Rogeti TSE frame review
Rogeti TSE frame review
Lens clamp for shifting the camera not the lens
The Canon TS-E17mm f4L and TS-E24mm F3.5 L II are two very important lenses for a lot of Keith’s commercial work.
Moving the lens lets you take multiple shots for stitching, but it’s easy to get parallax errors.
The TSE Frame from Rogeti is a solution for keeping the lens fixed.
Keith was recently asked to test their new clamp that attaches the lens to your tripod, not the camera.
Update: There is now a specific version of the TSE Frame for the Canon TS-E50mm lens
There is a gallery of sample images at the foot of the article
The problem with shifted lenses
One advantage of a shift lens is that you can keep the camera still and take two shots with different shift, in order to stitch them.
This gives a wider coverage than the single shot and more megapixels to boot.
If tilt/shift lenses are new to you I’ve a lot of articles about them, including “What tilt/shift lenses do”
When you take two photos with the camera fixed and raise/lower the lens, you are moving your viewpoint slightly. Outdoors, with everything in the view suitably distant and no near/far overlaps, the images will stitch very easily.
I frequently use the simple Photomerge option in Photoshop, with a simple re-position setting.
Problems can arise if you have overlapping near/far elements in your image. If this is not clear look through a window through your right eye, and then without moving your head, through your left. Note how the frame moves relative to the more distant view.
The ideal solution to this problem is to keep the lens still and move the camera. However, Canon TS-E lenses have no tripod mount.
The TSE frame remedies this in a rather elegant way.
The TSE Frame
TS-E lenses have two rotational adjustments, the frame attaches ahead of both of these, around where the tilt controls sit.
Here’s the frame attached to the 24mm
The clamp is tightened round the lens with the large knurled bolt you can see.
TSE Frame features
- Body Shift instead of Lens Shift
- Instant and Centred Portrait to Landscape Change
- Instant and Centred Vertical Shift to Lateral Shift Change
- Various ways to shift the camera body in both orthogonal and oblique directions
- Stitched image on a 36x24mm FF camera can reach up to 53x41mm and 250% the pixels
- 4 Built-In Bubble Levels
- Innovative Flare Reducing Shade Platform
- Arca-Swiss style base with 1/4″ and 3/8″ threaded hole
- Easy Installation and Removal
- Mechanical Sight
- Plate for 360° Cylindrical Panorama shooting (Optional)
- Compact, Light Weight and Portable
Attaching the frame to the lens
Here I’m fitting it to the 17mm.
You can see that even with the larger tilt knob fitted, there is a matching hole in the frame.
Note too the firm rubber mounts that hold the lens firmly without marking.
The bolt is easy to tighten by hand – you do not need a coin/screwdriver.
All of the levels are clear to read.
One did crack during testing, but this is a test pre-production model.
It was at this point that I realised just how well made the frame was. There is no slack and the machining is very accurate.
You might notice the small frame sticking out from the top. This serves both as a rest for a sheet of cardboard (or anything at hand) as a sunshade, but also as a sighting and aiming line.
It’s attached with two screws.
Initially I wondered about its usefulness, but with just the lens/clamp attached to my tripod it became very easy to ensure everything was level and lined up.
The base plate of the frame is Arca-Swiss compatible. with 1/4″ and 3/8″ screw holes as well.
Also available is a nodal plate for the TSE Frame that lets you position the lens optimally for multi-shot panoramic stitching.
With the nodal plate attached, you make sure that the axis of rotation of your tripod matches the lens in use.
To use this – just place the line over the axis of rotation of your tripod head, after carefully levelling it. It’s normally used for up/down shifted images that you want to stitch into a panoramic view. For an example, think of a normal pano shot, but with the lens shifted up to get more sky and less foreground.
Here’s the frame in place ready to use, attached to my Induro PHQ4 tripod head. (click to enlarge)
The lens here is set to allow me to raise/lower the body.
A nice touch is the recess around the knob.
This makes it very easy to adjust, even with the oversize version.
With the shift axis rotated 90 degrees, you need to remove the large cover, it just touches the frame, as you can see here.
[Note – see update at the foot of the article showing the fix for this in the shipping version of the frame]
Using the TSE frame
I’l start with the simple up/down left/right ways of shooting.
This diagram (from Rogeti) shows how you can move the camera body, and the sort of coverage you get.
The percentage is the total pixels you’ll get. With my 50MP Canon 5Ds, 200% means a total of 100MP
If that’s not clear, have a look at this short video from Rogeti, showing all the different options. It includes diagonal ones I’ll look at later.
You don’t need to go to full shift each way. Here’s a photo of the Dock in Leicester (a tech business centre) after cropping to what I wanted. (click to enlarge)
Looking at the photo above, I can see that it would probably have been OK to stitch with the camera mounted normally, with maybe a tiny amount of work on the stairs area.
That couldn’t be said for this next image where the overlapping near/far elements would cause problems. (click to enlarge).
A slightly different view, now with full up/down movement. (click to enlarge)
Side by side
Turning the camera 90 degrees and doing a left/right stitch, gives these two 100MB images. (click to enlarge)
Composition and lining up the camera becomes more critical, since you are having to visualise what the finished stitched photo will encompass.
Making the stitched images
I’m processing the RAW camera files in ACR in Photoshop. Here are three side by side shots. (click to enlarge)
Of course, you could process the files any way you want … you just want to make sure that the lighting/adjustments match up between them.
I prefer to include a ‘middle’ shot in the sequence. The TS-E17 can be prone to a little mirror-box edge vignetting at full shift on my 5Ds. This should not be an issue if you’re using the lens on a mirrorless camera with and adapter.
The vignetting is minor compared to another issue, where there is a slight angular shift in the up/down or left right shifting axis. This gives a small offset between images and is noticeable as a stepped border after stitching.
You can either crop the image or use the cloning tool to fill in the small gaps (actually very easy with this particular image).
Another problem can arise if you’ve not levelled everything up accurately enough. Very slight convergence errors at the edge can look very obvious if shown up by a door frame and the like.
Since in the real world you do make slight errors sometimes, I’ve tools like DxO Viewpoint that allow a very precise re-adjustment of geometry (at a cost of needing a bit of cropping).
I was intrigued to see a diagonal stitch option mentioned for the TSE Frame.
The frame has a small circular bubble level for setting it at 45 degrees.
As I mentioned, TS-E lenses have two rotational adjustments. The one at the lens mount rotates by 180 degrees in 30 degree steps, whilst the one on the tilt mechanism rotates by 90 degrees in 45 degree steps
By mounting the frame at 45 degrees, the following diagonal stitch options are available.
For the quad versions, you take two shots then rotate the shift axis by 90 degrees and take two more.
The slight difficulty here is that when you rotate the frame by 45 degrees, your camera is now at 45 degrees.
This can be fixed by using the lens mount rotation. However, there is no 45 degree click stop, so you’ll need something like a bubble level attached to the camera hot-shoe.
Other issues are the asymmetric weight distribution of the camera (battery) wanting to drop the right hand side, and more importantly, the battery grip catching on part of your tripod head when shifting downwards.
For some experiments using the quad shot technique, I reverted to a simple ball head.
Doing this well will definitely need practice – maintaining the level camera and taking the shots.
Here are 5 shots giving a feel for the expansion of the field of view.
A middle shot is not so important here, since we’ve quite a bit of overlap.
Four more photos.
My first attempt needed quite a bit of correction – yes, it feels more fiddly to do the quad shots.
Well, that one was not lined up particularly well
Here are the four images of the second attempt.
This image covers enough of the TS-E17mm image circle to show slight barrel distortion.
I’m also not quite square on to the railings. Looking at the camera setup, it’s very slightly out, but we are shooting at such a wide angle that even small errors show.
A small amount of correction with the PS lens correction tool, and a crop gives this view. (click to enlarge)
At this point I was very aware that just going wide because you could, was not the key to ideal composition.
That said, it was a huge image…
Some thoughts and conclusions
There are a lot of photo gadgets around, and it’s not that often I pick one up and immediately see a use for it.
It’s very solidly engineered and will not mark or damage any lens inside it. It’s also very quick to fit.
Up/down and left/right stitching are really easy to do. The bubble levels and sighting device make it much easier to get shots lined up.
The 45º diagonal (quad image) stitching takes more work*, but it’s nice to know you have the option.
*Mounting the frame at 45º rotates the camera too. It needs to be levelled by rotating the lens mount 45º but you have the problem that the lens mount click stops are at 30º steps. With the weight of my 5Ds the camera wants to rotate under its own weight, needing a bubble level of its own. With a lighter camera or a less well worn lens mount this might not be an issue, but you need to be careful.
There is no access to tilt – this is of no relevance to 99.5% of my use of these lenses.
Definitely a product for those using the TS-E17 and TS-E24 for a living.
The Rogeti TSE Frame is available for $359
Note: The frame does not fit Canon’s new 50/90/135mm TS-E lenses.
#1 (Mar 2018) The shipping version of the frame has had a slight recess added at the top, which eliminated the problem I found with the shift knob catching.
#2 (Jul 2018) The bubble levels are easier to read, along with a few other minor usability related changes [update notes]
Essentially ‘How Keith learned to use the kit…’
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