Wide-angle Lens

I bought my C3 with the 16mm fixed lens kit.  (That’s a 24mm equivalent for a full frame sensor/35mm film.)  I choose that mostly because it’s much smaller and more lightweight than the other kit lens option, an 18-55mm zoom, and my reason for buying a new camera right now instead of in 6 months or a year was to prepare for some spring travel.  (Photos to come!)  In addition to wanting a portable package for carrying in a small purse, I like the idea of a fixed-zoom lens and the extra creativity it requires to get the shots you want.  As you can see so far, I’ve been able to get a wide variety of types of shots, even with a fixed lens, and I’m very happy to have the lens I have.  It is serving my current purposes much better than the 18-55.

There have been times that I’ve wished for a zoom, though.

There was a smallish bird of prey at the top of this tree…

and a robin in this one…

 and a robin on the ground here….

and two jays (and a mitten for good measure) in this photo…

and a large hawk up here:

(this was a very large tree, and significantly further away than the others, which is why the bird looks so tiny)

…but as you see, I didn’t get a good photo of any of them.

A more subtle problem with the wide-angle is that there is some distortion.  This only a problem sometimes, but when it is, it’s pretty bad – faces and other objects become warped toward the edge of the frame.  For instance: Max is not shaped like this:

His rear end is definitely not that large relative to the rest of his body.  He sure looks funny, though, doesn’t he?  But what’s amusing in a photo of Max is awkward and weird in human portraits.  If I try to take someone close up, I have to be really careful where in the frame they are positioned, or I get some really odd results.

There are two zoom lenses available now that go out to 200mm (300mm equivalent).  The 18-200mm takes some very pretty photos, but is $800, so instead I may go for the 55-210mm sometime.  I’m pretty sure I can’t yet tell the difference between the quality of photos taken (by me, at least) with a $350 lens vs. an $800 lens.

I am afraid though that if I had a (physically) large lens, I wouldn’t often bring it with me on daily walks, because of the size and weight.  There’s no point to spending more for an additional lens if I never have it on my camera.  The Sony E-mount lens roadmap indicates that there should be another several fixed focal length lenses soon to come, so I may just choose one of those – at least one is listed as a “pancake,” i.e. flat and small.  Just what I like.   I’ll have to see what the price is when it is released.

So: my lens library will hopefully eventually be: my current wide-angle fixed; a standard focal length fixed (somewhere between a 35mm equivalent and 60mm equivalent); and maybe a longer zoom for wildlife and the moon – and no more!  I am a little afraid of wanting more and more lenses, and eventually having a large set of them, but hopefully I can keep my head.  I can easily see myself wanting a macro lens also at some point.  (It’s “only” $250!)  Or dreaming of the $999 24mm (36mm equivalent) large-aperture Carl Zeiss.  or, or, or….


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