Wide-angle lens are further divided into sub-classifications: Wide, ultra-wide and ultra-ultra-wide. Based on current standards, wide lenses for 35mm cameras are those with focal lengths ranging from 24 to 35mm. Lenses are considered ultra-wide if they have focal lengths from 17 to 21 mm, and ultra-ultra-wide if from 12 to 16mm. The New Russar+ is a 20mm lens; hence it falls under the ultra-wide classification. If you have an ultra-wide lens or if you intend to get the Russar+, you might as well make the most out of your precious investment. Read on for a few guidelines on shooting with ultra-wide lenses.
While an ultra-wide lens can capture more in a single frame, getting as much in that one frame isn’t necessarily the only thing it’s good for.
When there’s too much space surrounding your actual subject, the viewer is distracted from what he should be looking at, and what you get is a poorly-composed image. Imagine taking a photo of a newly-constructed house but not really being able to appreciate it, because more than half of the picture shows the empty grey cemented lot in front of it and the house appears as this small block in the center. So sometimes really, you don’t need to get everything inside the frame, but rather, you have to…
Ultra-wide lenses give you the power to get you right in the middle of your subject. It can magically bring the viewer right into the photo, as if her were rubbing his nose on the subject. Let the magic work for you!
Ultra-wide lenses cause even the slightest distortion – let it work to your advantage.
So what if your head isn’t that big in proportion to your body in real life? So what if your subject looks stretched and everything’s exaggerated? Take advantage of distortion to create interesting, non-traditional shots. The New Russar+ however, has impressive distortion control compared to other wide-angle lenses in the market.
Lines are your friends.
Ultra-wide lenses can create dramatic effects on otherwise ordinary subjects, especially when there are lines in the composition. When you see lines huddled together, try viewing them from an angle that will allow your ultra-wide lens to play with and stretch the lines. You’ll see things differently and realize how lines can make your image fascinating.
Things may look farther than usual, making things pleasantly unusual.
Ultra-wide lenses extend a picture’s visible depth, bringing elements in close proximity even closer and pushing the background seemingly farther into the back. So if you want your subject to look unbelievably colossal, put it in front, on the foreground. Distances are exaggerated, and this, again, is an opportunity to come up with extraordinary images.
Capture only what needs to be captured.
There’s this misconception that because ultra-wide lenses allow you to capture so much all in one frame, you have to make everything part of the photo. If there are too many distracting and unnecessary elements in your photo, they just take away attention from the actual subject and give you a cluttered image.
Get really close.
We cannot stress this enough. Shoot as close to your subject as possible. Think about it – if ultra-wide lenses were meant to be used from afar, the focal length wouldn’t be so short. Shooting from afar is what zoom lenses are for, but not wide lenses.
Of course, as Lomographers, we shouldn’t be constrained by rules. These are just guidelines that you may want to bear in mind, but at the end of the day, it’s up to you to let your creativity shine through and Lomo on!
The New Russar+ is a stunning brass-bodied wide-angle lens. It is a pioneering update on the 1958 Russar. Thanks to its modified lens tube construction, the New Russar+ is compatible with L39 and M mount analogue cameras, digital mirrorless cameras and loads of other cameras using adaptor mounts. Visit the New Russar+ microsite for exciting information and stunning wide-angle photos.