Story and images by Yukikazu Ito
Amid the frenzy of activity in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, I ventured westward to an ancient land in search of a calmer flow of time. Armed with the new lens, above all the lightness and compact size of this ultra wide-angle made for a comfortable journey, and I felt I could take it anywhere with me. Of course, the compact, lightweight form factors aren’t the only remarkable things about this lens.
First, I paid a visit to Lake Biwa, the source of water for the Kyoto area. Along with the majestic sight of the large torii gate of the Shirahige-jinja Shrine exposed to the passage of time at the lake’s shore, the shimmering surface of the water was photographed in exhaustive detail thanks to the superior resolving power of the lens. The resultant image was vibrant and sharp all the way to the corners. The rich hues, meanwhile, harkened back to the time when the gate was first erected.
Next I moved on to the bamboo grove of Ohara. Snuggled in amongst the bamboo extending high into the air, I cast my gaze heavenward. The 17mm perspective elicits the life force of the bamboo. Being able to make use of this wide perspective that makes subjects seemingly extend forever in such a light form factor is a welcome feature. Your steps as you shoot become lighter on their own. At the same time, as you pinpoint your focus while closing in on a subject at the 35mm focal length that is essential for snapshots, the beautiful surrounding bokeh de-focused areas softly guide one’s gaze to the main focus of the image.
Both the compact size and light weight of the lens facilitate the ease of use at the essential 35mm focal length. With its rendering ability that evokes a sense of the scene beyond, this lens can undoubtedly be a constant companion on any journey.