Dear Reader, you know how in the past I have talked about how some of us love the big massive telephoto lenses? And how others like to go wider? And how we start of with the “nifty fifty” F1.8 and learn on that? That was in the days before digital photography and a world where zoom lenses came to the fore. We had them before in the days of film photography, but my memories are of using these prime lenses, and zooms seemed to be looked down on. I wanted to go wider.
I remember my first proper photography course where I learnt the basics of film photography, going from taking the photo, developing the film, and getting a print as an end result. I remember seeing a photo of a horse taken with a massive head taken with a wide-angled lens and finding it fascinating! When I said the head was massive, the lens deformed our view of this majestic beast and its body seemed smaller than its head, which is something indeed. It was then that I learnt a photograph doesn’t have to represent a visual that is faithful to the subject. We can mess around with reality and show the world completely differently.
So, as I said, I learnt photography with a 50mm lens. These 50mm seem to be closest to how the human eye sees the world. It represents reality. In 2018 I acquired the Fujifilm X100F which has a lens equivalent to a 35mm lens. Slightly wider, but still represents the reality of this world, and is considered “the” street photography lens par excellence. It has a larger angle of view and allows me to get a little more in the frame and I felt the difference with the 50mm straight away. It was still a great lens and very versatile until I tried taking a close-up portrait. All of a sudden, I discovered some distortion in my model. I’m not saying that my model is deformed, well, no more deformed than any of us.
Suddenly watching YouTube, as many of us do apparently, I discovered the 16-35mm F4 lens from Canon for my Canon 6D Mark II. It was a little more than I had ever paid for a lens, but worth every centime of euro and so satisfying. If you care to have a look in the archives of this blog on my Instagram feed, you will discover many photos taken with this lens. My desire to go wider was now a reality. Distortion of reality was now in my hands. I could create interesting images. I discovered the way a very wide-angled lens can transform the world around us. Leading lines exist all over the place, and the wide-angled lens exaggerates each line, leading or not!
But, and this is a big but. You fellas can’t deny… It is possible to go wider. I know. Exciting isn’t it! My mind is now blown! There is a lens, a very special lens, called a fish-eye lens. This type of lens can offer you even more distortion and make the world seem even weirder than it already is! Canon does one. It’s a 15-8mm zoom lens. There are two types of fish-eye lenses. One will give a rectangular view, however distorted, and one will give a round image with a black frame. It’s a wonderful piece of engineering and for over €1000 it can be yours. But for €1000 it can’t be mine simply because I can’t justify spending that much money on camera kit and might even be cause for divorce. Since it is cheaper to keep her, I would have to look elsewhere instead of buying a super duper automatic lens from Canon. So like any self-respecting poor photographer I went onto Amazon and found a manual lens for my Fujifilm XT2 (like the famous X100F except I can change lenses) for 169€ which is slightly cheaper and a slightly more reasonable purchase, and my dear wife didn’t bat an eyelid! Not batting and eyelid is a very desirable reaction!!!
I will go out this afternoon to test this new toy and get back to you with some pictures!