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Thoughts about a shift lens for the A7

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by addieleman, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Lately I realized that a lot of my pictures have the horizon in the middle. Not because it is a creative choice, but because a) I cannot visualize a crop in the viewfinder when composing and b) I like my verticals straight, even in nature shots. I also remember that in my film days I used my shift lenses all the time once I got them, after agonizing for a long time if they would be worthwhile the rather large expense. Hence the idea to get a shift lens again, this time for the A7 instead of the Nikon F3. For me there's simply no substitute for shifting the viewfinder image until a pleasing composition appears right there and then. The image quality must be excellent, I intend to print big, think 50x75cm.

    So what are the options for a shift lens on the A7? Easy, it seems: just buy a legacy shift lens, there are enough options. However, I'm afraid that the image quality won't be sufficient for the high-resolution A7 sensor. Years ago I did a test with the PC Nikkor 28mm 1:4 on the D200 (10 MP) and it had too many deficiencies to be useable: objectionable distortion, strong CA, color became cooler in the extreme areas, sharpness wasn't great. There are some premium MF lenses, notably the Schneider PC-Angulon 28mm 1:2.8 and the Zeiss Distagon PC 35mm 1:2.8. I have no experience with them, but maybe someone else has? Some people think highly of the Olympus OM 24mm shift lens, but others disagree (according to Fred Miranda posts).

    Given that I prefer something like 40-45mm as a focal length and I want very high quality, the current Canon 45/2.8 TS-E or Nikon 45/2.8 PC-E come to mind. The Nikon won't do because its aperture is electronically controlled and there is no adapter to convey the signals from the A7 to it. That leaves the Canon 45/2.8 TS-E as the only option, using a Metabones EF-NEX Smart Adapter III. Big question of course: what will be the image quality? Will it be sharp even when shifted? What about distortion? Correction of distortion for shifted images would be difficult at least, if not nearly impossible, and I don't think it's possible to make a profile for that.

    I realize that using an APS-C camera like my NEX-6 would offer a multitude of options when using an adapter with shift capability. However, I want to use full-frame. And even if I wanted to go back to APS-C I expect subpar performance from legacy lenses around 28mm when shifted towards the edge of their image.

    I'd like to know what others think of this. Is the Canon 45/2.8 TS-E a viable option? Are there other high-quality shift lens options I'm overlooking? Thanks.
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    The Hartblei tilt/shift lenses are pretty highly regarded though they are expensive. If memory serves they are medium format lenses that fit full frame cameras. That is the extent of my shift lens knowledge, meager though it is. :(
     
  3. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Thanks for the heads-up. A new Hartblei 40mm f4 is something like € 5000 which is just a bit above my budget. :eek_old: I'll read up on the Zeiss Distagon 40mm for Hasselblad on which the Hartblei is based apparently, maybe a second-hand 40mm + Zork adapter is less expensive.
     
  4. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    From my experience the Canon 45mm TS f/2.8 was a very good lens for exterior building shots. Didn't own one but rented it for real estate jobs. Sharp at around f/4, Very little CA (caused from shifting). The Canon 17mm TSE was a must for rooms, but I only used it a handful of times. I wish I had some of the photos, but they're lost with my old hard drive. They were pretty big and expensive houses too. Think Beverly Hills, LA houses.

    Anyways, With the sensor on the A7, the 45mm TSE would perform wonderfully. I used a Canon 5DmkI and they were great performers. Very little to complain about.

    But you are over looking the Rokinon 24mm TSE f/2.8 that came out recently. Rokinon is know for their MF lenses, check this one out if you're looking at semi wide TSE. Problem is, it's build quality is shady. Lots of people complaining about the knobs being hard to use. Plus, at that price you could get a used Canon 24mm TSE.

    Don't know what your budget is so I can't really help find a good deal for TSE lenses. That and they're expensive as heck, but they're a blast working with.
     
  5. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    The Nikon PC 28mm f/4 was replaced and improved upon by the PC 28mm f/3.5. It can be had for $350 or so. If you can find a deal, it might be worth trying. You can already resell it if it isn't up to snuff. I'm saving my pennies an Olympus OM 24mm shift, myself.
     
  6. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    That sounds good for the Canon 45/2.8 TS, appreciate your feedback. I haven't been overlooking the Samyang/Rokinon 24mm TSE, but I wasn't impressed with the image quality. I saw a review on the-digital-picture which ended this option for me, the Canon 24 apparently is sooo much better. BTW, that site also has a review on the Canon 45/2.8 TS which didn't impress me really either. It doesn't look pin-sharp, not even at middle apertures.

    My budget? Say somewhere around € 2000, certainly below € 3000. And that has to include the expensive Metabones adapter (€ 500 new here). Buying used is certainly an option, there are a few Canon 45/2.8 TS lenses for sale here, ranging between € 700 and € 850 asking price. Not too bad, but I've seen somewhere that a new version is expected to come up during this year and I expect a significant improvement in image quality. And I've seen Canon 24mm TS-E II lenses go for around € 1600 which seems reasonable for a current model.
     
  7. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    By luck, If you can get a Canon 24mm TS-E for € 1500, go for it. It's the best performing TSE that canon has to offer. Sharper than Canon 16-35mm at 24mm. Of course, pushing to extreme shift positions will make the corner sharpness suffer. But it's regarded as Canon's "Best" 24mm lens, even when compared to the 24mm f/1.4 L. Maybe Nikon's 24mm is a better contender than it's 28mm PC lens

    I too saw some IQ test of the Rokinon and deemed it best for them to stay where they are now. I do like their strive to compete against the big leagues.

    If you're looking for real world applications of the Canon 45mm TS-E (or any modern lenses) I use Pixel Peeper to help decided if it's sharp enough for my needs. Canon has been looking to replace their TS-E lineup, but I'm not to sure if they're planning on doing anything related to that anytime soon. I mean, they're releasing REBEL bodies and STM lenses faster than ever (total overkill IMO). Anyways, I personally had a blast shooting with the 45mm, it was always exciting when I reserved a rental and I would buy one if I had the money to. If there's a rental store near you, try to see if you can rent it for a weekend. If you like it, get a used one for about 700euros. Plus the 500euro MB would net you 1200euros total.

    I can't really vouch for any other brand besides Canon, but the 35mm f/2.8 Shift CA Rokkor looks like a really good performer as well. Let me know if you find more tilt shift lenses, I need one in my collection :D
     
  8. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Well, I did say they were expensive. ;) Even used they are somewhat outrageous. It comes to mind that for a shift only lens the Pentax 28 was/is fairly well regarded and not extremely expensive. They tend to go on ebay for $700ish.
     
  9. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Totally forgot to look at Pixel Peeper, thanks! As you might have guessed, I have a soft spot for Minolta lenses but I can hardly imagine that a Shift Rokkor will cut it on the A7. And there's no easy way to try... There is a rental store nearby that offers the Canon 45mm and 24mm lenses so I may rent them both as soon as I have a Metabones adapter.
     
  10. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Never knew that Pentax made a shift lens. Same problem as for almost of them, trying before buying is difficult.
     
  11. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    Regarding the Minolta, that is a very true statement. Let me know what your thoughts are on the TS-E lenses!
     
  12. Dan Euritt

    Dan Euritt TalkEmount Regular

    191
    Jan 11, 2014
    that glass looks defective to me.

    roger over at lensrentals did an unshifted image comparison test of some of these lenses:

    http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/201...-rokibowyang-24mm-f3-5-tilt-shift-lens-part-1

    if you are on the west coast, a guy in san diego has a couple of the old nikon tilt shift lenses for sale on craigslist, and somebody in l.a. has been selling the pentax version on c.l. as well.

    yes, i've been wanting one myself :)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    If you want a larger image circle and therefore more flexibility I'd go for Medium Format instead of 35mm. Mamiya makes a 50mm Shift only lens that is supposed to be very nice and I think it's below $600.

    I wonder if anyone makes a Mamiya or other medium format to Nex shift or tilt-shift adapter? I can't find any.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Couldn't find much test data on this lens. A medium format lens might not have enough resolution to give satisfactory performance on a FF sensor. Zoerk is a German company that delivers shift adapters, their website sucks but their products are generally very highly regarded. I'd make an inquiry if you want something specific. This Mamiya lens + the Zoerk adapter would probably run into more than € 1000 and then you're getting close to the price for a Contax PC Distagon 35mm which is superb according to this review. That same review makes me think to go after the more affordable Olympus Shift 35mm which is apparently good by f/11 and that's fine for me. I'll settle with any aperture needed for excellent image quality of a shift lens.

    Just can't get myself to order a Metabones EF-NEX Smart adapter for € 500. From what I've seen I will most probably will be disappointed by the Canon TS-E 45/2.8 and 24mm is too wide for me I think.
     
  15. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    I'm wanting a tilt lens for portraiture, especially after reading this article.

    I did just stumble across this nifty custom made doo-dad, no idea what the cost is but I'll contact the maker and ask. It's for medium format and you can see some sample images here.
     
  16. dsiglin

    dsiglin TalkEmount Veteran

    230
    Apr 23, 2013
    Greenville, SC
    So I talked to the maker and it is $135 for a Pentacon 6 / Kiev 60 to Nex adapter + $30 shipping to the US. A Mamiya/Pentax 645 adapter would run $250-$300. Just thought you guys might want to know. I may go the Pentacon 6 route as I can get those lenses fairly cheap and I'll be taking portraits which dont require edge to edge performance.
     
  17. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    After having read this thread on dpreview I'm even more reluctant.
     
  18. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    I've shot with the Metabones SB (EF mount) I didn't have this problem. Yes the mount was tight, but none of my lenses took any damages. I returned it due to the fact that I don't have any other high end glasses to really use and I'd rather invest in MF lenses anyways.

    Have you been considering getting a different version of an EF to NEX adapter? Something like the Techart adapter. Something that is adaptable with the FE mount, so that way you don't have to shoot in crop mode?
     
  19. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Thanks, didn't know of its existence. With import duties it'll run at something like € 250 which is roughly half. It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation: can't try out a Canon EF shift lens without getting an adapter so I might be stuck with an adapter I don't need if I decide not to buy a Canon lens. I'm going to wait until I can pick up an adapter here in Holland so that I can try before I buy, may take some time though.
     
  20. Synomis192

    Synomis192 TalkEmount Regular

    141
    May 26, 2013
    That is a tough situation. Hopefully you'll find one in time! Canon TS-E's are a joy to use. Do you have any other options so far other than the Canon options? I saw that you were considering getting an OM tiltshift.