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On the street with the 9-18mm

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by dcassat, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    I'm looking for some tips from those of you that have used the Olympus 9-18mm extensively especially in street or architectural photography.

    I use it in landscape a lot and really enjoy the results.

    I recently had a opportunity to use it in photographing buildings in a small town nearby.

    I'm not sure whether I should be amazed or confused as I find I'm feeling both.

    I don't think examples are necessary as those of you who know the lens will understand the experience of it regarding wide angle distortion. It's not a surprise to me but I have limited experience knowing when to correct for it in PP (Lightroom) and when to leave the effect that it provides - certainly at 9mm.

    So without going further down the rabbit hole about how much I don't know about it, perhaps some of you have opinion and tips about the best handling of wide angles in such scenarios. I realize that there is a subjective/objective line here.

    Just let me have what you've got! :smile:
  2. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    I have the Panasonic 7-14mm which has a similar focal range, and I use it to street shoot quite a bit now. My advice: Shoot at 7mm (9mm in your case), Get stable, get low, get close. The most interesting distortion happens at the corners and edges, so take time to line your shot up right so you don't have to crop or rotate. My favorite shots I've taken with this lens are:

    1. having it on the ground angled up at a building or indoor space
    2. sticking it in some small, enclosed area that still lets in light
    3. having it right up to an object that's four or five feet tall, as close as you can get to it and angled very low or very high. It's not a macro, so smaller objects are going to look very far away no matter what you do.

    Also, I found this article to be incredibly helpful when I was first exposed to super-wides on my Nikon D90. All the information transferred just fine to the 7-14
    How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses
    • Like Like x 4
  3. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    Also, just to give you an idea of how creative these lenses can be, here's a shoot I did this past weekend in Sonoma/Healdsburg using the 7-14. The first shot was taken by sticking the lens into the top of a garbage can in Healdsburg square and shooting though the other side. There's also one of Town Hall in Sonoma square that I shot by resting the camera on the ground and shooting up at ~15/20 degrees toward the building. I had to take four or five, tilting it more each time until I was happy w/ the framing.

    (you should be able to access this - all my shots are public)
    • Like Like x 2
  4. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    The shot through the garbage can is very cool!
    • Like Like x 2
  5. The thing to remember with an UWA lens is that anything shot from an angle is going to show a lot of perspective distortion. Sometimes you might want that, sometimes you might not. Depending on what I want I may do some correction in PP for perspective distortion. I really love the 9-18mm for the type of phoptography you describe, although I've always liked UWAs so perhaps I'm biased. The majority of my use of UWA lenses has been closer-up rather than distant landscapes.

    The following set of images taken with the M Zuiko 9-18mm has a range of stuff including street, urban, travel, some architectural...

    M Zuiko 9-18mm f4-5.6 - a set on Flickr

    My original UWA lens was a Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 used on various Canons, with a similar mix of styles

    Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 - a set on Flickr

    My only real advice is that if you want to avoid (as much as possible) the effect of perspective distortion, shoot as straight as possible. This is usually easy enough to do horizontally, but hard to avoid vertically from street level. It only takes a small angle to create the effect, and sometimes even just lifting the camera above your head may make a difference if you are shooting up. The flip screen on some of the Panasonics is a big help with the 9-18mm.
    • Like Like x 3
  6. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    Right on, we're practically bumping into each other... I work in Healdsburg!

    Thanks for the shots and advice and link... very helpful, Scott.
  7. Kiwi Paul

    Kiwi Paul Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 15, 2011
    Aberdeen Scotland
    This is good advice and something I do as well, the G3 is well suited with the flip out screen but keeping the camera as straight as possible minimises any distortion.

  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Yes. After researching bubble levels, this is the one I ended up with:Amazon.com: Jobu Design Double Bubble Spirit Level: Camera & Photo The photos of it are a bit misleading. There are two bullseye levels, one on the top and one on the side, so it is usable for both horizontal and vertical shots. IMHO bullseye levels are a lot easier to use than trying to eyeball two different tube levels simultaneously.

    I also have a $3 bullseye level bought on eBay that fits in the hot shoe. It is not very good but it is so tiny and convenient that I just carry it all the time. It is definitely better than nothing, but for horizontal shots only.

    The Jobu is a high quality machined piece; the foot had fairly sharp edges. I had to radius them very slightly with a jeweler's file before it would fit my G1 hot shoe.

    There is also a pretty good read here: Perspective distortion (photography) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • Like Like x 2
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