Tilt-Shift lens worth it?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
JackM Veteran Member • Posts: 8,665

I rented a Canon TS-E 17mm for a batch of real estate shoots once, 5 properties in one day several years ago. I would like to have one, but they are dearly expensive. I may get one soon, as I have another big day coming up. But damn, I also want a motorcycle. Sigh, priorities. Since then, I've been getting by and doing very well with a 16-35/4L. You should \ try a couple shoots with your 17-40L (no slouch at all) before deciding. Then rent a 17mm TS-E.  A 17-40 is useful for more than just r/e. A 17mm TS-E not so much. I used to have a 17-40L, I loved it. I just got the 16-35 because I had money to burn at the time. I would not want to go any longer than 17mm for r/e, so I would consider 19mm a dealbreaker.

The key to r/e and architecture shots, is to keep vertical lines vertical. You can do this with any lens by keeping the camera level. However when shooting a room, typically the best perspective usually results in a large portion (about a third) of the picture being ceiling when you do this. I think it's important to have the camera above counter-top level so that you actually see the counter-tops. A tilt-shift lens allows the camera to "look" down (or up) without skewing the vertical lines. Then you can minimize the ceiling and show more important stuff.

The other benefit of a TS lens is that it is much easier to compose in real time than in post. It takes a keen eye to be able to see how much of your shot is going to be cropped away when you correct for trapezoid distortion. Doing that also significantly reduces your field of view - in other words increases your effective focal length.

As far as IQ goes, correcting in post is not really a big deal because the vast majority of r/e images are only used online or in tiny thumbnails in a printed flyer/booklet. MLS is notorious for compressing photos with an iron fist.

 JackM's gear list:JackM's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Canon EF 100mm f/2.0 USM Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L II USM Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +5 more
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