Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Slightly Wider Perspective


So I have got that new lens, Olympus Zuiko 11-22mm, and my hands have been itching all day to try it out. Unfortunately I only got it late evening yesterday, and working full day only meant I could take the new lens out for a spin later today. I got off work dangerously near sunset, and I was chasing time to make some shots happen. This was one rare occasion when I go for shutter therapy on weekdays.

Not so pretty sky

It actually rained when I got off from work, but as I took the LRT down to the city area, it was dry there, but the sky was very cloudy. Not exactly ideal for sunset, I thought to myself. Knowingly, weather has always been unpredictable, and oddly unfavorable to me every simgle time I arm myself with gears out for shooting. Nonetheless, this session was not so much of making beautiful shots. The primary focus was to test the lens, and make sure it worked fine shooting in the field. What better place to shoot, other than the city overlooking the not so nice sunset? Urban scene can get quite boring. Like I said, this was all about getting familiar with the lens, and better pictures will come in the future as I learn and grow with the lens. For now, no stress.

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I was standing less than 1m away from the wall, snapping the above two photos. This is the advantage of wider angle lenses, it provides you flexibility in restricted working areas, allowing you to cover more frame in shorter shooting distance. Directly behind me were cars. For normal kit lenses, I would have to move further behind, and the view is then blocked by the cars already.

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Slightly Wider Perspective goes a long way

So what is so special about this 11-22mm lens? It is replacing my old 14-42mm lens, which started at 14mm at the wide end. For this new lens, at 11mm, with only 3mm wider, the perspective it is able to pull into the photographs may not be overly dramatic, but the difference is significant. The slightly wider view adds in the extra depth and space. This is most welcome especially when it comes to landscape and sceneries. I have always found the old lens at 14mm to be too restrictive, and now, 11mm may not be a true ultra wide angle, but at least it provides me that extra flexibility when it comes to composition. I can fit a lot more elements into my frame now.

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Why not go even wider?

There is another lens by Olympus, which is 9-18mm F4-5.6. This lens is classified under ultra wide angle lens, and the field of view is significantly wider than what I currently own. Ideally that would have been the lens of choice, but I have my reasons for choosing the not that wide 11-22mm. First of all, it boils down to the faster/brighter aperture of F2.8-3.5 on 11-22mm, meaning I can shoot handheld indoors much better in comparison to F4-5.6 on the 9-18mm, which could be quite a struggle. Extra wide coverage is always welcome, but it is not so easy using it when the furthest zoom is only at 18mm, as opposed to 22mm, which is closer to what natural human eye is comfortable in viewing. Build quality wise the 11-22mm is definitely better, since it is weather sealed. Losing the 2mm may be quite a pain when it comes to wide angle considerations where every single mm counts, but I have to come to realize the importance of having brighter aperture. Furthermore, I have tried the 11-22mm before during one of my trips to Malacca, and I fell in love with it there and then.

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I just loved how wider angle lens can open up the sky a little more deeper, and adds drama especially if the cloud formation is quite interesting. Now, the sky can be included as one of the enhancing elements in the photograph. The emphasis was on the sky, which was getting rather gloomy and dark.

Advantage of Shooting Wide Angle

There are many advantages having a wide angle lens. First of all, it gives the wider coverage, meaning you can fit more space from left to right, top to bottom into the photograph. For wide angle lens, shooting at lower shutter speed is usually less of a problem, since at 11mm, you can comfortably shoot at 1/20 seconds or slower, even without IS turned on and still having a safely shake blur-free photo. Adding the advantage of Olympus Image Stablization system, I find no trouble going even at slower shutter speed, thus enabling me to shoot during post sunset times, when the available ambient light was rather low. Also, for wide angle lenses, the depth of field is usually more, greatly compensating for undesired error in miss-focusing. Focusing speed and accuracy also have become less of a problem, in comparison to longer lenses. Combining all the points stated above, and knowing when and where to utilize the lens, I believe the 11-22mm can be quite a capable lens on many grounds. I just have to bring myself out to explore it.


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Who cares of the buildings look like they are falling behind or sideways? The distortion is what adds interest in the photos !! I love the effect, and I purposely seek it.

Distortion? So What?

Do not be confused, there a few types of distortion common to lens behavior, mainly perspective and barrel distortion. For 11-22mm, barrel distortion has been reported to be controlled very well. Unfortunately, perspective distortion happens, unless there is perspective correction mechanism employed. Perspective distortion is the kind of distortion that makes the bottom of the picture looks bigger than the top, as if the building is tilting backwards, or falling behind. This phenomena can be easily overcome by carefully using the lens. Some technical junkies really hate those distortions. You know what? Call me nuts, but one of the reasons I buy this lens, was so that I can CREATE those distortions in my shots !! Yes, I love the perspective distortion, and they can be evidently seen in every single photographs shown in this blog entry. The lines perspective exaggeration was being pulled excessively, producing an out of the ordinary output, which is way better and different than normally technical correct, oh so straight, oh so distortion-free, oh so BORING looking picture. This is a like it or hate it situation. I cannot force you to love the distortion, but then, if you know me well enough, I love to bend rules.

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Finally I can fit the whole height of KLCC twin towers into my photo in a single frame !! Previously I needed panorama stitching to fit the whole tower in. Also, take note I was shooting those KLCC photos handheld. At 11mm, F2.8, shutter speed of 1/15 seconds was no trouble at all, and look at the photos, they come out sharp, really sharp !! I know I should bring tripod and use long shutter speed, but that shall be for the future sessions, ya? Even this simple quick snapshot, the photos came out very pleasing, and I was very happy with the lens.

Photos this session did not come out as good as I originally intended. I was a little on the rush, since the weather seems like it was going to rain any time soon. First round of testing, and boy oh boy, was I happy with the lens !! Check out the sharpness, it is razor sharp !! The colour tone was a little off this time, no thanks to the odd looking sunset which was diffused by the clouds. I have seen what this lens can do under really good sunset, and better clearer skies. The colour reproduction was just stunning. So far, the lens really opened up a different perspective in my photographs.

So yeah, 11-22mm first run. I cannot wait for the weekends when I can fully make use of the lens and see what I can really do with it !!

18 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. its weathersealed lens.. no need worry rain :P

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  3. hey LKM,
    My lens is weather sealed, but I am not.

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  4. I wish i have a wide toooo. :(
    have to wait patiently :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. hey allen,
    it will come, surely.

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  6. hey bingish,
    Just grab an 11-22 and you can do the same since you are using Olympus system too !!

    ReplyDelete
  7. me like the 1st 'corn' photo.

    ReplyDelete
  8. hey chong,
    Twin corns u mean ahahha

    ReplyDelete
  9. ya... since i'm not jumping de.. might consider that..

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. hey bing,
    yeah man !! Oly rocks.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. wah somebody got new toy wohhh... your klcc pic very bright n sharp man!

    ReplyDelete
  14. hey aaron,
    yeah man !!! that is one sharp lens !!

    ReplyDelete
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