17mm lens testing – Kilve Beach

I’ve always been drawn to super wide-angle lenses. I don’t know why – a combination of the distortion (reminds me of 90’s skate videos) and being able to get REALLY CLOSE to things and still get a whole background in, maybe. A kind person over on the Talk Photography forums kindly lent me theirs – a 17mm Tamron lens, which I quickly picked up an adaptor for.

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First off, it’s obvious this is a high-quality lens just by the weight of it – considerably more than even the zoom lenses I have for this camera. The focus is lovely and smooth, and looking through, the field of view is ridiculous.

Tamron lenses were designed to be “generic” lenses – purchase the right adaptor for your camera, and you’re away. The company is still going strong today – if I’m honest it’s a brand I’ve often overlooked in the past.

I put a roll of T Max 400 in my trust Cosina PM-1, and set off for Kilve Beach. It’s on the Jurassic Coast, and is popular with fossil hunters – if I didn’t get any good shots that day, at least I might come home with a fossil! Luckily, I’m pleased with a few of the shots taken, although sadly it seems as if my developing skills are a bit rusty. There is significant bromide drag on most of the shots, some white spots and watermarks… my developer may also be on the way out. It is around 3 years old, so I wouldn’t be surprised…

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The image below shows how easy it is to accidentally get a body part in the shot – my errant foot wasn’t visible in the viewfinder! It’s also very tricky to get the horizon straight all the time, lots of readjusting in post was needed.

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My favourite from this shoot, and really the only keeper, is below. Nice tones and texture in the seaweed, light sky doesn’t show up the bromide drag streaks too much, and the lone figure in the background adds some interest too.

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I’m happy with how the lens performed, and I’ll definitely be looking out for one of my own. I’m going to run another roll of film through (and get it developed by a professional) to continue my testing. Film is always a learning curve, and in this instance it is: use fresher developer, agitate it more, and take more care with the washing!

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