Portrait photographer and avid YouTube reviewer Jimmy Cheng tested out the new Lomography Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm f/2.8 Art Lens on his trusty Leica M camera. He explored the deserted streets of south London to capture a city in lockdown and, in this interview, he shared his experiences shooting with this ultra-wide lens.
Hello Jimmy please introduce yourself to our community!
My name is Jimmy Cheng, a London documentary, wedding, and environmental portrait photographer. I am also a content creator at RED35 Photography on YouTube. My work has been featured in many publications including Business Insider (US and AUS), National Geographics, Olympus, Nikon and Canon magazines, Professional Photography, Photography Journals, and also shown and exhibited in Europe, the US and Asia.
Could you tell us a little bit about the photos you shot with the Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm f/2.8 Art Lens?
My set of photos were inspired by the video game Resident Evil’s Racoon City, the zombies infested city. Though we don’t have any zombies in real life, London’s recent lockdown presented, in some ways, similar in feel on the abandoned city. The series is to emphasize the emptiness of the city, I also chose an area with lots of concrete and green parks in between to further the contrast between the two elements.
What was the widest lens you have worked with in the past? In your opinion, what’s the best reason to shoot with wide-angle lenses?
8mm full fisheye was the widest lens I’ve ever used! But it’s a niche lens that is used for a very specific reason. Generally, I love to use wide-angle for something I want to either absorb every element into the frame or to create something with impact. Wide-angle makes your subject looks smaller in real life and can be interesting in a certain type of genre.
How was the experience shooting with the newest Lomography Art Lens?
Absolutely awesome. I am used to shooting wide for a lot of my street documentary work. The Atoll Lens is actually one of the best I’ve tried from Lomography. The last ultra-wide prime was the Russar+ 20 mm and I got some very interesting shots, one of which won an award for best black and white street photography and had been exhibited and featured many times!
How does the Atoll Ultra-Wide Art Lens complement your shooting style?
It gives me a very unique angle for my ultra-low and ultra-close street photography. With a wide prime like this, you can get your snaps really easily and can be very impactful due to the nature of wide-angle distortion.
What advice would you give to someone trying the lens for the first time?
Shooting wide requires a lot more understanding of surrounding elements. You need to work out whether they can compliment your subjects. You will also need to get used to the angle of view as it’s very different from how human eyes see things. But practice makes perfect and once you get used to how the picture looks from the lens, you can start to create something extra ordinary.
Thanks for your initial thoughts, Jimmy! To see more of Jimmy's work, visit his website and Red35 Photography Youtube channel.
We are back on Kickstarter with the Atoll Ultra-Wide Angle 17 mm f/2.8 Art Lens. Embrace a whole new perspective with a lens designed for full-frame mirrorless and compatible with M-Mount cameras. Discover our new Art Lens and back up the project on Kickstarter!