It’s not uncommon for photographers to make the wrong decision when selecting a wide-angle lens. When first getting into photography, many amateurs will buy a 10mm lens (for a camera with an APS-C or cropped sensor), a 50mm lens (since they’ve been taught they need one), and a longer zoom lens. They feel confident in their ability to capture any scene now that they have a wide enough focal length range. Insufficient knowledge of how lenses work and the need for each lens type is the most common cause of inaccuracy. If you’re a photographer, you may choose from a large selection of lenses. The word “wide-angle lens” refers to the field of view that these types of lenses provide. However, do you truly need it? Finally, which ultra-wide lens do you think would be best for you?
Let’s examine the many kinds of wide-angle lenses and the kinds of shots that call for them to determine the answer to this question.
The rest of this essay will focus on talking about wide-angle lenses. This article explains what they are, how to use them, and how to avoid the five most common mistakes made by beginners.
What Is a Wide-Angle Lens?
In photography, a wide-angle lens is defined as one that provides a wider field of view than the naked eye. Simply said, this is what a wide-angle lens is. When attached to a full-frame camera, a lens of 35mm or wider is considered “wide-angle,” whereas an APS-C lens of 24mm or wider is considered “wide.”
One common approach to describe a wide-angle lens’ capabilities is by saying it shows a wider scene than the naked eye can. Nonetheless, you can’t just convert to inches and degrees.
What are some typical millimeter values for wide-angle focal lengths? The conventional definition of a wide-angle lens is that it has a focal length of 35 millimeters or less. This is equivalent to having a diagonal field of vision of around 65 degrees. The field of view created by these lenses is far wider than the average human’s, even when considering the periphery of the image. When shooting landscapes, these lenses are invaluable since they allow you to get both the background and foreground in the frame. Hence, they are a popular subject for photographers all around the world, and they also attract a lot of attention from curious onlookers.
What Does It Works Best With?
A wide-angle lens is your best option if you want to go up close to your subject while still capturing the background and the foreground of the scene. Take a look at the image of the climber that is up there. Because of the magnification effect of the lens, the boulder appeared to be quite a bit taller than it was. On the other hand, one of the unintended consequences of this was that it made the climber appear smaller as the distance increased.
This effect is utilized rather frequently in the field of marketing. Think about how the photographer in shoe advertising always manages to make the shoe look like it fills the entire frame. On the other hand, the runner, who is physically a lot more little, only takes up a considerably more insignificant amount of the image. If the same photograph was shot with a telephoto lens, the shoe would appear to be approximately the same size as the foot that it was on. Many inexperienced photographers are under the impression that a lens with a wide field of view is the one that best suits their needs. This is the lens that the vast majority of people first go out and purchase, whether it be a 24-70, 16-35, or 17-40 f4 model. These lenses are a wonderful asset to have, but I usually find that I am unable to take advantage of their potential to create photographs that are truly breathtaking.
When to Use a Wide-Angle Lens?
Images Captured Abroad
It’s not a good idea to bring along more lenses than you’ll need on a vacation. Equipment that isn’t as bulky can be stored more easily or carried in a smaller bag. As a result, most photographers choose a combination of a standard zoom lens and a telephoto lens.
If your vacation spot will be filled with historic sites and breathtaking landscapes, I would suggest carrying a wide-angle lens. When utilizing a conventional zoom lens, many circumstances don’t require a longer minimum focal length than 24mm. (Keep in mind that the 18mm lenses you receive are really the focal length range of a 28-30mm lens.)
Ordinary zoom lenses are something I virtually never carry with me when I travel. Instead, my go-to lenses are wide-angle and short telephoto prime.
When I’m on vacation, I usually bring along my trusty 24mm f/1.4 and 85mm f/1.8 lenses. A 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens is one of my go-to lenses because of its small size and lightweight.
Putting Important Matters on the Periphery of the Discussion
As I was explaining in the chapter before this one, a significant amount of barrel distortion is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of a wide-angle lens. As you get closer to the edges of the picture frame, you’ll see that the distortion is getting worse. As a general rule, it is accompanied by a little decline in the product’s quality.
The usage of distortion in this context probably won’t create too much trouble because it may be put to good use in drawing the audience further into the scene. However, because of the significant decline in quality, the photo is virtually worthless. Your viewer’s attention will be directed to the flowers, even if there are other elements in the picture, but they will be hazy.
Because of this, you should never have any focus points that are located outside of the middle third of the frame while you are taking pictures with a wide-angle lens.
How to Use a Wide-Angle Lens?
Use that skew to your advantage
Unfortunately, I must admit that I have never given wide-angle lenses‘ inherent barrel distortion a second thought. However, you do know that there is sunshine behind every cloud, right?
Images can have a larger sense of the depth of field or have certain lines or textures brought out that would otherwise be lost in the frame when distortion is applied. Other times, the distortion will not have any of these consequences. To enhance the visual appeal of these lines, get up close and set them up around the composition’s borders. However, as I indicated in a previous section, they shouldn’t be one of the key objects of your shot because their quality would most certainly degrade if they are given such a prominent place in the frame.
To Fully Utilize the Scene, You Must Use All of Its Facets
You have to take advantage of every aspect of the situation if you want to get the most out of it.
When using a wide-angle lens, it is helpful to visualize the scene as having several layers. No, I’m not referring to the ones that come with Photoshop; rather, I’m talking about the universal ones. To finish the artwork, all you need to do is the picture where on the page they should go.
These layers are seamlessly connected; rather, they provide a gradual transition from the foreground to the backdrop. The various layers that are contained in this image have been brought to your notice by the application of several brushes.
Mistakes Made by Beginners
Putting Important Matters on the Periphery of the Discussion
A significant amount of barrel distortion is one of the most distinguishing characteristics of a wide-angle lens. As you get closer to the edges of the picture frame, you’ll see that the distortion is getting worse. As a general rule, it is accompanied by a little decline in the product’s quality. Once more, I believe that using an illustration will be the most effective approach to convey my idea.
You should anticipate significant degrades in image quality as well as some degree of distortion in that area. The usage of distortion in this context probably won’t create too much trouble because it may be put to good use in drawing the audience further into the scene. However, because of the significant decline in quality, the photo is virtually worthless. Your viewer’s attention will be drawn to the flowers, even if there are other elements in the picture, but they will be blurry.
Having Blank Spots in an Otherwise Full Picture
If you’re going to use a wide-angle lens, it seems to reason that you shouldn’t have huge, empty spaces in your composition. Even using a wide-angle lens might be quite useful in certain situations, it can also utterly ruin your composition in others. Make sure your subject will fill the frame before you start shooting at wide focal lengths.
Wide-angle lenses are notoriously difficult to operate, making it impractical to use a point-and-shoot camera when out and about. You’ll need to pay more attention to your shot composition and subject placement while utilizing these lenses.
Don’t give up hope, though. Stunning images with a depth of field that can’t be achieved with other lenses will be yours for the taking if you heed the measures I’ve outlined above.
With any luck, this article has given you some ideas on what to look out for and what to avoid while shooting with a wide-angle lens.