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Architecture and the 7D

  |   Articles and reviews, Camera testing, Canon 7D, Review, Rumour camera test, Tilt / Shift   |   No comment

Using a shift lens with the Canon 7D

How a wide angle tilt/shift lens is fine with a crop sensor camera

Some of Keith’s experiment s with the Canon 7D

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UPDATE 2018: We have a detailed TS-E17 review to go alongside our reviews of Canon three new (2017) TS-E lenses.

Some photos in the fog

Yesterday morning I was invited to visit to the new ‘digital media centre’ that’s just opened in Leicester. Phoenix Square has a mix of cinema, work places, production facilities and a range of apartments.

I was not officially wearing my ‘photographer hat’ this visit – since I was representing a local business organisation.  Of course that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a camera with me – I took the 7D and TS-E17mm lens (with the 14/2.8 in the bag).

The crop sensor takes the TS-E17 to a wide(ish) 27mm effective focal length, but the 11mm of shift is very noticeable (the proportion of extra area covered at full shift is higher than for a full frame sensor).

It was also quite foggy when I walked into town.  I like  the diffuse light of fog at night for black and white photography, but have also found that it can be of use when photographing some buildings – it gives a very flat light that can work very well (or look awful ;-)

Here’s the Phoenix Square building itself (smaller than I’d thought when looking at the web site)

Phoenix Square, Leicester, UK

Phoenix Square, Leicester, UK

All the shots here are hand held, using the grid display in the viewfinder to line up verticals.

The TS-E17 is very unforgiving for any residual tilt of the camera – I took several shots of each scene to pick the one with the best verticals. I know I dislike tripods for my landscape work, but architecture is one subject I happily use one for.

This exterior view is from a  bit later, when the fog had risen slightly,

Phoenix Square - exterior

Phoenix Square – exterior

Inside, there is a courtyard

Phoenix Square, Courtyard

Phoenix Square, Courtyard

Phoenix Square - nearby 1970's tower

Phoenix Square – nearby 1970’s tower

and a Cafe

Cafe at Phoenix Square

Cafe at Phoenix Square

and some interesting stairs…

Internal stairs at Phoenix Square

Internal stairs at Phoenix Square

Just a few snaps, since technically I wasn’t there to take photos ;-)

ISO was upped a bit (~400) to allow me to take the shots at f/6.3 hand held. Whenever using a shift lens, I’ll set the camera to manual and meter with no shift or tilt.

Phoenix Square is just round the corner from Curve – the theatre that I know well from photographing during its construction.

Curve on a grey day

Curve on a grey day

I’ve gone back to the 14mm/2.8L to get a wider angle for the curve shot – this is where the TS-E17 works a treat on full frame sensors.

The area has lots of old buildings, some of which will be ‘re-purposed’, whilst others like this small business, will be replaced with what I believe goes by the name of ‘City living’

Southampton St, Leicester

Southampton St, Leicester

Sometimes I’m not so troubled by the economic downturn. It seems to have given this building a stay of execution.

You can see what’s planned for it (in better times) in this crop.

the Leicester 'Cultural quarter'

the Leicester ‘Cultural quarter’

The person in the drawing, walking along, would be in front of the ‘Keep Clear’ notice on the big doors. The brick building at the far right is the back of the 1930’s Athena building you can see at the right in the photo.


So, once again the camera is just fine to use :-)  Whilst I was in the studio/edit suites at Phoenix Square, I had a chat about DSLR video, and I can say that there is real interest in this capability.

I’m still convinced that my video skills need a lot of development though. I’d not be happy producing video unless it was at the quality of my stills work – that’s going to take some real effort, which I can see might be needed once I get video on what follows my 1Ds3.


I see that DxO have published  some of their DxO Mark performance figures for the 7D, which actually indicate a bigger difference in image quality between the 7D and 1Ds3 than I’ve found in practice.

As someone who understands some of the electronics and physics behind sensor design, I find such information fascinating, but as a photographer it’s something I can cheerfully ignore most of the time.

I’ve always felt it important to have the technical skills in the ‘background’ as a photographer. Kept out of the way until they make a real difference to a shot or print.

I do enjoy helping people improve their photography, but I sometime come across the ‘I don’t need to know any of this techy stuff’ attitude in so called professional photographers – no surer way of not getting much help from me ;-)

Still, the DxO Mark scores do make for some entertaining (if not entirely predictable) forum threads ;-)

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