[nitewalk] TS-E 17 mm f/4L on a Sony A7R


nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#1
I had previously used a Canon TS-E 17 mm f/4L on the Canon 5D mark ii. However, there were times when I had to do manual blending to compensate for the dynamic range. Furthermore, there was no slot-in filter solution. As such, when I came to know that LEE released a filter adapter for this lens and realising that this lens can be mounted on the Sony A7R via adapter, I got interested.

The purpose of this thread is to share some of my user experience shooting on this set-up. As my previous photo review of the a6000, I will share some of the photos and some of my experience. I had not seen an user experience review that was comprehensive enough to convince myself, but in the end, i just took a plunge and got it. I hope i will be able to add, perhaps, a few more perspectives so that prospective buyers of this lens or this set-up can consider before making a decision to purchase.



(Taken with iPhone)
 

Last edited:

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#2
I am using a Commlite adapter at the moment. No comparisons with Metabones at the moment as I don't own one. The Metabones IV looks to be designed for the use of tilt-shift lenses so I will be interested in due course.

First impression was the poor corner performance. When you zoom in onto corners, the performance is really the lesser said the better. Centre-wise it is as good as expected. Of course, putting things into perspective, the fact that I can shift on a body with a superior dynamic range is a consolation for the poor corner performance. The ability to shift also means I may be able to use that to compensate for the poor corner performance.

I was told that this setup flares quite easily but I don't find it to be flaring significantly more than when it was mounted on a Canon body. Maybe due to adapter, maybe not. I am not so sure about that.

One thing though, as I tried to shoot a long exposure, was that it seems to have light leak for 10 stops. I am using the LEE filter solution with the standard 100mm filters. I was given various suggestions but since then I hadn't have a chance to test that. I will find a chance to test that and hopefully other filter solutions in due course.



Tampines HDB estate, Singapore.
 

Kit

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
11,687
42
48
42
Upper Bukit Timah
Visit site
#3
Howdy!

Its interesting you mentioned that you have to use shift to avoid the poor corners. Its been a norm for T/S lenses to resolve better not shifted. I don't remember my TS-E 17mm being soft on my 5DII though. Or is this an issue only with the A7R?
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#4
Howdy! Its interesting you mentioned that you have to use shift to avoid the poor corners. Its been a norm for T/S lenses to resolve better not shifted. I don't remember my TS-E 17mm being soft on my 5DII though. Or is this an issue only with the A7R?
Sorry what i meant was i noticed softness at corners when shifted. Then again i was observing the corners at -2. The lens isn't soft at all on 5D2 which i used some time ago. Yes there is some degrading in IQ at extreme shifting (i generally don't go beyond +2 and -2 and even so it is stretching it a little in terms of IQ and perspectives).

However, i am suspecting this is an issue with the adapter. I wasn't using metabones and i will be trying out the mark IV some time this week or the next. Anyway, i'm not sure if i am right to suggest this but i would expect some IQ degrading since an adapter is used but the corner performance surprised me somewhat. Will post a closer look of the corner performance in the next few days.
 

#5
I am looking forward to more findings on the use of tilt/shift lens on the Sony A7. The compensation on quality is something that is bothering me. If the meabones adapter proves to be better, it is likely I am making the switch to the A7 for architecture stuff versus my Canon setup at this moment.

Thanks for sharing.
 

Kit

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
11,687
42
48
42
Upper Bukit Timah
Visit site
#6
Sorry what i meant was i noticed softness at corners when shifted. Then again i was observing the corners at -2. The lens isn't soft at all on 5D2 which i used some time ago. Yes there is some degrading in IQ at extreme shifting (i generally don't go beyond +2 and -2 and even so it is stretching it a little in terms of IQ and perspectives).

However, i am suspecting this is an issue with the adapter. I wasn't using metabones and i will be trying out the mark IV some time this week or the next. Anyway, i'm not sure if i am right to suggest this but i would expect some IQ degrading since an adapter is used but the corner performance surprised me somewhat. Will post a closer look of the corner performance in the next few days.
+/-2 is very minor shift and I think the TS-E lenses can handle extreme shifting better than my PC-E 24mm. The TS-E 17mm was made for shots like this one where you've got a tall building with limited working space on the ground. I had to shift to the max. Turned out ok for most of the frame except for the top bit of the building. Pretty decent since the client was only using the photo for his website. No heavy light fall off like the PC-E 24mm.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/arkitecture/7943315586/

I think Canon users arr more fortunate. at the very least, you can adapt TS-E lenses to the Sony A7/R/S. That's another option. I couldn't even get the PC-E 24mm to work properly on my A7R since its only fly by wire and Metabones don't make smart adaptors for Nikon.
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#7
+/-2 is very minor shift and I think the TS-E lenses can handle extreme shifting better than my PC-E 24mm. The TS-E 17mm was made for shots like this one where you've got a tall building with limited working space on the ground. I had to shift to the max. Turned out ok for most of the frame except for the top bit of the building. Pretty decent since the client was only using the photo for his website. No heavy light fall off like the PC-E 24mm. https://www.flickr.com/photos/arkitecture/7943315586/ I think Canon users arr more fortunate. at the very least, you can adapt TS-E lenses to the Sony A7/R/S. That's another option. I couldn't even get the PC-E 24mm to work properly on my A7R since its only fly by wire and Metabones don't make smart adaptors for Nikon.
What i mean by +/-2 is the major marking. Meaning its already very close to the max/min. For me, i enjoy the flexibility of a seamless panorama/vertorama using the shifting.
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#8
I am looking forward to more findings on the use of tilt/shift lens on the Sony A7. The compensation on quality is something that is bothering me. If the meabones adapter proves to be better, it is likely I am making the switch to the A7 for architecture stuff versus my Canon setup at this moment. Thanks for sharing.
I'm trying the metabones IV later this week when im more free. If its good in shop, i'll buy one and will post further tests.
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#9
And so, I got the Metabones IV but there is still light leak unfortunately. The other issue i had was with the corner sharpness and this at least looked like its back in business. This was (if i remember correctly) shifted almost all the way to the top (the second main marking or i tend to say +2). This kind of stretch may not be to the liking and taste of some, I thought of a way to overcome that, but for the purpose of testing out the setup, i guess i left it as it is.

 

Last edited:

Kit

Senior Member
Jan 19, 2002
11,687
42
48
42
Upper Bukit Timah
Visit site
#10
John Gollings once said, throughout his career, he was struggling with geometric distortions from wide angles and being able to reproduce the building's true form in his photographs.

I guess there are trade-offs with using wide angles, expecially the TS-E 17mm shifted to the extreme.
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#11
John Gollings once said, throughout his career, he was struggling with geometric distortions from wide angles and being able to reproduce the building's true form in his photographs. I guess there are trade-offs with using wide angles, expecially the TS-E 17mm shifted to the extreme.
We can actually reduce the distortion, even if taken in a single frame, but can never remove it completely. Maybe, its just never possible because we are projecting a 3-dimensional figure onto a 2-dimensional plane. In the end, it does depends on one's tolerance level and taste.
 

ricleo

Senior Member
Mar 13, 2004
6,565
30
48
Eastern Singapore
#12
Any samples showing the light leak?

The leak could be due to the lens mount release button itself instead of the adaptor.

And so, I got the Metabones IV but there is still light leak unfortunately. The other issue i had was with the corner sharpness and this at least looked like its back in business. This was (if i remember correctly) shifted almost all the way to the top (the second main marking or i tend to say +2). This kind of stretch may not be to the liking and taste of some, I thought of a way to overcome that, but for the purpose of testing out the setup, i guess i left it as it is.

 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#14
Sample of the light leak during the long exposure. The only edit here was cloning out two dust spots and slight cropping due to the vertorama (didn't want to just upload the lower frame as it wouldn't look sensible)

 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#15
Things aren't always rosy with doing panoramas on this set up. True that one can theoretically get minimal pixel loss from doing a small scale single row panorama or single column vertorama, but there are times when it fails too. Anyway, it seems like I under-estimated the amount of overlap needed for this to work. I had done a two frame vertorama shifting from almost the highest to almost the lowest, but this time it didn't work, somehow.

There wasn't any softwares which could stitch this. Therefore, I had to do manual stitching, i.e. placing the two frames on an empty canvas in photoshop then erase/blend off whatever that is not needed to make a seamless stitch. Matching the lines were a headache. In the end, it was immensely satisfying. Still, the ability to shift down, means i didn't need to do a multi-row panorama with funky distortions that needs to be fixed. I was able to shift down to get as much of the foreground as needed as well as shift up to get some of the sky for more breathing space at the top of the frame. Getting more of the left and right would require a multi-row approach, but for this scene, I will settle for this.

The purpose here of using the tilt-shift lens, as i mentioned and just to reiterate, is to allow myself to get more of the foreground while getting more of the sky through shifting to compensate for some compositional breathing space at the top. Of course, this isn't the only approach, but this is one application of the tilt-shift which can come in useful for some scenes.

 

Scintillation

Senior Member
Aug 30, 2008
1,515
20
38
On the flip side
www.flickr.com
#16
Two years later and we've come a full circle with the 17mm TS-E plus a7r combo! Well, actually for you lah. New for me!

Will be doing a write-up on doing diagonal shifts with this lens, thereby emulating an 11mm-thereabouts ultrawide field of view.
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#17
Two years later and we've come a full circle with the 17mm TS-E plus a7r combo! Well, actually for you lah. New for me! Will be doing a write-up on doing diagonal shifts with this lens, thereby emulating an 11mm-thereabouts ultrawide field of view.
Welcome to the club! Feel free to share your thoughts and findings too :)
 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#18
After two years, I finally decided to get this lens back to pair with the wonderful A7R. I realised the allowance for shifting when the filter adapter is used, isn't as great as what I thought. However, it was sufficient for me to get a decent amount of shift to pan slightly wider. When people asked me about this combination, my answer is, its not a necessity, not something basic. It really depends on how you shoot. In any case, I still have my ultrawide in the event i need a super wide panorama.

 

nitewalk

Moderator
Staff member
May 31, 2010
4,635
33
48
Singapore
#19
Try to introduce slight backward tilt of the camera body to reduce heavy top. Perfectly leveling this lens with such building will make the building leaning forward, just up tilt the camera front lightly to have a more natural looks.
You mean I should not align verticals?