The Canon 17mm TSE lens is one of my favourite lens’s for landscape photography. The ultra-wide angle of view combined with the benefits of a Tilt Shift lens makes for a great combination and allows for some very unique images. The big drawback from a landscape photographers perspective of the Canon 17mm TSE is that you cant use filters with it – or can you?
Well, not yet, but LEE Filters are developing a new Holder System specifically designed for use on super wide angle lenses. The SW150 Filter Holder has been designed to initially fit the Nikon 14-24mm lens, but will also be adapted to fit on other super wide lenses after its initial launch. Hopefully LEE make an adaptor for the Canon 17mm TSE; although it remains unclear if it will be possible because of the extremely bulbous front element.
The SW150 has two filter slots that take either 150 x 150mm standard filters or 150 x 170mm graduated filters. The holder also rotates, allowing greater control on the positioning of any graduated filters. There are currently no plans for a polariser for the SW150, due to the fact that the polarisation effect is too difficult to control on lenses which such a wide field of view.
The SW150 will attach to the lens via a purpose built collar. Each lens will have a collar attachment specifically designed for that lens. Custom fittings based around standard LEE adaptors ring sizes will also be a future part of the System enabling the SW150 to be used with other lenses.
I have had only very limited success hand holding LEE graduated filters in front of the 17mm TSE because of its fish eye like front element. Extraneous light and reflection is often a problem because its impossible to get the filter close enough to the front element to keep out unwanted light. Hopefully the new LEE filter holder solves this problem.
The SW150 is currently in production and should be available from LEE Filters dealers from June 2010.
As a short Addendum – Although it is possible to shoot multiple exposures in the field and then combine them for a HDR image during post processing this is not the sort of photography that I do or frankly that interests me. I prefer to try and get my exposure right in the field when I release the shutter; which means I am almost always using graduated neutral density filters in order to tame the dynamic range of nature.