I’ve long been a fan of ultra wide-angle lenses – the wider the better – and I especially enjoy shooting close-up with wider angle lenses. When used at their closest focusing distances, the forced perspectives of ultra-wide lenses lend a heightened sense of drama to anything you aim the lens at, and if you approach your subjects from angles other than the standard eye-level point-of-view, the results can be outstanding, if not unworldly.
One of my current favorite ultra-wide lenses is Voigtlander’s Super Wide-Heliar Aspherical 15mm f/4.5, which I use on a Sony A7s via a Voigtlander VM-E Close-focusing Lens Adapter for Sony E-mount cameras.
The native close focusing distance for this lens is 19.7”, but when used with the VM-E Close-focusing adapter, which features a built-in 4mm focusing helicoid, the 15mm Super Wide-Heliar lens can focus down to 4.25”, or about 75% closer to the subject.
For an extra dollop of impact, I also screw a 52mm Nikon #2 Close-up Lens (+3.0 diopter) to the front of the lens, which halves that focusing distance, affording me wider-angle close-focusing abilities similar to the super-close imaging abilities of smaller format point-and-shoot cameras with close focusing modes.
When used at wide aperture, the depth-of-field is quite narrow. Stop down to f/11 or f/16, and the focus depth increases appreciably (you can see dust on the front of the #2 Close-up lens), but is still somewhat narrow compared to the extensive depth-of-field one typically expects from an ultra-wide lens used at smaller apertures.
The following images were captured using the abovementioned imaging toys…