There are a few things I want from modern day lenses, and what Canon is doing excites me about the future of photography! While lots of brands have hunted for clinical perfection, they’re forgetting that all their glass will eventually just look the same. But thankfully, Canon doesn’t seem to chase MTF charts the way that cats run after a laser pointer. With that said, there’s a special Canon Tilt-Shift patent going around that’s thrilling.
Canon Rumors reported on a tilt-shift patent that uses electronics to move everything instead of the old-timey, manual way. A design like this is exciting; it will mean there’s a better way to seal the lens from the elements and debris. It also means there’s innovation going on, and that’s very important.
This is where my heart is a bit split on what I’d want more. I and the rest of the staff adore the old-time feel of lenses with knobs, buttons, and rings that are silky smooth. But if it’s all done by electronics, then it will be done kind of like focusing by wire. It’s not as aesthetically pleasing, and photographers have said that for years now. At the same time, it would be a rare option in a sea of sameness. More than anything, it’s most exciting to find the rare pearl at the bottom of the sea.
In terms of focal lengths, I don’t think we’ll ever see a zoom-tilt shift. But, we’d see a Canon Tilt-shift lineup similar to their EF mount days. A series of prime lenses are easier to make, and they wouldn’t need to do a ton of them. They’d only need an ultra-wide angle, wide-angle, normal, and two telephoto focal length lenses.
So why is this such a good idea? Well, again, there’s variety. A lot of lens manufacturers are racing to the bottom in my opinion. These lens manufacturers are striving for clinical perfection to the point where all their lenses look the same. And when all the lenses look the same, what’s the point of sticking with a particular camera system? Lenses are a major component of what a camera system is. But if your lens can deliver a multitude of looks without needing to bring extra filters, then that’s appealing. It’s also appealing to not require extra time in post-production getting the look you want. It’s a different approach that doesn’t follow the same thinking and style everyone else has. And quite honestly, as a reviewer, it’s refreshing.
While all the cultists do what the industry has said we have to do, Canon is providing the option to do it in-camera. This is also not only good for photographers but content creators. Think about how many times you’ve seen vintage lens effects in movies. And then think about how many photographers are influenced by movies. Doesn’t it make sense to just build those options into the lens? The Canon RF 100mm f2.8 Macro L lens does just that. If Canon keeps leaning into these ideas, I and other creatives will be incredibly psyched.