott's advice. The other thing you can do is pick up a large format setup for less than half the cost of the 17mm TS-E. Leaves a lot of money left for film.
  5. With all due respect to previous posters, the shift feature of your shift lens is going to be wasted on stitching when you can use it for rise or fall in order to eliminate the keystone/converging verticals effect. This means that you won't have to waste a lot of pixels by performing lens corrections with software.
    Also, with regard to "getting the last bit of DOF," that works only if you are concerned with a single plane such as a detailed floor or wall. For most architectural shots you'll need the same DOF at the top of the photo as the bottom and on both sides equally. Therefore, tilts and swings aren't going to help. You need to use the hyperfocal distance or take create a composite stack of images focused at different distances into the subject space.
  6. Yet another vote for the original TS24, which I have used for many years, first on film and then on both 1.6-factor and FF digital. OK, we all know that the II version is optically better as well as having more versatile movements, but if cost is a constraint then you'll be better off with an original TS24 than with nothing. I have a 17~40, and for architectural work I definitely prefer the TS24 in preference to cropping from the 17~40 set wide, even tho' I have plenty of pixels to play with on the 5DII. If you have an original 5D then you'll definitely be better off not cropping.
    The main defect of the original TS24 is lateral CA that can be noticeable under some circumstances. Canon's own DPP software does not provide aberration correction capabilities for any TS lens. However, with third-party software you can do this if you are not using tilt. The trick is to create a 16-bit image from the RAW file (for example by using DPP to make a 16-bit TIFF), then use (for example) PS to extend the canvas so that the lens axis is, to a reasonably good approximation, centred in the canvas. It's the opposite of what you would do if you were cropping away the foreground from a wide-angle shot. You can then use any aberration correction tools that you happen to like, finally crop away the added area of the canvas.
  7. I find 24mm not to be wide enough, and when it is you already have your zoom. The ideal lens, of course, is the 17 TS-E, but it's out of your budget. All the same reasons I use a 14mm f2.8 lens. keh.com currently has a used EX one for under $1200 and a Bargain one for $1000. I have had great success with their Bargain and Ugly lenses. 14mm is also excellent for interiors. I also use full frame.
    My Nikon 14mm has minor distortion effects that can be a problem in some architecural uses but I believe the Canon 14mm is better corrected. I used a Canon FD 17mm lens for 15 years and it is a shame they never introduced it in EF mount since I never noticed distortion at all.
  8. For a 5D I think the TS-E 24mm is a good bet, if any version of it is in your price range.
    Alas, as nice a lens as the EF 24-105mm IS L lens is, at 24mm it, like almost all zoom lenses that cover a fair range, has noticeable barrel distortion when used for architectural photography. By the time you've fixed the distortion and done perspective-corrections, you're going to have massaged those little pixels a fair amount.
    For years in 35mm film, I used an only 35mm PC-Nikkor and I still use it today with an adapter on a Canon 5D body I bought essentially to put that lens back in service. But 24mm is a lot better than 35mm or even 28mm perspective control. Since I've never had a tilt lens, I haven't missed it in architectural shooting, but when I get one, no doubt I will find something to do with it. :)
    I think that the TS-E 17mm lens was primarily stimulated by the need for a wider angle PC on an APS-C sensor camera. That being said, it is my personal beau-ideal PC lens, which I will definitely buy when the kid gets out of college....
  9. JDMvW, it is certainly my experience that 24mm is a really useful focal length for a TS lens, but so is (around) 35mm. In my film days I achieved this by putting my TS24 on an Extender 1.4× (as is well known, all TS lenses fit all Extenders physically, although the TS lenses do not have the extra pins) and that works better than you have any right to expect. Nowadays I use a 1.6-factor body rather than a FF body when I want that focal length equivalent.
    As for the TS17, I very much doubt if use on an APS-C body was prominent in Canon's reasoning for introducing this lens, any more than I think they had APS-C in mind for the 14/2.8. Based on my experience using the TS24 and the 17~40 at its wide end on FF, I would expect the TS17 to be a very challenging lens from which to obtain satisfying results. If I were to replace my original TS24 with one of the new TS lenses, it would certainly be with the TS24II rather than the TS17.
  10. This will not be a very chic or fashionable answer, but I'll stick my neck out here...
    You don't HAVE to have a T/S lens. You can correct perspective in postprocessing. This approach will work very well if (1) your corrections aren't severe ones, (2) you're thoughtful about how you do it, and (3) you're not expecting the resolution of a 4x5 view camera (which a T/S on a digital isn't going to give you anyway).
    Simply find a conventional UW you like, and do your corrections in post.
  11. Dan,
    Use of shift does not exclude use of rise. You can correct for keystone and shift to stitch if needed, not to an effective 17mm but wider than the 24mm. It really depends on what you are shooting. A row of cottages or a skyscraper? A horizontal interior space like a board room or a towering cathedral ceiling.
    Again tilting is very subject specific, interiors are better suited to it than exteriors, where it can be used very well to lead the eye in or highlight a feature, it certainly adds flexibility and is a necessity for the very popular exterior "toy" look.
  12. Use of shift does not exclude use of rise.​
    That's certainly true with a view camera. You can apply rise to the front standard and shift the back for a panoramic effect. However, no shift lens made today lets you shift in horizontal and vertical dimensions simultaneously, so you have to choose one or the other.
    Yes, I'm aware that perspective distortion can be dealt with in PS and other programs, but I've seen plenty of cases where it straightens verticals in the center of the image more rapidly than those on the edges. In these cases you can never fully attain the look that rise on a leveled camera would have given you in seconds. Further, when you apply corrective actions in software you lose some resolution. How much depends on how much correction you apply.
    You can shoot around the room with a long lens and combine the images in software. This gives you a lot of pixels, so loss due to correction is less of an issue, but you lose the near-to-far look of a wide-angle lens. Maybe you didn't want a wide-angle look and that's perfectly legitimate, but it's still a consideration.
    Computers are still struggling to emulate straightforward, mechanical solutions that photographers have been applying since before the Civil War. Sometimes the simple solution is the best solution.
  13. Dan,
    "However, no shift lens made today lets you shift in horizontal and vertical dimensions simultaneously, so you have to choose one or the other."

    That is not correct. Certainly with the two new TS-E's and the older MkI 24 you can shift in a diagonal direction, Canon call it rotate, that effectively gives you rise and shift.
  14. For that matter, "rotate" was part of the original PC-Nikkor 35mm back to 1971 anyhow with the f/2.8 and I think back to 1961 when the first version was introduced.
    Robin, I certainly agree that 35mm shift is good, and I will keep mine, regardless of when I buy my 17mm. However, there are times (in the narrow streets of Charleston, for example) when 35mm is not wide enough.
    I think that 17mm is so wide that it hardly makes sense for Canon to have considered going there purely for larger format (35mm) cameras.
    The fact that it seems to be, from many examples I have seen on line, useful on 35mm cameras is a definite tribute to the designers at Canon. As I say, there's no way I'll ever give up on my old PC-Nikkor. If I were using it only on a 35mm body, I too, would probably just get the newer 24mm lens, but with both formats in my kit, the 35mm and the 17mm make a formidable combination.
  15. Dan, Scott ...
    Yes indeed, all Canon TS lenses can be rotated so that the shift movement can be applied in any direction relative to the film/sensor. But what you can't do, and what I believe Dan is thinking of, is to set a shift in one direction and then make a succession of shifts at right angles to it so as to create a stitched panorama. With the Canon (or any other comparable (T)S lenses) you'd need to change the rotation and shift at each step, with inevitable alignment errors creeping in.
    Sarah ...
    Your comment is a specific example of the general point that, in photographyas in many other activities, there are "quick and dirty" ways of doing things if you don't have the ideal equipment for the job. Sure, for the most demanding architectural work, a Canon 5DII or 1DsIII with a Canon TS lens falls short of a large-format camera. But it's pretty well established (a) that it is good enough for many purposes, and (b) that neither cropping from a non-shift UWA lens, nor correcting converging verticals during post-processing, does as good a job as a TS lens – although, again, there may well be purposes for which it is good enough.
    JDMvW ...
    Yes, of course, being limited to no more than 35mm shift is insufficient for lots of purposes; we're not short of narrow streets here in Europe either! But I find that with a 24TS heavily shifted, or with a 17mm non-shift lens, it reuires a great deal of care to produce architectural shots that don't look unnatural. Although the possibilities of a TS17 on FF would certainly be exciting, I think they would offer an even more severe test of photographic skill.
  16. Robin,
    With the 30º detents in the rotate mechanism re-alignment is not an issue. If you are shifting to stitch then it makes much more sense to slide the camera along a rail in the alternative direction to the shifting, thus preventing any parallax issues, and simulating Dan's front and rear shift accurately. More work for sure but the only way to get the best out of the small TS lenses. Whilst software is touted as the answer glibly on too many occasions, one thing it does do very well is auto align.
    But your point of what is good enough is the most pertinent. You can take much more time to work around equipment limitations, or budget ones, to get a similar result on screen. The first question anybody following this speciality has to answer is "What output quality do I need?" then get the equipment that can provide that. That can range from quick software fixes to the most complicated multi-movement view cameras. No one answer is the correct one in all situations, for me, and many others, the advantages of the small TS lenses overcome any disadvantages. The ease of carrying one camera system, not having the cost and trouble of carrying and developing film, and then getting it scanned, the higher quality over software only "fixes" etc etc.
  17. I'm not sure how much extra coverage you'd get by rotating 30 degrees left and right of center at full rise, but I suppose
    there might be instances where this would give you what you want. The composite would have an odd pizza slice shape. True, as long as the sensor plane is vertical keystone distortion will not occur.
  18. Since Nikkor 14-24/2.8 works great on Nikon FX full size frame cameras, one would imagine that it could work well on Canon with mount converter. In this case perhaps you could avoid the Tilt/Shift problems. The lens is expensive, so perhaps for same money, there could be a better solution ?
  19. Many Thanks for all the experienced users! I got lots of information and learn a lot from these answers. I guess TS-E 24mm is definitely a good choice. However, I am still a bit worried that this is not wide enough if I need to do some interior photos. Maybe I would get a used TS-E 24mm MKI and a less expansive wide angle prime with low distortion. Any suggestion on the later one? Thank you very much!
  20. This link shows how wide the 24 goes when stitched, it is the MkII but the MkI is very similar, look at the Panorama Example and Panorama Base Example, and then just below he compare 15mm fisheye, 17mm and 24mm base inages. As you can see the stiched 24 is wider than a regular 17mm. Interiors work well for stitching as you use little, if any, shift.
    If you feel that is not wide enough, or it is quality over kill then the ultra wide to get is this Sigma 12-24. The only negative to it is the sample variation. Buy from somewhere you can return and test them as soon as you get them, if you get a good one they are very very good lenses.
  21. Yes, if you don't go TS-E the wider angle zooms from Sigma can be pretty decent.
    I got the discontinued Sigma AF 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG to give me some ultrawide while I am waiting to buy my TS-E 17mm. It does have some barrel distortion, as nearly all these lenses do, but as you can see in the picture below taken with the lens at its 15mm setting, it isn't nearly so bad as some more modest wide angle lenses.
    (the picture was chosen to illustrate the linear element in the foreground, not for its aesthetic virtues, which are nil).
    I will say, that I have several Sigma lenses in various mounts, two of them for the EOS, and I have not had the quality control issues that are often spoken of arise.

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