Sony FE16-35mm f4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar T* Lens - Wide-angles - creative tool and / or Photoshop opportunity?


All images - Sony A7r + Sony FE16-35mm f4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar T* Lens

With the arrival yesterday of my Leica T 11-23mm zoom lens, I'm once again into the issue of wide-angle lenses and how much 'correction' I do to the files. Because optically, these lenses can prove the most challenging of all, particularly when, as these days, they come in the form of zooms. And while they can provide us with some dramatic results, anyone who has worked with them will know that of all the lenses we have at our disposal, these can be the ones that take up more of post production time than anything else.

My Sony FE16-35mm f4 ZA OSS Vario-Tessar T* Lens is, like the Leica, a great lens, but there is no way that like all the other lenses of this type I've owned I'll let the results see the light of day without working on them to get rid of the distortion. Because no matter how good the lens, they all have it to one extent or another and that's when the Photoshop Transform tools come into their own.

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From what I've seen the Leica handles most of these distortions pretty well but will still benefit from some warping and bending. The Sony is also pretty good compared from what I've used before, but as you can see from the two shots in the middle gallery has this problem that many of these lenses have. Getting one edge straight doesn't mean that any of the others follow suit.

I've pretty much given up trying to get a decent result on location, as the chances of getting what I want without tilting the camera up or down is pretty rare. Fortunately Photoshop comes to the rescue and it's rare these days that I can't pull and push an image into something that doesn't look like one of those acid trip sequences in 1960's films! Because it seems, no matter how good the lens and the software corrections and lens profiles that inevitably come with them, most wide-angle zooms are what I might describe as 'disciplined fish-eyes' since these lenses record reality in a way that our eyes often don't recognise as such. This, of course, is probably what makes them so appealing. 

I was fascinated to see that Canon have come up with an 11-24mm 'Full-Frame' lens and what's more the results look really good. You'll not be surprised to learn that it's huge and costs $3000!! But it does illustrate the fascination we have for that wide-angle of view and despite the problems I don't see that going away anytime soon.