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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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The Auction House: Where Your Stuff Goes When You Die

Nelis Disco Auction House in Holly, MI on Fuji Superia

In Holly, Neil’s Disco is an auction house located inside of an old warehouse. In a previous life it was probably a factory, but now it’s full of thousands of different lots which are stacked to the celling in many places. Stuff like this usually comes from estate sales or people desperate for cash and willing to sell everything they own. There’s nothing wrong with most of this stuff, and it goes for super cheap. I got a couch, a TV stand, and an exercise bike for $250 (the bike alone costs $1,000 new). And yet, most people will always buy these items new, and then they’ll end up here or in a landfill.

This photo was taken on my very first roll of film. I used my FED 4 Russian rangefinder with the cult classic 50mm f/2 Industar 61 lens and Fuji Superia 400 color negative film (because that’s all they had at my local camera shop). I would rate Superia as “just ok”, which isn’t surprising since it’s a lower cost option.

Nelis Disco Auction House in Holly, MI on Fuji Superia

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My First Roll of 120 Film

A train in front of the Holly water tower on Fuji Pro 400H 120 film

On October 26th, I purchased the the Mamiya C330 which is my first working 120 format medium format camera. In anticipation of buying it I had already purchased some Fuji Pro 400H color film so I could use the camera as soon as I bought it. Well it turns out that worked in my favor since there was a trick-or-treat event in downtown Holly that I didn’t know about and I got a chance to take this picture of this antique train with the iconic water tower in the background.

Once I finally got the 120 film holder for my Epson v600 in the mail, I was ready to scan the negatives sitting lonely in my folder.

As with most of my first times trying new things with film, I made a lot of mistakes which I will hopefully learn from and fix going forward. Working without a prism is quite a challenge when trying to do handheld shooting so most of the photos on the roll aren’t really usable. Also, the main mistake I made is visible in the sky of the photo: the white splotches. I’m told this is caused by either air bubbles forming on the film during development due to lack of proper agitation, or using hard water. Either way, in the future I’m going to give a hard tap the side of the development tank after every agitation cycle to free those air bubbles. Plus, I’m going to be using distilled water to mix my chemicals and in my final wash with Photo-flo.