Many years ago, i used to own the previous version of this lens back in the days of shooting on film and having to squint through the viewfinder at the tiny gridded screen.
Oh, how things have changed!!
I’ve been using this new(er) version on a Canon 5d mkII, mainly attached to a Manfrotto carbon tripod via one of their excellent new ball heads (I will be doing a post about this at a later date).
The first thing that hit me about this set up was how i instantly reverted to working as if using the old 5×4 setup from “back in the day”. I found myself composing on the LCD screen as if it was the ground glass on my old MPP. with the grids turned on it was fantastic. I was able to check verticals as well as the essentials of composition. This setup also lets you (fairly acuratly) assess the final exposure, practically negating the need for a light meter for most architectural shots.
The thing i had read most about this new lens was that it had a much wider range of shift movements, so in a typical small boy style i decided to try my first shot by pushing it all to the limits. Not wanting to be to adventurous, my first target was our village church. i have been trying to get a descent picture of this ever since i moved here a few years ago.
To push everything, i gt as near the ground as possible to try and make some of the interesting headstones and tombs as much a part of the picture as the church itself. I was particularly taken by the gothic angel and tried to get her in a decent proportion to every thing else. I think i managed this, although a number of people recon the result is a bit sinister and don’t really like it. i do, so that’s all that matters really
Another thing i was told about this lens was that it didn’t perform above f16. So with all this in mind, i pushed everything. It’s shot on f22, with the lens at maximum shift. I used standard differential focusing, checking that the nearest object was withing the zone whilst the furthest point was well withing infinity. What this has shown is that this lens is incredibly sharp, even fully stopped down. The colours are fantastic and most importantly, there is absolutely no distortion whatsoever. as yo can see from the back of the cross. This is perfectly straight from the camera and has had no adjustments to make it more so.
I have always liked the work of the late Simon Marsden and have found many of my images going towards his style of Infrared Gothicry (if that’s a real word). The finished file of the church was put through Alien Skin’s “Exposure 4” on the Kodak HIE setting (as this was my favourite film until its discontinuation). Ex4 gives a very good and accurate rendition of this film, so i find myself using it a fair bit.
A copy of the final print is available at: http://www.andrewchamberlain.co.uk/-/library/art-prints
On jobs since, i have used this lens to produce panoramas and other joined images. the total lack of distortion making light work of a job that used to be prohibitively difficult with my old lenses.
So, to sumarise, this is a fantastic lens that lets me work in a way that is not possible with standard wide angle lenses. possibly the best photographic investment I’ve ever made, AND, so impressed am I, that i have just ordered the 17mmTSE to go with it. Be sure that i will be posting image s from this and writing about it when it arrives and I’ve had a bit of a play.