Canon reportedly making first-ever tilt-shift autofocus lens for mirrorless

Canon tilt-shift lens with autofocus
(Image credit: Unsplash / Tom Pumford)

A leaked Canon roadmap from October 2020 mentioned a couple of tilt-shift RF lenses for the brand's full-frame mirrorless camera system. At the time, not much was known about the TS-series lenses, but a new report from the oft-reliable Canon Rumors (opens in new tab) suggests we could see two of them by the end of this year.

The most exciting part of this fresh leak is that these lenses could be the first to feature autofocus capabilities in the TS line-up, most likely thanks to the advances made in mirrorless technology.

Tilt-shift lenses have, so far, only featured manual focus as AF systems can only work on a flat focal plane, while TS lenses (as the name suggests) have been designed to tilt and shift that flat plane to create different perspectives. 

That's not the only obstacle Canon will need to account for – it's also the amount of light that passes through to the sensor. Because of the physical movement of the optics within the lens, the amount of light passing through is also diminished, which is usually seen as vignetting in the results of many tilt-shift lenses. This, too, will affect a camera's AF calculations.

Open wide

Although it's never been done before, Canon has proved recently that the company is still capable of huge feats of innovation – take the new fixed-aperture f/11 RF 600mm and 800mm as an example.

And then there's Canon's excellent AF algorithms in the EOS 1D-X Mark III, the EOS R5 and the R6. So anything is possible.

Including making the widest-ever tilt-shift lens. According to Canon Rumors, the two lenses coming are the Canon TS-R 14mm f/4L and Canon TS-R 24mm f/3.5L. If true, then the 14mm lens will be the widest yet – currently the Laowa 15mm f/4.5 Zero-D Shift is the widest TS lens available for the RF mount.

When Canon announced the EOS R (2018) and EOS RP (2019), and the accompanying lenses, it felt as though the company had entered a slump. Canon has since proved us wrong by coming up with some very impressive innovations. So if the camera maker can pull of making tilt-shift lenses with AF, then it may just be its biggest achievement yet.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.