Shooting with a 17mm

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I recently acquired a 17mm f4 lens for Canon FD system.
    My widest lens for 35mm thus far has been 28mm.
    I went for a walk in the local nature area and I must say, shooting with a 17mm is a totally different experience.

    I instinctively spin the focus ring looking for the image to blur and sharpen. But a half turn of the ring makes almost no difference. Everything just seems to be in focus from about 5 feet on. So a certain amount of 'trust' that the exposed image will turn out sharp is required.

    Also, to get any person-sized object to appear prominently in the image, you must get close.. really close. About 3 feet or less than 1 meter seems to be about right. For smaller objects you need to be damn near on top of them. Remembering to get close enough to objects can be a burden. We have a tendency to shoot from a safe distance and if you do so, most things will just be too small in the final image.

    Another issue I have is the sky. Around here the sky is rarely interesting. It is a gaping hole in the artistic sense and burning pan in the exposure sense.

    I really like the way the 17mm works with trees. With other lenses, its is a rare occasion that you have enough room to get the whole tree in frame. And the perspective works well as it can accentuate the size of the trunk, especially nice with massive oaks. Another nice thing about it is that you can single out one tree, its neighbors quickly diminish in size.
     
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I have a 19mm. Yes, it is different, to say the least. But I don't worry about getting close enough, that's not the point. I use this lens when I can't get far enough away. :wink:
     
  3. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Welcome to the club of super-wide users !
    As you get more and more experience with this lens you will love it more and more.
    You allso will see the limitations and its real use over time.

    Discover and enjoy !

    Peter
     
  4. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I also have a Canon 17mm f4 FD lens. I really enjoy mine. I wouldn't trade it for anything. The more you use it the more you like.

    Jeff
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    My wife decided to use my 17mm as her standard lens, she loved what she saw through the view finder but not the prints :D

    They are great lenses used carefully.

    Ian
     
  6. Shangheye

    Shangheye Member

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    Ironically I see the 17mm as a close-up lens, which is unobtrusive. The Wide angle means you can raise the camera compose and expose, without too much worry for focus. It means taking picture quickly while being sure all the information you want is in them is suddenly easier at close quarters. I guess in the end it's about what pictures you like to take and how you take them. I'm sure that if you practice with the 17mm you will find that it's just as versatile as any other lens. HAving said that,my favourite focal length at the wide end is 24mm. K
     
  7. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Be sure to keep your feet out of the picture.
     
  8. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Feet I can deal with.. My shadow however likes to steal the limelight.
     
  9. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Darin;

    You are right; the 17 mm focal length on a 35 mm camera is very interesting.

    My own sample used most recently is the Tamron Type 51B 17 mm f 3.5 Rectilinear lens with Adaptall-2 mount. For me, it has been a special purpose lens used when I cannot get back far enough to get the view I want. Some care is helpful to avoid unpleasant distortion is many subjects. Then there is also the application for "wide sweeping lanscapes."

    The next one down is a 16 mm f 4.0 "full frame fisheye" that is used mainly for such things as recording meteor trails in the night sky and clouds taken with an intervalometer. Again, another special purpose lens.

    Continue playing with it. It is an interesting lens.
     
  10. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I didnt see much use going wider than 17/18mm. I really didnt want a fisheye.
    I missed out on a deal for a nice nikkor 18mm f4 but in the end I think i made the right choice since the nikkor does not have a floating element (the nikkor 18mm f3.5 does however)
    The examples from both the canon 17mm and nikkor 18mm ive seen have shown very little distortion. As soon as I can ill post pics.
     
  11. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I had a 17mm F4 NFD(FDn) lens for a while, and I liked using in woods. I think it was to me an extreme close-up lens to get really close to some parts of the nature in landscape. But that was about it.

    After selling it I got a 20mm F2.8 NFD lens, and I like this one better because it's more of a true wide-angle lens than an extreme close-up lens that the 17mm was, at least to me. It's just a matter of one's preference, I think.
     
  12. dynachrome

    dynachrome Member

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    My widest lens in FD mount is a 19/3.8 Vivitar. Focusing is not very bright but the lens is OK if it is closed down a little. My 17mm lenses are an f/3.5 Vivitar in Konica mount and an f/3.5 Tokina in Minolta MD mount. The Vivitar is also made by Tokina but has slightly different cosmetics. Both 17s are decent performers. I like using wide lenses with a grid type focusing screen so I can keep the horizon lined up more easily.
     
  13. Java

    Java Member

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    I really like super wides I have a Nikon 14mm and a 16mm Fisheye (also I am after either or a 18mm, 20mm or 24mm f2) and have used both around car racing, in the pits or sooting graveyards, for a college project.

    I love the way the world loooks through them and if I go college again next year, I may do a "World though 114 dgress of vew" theme or something like that..

    I have Canon gear so my go looking for a cheap 17mm as so many seem to rave about it.
     
  14. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    I love the 17mm Tamron I use on a Canon AE1. One of the great things to do with it is street photography - from the hip, so to speak. Since at f11 practically everything is in focus, I just keep the camera on my chest (at the end of the neck strap) and shoot away. There is some distortion in subjects very close in, but the feeling is of being in the crowd. It also keeps folks from staring at you because you have a camera pointed in their direction.
     
  15. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Thats a good tip. Ill have to look into getting a grid screen. thx
     
  16. Vanishing Point Ent.

    Vanishing Point Ent. Member

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    So, what you're saying is;
    " you CAN see the tree for the forest."
     
  17. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I generally use my FD 17mm f/4.0:

    1. When I want major distortion
    2. When I am inside of a cramped space

    I got lucky. I got it in a lot of FD equipment on E-Bay, along with a 55mm f/1.2, F-1 (old), FTb, 200mm IF, Haliburton case, Viv 283 and Toshiba handle mount flashes, Speed Finder, low light meter for FTb, and a few more things, all for $350, and all in like-new condition. I had been wanting to acquire all of these lenses anyhow, so it worked out perfectly for me.

    I have used it rarely. But it has really helped for certain situations.

    BTW, I have a friend who is selling the 17mm Tokina for Canon FD, if anyone is interested. He bought it brand new, and does not use it any more because he ran his T70 into the ground and has gone digital.
     
  18. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    Brasilia, 14-28mm zoom at 14mm.
    This lens is distortion free over the full range.

    Love those ultra's
     

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  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I've got two lenses in that general range: a 16mm fisheye and a 20mm rectilinear. I like them both, although the fisheye is both more fun and more demanding because it's a fisheye. My own preference with both lenses is to get close to a relatively small object or part of the scene so that it fills maybe 1/4 to 1/2 the frame, leaving the rest of the frame as context. For instance (shot with my 16mm on Velvia 50):
     

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  20. nicefor88

    nicefor88 Member

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    Hi,
    I used an 18mm Nikkor and found it quite interesting. It gives a kind of additional dynamics to images with horizontal lines driving the eye to the center, if you see what I mean. Hope I'm clear enough:rolleyes:
    However, I found the extent of distortion (barrel type) quite frustrating. Although we can play with this aberration to increase visual effects. As I shoot lots of landscapes, I also found it difficult to keep the horizon really parallel to the frame, it always went up a bit on one side or the other making it looked curved.
    A good solution to this was the purchase of a 17-35mm zoom, zooming more toward 20mm or so than keeping to 17mm in some critical situations. But, it is incredible how the difference between 17 and 20mm seems huge...
    :confused:
     
  21. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    I own a Tokina 17mm and love it to bits! (Had the FD version as well.)
    For me it allows for a nice architectural image without needing to tilt the camera up to include the top of the image. I can crop afterwards to remove the extraneous part of the image.

    It is wonderful for landscape work that is sharp front to back. By far, this is my favorite extra-wide, wide angle lens.

    - Nanette
    www.nanettereid.com