Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II - Review / Lens Test
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published March 2011


Due to the similarities with the TS-E 17mm f/4 we've reused most of corresponding descriptions of the TS-E concepts.

The Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5 L II is the 2nd incarnation of Canon's tilt-shift wide-angle lens. We will elaborate on the tilt-shift (thus TS) function in more detail later on but for starters - the tilt aspect refers to the focus plane which is normally co-planar to the sensor plane. You can "tilt" the background/foreground focus by tilting the focus plane making it possible to achieve far more pronounced out-of-focus effects than conventional lenses - even more pronounced than on much faster ones (larger aperture). The shift aspect is about perspective control. We all know the "vanishing point" effect when pointing wide-angle lenses a little up- or downward. You can counteract this effect (to some degree) by "shifting" the lens - this is highly desirable for architecture photography which is the "classic" application for shift lenses.

The TS mechanism is far more complex than a conventional design resulting in some drawbacks:

  • no AF - thus the "E" and not the "EF" (Electronic Focus) in the lens' name - although that's not really a big issue for an wide lens
  • things get "a little" more expensive naturally because of the comparatively bigger glass elements and the lens body design. As of the time of this review the lens costs around 2200US$ / 2000EUR. This is about 5x more expensive than the EF 24mm f/2.8 which is even slightly faster.
  • the lens is substantially bigger and heavier due to the larger glass elements and the mechanics
This will shy away many photographers for sure but the creative potential of such a lens is simply immense.

The build quality of the Canon lens is nothing short of superb! It is based on a full metal body design assembled with extremely tight tolerances. Naturally this is a precondition for a reliable TS lens anyway. The TS mechanism can be locked in a position via two corresponding knobs. The tilt & shift knobs can be adjusted with a range of movement of up to +/- 8.5° and 12mm respectively. The two TS sub-components can be rotated freely so tiling and shifting can be combined within the range of +/- 90° in the direction of movement.

The manual focusing feels very smooth. A rather tiny (flat) metal hood is supplied. You may wonder about the depth but this related to the shift feature which simply shifts the angle-of-view to a degree which affects the shape of the hood. This is also the reason for the immense filter size (82mm) which has almost the double size of a (theoretical) conventional 24mm lens of the same speed.

Optical construction16 elements in 11 groups inc. 3x UD and 1x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades8 (circular)
min. focus distance0.21 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3)
Dimensions89 x 107 mm
Weight780 g
Filter size82 mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresTilt-Shift mechanism, sealing, SWC coating, Floating System

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