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The Coffee Shop With The Sony 16-35 f/2.8 GM

Recently I had the pleasure of renting a Sony 16-35 f/2.8 GM lens for use on my Sony A7ii. At that I rented it, I was planning on shooting some indoor wedding photography where the wide angle and bright aperture would come in handy. With the current global “situation” (don’t want to use the word since it flags you in search), the event was limited to ten people and I could no longer attend.

Unperturbed, I knew I still had a $2,200 lens in my hands for a few days, so I made the most of it. My mom’s coffee shop (which is still taking orders by the way) recently renovated the entire interior and needed some shots to promote it on Facebook and to update the images on Google Maps. I decided to head over and see what kind of photos I could get. I’ve never used a lens wider than 28mm on a full-frame camera before, so I was absolutely blown away by the kind of images I was getting.

Interior of Battle Alley Coffee
Interior of Battle Alley Coffee

Now I’ll be the first to admit my interior photography needs some work. The edges of the frame are crowded and there’s way too much going on in this photo. But, on the bright side, by intention was to portray the relaxing nature of the interior and I think that comes across.

Espresso machine making double shots
Close up of the espresso machine making two shots

While this isn’t a review of the lens, I was kind of surprised at the low corner sharpness at f/2.8 zoomed out to 16mm. But looking at sample images of the competition, this seems to be the norm. Limitations of the laws of physics I suppose.

After handling the lens for a few days, I’m now seriously considering buying the Samyang AF 18mm f/2.8 FE to add an extreme wide angle lens to my toolbox. It’s only $350 brand new, and there’s just no other way to capture the feeling and look that a 16-18mm wide angle lens gives you. Regular sized objects like the espresso machine can now fill the frame and grab your attention. Average sized interiors become cavernous. And usually plain exteriors become vast, wide-open landscapes you can fall into.

Train Tracks in Holly
You know I had to do the stereotypical train track shot

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5 Frames of Ilford FP4+

This article originally appeared on emulsive.com on April 17, 2020

I grew up in an area that used to be completely farm land about 100 years ago. Some of the smaller family owned farms are still in operation, but almost all of the original land owners decided a long time ago that the money from selling the land would be more than the money they’d be paid by continuing to sell crops. The original plots of land still have the original farm house and barn, both of which now look out of place on a much more modestly sized plot of land.

Fast forward 100 years and most of the owners these old buildings are poor and don’t have the money to keep up with repairs. The barns are in especially poor condition since they serve less practical value than the house. I wanted to capture these buildings before more of them fall over from age or are torn down from condemnation. There’s something about old barns that I can’t quite put my finger on that makes me love them. These giant yet practical buildings have withstood the test of time and were often put together by a single family or the community working together.

I had never shot black and white on medium format before, so I took my newly acquired Mamiya C330 Professional, the 80mm f/2.8 Mamiya Sekor and a 120 roll of Ilford FP4+ to start my project. The C330 is a twin lens reflex with a waist level viewfinder that’s notable for having an interchangeable lens system, unlike most other TLRs. Mamiya is generally known for well made medium format cameras with sharp glass, and the C330 appears to be no exception. It shoots 12 6×6 negatives on a roll, which was great for me, as I’ve never shot anything other than 2:3 pictures and it acted as a good creative limitation.

The smooth tones and fine grain were exactly what I was looking for when I choose FP4+, and I couldn’t be happier with how these images turned out. I developed these negatives in Rodinal with a 1:25 dilution for nine minutes and scanned them on an Espon v600.

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