Short Lens on London

What could follow a day with a 135mm telephoto? A day with a 12-24mm wideangle! Another day spent with a lens I don’t use often enough. I though it would be interesting to walk the same route I did before.

Some quite different shots came out, partly because I got a lot more creative in Lightroom afterwards (which itself was a result of trying to salvage a bunch of truly mediocre shots). But also because you have to work really hard to fill a wide angle lens with interest. The number of times I walked to the ‘right’ spot while looking through the viewfinder and took the camera away to find myself mere inches from smacking right into the object I was focussing on…

Long Lens on London

Many years ago, when I was young (okay, 2004) and foolish (that’s still true), I bought a Nikon 135mm f/2 ‘defocus control’ lens, ostensibly to photograph a wedding.

That didn’t work out, but I’d paid for the lens and it was languishing in my camera bag, so, having just upgraded my camera to a D200 I resolved to get out and try using this superb lens.

Here’s what I came up with one sunny november day.

I love: the perspective compression (St Paul’s looks huge in some of the shots!), the narrow depth of field.
I don’t love: the evil purple fringes of doom on some of the high contrast shots at f/2.

Top tips: pick a day with good light. Hand holding this lens needs shutter speeds in excess of 1/200 or faster for my shaky mitts. Alternatively get creative about finding places to lean against or rest the camera on. Both the D200 body and the 135DC lens are made of metal, so we’re talking some serious tonnage when you put them together.

All the indoor shots at the Tate Modern were taken either resting the camera on a railing or the donation bucket, coupled with holding up the lens ‘snooker cue’ style while trying to get down low enough to see though the viewfinder. Expect funny looks while attempting this.