Stop 1 = Yodobashi Camera

It never ceases to amaze me what a decent sleep achieves. Combine 20+ hours of arduous travel with a 4 hour time zone shift and by last night I was ready for some VERY high quality sleep, and despite waking early, 6am still felt like 10am at home – easy to get up feeling SUPER refreshed! And on to mission #1 = catch train to Umeda & go visit Yodobashi camera & buy this lens that I have been dreaming about for weeks/months!


Ever since getting that Asahi Pentax Super Takumar 50mm vintage lens I have been researching prime lenses to sue with my 5DmkIII. Second step encouraging me down that path was getting the Zeiss Flektogon 35mm lens – both lenses have such hugely superior focus to any of my (expensive) Canon L lenses that I started to lust after a vintage Zeiss Distagon wide lens. But it seems there are potential problems with using them, or more correctly using them on a modern Canon 5D, depending on which adaptor you use. The best solution seemed to involve sourcing the best adaptor ex the USA and then disassembling the mount of the lens and replacing part of it. Yikes!! I could see a number of ways it could go wrong, but worst of all it meant even if found a great condition Distagon lens while here in Japan, my chances of actually shooting with it were unlikely. So I decided to bite the bullet & buy a new Distagon ZE lens, ZE signifying it has been built to mount on Canon EF cameras….

Like seriously good microphones I had to remind myself that it is not a short term investment – I need to learn to shoot with this lens & it is reputedly of such high quality that it is likely I will be shooting with it ten years from now. So my decision was a combination of the need for short term gratification AND long term thinking, same as all my best microphone decisions!

So I waited until I got home to break open the box & have a play, and as the sun was getting close to setting I went for a walk to the local supermarket to buy some iced coffee & take a few photos along the way – none of these are great photos, but wow the Distagon is really seriously great to shoot with! But like all my lenses & microphones I need to shoot lots with it to get confident & learn how to best use it to get great results….


When I arrived this new house was just a frame – I imagined shooting inside it (once the builders went home) and accentuating its geometry, but a day later and they are making rapid progress… But how is that crane!?! Very, very carefully snuck inside the multitude of power cables! Serious skills

And five houses along…


After the supermarket the sun was getting lower so I thought I’d better quickly try shooting a few shots with deep perspective & strong leading lines…


No sooner had I taken this shot than 3 young boys appeared out of nowhere – I pointed my camera at them & made ‘pew pew’ noises, and they laughed and one of them jumped down into this stealthy location!?!


I laughed & took a photo & then showed them it…. which made them laugh

Having watched a bunch of docos recently on street photography it was a great reminder of not hesitating & being ready to shoot… A pointless perspective test shot turned into a funny moment & was gone again within about 3 seconds!

But wow, this Distagon lens – I loved my first wide lens the EFs 10-22mm lens but it distorted the hell out of any & everything… The full frame EF16-35mm L lens was much better, but this Zeiss Distagon is in another league again!

Lots to learn


more info on the Zeiss Distagon 21mm F2.8

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