Most of you have probably heard of the name Laowa by now. They were a rather unknown brand up until recently when they made name for themselves in the landscape photography world with the Laowa 12mm f/2.8 wide angle lens that was well received. Laowa (Venus Optics) is a Chinese brand known for their innovative lenses. Laowa is showing support to the Sony E-mount with releasing their 15mm f/2 that was specifically designed for the E-mount making it possible to make it smaller and lighter than the lenses they make for DSLR mounts. 2 years ago I met the Laowa guys at Photokina and I already briefly tested the prototype of the 15mm there. I was impressed with the sharpness across the frame and was eager to try out the final version. Now that I have this lens for a while I feel confident to write a decent review about it. I used this lens in my own country the Netherlands and took it to Dubai, Norway and Iceland. I have seen a bunch of reviews online but they were mainly technical without a lot of real world examples. In this review I’ll discuss how this lens performs in ‘real world usage’. Most people who are reading my articles know that I am a landscape photographer so you can expect a lot of landscape photography use with this lens.
Photographing the sea and the waves can be both challenging and fun. People often ask me what are ‘the right settings’ to shoot moving water so I decided to write a little guide on it. There are many options depending on what look you’re going for. By using some examples of my own I’ll explain how I shoot my seascapes.
Most people stop noticing the locations they pass by every day. But photographers tend to see these places in a different way. Dutch photographer Albert Dros has captured the exact same spot several times during one year, at different times of the day. His photos are a perfect demonstration how the exact same place can differ during over the course of a year. but more importantly, they show us we can find beauty anywhere and anytime.
The new Sony A7RIII has a new function that is called Pixel Shift. This function basically increases the resolution of your images by 4 times. In short: the camera takes 4 photos and shifts the sensor 1 pixel in between. By combining these images later (the camera doesn’t do this) you get an image that has 4 times the resolution of a normal raw image (4×42 Megapixel). This does NOT mean your file is suddenly 168 Megapixels. The files you get are still 42 Megapixel but they contain way more detail, especially noticeable when you zoom in 100%.
So how exactly does this work? By shifting the sensor by 1 pixel in every direction the sensor captures the full RGB data for every pixel. This is explained in Sony’s own video:
Nature has lots to offer for landscape photographers. We love to shoot nature’s paintings. Storms, rainbows, tornadoes, lightning strikes: they’re all a gift from nature that we can play with as a landscape photographer. Volcanoes are one of them, too, especially when they’re erupting. I have been fascinated by volcanoes; they have been on my list to shoot for quite a while.
My younger brother recently went to Guatemala for some backpacking and learning the Spanish language. When he sent me some photos of an erupting volcano, my photography senses were immediately triggered. The erupting volcano was called ‘Fuego’ (literally “Fire”). I managed to find webcams and activity on scopes and checked how active Fuego was. According to the history, the volcano has remained quite active, but you had to be lucky to see a lot of eruptions. Still, the idea of meeting up with my brother and shooting a volcano seemed like a good enough reason to go.
With the new year approaching people usually start thinking what they could do better or improve in within the new year. As a professional landscape photographer I thought it would be fun to give some tips to people starting out with landscape photography.