Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published September 2007

Special thanks to Markus Stamm for providing this lens!


The Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 is one of the more unusual lenses in the Canon lens lineup - it is one of three tilt-shift (TS) lenses.

Shift lenses allow you to compensate perspective distortions (converging verticals) by shifting the optical path off its horizontal axis. By doing so the projected image (rectangle) on the film/sensor plane gets distorted to a trapezoid negating the original effect. You may argue that you can also apply perspective correction via an imaging application these days. This may be true but you're doing so at cost of image quality because a stretched image portions rely on interpolated data.

Unlike most other shift lenses Canon TS-E lenses also offer a tilt feature allowing to alter the focus plane. On normal lenses the focus plane is parallel to the film/sensor plane. By tilting the lens you can coincide the focus plane to the layout of your main subject in your scene which may not be parallel to the film/sensor plane (Scheimpflug effect). This way you can optimize your depth-of-field although you're not increasing it. If you tilt and/or shift the lens it has quite a bizarre look (see below).

There's a side effect to the TS mechanism - this lens offers manual focusing only which is why it is not an EF (electronic focus) lens. The aperture mechanism remains under electronic camera control so it still deserves the E in the TS-E naming. The build quality of the lens is exceptionally high - this is certainly a requirement anyway because of the number of moving parts here. Most of the outer construction is made of metal. The broad, rubberized focus ring operates very smooth. The lens extends significantly when focusing towards closer distances.

Equiv. focal length144 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.5 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction6 elements in 5 groups
Number of aperture blades8
min. focus distance0.5 m (max. magnification ratio 1:3.4)
Dimensions74 x 88 mm
Weight550 g
Filter size58 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel shaped, snap-on type
Other featuresTilt-Shift mechanism