Musings on Photography

Lens Therapy

Posted in equipment by Paul Butzi on August 11, 2009


Well, now I’ve gone and done it. After pondering for a bit on my love affair with the 100mm f/2.8 Macro and the 24mm TS-E, I’ve sold off some stuff and used the proceeds to buy the 45mm TS-E and the 90mm TS-E.

Amazingly, one of them was unavailable at every online place I checked. No matter, I’ve arranged to pick that one up at the same local shop that I got the 5d mk II from – I called and they said “Sure ’nuff, we’ve got it in stock, come on over.”

I’m looking forward to a little fun with new lenses.

5 Responses

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  1. Paul said, on August 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Ever since using a view camera, I’ve wondered about those little TS-E lenses, or in Nikon speak, PC (Perspective Control) lenses. However, they are crazy expensive, going for about $2,500. I’ve even thought to borrow one for a week or two from, but first I’d have to figure out what I want to do with it. The rent is $179 for two weeks. The larger downside is that I don’t own a full frame camera and they are not recommended for DX cameras. Sigh …

    What are you going to do with it?

  2. Paul Butzi said, on August 11, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Well, I’m an ex view camera guy myself, so the use of the lens movements holds no mystery for me.

    I want the 90m TS-E because a) it’s manual focus, has tilt and shift, and most importantly has great out of focus rendering. It’s amusing that so many people use tilt and shift to get everything in focus, and what I want to play with is photographs with lots of stuff OUT of focus but in a pretty way.

    And the 45mm TS-E I plan to use to make stitched panoramics using a pan plate on my tripod head, and I want the shift feature so that I can include varying amounts of foreground. I expect it will get used for shallow depth of field photo play as well.

    Both things could probably be done in Photoshop, but I’m more comfortable with doing it the way I have planned.

    It’s surprising, actually, how little info there is about the out of focus rendering of various lenses. Everyone in the world reviews lenses and discusses corner sharpness and vignetting and build quality. Zero people review lenses and discuss out of focus performance at various focus distances.

    The Canon TS-E 45mm and the 90mm TS-E are both under $1300. Not cheap by any means, but about half of what you’ve mentioned. I’ve sold off a bunch of gear to cover those costs. What’s happening, it turns out, is that I’m selling off a lot of other camera systems and investing the money in lenses to go with the Canon DSLR bodies.

  3. Doug Plummer said, on August 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I commend you for buying the lenses at a local shop (even if it wasn’t your first choice). Supporting that experienced repository of local, technical knowledge is worth the markup for me. I always learn something when shopping for gear at Glazers that I wouldn’t have found out any other way.

  4. Paul Butzi said, on August 11, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    One of the problems I face is that there are no local stores for me. I live about an hour from Glazers, and roughly the same amount of travel time from Kenmore Camera, which is where I’m actually getting the lens.

    It’s often the case that I can order the lens for less online, pay for overnight shipping, and then have the lens in my hands before I’d be able to fit a trip to the ‘local’ store into my schedule. Remember, it’s an hour to the store, the time at the store, and then an hour back. Big chunk of my day PLUS I get to pay for gas/wear on the car both ways. It’s often cheaper for me to pay for overnight shipping than to drive to Seattle and back as well as actually being faster.

    Another problem is that in some cases, I’ve just gotten really bad service at the ‘local’ stores. Glazers in particular has been something between rudely unhelpful and actively hostile the last few times I stopped in there. In contrast, Kenmore has been incredibly friendly and helpful, returned my phone calls, responded nearly instantly to emailed inquiries. Kenmore now gets all my ‘local’ business, and I’m saying that as someone who has spent many thousands of $ at Glazers over the years.

    My rule used to be that if I went to a store to look at an item, I’d buy the item at that store. I went to Glazers to look at the original 5d, and decided to buy one on the spot. The problem was that Glazers could not actually come up with a camera to sell to me. After waiting and waiting, I gave in and bought from B&H.

    I know that the ‘local’ stores are hurting, but it seems to me that some (e.g. Glazers) are failing to adapt, and others (e.g. Kenmore) understand that they need to offer something more than the online retailers if they’re to stay afloat.

  5. Ed Richards said, on August 12, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    > Zero people review lenses and discuss out of focus performance at various focus distances.

    While Ken Rockwell gets some grief for his attitude, he does address bokeh for every lens he reviews that is fast enough/long enough to have any, and even does comparisons between lenses.

    I think there is something about 100mm macros I had the same Canon you did and now have the pre-VR Nikon, and it is just as nice out of focus.

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