The mid-summer 2021 trip to Mom’s was short, and after only 3 days, I headed back home. The drive home from Mom’s taught me a good lesson over the years: I’m one who almost always eats my spinach before I have my dessert. That is, I save the best for last. It’s an ok policy, though it means I eat loads of spinach and sometimes—sometimes too often—have no dessert at all. When driving from the lovely Ozark mountains down to the Metroplex, one can’t really save the best for last… The twisty mountain roads too-quickly give way to flat, straight superhighway.
These days, I often stop at the public boat launch on the White River that I pass on my way out of the mountains. For Round 4 of the Wide Angle Battle, let’s see how three 17mms—the LC-W, FM3a & 17-35D, and the WaiWai—handle things.
From what I can tell, this public area under an overpass and alongside the White River is a popular spot for late-night teenage shenanigans, family outings, and other above- and below-board individual, group, and family activities.
I’ve photographed her many times before. One thing to note about very wide angle lenses: it’s best to hold them level, otherwise you’re likely to get some outrageous distortion, even with supremely well-corrected engineering marvels…
Here, I was most careful in my framing with the LC-W, though it shows the most obvious distortion. The FM3a gives the best result, obviously, though the WaiWai holds its own, especially in the distortion department.
The river was up pretty high and the little path along the bank was flooded out, but I went as far as I could.
Thanks to the wind, the 17-35mm f/2.8D made the best sunstar, and I held the LC-W the most level, but the WaiWai noticed—and captured—the morning sun as it filtered through the leaves like no other.
If only the WaiWai lens/aperture had some blades with which to produce sunstars… Well, then it wouldn’t produce the flare and ghosting that it does… Oh well.
And then I was driving. And driving. And driving. I shot each camera till it ran out of film. I thought to take a selfy only with the last contestant: the FM3a and 17-35mm-D.
I guess I was somewhere in Oklahoma at this point.
Driving, though, all cameras did pretty much the same, more or less. After all, I’m no Gerry Winogrand.
The set below appears in reverse time order: I was north of Fayetteville, AR for both the WaiWai and the LC-W, on Hwy 45, and on I49, south of Devil’s Den, for the picture with the FM3a. None of that matters much, I suppose. I framed a bit better with the WaiWai, and so the image from it works the best, I think.
And so we have a clear ranking, I think. The WaiWai’s flare & ghosting thing just looks like film photography to me. Analog processes are prone to faults like that, prone to skipping and popping, light leaks and flare and ghosting and general errors that have a liveliness and texture that digital clicks and noise just doesn’t.
But we’re not here for an analog/digital fight. This is Round 4 of the Wide Angle Battle, and the winner today is the WaiWai, I think. That great sunstar pulls the Fm3a into second place, just barely squeaking ahead of the LC-W, despite its somewhat better exposure program, imo.
- Konica Wai Wai
- Nikon FM3a & Zoom-Nikkor 17-35
- Lomo LC-W
And after four rounds, we’re left with a conundrum.
Round 1: 1) Vivitar UWS; 2) Lomo LC-W; 3) Nikon FM3a
Round 2: 1) Vivitar UWS; 2) Lomo LC-W; 3) Konica WaiWai
Round 3: 1) Konica WaiWai; 2) Nikon FM3a; 3) Vivitar UWS
Round 4: 1) Konica WaiWai; 2) Nikon FM3a; 3) Lomo LC-W
See anything wrong there? Yep. There are two ties: one for first place; one for third place. So I guess the battle continues… I’ll try to wrap it up with a Semi-Final and Final tomorrow, and we’ll see who takes the crown…