For those of you who read my very first article on this blog, “some like it wide”, you may remember that it dealt with my special attraction to wide angle lenses.
While I continue to shoot with my esteemed CV 12mm, I have gone one step further and mounted the recent Laowa 9mm rectilinear for Full Frame on my Sony A7 III at the tail end of last year.
MTF charts? Forget it!!
CA, field curvature, distortion, vignetting? Nah!
This lens, for me, is about raw FUN!
Can you say that 3mm could make a big change? Well, when you have a 100mm lens, give or take 3 percent is much ado about nothing. In this instance, we are talking about 25 percent!
Yes, it has a limited opening of F/5,6 and no EXIF data.
Yes, shooting with a 135° angle of view is a cumbersome exercise, trying not to take pictures of your very own feet, while wearing a mask fogging up your inescapable spectacles.
No, for most, this is not a walkabout lens, like the fine Zeiss Loxia 25 mm for example.
But, boy, do I enjoy myself taking shots with this lens!
It can turn ordinary buildings into dramatic scenes.
The “have it all in one picture” dream I am striving to have gets even closer.
By being rectilinear, and not a fisheye, despite measuring only 9mm means your pictures may not resemble those of Bozo the Clown, leading you to get bored after a few iterations only.
A single building will look necessarily different when you are able to get that close.
A large square will seem even much larger.
Taking a shot from the ground up allows some powerful perspectives (remember when you started skiing and the teacher told you “bend your knees”, well, there you go again!)
At the same time, you can take regular, “ordinary” pictures in terms of width; someone uninformed may not recognize the fact that you are using an ultra-wide lens.
So yes, in these discombobulated times, when one’s travel is limited, taking this new baby out is something that gives me special pleasure.
This lens helps me get closer to one of my photographic goals: try to make an interesting, eye catching shot out of “nothing”: a sunset, a sandy beach, a lady passing in front of an office building wearing matching Mackintosh, you name it, this lens helps boost my imagination.
The orientation you will give the lens, since it is rectilinear, will have a decisive impact on your output.
If you want something dramatic, put it as close to the ground as possible (“bend your knees!”) and striking it becomes.
Get close, very close, even closer, to the subject, tilt it right up, you’ll love those verticals!
Finally, for some street shooting, this will be just fine.
The only question that keeps nagging me now is: what’s next??
Disclosure: I bought this lens at regular street prices from my usual Brussels camera store PCH.
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