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Author Topic: which is best: view camera vs ts-e lens vs 17mm + photoshop  (Read 28514 times)
Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« on: October 15, 2009, 11:25:38 AM »
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I am getting into professional interior and architectural photography and would like to plan ahead with equipment investment. View cameras with digital backs are the best for such photography. They offer the most control over perspective, but are very expensive and bulky to work with.

Since I use the 5D MKII I have two other alternatives. Get the 24mm TS-E or use my current 17-40mm lens @ 17mm and crop by 50% to obtain 24mm view. The TS-E rout seems better as I do not have to sacrifice almost half of my picture resolution to achieve the desired look. That being said, do TS-E lenses give enough control to achieve similar results to lens perspective corrections in photoshop?

In the example below I shot the first picture at 24mm. The second picture was shot at 17mm, adjusted with lens correction filter by 20 degrees vertically and -40 degrees horizontally, and cropped to about 50% of original size:





If such degree figures in photoshop correspond to actual lens shift degrees then obviously TS-E lenses cannot achieve anything like photoshop as they are limited to 8 degrees if I am not mistaken. That makes me wonder how many degrees of shift do view cameras offer?

I would really appreciate hearing all of your thoughts on this as this topic might not have a "definite" answer. So it always great to learn how more experinced photographers approache this issue.

Thanks in advance!
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 11:59:50 AM »
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Quote from: abdul10000
If such degree figures in photoshop correspond to actual lens shift degrees then obviously TS-E lenses cannot achieve anything like photoshop as they are limited to 8 degrees if I am not mistaken. That makes me wonder how many degrees of shift do view cameras offer?
You only need shift to keep the verticals parallel, and shift is not measured in degrees - but mm, or inches.

If you point the camera horizontal, and the bottom of the subject is level with the lens, the shift you will need will be half the width or height of the sensor.

Tilt angle is asin(f/J), where f is the focal length, and J is the distance from the lens, parallel to the sensor, to the plane of sharpest focus. (see Merklinger's "Focusing the view Camera").

So, in an extreme example, if the arm of the sofa in the foreground gave you a value of J=1000 mm, and you were using a 150mm lens, you would need 8.6 degrees of tilt... I do not think any of the modern compact medium-format view cameras give you anything like that much tilt, but with shorter lenses and bigger Js, you would need less tilt, and with a 50mm lens you would need 2.8 degrees.

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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 02:35:12 PM »
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There is a fair amount on my blog related to this issue. I make my living largely shooting architecture with a 5DII and t/s lenses. In my experience soley relying on PS for perspective correction is very limiting too, and gets you into trouble with odd artifacts at times and weird distortion once you get close to stretching the image around half the width of the frame. T/S lenses will cover your needs most of the time or a combination of shift and vertical flat stitching. Or sometimes even with that I have to let the vertical lines converge somewhat and do some PS correction too. All in all after shooting architecture for thirty years with a 4x5, I don't find a DSLR and T/S lenses limiting. Indeed I find them liberating.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2009, 02:55:21 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2009, 10:07:45 AM »
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I have a Linhof M679cs and a P65+, but I use the Canon T&S lenses more often. Here's the main reasons,

1. For interiors you're often really pushed for space, not in terms of "wide-angle" space, but in terms of "where's the photographer supposed to stand" space! A DSLR is just more compact and manouvrable, especially compared to a technical camera fitted with a sliding back.

2. Instead of complex interior lighting set-ups I'll often just use HDR, and managing the multiple layer files from a DSLR is quicker and easier than from a digital back.

3. The architectural photography I do is unlikely to grace the pages of Architectural Review, it's bread and butter commercial work for developers, hotels, and building materials suppliers. In this context there's not much reason to use the Linhof/P65+, the quality from a DSLR is more than adequate for four colour offset printing, and the movements available from the Canon T&S range are adequate for 99% of the challenges you'll face. That's not being cavalier with quality, it's just being realistic.

4. This may be heresy for many, but in my view the marriage of digital backs and technical cameras isn't that harmonious. There's certainly no cheap option, because the mechanical precision that digital backs require doesn't come cheap. But even with the best cameras you'll struggle to get sufficient focusing accuracy from the ground glasses currently available, and you certainly won't get that focusing accuracy with the viewing devices available for sliding backs. Consequently you often have to fit and remove the digital back for each shot and sooner or later you'll drop the back on a concrete floor. So better have your insurance up to date!

5. In the crowded European cities where I work you can bet that at least half the exteriors will need extensive retouching to remove parked cars, street signs, etc. In practise that means moving the camera to get a clean view and then patching in a section to cover up obstructions. It's a lot easier to move a DSLR than a technical camera, and it's quicker to complete the retouching on smaller DSLR files.
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archivue
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2009, 10:43:12 AM »
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Quote from: Gary Ferguson
I have a Linhof M679cs and a P65+, but I use the Canon T&S lenses more often. Here's the main reasons,

1. For interiors you're often really pushed for space, not in terms of "wide-angle" space, but in terms of "where's the photographer supposed to stand" space! A DSLR is just more compact and manouvrable, especially compared to a technical camera fitted with a sliding back.

2. Instead of complex interior lighting set-ups I'll often just use HDR, and managing the multiple layer files from a DSLR is quicker and easier than from a digital back.

3. The architectural photography I do is unlikely to grace the pages of Architectural Review, it's bread and butter commercial work for developers, hotels, and building materials suppliers. In this context there's not much reason to use the Linhof/P65+, the quality from a DSLR is more than adequate for four colour offset printing, and the movements available from the Canon T&S range are adequate for 99% of the challenges you'll face. That's not being cavalier with quality, it's just being realistic.

4. This may be heresy for many, but in my view the marriage of digital backs and technical cameras isn't that harmonious. There's certainly no cheap option, because the mechanical precision that digital backs require doesn't come cheap. But even with the best cameras you'll struggle to get sufficient focusing accuracy from the ground glasses currently available, and you certainly won't get that focusing accuracy with the viewing devices available for sliding backs. Consequently you often have to fit and remove the digital back for each shot and sooner or later you'll drop the back on a concrete floor. So better have your insurance up to date!

5. In the crowded European cities where I work you can bet that at least half the exteriors will need extensive retouching to remove parked cars, street signs, etc. In practise that means moving the camera to get a clean view and then patching in a section to cover up obstructions. It's a lot easier to move a DSLR than a technical camera, and it's quicker to complete the retouching on smaller DSLR files.


if i had a p65, i would have bought an arca RM3D or an artech or a cambo wide DS...

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PeterAit
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2009, 11:40:08 AM »
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Quote from: abdul10000
I am getting into professional interior and architectural photography and would like to plan ahead with equipment investment. View cameras with digital backs are the best for such photography. They offer the most control over perspective, but are very expensive and bulky to work with.

Since I use the 5D MKII I have two other alternatives. Get the 24mm TS-E or use my current 17-40mm lens @ 17mm and crop by 50% to obtain 24mm view. The TS-E rout seems better as I do not have to sacrifice almost half of my picture resolution to achieve the desired look. That being said, do TS-E lenses give enough control to achieve similar results to lens perspective corrections in photoshop?

In the example below I shot the first picture at 24mm. The second picture was shot at 17mm, adjusted with lens correction filter by 20 degrees vertically and -40 degrees horizontally, and cropped to about 50% of original size:





If such degree figures in photoshop correspond to actual lens shift degrees then obviously TS-E lenses cannot achieve anything like photoshop as they are limited to 8 degrees if I am not mistaken. That makes me wonder how many degrees of shift do view cameras offer?

I would really appreciate hearing all of your thoughts on this as this topic might not have a "definite" answer. So it always great to learn how more experinced photographers approache this issue.

Thanks in advance!

Keep in mind that PS cannot replicate the main effect of a tilt, which is to change the angle of the plane of focus so that near and far things can both be in focus. And, while PS can correct perspective to some extent (e.g., converging verticals), the result is lost resolution and potential loss of image quality.
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stevesanacore
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2009, 01:45:53 PM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
Keep in mind that PS cannot replicate the main effect of a tilt, which is to change the angle of the plane of focus so that near and far things can both be in focus. And, while PS can correct perspective to some extent (e.g., converging verticals), the result is lost resolution and potential loss of image quality.


I have been shooting architecture for over 20 years and can count on one hand, the amount of times I tilted the lens board or rear standard with a view camera. 99.99% of the time all you do is rise and fall of the front standard.  With my Canon and shift lenses tilting is only used for special effects to reduce depth of field and is unnecessary for increasing it.  I have thought long and hard about moving into a MF back for my landscape work, not for architectural interiors. I think the new canon shift lenses do the job very well.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2009, 02:26:29 PM »
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Quote from: stevesanacore
I have been shooting architecture for over 20 years and can count on one hand, the amount of times I tilted the lens board or rear standard with a view camera. 99.99% of the time all you do is rise and fall of the front standard.
...so you very rarely shoot pictures like those above, with a foreground?
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« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2009, 02:44:33 PM »
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I have been shooting arch for over 10 years, with 8x10, 4x5, roll film, MFDB and dSLR, and I can also say I've used tilts less than a handful of times. Once or twice it was good to have shooting details on 4x5. With MFDB I have yet to encounter a need for them. I have the ts-e lenses and would be happier if they were just s-e lenses (although the extra tilt lock on the 17 and new 24 is a welcome addition).
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2009, 04:54:12 PM »
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Quote from: asf
I have been shooting arch for over 10 years, with 8x10, 4x5, roll film, MFDB and dSLR, and I can also say I've used tilts less than a handful of times. Once or twice it was good to have shooting details on 4x5. With MFDB I have yet to encounter a need for them. I have the ts-e lenses and would be happier if they were just s-e lenses (although the extra tilt lock on the 17 and new 24 is a welcome addition).
Buildings tend to be straight up and down, minimising the need for tilt in the vertical plane, but I would have thought that yaw might have been handy quite regularly.

...by comparison I would think/hope that landscape photographers would use tilt a great deal more.
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2009, 11:49:27 PM »
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Thanks for posting this. I had to read your reply several time, but I think I got most of what your saying.

Quote from: Dick Roadnight
You only need shift to keep the verticals parallel, and shift is not measured in degrees - but mm, or inches.

right thing, shift in mm and tilt in degrees


Quote from: Dick Roadnight
If you point the camera horizontal, and the bottom of the subject is level with the lens, the shift you will need will be half the width or height of the sensor.

What do you mean by that, especially the bold part? I get that shooting with the lens level to the ground and the frame starting from the bottom of the object (ex: building) you need half the width or height to achieve straight lines?


Quote from: Dick Roadnight
Tilt angle is asin(f/J), where f is the focal length, and J is the distance from the lens, parallel to the sensor, to the plane of sharpest focus. (see Merklinger's "Focusing the view Camera").

So, in an extreme example, if the arm of the sofa in the foreground gave you a value of J=1000 mm, and you were using a 150mm lens, you would need 8.6 degrees of tilt... I do not think any of the modern compact medium-format view cameras give you anything like that much tilt, but with shorter lenses and bigger Js, you would need less tilt, and with a 50mm lens you would need 2.8 degrees.

asin? I am dividing f/j (150/1000) and getting .15  

Canon TS-E lense provide 11mm shift and 8 degrees tilt, should they not be sufficient for the example above?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2009, 11:54:56 PM by abdul10000 » Logged

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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2009, 11:53:41 PM »
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Quote from: Kirk Gittings
There is a fair amount on my blog related to this issue. I make my living largely shooting architecture with a 5DII and t/s lenses. In my experience soley relying on PS for perspective correction is very limiting too, and gets you into trouble with odd artifacts at times and weird distortion once you get close to stretching the image around half the width of the frame. T/S lenses will cover your needs most of the time or a combination of shift and vertical flat stitching. Or sometimes even with that I have to let the vertical lines converge somewhat and do some PS correction too. All in all after shooting architecture for thirty years with a 4x5, I don't find a DSLR and T/S lenses limiting. Indeed I find them liberating.


That's exactly what I was hoping to hear, I just ordered a used 24mm TS-E and I am looking forward to using it, because as you said shooting wide and cropping introduces problems.

The blog is awesome I am reading it as we speak



and many thanks for all the other members replys I will be reading them in detail as time permits
« Last Edit: October 27, 2009, 06:48:29 AM by abdul10000 » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2009, 02:40:12 AM »
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For about 20 years I worked with film(6x9-8x10) for architects. Now I am using a Canon 5D MII and a Sinar Artec with an Emotion Back. The Canon is for simple architecture, bread and butter....
For more interesting architecture I am using the Sinar. Since I am using it, my pictures are becoming better in my opinion. The Canon files are technical perfect, but the pictures I am making with the ArTec are really better.
This is only my personal opinion, but I have seen a lot of German photographers changing to DSLR and loosing quality. Some of them are using MFDB and their style didn`t change so much...
Also there are still some architectural photographers still using film, and their results are really wonderful.


Michael Heinrich
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2009, 04:34:16 AM »
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Quote from: Gary Ferguson
1. For interiors you're often really pushed for space, not in terms of "wide-angle" space, but in terms of "where's the photographer supposed to stand" space! A DSLR is just more compact and manouvrable, especially compared to a technical camera fitted with a sliding back.

what you say makes perfect sense and I can attest to that from personal experience.  

Quote from: Gary Ferguson
2. Instead of complex interior lighting set-ups I'll often just use HDR, and managing the multiple layer files from a DSLR is quicker and easier than from a digital back.

that's one thing I want to avoid as much as possible: HDR. In fact, I am looking very hard for sources to learn complex interior lighting. From my perspective well placed lighting setups create very unique results. In some instances however, HDR is the only rout.

Quote from: Gary Ferguson
3. The architectural photography I do is unlikely to grace the pages of Architectural Review, it's bread and butter commercial work for developers, hotels, and building materials suppliers. In this context there's not much reason to use the Linhof/P65+, the quality from a DSLR is more than adequate for four colour offset printing, and the movements available from the Canon T&S range are adequate for 99% of the challenges you'll face. That's not being cavalier with quality, it's just being realistic.

yup 21mp is sufficient for most commercial work


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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2009, 04:37:31 AM »
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Quote from: MHFA
For about 20 years I worked with film(6x9-8x10) for architects. Now I am using a Canon 5D MII and a Sinar Artec with an Emotion Back. The Canon is for simple architecture, bread and butter....
For more interesting architecture I am using the Sinar. Since I am using it, my pictures are becoming better in my opinion. The Canon files are technical perfect, but the pictures I am making with the ArTec are really better.
This is only my personal opinion, but I have seen a lot of German photographers changing to DSLR and loosing quality. Some of them are using MFDB and their style didn`t change so much...
Also there are still some architectural photographers still using film, and their results are really wonderful.


Michael Heinrich

what do you mean by more interesting, and how are your pictures becoming better? Could this have something to do with the slower process of view cameras versus 35mm cameras which are faster and easier to setup?
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« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2009, 06:04:03 AM »
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Quote from: abdul10000
what do you mean by more interesting, and how are your pictures becoming better? Could this have something to do with the slower process of view cameras versus 35mm cameras which are faster and easier to setup?

I can say without much fear to be wrong, that "more interesting" has to be understood as projects/contracts with higher budgets and more time to realize the project involved (the necessary time to deliver the best possible), giving the possibility to the photographer to plan and organize better, to spend more time to study the subject and to eventually deliver MORE than what has been asked for by the customer.

That's e.g the way Rainer is working, and I thing Michael as well. And in this case they will make use of the view camera and its unique features.

Best regards,
Thierry
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« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2009, 06:18:05 AM »
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Quote from: abdul10000
what do you mean by more interesting, and how are your pictures becoming better? Could this have something to do with the slower process of view cameras versus 35mm cameras which are faster and easier to setup?

What I explained is my experience. I am working as a teacher for architectural students and I often tried to find out why I am really working better with this kind of equipment. Before digital I also worked better with my Technika 5x7" than with a Hasselblad SWC. Doesn`t matter wether I needed to shift or not. That some photographers have lost their own language with their change from 4x5 to DSLR is not only my opinion.

Michael
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2009, 12:24:10 PM »
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Quote from: MHFA
What I explained is my experience. I am working as a teacher for architectural students and I often tried to find out why I am really working better with this kind of equipment. Before digital I also worked better with my Technika 5x7" than with a Hasselblad SWC. Doesn`t matter wether I needed to shift or not. That some photographers have lost their own language with their change from 4x5 to DSLR is not only my opinion.

Michael
I think I have to agree totally.  I am shooting with a DSLR with ts lenses and find it to be very limiting.  I learned off of a film view camera and as soon as I can justify financing a digital view camera, I am going to get one.  I still shoot with the DSLR like I am shooting with a view camera, slow and careful and thinking about every thing, but I still find it to be too limiting when it comes to the shifts.  

I am also finding that I am one a member of a decreasing group of photographers who bother gelling there lights.  I keep about a dozen different kinds of gels on me and it is hard today to find one who even just has daylight balance gels on him.
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Abdulrahman Aljabri
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2009, 01:33:16 PM »
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Quote from: JoeKitchen
I think I have to agree totally.  I am shooting with a DSLR with ts lenses and find it to be very limiting.  I learned off of a film view camera and as soon as I can justify financing a digital view camera, I am going to get one.  I still shoot with the DSLR like I am shooting with a view camera, slow and careful and thinking about every thing, but I still find it to be too limiting when it comes to the shifts.

How many mm of shift does a view camera give you? 11mm on a 24mm horizontal frame is almost a half frame shift. I know its not as relatively large of an effect when in vertical view.

Quote from: JoeKitchen
I am also finding that I am one a member of a decreasing group of photographers who bother gelling there lights.  I keep about a dozen different kinds of gels on me and it is hard today to find one who even just has daylight balance gels on him.

I can't work without gels, how do such photographers color correct their pictures, correct each part of the picture separately?
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 01:34:21 PM by abdul10000 » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2009, 01:41:06 PM »
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Quote from: abdul10000
I am getting into professional interior and architectural photography and would like to plan ahead with equipment investment. View cameras with digital backs are the best for such photography. They offer the most control over perspective, but are very expensive and bulky to work with.

Since I use the 5D MKII I have two other alternatives. Get the 24mm TS-E or use my current 17-40mm lens @ 17mm and crop by 50% to obtain 24mm view. The TS-E rout seems better as I do not have to sacrifice almost half of my picture resolution to achieve the desired look. That being said, do TS-E lenses give enough control to achieve similar results to lens perspective corrections in photoshop?

In the example below I shot the first picture at 24mm. The second picture was shot at 17mm, adjusted with lens correction filter by 20 degrees vertically and -40 degrees horizontally, and cropped to about 50% of original size:





If such degree figures in photoshop correspond to actual lens shift degrees then obviously TS-E lenses cannot achieve anything like photoshop as they are limited to 8 degrees if I am not mistaken. That makes me wonder how many degrees of shift do view cameras offer?

I would really appreciate hearing all of your thoughts on this as this topic might not have a "definite" answer. So it always great to learn how more experinced photographers approache this issue.

Thanks in advance!

Do not consider the 17 - 40 mm as a lens for Architectural photography, it has distortion bordering on a special effect. Not my area but I often think Photoshop corrected images often leave things looking a bit odd, I would think the least you need is both the 17 and 24 mm Tilt shift lens if a bigger format is out of the question for now, to provide professional looking images,

Kevin.
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