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Canon to launch world's first autofocus tilt-shift lenses (report)

Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L
Our mockup of the Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L

Canon is preparing to launch the first ever tilt-shift lenses with autofocus: the Canon TS-R 14mm f/4L and Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L. According to a new report, they could be announced in late 2021. 

The Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L would be an RF-mount update of one of the best tilt-shift lenses (opens in new tab) on the market, the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II (opens in new tab), while the Canon TS-R 14mm f/4L would be the widest tilt-shift lens we've ever seen (even wider than the recent Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift (opens in new tab), the first such lens native to the RF mount, though it lacks a tilt facility). 

• Read more: Best Canon RF lenses (opens in new tab)

This isn't the first we've heard of these two new lenses, as they were revealed in the leaked Canon roadmap (opens in new tab) back in October 2020. At that point their incorporation of autofocus wasn't widely known, but a new report by Canon Rumors reveals that they are set to be the first autofocus TS optics. 

"I have reported on the coming tilt-shift lenses for the RF mount, these are apparently going to be the first tilt-shift lenses with autofocus," wrote the site (opens in new tab), noting that "these lenses were to come in late 2021."

It should be stressed just how big a technical achievement it would be, to produce a tilt-shift lens with autofocus. These lenses have always been manual focus because AF systems operate and calculate based on a flat focal plane; obviously the ability to tile and shift that plane creates added dimensions, which autofocus technology simply isn't designed to accommodate for. 

Indeed, not only do tilt-shift lenses manipulate the focal plane in ways unfriendly to AF calculation, the very physical movement radically changes the amount of light that's transmitted to the image sensor. With the amount of vignetting introduced by extreme tilt and shift, light transmission can be reduced by a couple of stops, which again can interfere with autofocus calculation. 

Still, Canon's RF mount and EOS R bodies have conspired to make such things as 600mm and 800mm f/11 lenses not just workable, but wonderful. We can't wait to see if, and how, Canon does indeed tackle this challenge.

Read more: 

Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift review
Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM review (opens in new tab)
Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM review (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.