I had always wanted to “have it all” in one shot. Simultaneously, pano and stitching are too complicated, time consuming for me. When going digital seriously after leaving both my film years and a first dabble with pocket cameras, I screwed a Sigma 12-24 onto a Nikon D 200 first and 300 afterwards. To me, it was still too narrow and longed for a D700, the full frame nature of the latter allowing an even wider perspective. For some reason or other, it never materialized.
Thanks to a better-educated relative who opened my eyes about not always having to carry a backpack when moving my equipment around, I switched to Sony, starting with a nimble little 5N.
Shortly afterwards came the toy that gave me quite a lot of enjoyment, a simple yet acceptably good Samyang/Rokinon 8mm fisheye (12mm in FF terms).
This allowed me to take pictures both indoors and out doors, landscape or people, that were different, and fun to take even though this relatively unsophisticated lens does not open very wide (2,8).
Because, short does not necessarily mean that it is either complicated to use or that it will generate “circus style” pictures, even with a fisheye.
To focus, it is easy as you are most of the time at infinity.
This love at first sight with Sony only lasted so long as I grew tired of the limited possibilities in terms of automation at a time when my children grew less and less patient with my chronic inability to both focus and deal with the opening/speed tandem expeditiously on Contax Zeiss lenses that were my standard fare.
The Nex 6 which superseded the 5N with a couple of Zeiss Touit left me wanting for Sony to come up with a solid native lens offering, under its own brand or from companies willing to invest in E mount.
Frustrated, I went into some sort of photographic hibernation, waiting for the suitable equipment to rekindle my interest.
Early 2018, again prodded by my close relative, I decided it was time to give it another try, presto arrived an A7 III followed closely by a CV (Cosina Voigtländer) 12mm.
With limited recent experience, I was quickly on track to achieve what I had longed for a very long time. Full frame with rewarding IQ and ease of use.
Black and white, color, you name it, the Voigtländer cum Sony alliance enabled me to come out of my photographic hideaway, to the point of showing some of my pictures to the Lord of the Focusing Ring, aka Pascal J, who is kind enough to let me share some of my pictures today.
As you will see, there is so much one can tell with a wide angle. Landscapes, buildings, the stories come naturally.
From a technical standpoint, one has to bear in mind that if one is only to make the picture wider, ie only take the horizontal axis, this will greatly reduce the attraction of the picture, and simultaneously the usability of a wide angle lens.
In my opinion, one should give significant attention to the foreground to tell a story, to avoid a postcard effect, and the eye to be solely attracted by the width of the shot. This allows the story telling to be that much more elaborate.
Secondly, one has to mention the fact that deformation may be encountered, depending on which type of photo you will shoot. Again, if the scope is limited to close ups, it will generate spectacular “wow” effect, but this, in my mind, would not do such a lens justice.
One also has to add that a wide angle such as the CV 12 makes clouds look quite spectacular, again due to the nature of the beast.
I went to Japan (where, by happenstance, I briefly met his Lordship in person); before leaving I decided this trip was going to be the acid test of the homecoming.
Some might object that a very wide angle (reminder CV calls its wide-angle lens range consisting of 15-12-10mm, super, ultra and hyper wide respectively) only has a limited use.
Not me. Some 15 to 20% of the thousand plus of my Japanese shots were taken with the CV 12. And those I took with the Voigtländer are so different from those I took with my other lenses (starting at 25mm – I’m also a Zeiss Loxia 25 fan, my standard lens) that it was either with the CV or nix.
Going into further detail, one could enter into a discussion why the CV12 and not the CV10 if wide is the way to go?
Fair point; after looking around, first the difference was not blatant and I was more impressed with what I saw coming out of a 12 than the 10. You are in ultra and hyper wide territory anyway ^^.
Finally, I have to say that I was always fascinated by the aesthetics of “old style” lenses. Too lazy to put up with full manual at the time, the interest was there when my relative carried his Zeiss ZEs around.
The CV12 satisfies me completely in this respect. It has this unctuous operation when focusing which is a real joy (even better than a Zeiss Loxia in my opinion- at the risk of unruffling some DS feathers). And for those who might be interested in video, de-click is done directly on the lens.
Next time you are looking for something different, yet not extreme as I have tried to convey to you, you might want to give real width a new opportunity.
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