Kazuyuki Okajima

HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR

I almost always choose the seaside for an aimless stroll with my camera in hand, or as my travel destination. It may be because I was born and grew up relatively close to the sea. The coastline scenery varies from place to place, and I love to observe it as it is.

For this article, I headed to Hakata Bay in Fukuoka Prefecture, carrying with me the PENTAX K-1 Mark II camera and the HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR lens. I was planning to visit my favorite seaside spots — places where I went swimming and fishing as a child. Even though many of my favorite spots have changed because of reclamation and redevelopment, I found a few that retained the traces of the past and brought back fond memories of my summer breaks.

In producing photographic works, I carry out the shooting while experiencing something like the pains of childbirth. I prefer to use one single-focus lens and play with it to create specific visual expressions, rather than switching lenses, including zoom lenses, to change perspectives. I select the lens that fits the theme or concept of my works, but most often I end up choosing a semi-wide-angle or standard lens with a focal length of 40mm to 60mm. With the Limited series, the HD PENTAX-FA 43mmF1.9 Limited is the best choice. Rather than giving me my favorite angle of view, this lens lets me move in on the subject to a comfortable distance, and also makes it easier to convey the relation between the subject and myself to viewers. These reasons work against my choosing the ultra-wide-angle HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR. When creating works by being fully aware of my own field of view, however, this lens can be a good alternative to use in place of a standard lens.

While strolling at the seaside, I point the camera at whatever catches my eye. I often react to color or light, but my naked eyes see the object in my line of sight more clearly while obscuring other objects in the surrounding areas. The former is called central vision, while the latter is called peripheral vision. Since we don’t pay much attention to peripheral vision, we often try to capture only the central vision in an image using a standard or telephoto lens. If I narrow down the angle of view too much, however, I end up with an image that lacks visual information. The photographer may have good understanding of the photographic situation, but viewers can only see a tightly cropped square image. That’s why some images require obscured, somewhat hazy elements in the surrounding areas. When I want to create the visual expression incorporating peripheral vision, it’s time to use the HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR.

If I try to capture an image using the same sense of distance as a standard lens, the HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR tends to create a loose, wide-perspective image. When you come across a subject of interest, you should quietly approach it while closely observing it. Even though the lens’s ultra-wide angle of view widens the depth of field, I can narrow it down by shortening the distance to the subject. This lens provides me with the benefit of close-up photography from just seven centimeters away. If the subject remains stationary, I can approach it close enough to capture a lively image — whether the subject is an insect or animal. This lens doesn’t cause distortion or image flow toward the edges. It creates a natural, spacious view close to that as seen by the naked eye. When I open up the aperture, I can obscure my peripheral vision to a greater extent. At open aperture, the lens creates a soft visual expression with smooth vignetting along the edges. It captures a clear, crisp image with a good balance of light and shadow, and beautifully depicts the contrast of summer sunrays.

The HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR has no aperture ring — a feature different from other FA Limited-series lenses. Because of this, the lens barrel has a slender appearance, making its form look more refined. Since I often use the Program Auto mode, I don’t feel that this aperture-ring-free design causes any inconvenience. I prefer a shallow depth of field for close-range scenes, and a wide depth of field for distant scenes. But this lens tends to create these visual effects with a change of shooting distance, without any intentional operation on my part. When I select the depth-priority setting on the camera’s program line, I can use this lens more effectively. I can also shift the aperture and shutter speed as desired using the camera’s Hyper Program function.

When I need to express obscured peripheral areas more clearly to explain the circumstances of an image, I can make a clearer image by using a pan-focus effect. Since the HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR produces a uniform visual expression across the image field by choosing a closed-down aperture, the image assures satisfactory resolution. It captures the subject’s outline with natural, thin lines — an image rendition ideal for the photographer like myself who prefers to present works as prints. It captures a smooth transition of the bokeh (defocus) effect between the subject and the background, creating an image close to that seen by the naked eye. This allows me to more effectively express the ambience of a scene, the sense of depth of the subject and the sense of space, while creating visual guidance for viewers. Since the depth of field varies depending on the shooting distance, I don’t have to stick to a single aperture setting and can shift the aperture flexibly. In the Program Auto mode, the camera automatically shifts the aperture based on the changing photographic conditions, so you can effortlessly enjoy the changes in visual expression.

This lens makes me work differently from a standard lens. Once I became accustomed to it, however, I began to work more effortlessly and flexibly. I hadn’t used an ultra-wide-angle lens often in the past, but I became more excited as I kept shooting images. In the end, I fully enjoyed distinctive expressions different from my usual images. The HD PENTAX-D FA 21mmF2.4ED Limited DC WR immensely aroused my curiosity. That’s because it not only features the widest angle of view of all PENTAX single-focus lenses, but it also belongs to the exclusive Limited series. I must say that this lens delivers the most unique and immediately identifiable image of all PENTAX lenses.

Kazuyuki Okajima
Born in 1967 in Fukuoka City, Okajima graduated from the Tokyo Photographic School (currently Tokyo Visual Arts). After graduation, he worked as a studio assistant and a photographer’s assistant before becoming a freelancer. In addition to creating photographic works, he is also engaged in many photographic activities, including acting as a photo seminar instructor and a photo contest judge. He has also published a number of photo books including Dingle and Kaze to Tsuchi (Wind and Soil), and held photo exhibitions such as Dingle no Hikari to Kaze (Light and Wind of the Dingle), Shiosai (Tidal Colors), Gakko e Iko! (Let’s Go to School!), Children at Inle Lake, Myanmar, Kujukuri (99 Leagues), Kaze to Tsuchi, and Umi no Hotori (At the Seaside).