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Rogeti TSE frame review

  |   Articles and reviews, Composition, Hardware review, Image Editing, Lens, Review, Rogeti, Tilt / Shift, Tripod & Camera mount   |   13 Comments

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

tse frame left

The Rogeti TSE Frame  is available for $359
This is an affiliate link, added some time after the review – it helps support the site and if you use it, is greatly appreciated – Keith

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.

dock exterior 1

This gives a wider coverage than the single shot and more megapixels to boot.

I use the TS-E17mm and TS-E24mm lenses a lot (links to reviews) in my architectural and interior photography, where the main requirement is the use of shift to correct for convergence of verticals

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

tse24mm

The clamp is tightened round the lens with the large knurled bolt you can see.

TSE Frame features

From Rogeti

  • 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.

lens placed in frame

You can see that even with the larger tilt knob fitted, there is a matching hole in the frame.

move frame over lens

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.

level for pitch

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.

Pano stitching

Also available is a nodal plate for the TSE Frame that lets you position the lens optimally for multi-shot panoramic stitching.

nodal plate

With the nodal plate attached, you make sure that the axis of rotation of your tripod matches the lens in use.

lens nodal points

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)

tse frame right

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.

finger space

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]

side by side vertical stitch

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

simple stitch areas

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)

dock chairs

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).

dock stairs

A slightly different view, now with full up/down movement. (click to enlarge)

stairs up and down

Side by side

Turning the camera 90 degrees and doing a left/right stitch, gives these two 100MB images. (click to enlarge)

side by side 2

side by side

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)

three raw files

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.

shift axis error

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).

fix in viewpoint

Diagonal stitching

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.

use 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

tse lens rotation

By mounting the frame at 45 degrees, the following diagonal stitch options are available.

diagonal shifting

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.

45 degree operation

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.

images for quad shot

A middle shot is not so important here, since we’ve quite a bit of overlap.

Four more photos.

four photos

My first attempt needed quite a bit of correction – yes, it feels more fiddly to do the quad shots.

correction amount

Well, that one was not lined up particularly well

Here are the four images of the second attempt.

quad image overlap

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)

quad stitch corrected

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…

pixel size quad shot

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.

Updates

#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.

tse-frame mk2

#2 (Jul 2018) The bubble levels are easier to read, along with a few other minor usability related changes [update notes]

levels and plate

A gallery of some test shots

Essentially ‘How Keith learned to use the kit…’

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13 Comments
  • Barton Taylor | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve been prototyping something very similar (at a very slow pace in my spare time over the last few years), up to the point of a 3D printed plastic mockup (working). I was going to have it machine from aluminium but now that I’ve seen this it’s probably not worth doing. Any idea if this will fit the new 50 and 90 TS-E lenses? The 135 looks a bit different so maybe not. I’ve been using the TS-E lenses on a Fujifilm GFX and just tested the old 90mm today and it works amazingly. Have you got any idea what the image circle is on the new one?

  • Jonathan L Seagull | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Keith, for the 0.05% of times when tilt is useful with these lenses would it be possible to establish the tilt and then mount the lens in the Rogeti?

    • Keith | Aug 17, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      No, the device won’t fit a lens with tilt applied

  • Jonathan L Seagull | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Keith,
    Do they make a version for Nikon’s architecture lenses?

    • Keith | Aug 17, 2019 at 5:25 pm

      No, only two versions at the moment one for the 17/24 and one for the 50mm

      They have said they currently have no plans for others

  • Stale Eriksen | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Hi Keith, thanks for the great review. It looks like a very nice product.

    I’m hoping you could elaborate on what you mean by the sentence “It has difficulties with the weight of the camera.” It’s in the forth column under the headline “Some thoughts and conclusions”.

    Do you mean that the lens wobbles inside the frame or is it unable to keep the lens still during the shifting movement? You write elsewhere that it’s a very sturdy construction, so would be great to get a more detailed explanation. Many thanks!

    • Thijs Wolzak | Aug 17, 2019 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Keith, thanks for all your work to make it easier for all of us to work with this tool!
      I am trying the Rogeti markIII out now. I am using a Canon 5D mkIII, and I come across a difficulty when doing a diagonal shift with the camera body in landscape position. When I turn the camera to level it out, it will not stay in the position I choose because of the asymmetric weight of the camera. The right side is much heavier than the left side, because of the grip, and the battery. You wrote about is in your review, but you did not give a solution. Can the lens be adjusted? I thought about making the camera heavier on the left side in some way, but that seems not to be an elegant solution.
      Hope to hear from you, best from Amsterdam,
      Thijs Wolzak

      • Keith | Aug 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm

        Yes, the lack of 45 degree click stops is annoying.

        The lens mount can be tightened up, but it’s not a simple job (that and I don’t like taking lenses apart). It’s only an occasional problem with my TS-E17, which has had a lot more use than the 24mm

        My simplest solution was to get several large elastic bands (the sort our mail sometimes get delivered with) and put them around the lens mount where the slip is (after putting the lens on the camera and rotating by 45 degrees. This is the same solution I use for zoom lenses that creep when pointing downwards (typically for product type photos)

    • Keith | Aug 17, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      It’s when there is slack in the lens mount and the camera tries to rotate – see the recent answer below

      [Note – our comments system broke recently and the recovery lost the dates of people’s original responses, along with some of my answers…]

  • Steven Brooke | Aug 2, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    An interesting bit of equipment. But, unless you are on axis with a low enough camera height, the distortions, (particularly in the foreground) are too much to be useful.

    • Keith | Aug 17, 2019 at 5:28 pm

      Not sure what you mean – I find the frame really useful for when I want to stitch multiple images – usually just two.

  • Ken Owen | Jan 21, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I’m glad there’s somebody out there reviewing this stuff. Very interesting.

    • Keith Cooper | Jan 21, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks – it was nice to be asked to try it out.
      I hope to get the new TS-E lenses to review before too long. I’ve the old TS-E90mm and want to see how things have improved/changed.

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