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Thread: Go wide? (Canon)

  1. #1
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Go wide? (Canon)

    So let's say a guy has a Canon 60D with a kit 18-135, a 70-200 f4 L and a 50mm f1.8 mark 2, and he's thinking about getting a wide angle lens for... Just to have something wider than 18mm, what would be a good choice?
    I have thought about ditching the 18-135 for a 15-85, but I'm not sure this would really be that much wider than the 18-135 (though potentially fairly cost efficient). I have heard about the Sigma 10-20, and I know Tokina makes something similar, and of course Canon makes a few choices.
    So the obvious question is, what would It be used for? I guess some landscape and some creative options.
    Any references to threads already discussing this would be appreciated too. I did a search for 'wide angle lens' and didn't get a whole lot.
    Last edited by speedneeder; 16th August 2011 at 02:29 AM.

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    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Try searching on "ultrawide". Landscape and environmental portraits come to mind.

    The two contenders I'd throw into the ring are the Canon EF-S 10-22, and the Tokina 11-16/2.8.

  3. #3
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Thank you Kathy.
    I did a search for ultrawide as you suggested but still nothing that directly discusses my question.

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    So the obvious question is, what would It be used for? I guess some landscape and some creative options.
    Hi Brian,

    A common misconception is that "wider is better" for landscapes, but that's usually not the case. UWA lenses introduce a number of issues that need to be dealt to; vignetting (especially when using filters) - light falloff - and the fact that anything more than a few feet away looks incredibly tiny, with no real detail visible.

    I have a specialist 14mm lens (on a FF camera) and I really only use it for specialist occasions (eg) making double rainbows fit, and when shooting in a tight corner ...

    Go wide? (Canon)

    Go wide? (Canon)

    Contrast that, with shots like this that are actually shot at 100mm ...

    Go wide? (Canon)

    It really comes down to how much field of view that you want to capture. I wrote an article for Singh-Ray on this very topic a while ago -- you might find it interesting reading ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.com/2009/09...-for-your.html

    Hope this helps

  5. #5
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Brian

    Colin's pretty well nailed it in his response to you.

    I would agree absolutely abotu that 'myth' that landscape can only be done with wide angle. You've maybe seen the thread I started in which long-lens landscapes are discussed.

    But, ultra-wides have their place. I love my Tokina 11-16 f2.8. But it is a very different discipline. As I wrote recently, I've spent more time flat on my stomach on the ground since I got the 11-16 than I have for years. You've got to be ready to get really up close and/or low down. For example, I was right up against the wall and sitting on the ground in this. And in Telephone Box, Islay, the telephone box is, literally, only inches from the front of the lens.

    These are just a couple of examples.

    What they are not, is an easy way to get lots more into the frame. If approached in that way, UWA shooting just will not work.

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Although I use a Nikon, I wanted to read this topic.
    I have learned a lot of the answers of Donald and Colin (tanks).
    I just got back from a photo course in France, and there I have learned things as stated by Colin. We even had to capture landscapes in portrait mode with a zoom lens (70-300 or 55-200 mm on a crop sensor). The results were amazing and very different from the things you thought before.

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Brian...

    Colin and Donald's comments are right on! Colin also provides three examples of when the UWA is best used. I love Colin's third example because of the dynamic and interesting foreground. This is when a UWA can really be used creatively. And, of course, when shooting a shot like Colin's example #2; you really need a UWA lens.

    For me, using a UWA lens correctly is a slower process than using a mid-range zoom because; like Donald mentions, "it is a very different discipline". I spent a couple of weeks on a frantic (but, wonderful) tour to the Republic of China during which I visited eight cities. I carried a pair of 1.6x Canon DSLR cameras and three lenses: 17-55mm f/2.8 IS, 70-200mm f/4L IS and a Tokina 12-24mm f/4. I shot virtually all of my many thousand shots with the first two lenses because shooting with a UWA lens is, for me, a slower process and I just didn't have the time to use the UWA correctly. I had to keep up with the group... In fact, towards the end of the trip, I often left the Tokina in my hotel safe and when I needed a wider shot, I used a hand-held three or four shot pano string such as this overall view of the "Birdcage" Olympic Venue in Beijing.

    Go wide? (Canon)

    However, since you asked about a good UWA lens I can only provide my experience. I have been using the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 Mk-I lens for years and consider it a very good UWA glass. I have not experienced the flare which is often attributed to the Mk-I version of this lens. Tokina brought out a replacement Mk-II which is supposed to hava a lesser tendency towards flare but, since I have not been troubled with flare, the problem is moot for me. Perhaps my lack of flare problems is because I always use a hood indoors and out and since I seldom shoot directly into the sun.

    The f/4 aperture is plenty wide enough because I normally use my UWA lens stopped down for greater DOF. The focal range suits me just fine. An advantage of this lens is that if my mid-range zoom went down, I could "limp along" using this lens. The 38.4mm long side equivalent is like using a fairly wide normal angle lens. That is one of the main reasons I brought it to China; redundancy...

    Like most Tokina ATX lenses, the 12-24mm Tokina is built like a tank. Also like other lenses of today, the price has increased dramatically. I paid $500 (all prices in U.S. Dollars) for the Mk-I lens when I purchased it new several years ago but the price seems to have increased to the mid six hundred dollar range for the Mk-II version. However, the older Mk-I version is a great buy which can usually be had for around $350 on the used market.

    I have no experience with the 11-16mm f/2.8 Tokina but, that is another lens which I would investigate if I needed a UWA lens. The range is shorter but, the extra 1mm at the wide side could be significant and the f/2.8 aperture might be handy. However, it is strictly a UWA lens and I could not use it to relace my mid-range zoom if I needed to.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 16th August 2011 at 03:10 PM.

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Let me just add a bit on UWA shooting. I don't use it for landscape as much as a lot of people do, and largely for the reason that Colin mentioned -- spectacular massive mountains end up looking like molehills. But I often rely on my Tokina 12-24 f/4 indoors. The lens opens up a room very nicely. It takes a fair amount of "time in" with the lens to get comfortable with its quirks, but the great depth of field and the front-to-back perspective enhancement is often just what the situation calls for.

    I would like to note one thing that is often under-utilized with UWAs -- shooting in portrait mode is a quick answer to the problem of stretching thing in the horizontal direction. True, you'll then be stretching things up-and-down, but often that is quite acceptable while it may be a problem in the horizontal direction. A quick example is a shot I took recently at the Boston MFA Chihuly glass exhibit. My wife was studying one of the glass sculptures, and the lighting was qute intriguing. I had my UWA on, and so I flipped the camera to the portrait mode and took this:
    Go wide? (Canon)
    If I'd shot this in landscape mode, my wife would have been stretched into a very unnatural shape. For some reason, people shy away from portrait mode when using a UWA. At times, it is the answer that you are looking for. FWIW

    [ETA: A couple more tips on indoor shooting with a UWA. First, if the room is small enough for the photo to go wall-to-wall, you should generally shoot across the short end of the room. Front-to-back, the room will seem longer, so shooting across the shorter dimension will stretch it to make the room dimensions seem more square instead of more bowling-alley-like. Second, anything that is going to be up close and personal (within a foot or two of the lens) should be in the central third of the lens left-to-right unless it does not have easily-identifiable dimensions. The object will be stretched horizontally the more it resides at the left or right edge, and that effect is massively more pronounced with close objects than with objects a few feet back. Keystoning is obvious in the viewfinder: avoid it -- it is almost never as artistic as you think it is. The same holds true for elongated arms, bulbous noses, etc.]
    Last edited by tclune; 16th August 2011 at 05:23 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Hello,

    If I had to glue a lens to my 40D it would be an ultra-wide (the Canon 10-22 in my case). To me, ultra-wide is primarily about putting things, or people, in context (especially indoors), and also about emphasising space and depth. This is generally more interesting to me than subject isolation (not always of course), but it is a different kind of picture. Most of the time I find that I'm using it wider than 15mm by the way, so you might want to consider that. I don't doubt that the other ultra-wides mentioned are also fine if others say that they are. A prime in the 50..60mm range, and a pocket compact for the standard-zoom out-and-about type uses, cover just about everything else for me.

  10. #10
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Hi Brian, before you decide to go out and buy a wide-angle lens, it is a good exercise to determine exactly what you need it for. Various posts have already provided a number of things that you can do with a wide-angle lens, but until you know what YOU want to accomplish, it will be difficult to make the correct choice for your needs. For example, my wife is a realtor so I take a lot of indoor house pictures. Without a wide-angle lens, I simply can't get back far enough (without hitting a wall) to capture what I need to get into the shot.

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Rent one...then go out and play.

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Thanks everyone for your input. Maybe landscape was a poor choice of words!
    To answer Frank's question, my purpose is to have fun
    I've really enjoyed my camera as of late and am just looking to add new capability to my hobby.

  13. #13
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Brian,

    I used the Sigma 10-20 f3.5 for 2 years with my 500D and loved it. ACR easily corrects the distortion when apparent but I found that if you were careful about objects being in both the fore and back-ground it wasn't usually an issue. I like this picture but it demonstrates what I mean.

    Go wide? (Canon)

    The Sigma is a fantastic lens at 10mm, where with practise and shot planning you can get brilliant landscapes. For example this Flickr forum has some great images but keep in mind that most of the "distorted" images are meant to be that way.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/sigma10-20/

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Quote Originally Posted by whited3 View Post
    The Sigma is a fantastic lens at 10mm, where with practise and shot planning you can get brilliant landscapes. For example this Flickr forum has some great images but keep in mind that most of the "distorted" images are meant to be that way.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/sigma10-20/
    I'm considering an UWA too, but it has to AF on my D5000 which sadly rules out my first choice of the Tokina 11-16mm, a shame, I'd prefer the f/2.8.

    So that leaves Nikon or Sigma.

    I found the above link very useful - thanks Mark.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I'm considering an UWA too, but it has to AF on my D5000 which sadly rules out my first choice

    So that leaves Nikon or Sigma.

    Cheers,
    Dave, the only choice you have is a D7000.

  16. #16

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I'm considering an UWA too, but it has to AF on my D5000 which sadly rules out my first choice of the Tokina 11-16mm, a shame, I'd prefer the f/2.8.

    So that leaves Nikon or Sigma.
    The Tokina 12-24 f/4 DX II is a terrific lens that will AF on the D5000. OTOH, manually focusing an UWA is not exactly rocket science. As long as your focus point is in the right city, the images should be sharp.

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    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Quote Originally Posted by whited3 View Post
    The Sigma is a fantastic lens at 10mm, where with practise and shot planning you can get brilliant landscapes. For example this Flickr forum has some great images but keep in mind that most of the "distorted" images are meant to be that way.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/sigma10-20/
    Thanks for the info!

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Hi,

    or - go really wide (Sigma F2.8/4.5mm circular fisheye):

    Go wide? (Canon)

  19. #19

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    Re: Go wide? (Canon)

    Sigma 70-24 is a nice lens as well.
    Peace Don B.

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