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Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8

Construction of 
Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8

Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8 doesn't have any special glass elements and construction looks like medium format wide angle lens. Minimum focus distance is 40cm, which 0.16x maximum magnification. Aperture has 8 aperture blades. Bokeh quality is better than average, however there ain't that much bokeh due to small focal length of the lens.

Handling is pretty good on and from other point of view not so good. Manual focusing is excellent, it takes about 160 degree turn to focus from minimum focus distance to infinity. Manual focus is very good but not at same level with Leica or Carl Zeiss lenses, however comparing to other Canon lenses it's very good. This might be because this lens doesn't have autofocus and therefore focus mechanism can be designed for manual focus only.

The bad thing about handling is that lens weight is 645g, which is pretty much for 45/2.8, so if weight is important for you make sure you take all out from the special functionalities of the lens. One minor design flaw when combined to current DSLRs: with 1.6 crop you could used full shift to any directions. However when doing this in certain positions (e.g. rotate the lens 30 degrees) lens will make contact with the flash assembly at 9.5mm shift position.

All TS-E lenses can be used with 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. Personally I'm a little bit suspicious about the image quality since teleconverters are supposed to be optimized for longer lenses.

Using without tilt and shift

Leaving tilt and shift into middle position this lens can be used as normal 45mm f/2.8 lens. Image quality is pretty good, sharpness is very good. However micro contrast is not at same level as Carl Zeiss lenses. Overall contrast could use more "punch", as well as colors, however these are correctable in digital darkroom unlike lack of micro contrast.


To be added:
- Explain tilting the focal plane
- Include example of making cityscape look like a miniature/toy city
- Include example of extending depth of field by tilting



To be added:
- explanation of convergence of vertical lines due to tilting camera upwards to fit building into picture
- tell about how it can be also used to exaggerate perspective adjusting to wrong direction
- include example picture of convergence of vertical lines

Using shifting to take panoramas

By using shift lens it's possible to take multiple photos using tripod which can be combined together in PhotoShop. You can do this any lens, but when it's done with shift lens pixels don't have to be remapped due to perspective calculations. In my experience this gives benefit of sharper pictures on very large print sizes. In order to use this technique camera has to be on solid tripod. Highlighting solid since you have to move shift between exposures without moving the camera.

Based on following assumptions I did draw illustrations of Canon TS-E lens shifting capabilities:
- image circle (gray circle) is 58.6mm in diameter [source]
- on vertical direction full 11mm of shift can be used
- on horizontal direction only 8.5mm of shift can be used (on 1.6x full 11mm shift is assumed)
- 1.0x = 36mm x 24mm and 1.6x = 22.2mm x 14.8mm

of max shift on full frame and 1.6x crop camera
Full Frame (1.0x) panorama picture width & height:
- 2.2:1 (36mm + 8.5mm + 8.5mm = 53mm, 53mm x 24mm, diagonal 58.2mm) [green + blue]
- 1:1.3 (24mm + 11mm + 11mm = 46mm, 36mm x 46mm, diagonal 58.4mm) [yellow + red]
Cropped body (1.6x) panorama picture width & height:
- 3.0:1 (22.2mm + 11mm + 11mm = 44.2mm, 44.2mm x 14.8mm, diagonal 46.6mm) [green + blue], example
- 1:1.7 (14.8mm + 11mm + 11mm = 36.8mm, 22.2mm x 36.8mm, diagonal 43mm) [yellow + red + one frame without shift]

On my personal point of view panoramas are the most important reason to have this lens. Perspective corrections are not needed very often on 45mm and I'm neither finding the tilt functionality very useful in addition to few test shots. See also my article about Panoramic photography.

Summary [not final verdict yet, I need to do more photographing with this lens first]


+ Very sharp lens, on same level as Contax Distagon T* 28mm f/2.8 at optimum apertures, however micro contrast is not as good as with Carl Zeiss lenses
+ Bokeh quality
+ Tilt & Shift functionality: operation to both direction, good handling
+ Manual focus feeling very good for Canon lens
+ Good focal length for panoramas


- Strange CA when tilted
- The alignment of tilt and shift are not user changeable, not a big thing for myself
- Pretty heavy and big for 45/2.8

See photos in my picturebank taken with this lens.

Canon TS-E lenses links (Link to parent category)

Tilt and shift lenses (regarding all TS-E lenses)
TS-E 45/2.8 on
TS-E 24/3.5 on
TS-E 90/2.8 on
Sports with TS-E lenses by Vincent Laforet for the NY Times
Fred Miranda - how to correct CA when shift used
Cambridge in colour - Shift
Cambridge in colour - Tilt

Photos of Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8

Tilt and Shift

Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8 tilt and shift
Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8 full tilt left, right and full 11mm shift to left and right.

Shift with Canon EOS 20D

Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8 and Canon EOS 20D
showing full shift to both directions
Full shift down (used for example when photographing cityscape from higher building), no shift and full shift up (used for example when photographing building from ground and tilting whole camera back would make the building look like they are narrower from the top).

0, 2008