Canon TS-E 17mm f4L with Canon 1.4x extender vs. Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L

Canon 17mm TS with 1.4x converter

Today I compared my two Tilt/Shift lenses. My old Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L (which doesn’t spend much time on my camera anymore) and my Canon TS-E 17mm f4L with the Canon 1.4x extender (resulting in also 24mm effective). The maximum aperture of the TS-E 17mm f4L becomes f5.6 with the extender but because I mainly use it on a tripod stopped down to f11 it’s not a problem for me. The comparison I made was with both lenses stopped down to f11. The images were shot with a Canon EOS 1Ds MkIII mounted on a tripod. Will the quality of the TS-E 17mm f4L with 1.4 extender be close enough to the TS-E 24mm f3.5L so I can save room in my camerabag? And create some space in my wallet at the same time (or should I say fill up some space in my wallet)?

The results

Top: Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L. Bottom: Canon TS-E 17mm f4L with Canon 1.4x extender. The extender-combo gives a little more wideangle (which is logical: 1.4 x 17 = 23,8).

 

 In detail
100% crops, those were taken from the areas marked with a red square:

The four Out-Of-Camera 100×100 pixels crops show the Canon TS-E 17mm f4L (with Canon 1,4 extender) on the left and the Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L on the right.

The difference is unexpected: the fringing that can be seen here belongs to the bare 24mm and the 17mm is surprisingly clean. I actually would have expected it to be the other way around. The optical quality of the TS-E 17mm f4L amazed me quite a few times when I worked with it ‘bare’ but it keeps amazing me!

The larger, 400×400 pixels crops (17mm with extender at the top, 24mm at the bottom (all crops are unsharpened, unedited files)) show that the sharpness of the two lenses is about equal.    

Although the fringing gives the 24mm a bit of a mushy, almost motion-blurred character, on A4-size prints I’ve made from the 17mm and 24mm-files there’s no way of telling them apart. On A2-size prints the difference starts to show but only when looking very closely.

The second pair of crops below looks very similar. Only the fringing in the bottom corner (left) gives away what was taken with the TS-E 24mm f3.5L…

An update: recently I tested the 1.4 extender version III against the 1.4 extender version II. On the TS-E 17mm, that’s where it would be of most interest for me. I hoped it would have less distortion and that turned out to be true. The II needs a geometric pinch-correction of 3,5% to get rid of the barrel distortion and the III ‘only’ 2%.
But, at least with my camera/lens-combo, the II has slightly sharper edges than the III. Even after correcting the distortion! So it’s a step forward on the distortion and a step back on corner sharpness. As the images shot with each of the two extenders will have to be corrected for the distortion anyway, I’ll keep the € 500 euro in my pocket and do not upgrade my 1.4 extender to the III-version.
And in case you’re wondering where the test results can be seen: I didn’t include samples because I shot a not too inspiring brick wall for the test, and I think there’s too many of those brick wall images already on the internet…
😉

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35 Responses to Canon TS-E 17mm f4L with Canon 1.4x extender vs. Canon TS-E 24mm f3.5L

  1. Rubén says:

    I admire your work with the canon 17 ts-e. It is incredible what you make with the 17 to put the filters.
    I have some question, were can I find the nivelator tha you have under the camera?
    scuse my english I am from Spain.

    • digidaan says:

      Hi Rubén,

      Thanks! The head is the Cube from Arca Swiss. Unfortunately Arca Swiss doesn’t have a website because they make nice things (just to look at even ;-). But their quick-release mechanism is more like a quirky-release mechanism: that’s why I’ve replaced it with a Really Right Stuff quick-release clamp. I think The Cube is for architecture photography quite a must. When you start to use it you ask yourself why you didn’t buy it earlier because it makes levelling so nice and handy. It’s not cheap though…

      By the way, you don’t have to excuse for your English, it’s fine and clear to me.
      🙂

      If you have any more questions, just let me know.

      Best,

      Daan

  2. Roman says:

    Hi Ruben,
    which series is because the extender? I have requested the combination again and was told that does not fit the lens to the current 1.4 extender? Can you help me there? Thank novel, Roman

  3. Diego Marqueta says:

    Great comparison – thanks for sharing.

    What is the viewfinder you use for the tft monitor?

    thanks,

  4. Roger says:

    Daan,

    I considered myself totally new to photography in term of the technical skill and the knowledge about the photography equipment. My questions are:

    1. The Cokin X-pro you have in front of the lens is the filter holder? Do you use it as a lens hood as well?

    2. Do you think the 2.0x Extender will also work for the TS-E 17mm?

    3. Lastly, what is a nivelator?

    Thank you for your time and expertise.

    Just in case, here is my email address: fufufotto at g m a i l dot c o m.

    • digidaan says:

      Hi Roger,

      1. The Cokin X-pro is indeed the filter holder. It acts as some sort of a lens hood and has another important feature: protection. The front of the lens is normally very exposed (no pun intended) but with the holder you can even put the camera on a table resting on the front of the lens.
      2. The 2.0x extender does fit, although I’ve never tested the optical quality of the combo. Perhaps I should 🙂
      3. The nivelator is needed to get both the x- and y-axis perfectly level, thus giving distortion-free horizontal and vertical lines.

      At this moment I sold the Cokin X-pro and use the Fotodiox Wonderpana with their polarizer. The holder is an all-metal construction and the polarizer does not vignette at extreme settings of the TS-E 17mm. The best there is available and no DIY-attitude needed (I’m not endorsed by Fotodiox by the way. I’m not endorsed by any brand, unfortunately…)

      Best,

      Daan

      • Roger says:

        Daan,

        Thanks for your input.

        My understanding is that Photodiox Wonderpana does not crop or venette the image. Which model are you using? Does it fit all other normal lenses for special filter effect? I would like to get a filter kit that works for most if not all Canon lenses.

      • digidaan says:

        Hi Roger,

        The Wonderpana I use is the model for specifically for the TS-E 17. If you have other lenses you would want to use the Fotodiox-filters with and those lenses have screw-mount, the cheapest solution is to get step-up rings. The Fotodiox-filters belonging to the Wonderpana-set are 145mm round filters.

        Best,

        Daan

  5. Roger says:

    Daan,

    Based on your experience with Wonderpana 145 filter system so far, did you see any negative side of it? Can a UV filter be attached to the CPL filter? Do you also own their holder bracket for the standard 6.5″ x 8″ filters? If so, what do you think about the quality of the glass/plastic of their 6.5′ x 8″ filters comparing to other brands?

    Thanks,

    Roger

    • digidaan says:

      Hi Roger,

      I use the Wonderpana for almost a year now and I’ve only had positive experiences compared to the Cokin-system I previously used. For instance: the glass of the Cokin CPL sometimes came out of the filter rim (being plastic it was too flexible and loose) and almost went straight down the pavement… The Fotodiox-filter has a sturdy metal rim as most round filters have.
      I think the filter holder alone is worth its money because of the lens protection and lens hood function it provides. And it’s SOLID. Nice lens cap too.

      As far as I can see there’s a filter thread on the font of the Fotodiox CPL so other filters can be attached. I assume that light vignetting will occur though, when using extreme tilt/shift settings.

      I don’t have their holder bracket, only the filter holder and the CPL so I can’t comment on the quality of the 6,5″ x 8″ filters. But the quality of the CPL is very good, at least as good as the Cokin CPL (which has a good reputation (the X-pro version at least) and was a much more expensive filter).

      Best,

      Daan

  6. Jo says:

    Hi Daan 🙂 thanks for the info here it’e really useful to see the combo demonstrated. Have you used this combo for pano’s ?
    many thanks
    Jo

  7. Jean-Jacques says:

    Bonjour, puis je avoir la référence du viseur pour l’écran LCD ?merci

  8. Bartosz says:

    Hi Daan,
    I came across your great article as I’m hesitating between the TS 17mm with the 1.4x mark III extender or the TS 24mm mark II.
    I shoot lots of interiors and architecture and therefore I’m hesitating with the 17mm mainly because of the perspective distortion you get.
    Now my question. Does the 17mm + 1.4x extender combo gives you the exact same distortion like the 24mm or is it stronger?

    From your first pictures in the article I have the feeling it is the same.

    Thanks,
    Bartosz

    • digidaan says:

      Hi Bartosz,

      For some photographers 24mm is wide enough to shoot interiors/architecture. I’m not one of them, before the TS-E 17mm came out I hardly used my TS-E 24mm. So if your photographic style needs more wideangle, the choice is simple 🙂
      And -to answer your question- indeed, when adding the 1.4x extender to the TS-E 17mm you get the exact same view as the TS-E 24mm.
      The quality of the new TS-E 24mm (the MkII) is however much better than the old one so if 24mm is the focal length you’ll be using most I’d buy the TS-E 24mm MkII.

      Best,

      Daan

      • Bartosz says:

        Thanks Daan,

        I was shooting already with a TS 24mm and I liked it. But sometimes I wished it would be a bit wider.
        Having the option of the 17mm with the extender I think I’ll go for this one after all…
        Thanks again!

      • digidaan says:

        Ah, yes, I understand your wish. Having the TS-E 17mm will make you use your TS-E 24mm a LOT less I think.
        😉

        Best,

        Daan

      • Bartosz says:

        Some people mentioned that there might be some mechanical issues using an extender on a TS 17mm.

        “…may result in some marginal physical contact between the rubberised nose of the Extender and the back of the lens.”

        Do you have any experience on that?

        Best,
        Bartosz

      • digidaan says:

        Just double-checked: no physical contact at all. With the type II extender that I have at least, but I don’t expect the type III to be different as I do not recall having experienced issues while testing the type III.

        Best,

        Daan

  9. HI Daan, this has been a great and very informative read. Thanks so much for your time in answering everyone’s questions. i do have one: in the image links you offered as examples of the partial pano’s there seems to be some distortion in the corners on some images… is that in a standard shot from the 17mm or is it only due to the pano?
    Thanks!

  10. digidaan says:

    Hi Grazstarr2014,
    that could be because what you see in the corners are of course the most extreme settings (and it could be that some images are not stopped down much). Or a combination of both of course.
    Can you point out an example?

  11. Manuel says:

    Finnally Ive got the canon 17mm TSE plus the extender 1.4III. Im really happy with it. I will leave some examples during this week.

  12. Karl says:

    Hi digidaan
    Thanx for doing the comparison. Any knowledge of links to a test where the 17 with extender and the 24 tse ii has been tested side by side.

    I find my 17tse really sharp, and they say that the version 2 of the 24 is a bit better, so i wonder how such a comparison would look.

    Thanks
    Karl

    • digidaan says:

      Hi Karl,

      The version 2 of the 24mm TS/E is indeed a very much better lens than the version 1. When shooting with cameras with higher resolution (such as the 5DSR) the difference will be even more obvious. And I think that the 17mm TS/E with extender will be lacking quality for 50MP.
      But the higher resolution cameras do offer opportunities for cropping during post-process so it could be that the use of an extender in the field isn’t that much needed. I don’t feel the need to use the TS/E-extender combo myself anymore: but it all comes down to shooting style and personal preference.

      Best,

      Daan

  13. Karl says:

    Hi Daan

    I hear you point re the ability to crop. I still use a 5dii so cropping is not really an option for me. Are you shooting on a 5dsr?

    Are you in a position to send me some raw real life images with the 17tse + 1.4x shot against a 24tse, or a good 24mm that you have that i might do some tweaking including some sharpening to see how they might come out?

    If you have the 24tse ii perhaps an unshifted image plus a shifted up to the full extent all at f11. The same for the 17tse +1.4x. If you are shooting a 5dsr, I can use the unshifted 17tse and crop to 24mm and
    see how they compare.

    I mean if the outcome from the cropped image is really good, I could always purchase a second had 5dsr instead of getting a new 24tse. In oz that option is almost the same cost.

    Thanks
    Karl

    • digidaan says:

      Hi Karl,

      Yes, I use the 5DSR for 1.5 year now. Really nice camera.
      But I don’t have my 24mm TS/E anymore, I sold it soon after I did the comparison…

      Best,

      Daan

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