Canon has designed a motorized tilt-shift lens that could be used handheld

Canon patent for new tilt-shift lens technology
(Image credit: Canon • JPO)

A Canon patent application has just been unearthed for a revolutionary motorized tilt-shift lens, for the RF mount. Tilt-shift lenses have a notoriously complex design, with delicate mechanics that have always posed challenges for photographers, but this new patent application could drastically improve their usability. 

We first heard rumors of a new Canon tilt-shift lens back in March 2023, but ever since Canon has been pretty quiet… until now. Tilt-shift lenses are most commonly used by architectural photographers, as they give more control of perspective, but while Canon has released a range of impressive primes, wide-angles and zoom lenses, an RF mount tilt-shift has been noticeably absent. You can adapt EF mount lenses such as the Canon TS-E 17mm f/4, but no native RF options yet exist. 

• These are the best tilt-shift lenses available right now

According to a report by Canon Rumors, the patent application focuses on the development of a motorized tilt-shift lens that will be able to store and recall specific settings in EXIF data, so that users can replicate tilt-shift effects efficiently. By adding this functionality Canon hopes to simplify the operation of such lenses, making them more user-friendly and attractive.

Another noteworthy aspect of this patent application is the potential for automatic tilt adjustment, based on a user-defined focus area. For photographers who want to capture perfectly in-focus areas with ease, this could prove to be an invaluable feature. Automatic tilt-adjustment will enable users to shoot handheld while the camera compensates for any movements, including camera shake – a feat nearly impossible with current tilt-shift lenses. While a tilt-shift aficionado may argue that manual control is the whole point, this will at least encourage more people to use them. 

It’s been hinted that the RF lenses to incorporate this technology could be a Canon TS-4 14mm f/4L and a Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L – and they would be the first tilt-shift lenses in the world to benefit from an autofocus feature. 

As with all patent applications, there's no guarantee that this technology will materialize as a product. However, it provides a fascinating glimpse into Canon's ongoing research and innovation efforts, demonstrating its commitment to pushing the boundaries of photographic technology.

Other than tilt-shifts, these are the best Canon RF lenses as well as the best Canon DSLR lenses, which can of course be adapted to mirrorless mounts.

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.