Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Some new glass :-)

Ligularia in flower at Auckland's Botanic Gardens
I'd been taking some shots for a friend where a wide angle lens was required.  I was using a 12mm focal length lens on my cropped sensor D300 and whilst looking OK, the shots didn't have the impact I was looking for that a seriously wide angle lens could provide.  I'd also noticed some quite stunning shots by Pawel Tomaszewicz and thought I should get something wider than 12mm.  After pondering for some time I bought the Samyang 8mm f3.5.  The lens requires manual focussing and use of the aperture ring rather than the wheel on the camera body.
My desk with 12mm lens
But just how much of a difference is there between the 12mm lens and the 8mm lens?  I suppose I was expecting a much larger field of view, and as the lens is sold as a fisheye, quite a bit of distortion.  The first shot in this post was taken with the 8mm Samyang and doesn't look too bad.  The main problem I was having in this shot was the light.  The sky was quite bright, even though overcast, and the foreground somewhat in shadow.  as such, this image is a blend of five shots taken at 1EV intervals.  Distortion is definitely there, but the shot isn't overwhelmed by its presence.  The bamboo to the right of the image should be vertical, but its leaning into the shot adds to the shot rather than detract from it.

OK, but just how much more can you get in the shot with 8mm instead of 12mm?  I set up my tripod next to my desk and took two shots from the same position, one with a 12mm lens, the other with 8mm.  Quite a difference don't you think?  What's more, in this shot the distortion is rather more apparent than in the first image in the post.

My desk with 8mm lens
The computer screen and window frame are seriously bent in the 8mm image, whereas are surprisingly straight in the 12mm shot.  But just look hoe much more "stuff" you can get into the frame, and it's reasonably sharp as you look to the edges of the image.

Quite a fun lens with heaps of potential for creating quite striking shots.  Maybe take a look at Pawel's images and you may find yourself becoming inspired to get a fisheye lens yourself ;-)

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