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Thread: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort?

  1. #1

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    Doug Anderson

    Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort?

    Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort?

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    Re: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort

    If you're talking about the keystoning, where the streetlamps seem to lean toward each other, that's more a matter of your technique than anything else. If you hold the camera perfectly level, any rectilinear wide angle lens should keep the lines staight. If you tilt the camera slightly up, you'll get the tilt that you see in your photo. The more you tilt, the more the lamp posts will tilt. If you tilt slightly down, the lamp posts will tilt away from each other.

    You can correct in post this kind of thing, but only to a degree. If you've keystoned excessively, the aspect of the whole photo will be weirdly distorted when the leaning is removed. What you really want to do is use your viewfinder and get rid of the distortion as you compose your shot.

    There is a lot of trickiness in learning to use UWA lenses. The wider the angle, the more the depth-to-width perspective is affected, which requires careful composition to use effectively.

    Some folks seem to love the WA "funhouse mirror" effect. Personally, I normally find such photos amateurish crap. But, if you actually compose an effective WA shot, it can have very significant impact. I am not very good with UWA lenses. But the few that actually have worked well have been some of my favorite shots. If I want to make sure I get the shot, I usually stick to a standard length lens. But, if I'm feeling frisky and have enough time to really agonize over the shot, a UWA lens is a real challenge that can highlight what you found interesting in some shots in a way that no other lens can do. FWIW

  3. #3

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    Re: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort

    Thanks, Tom. I'm going to reshoot with an 85mm 1.8 and pay attention to the grid.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort

    You don't need a wide angle to achieve this keystoning effect, any lens will do. As the previous respondent noted, this "issue" comes from the shooting "up" instead of level with the building. Shooting level will give you way too much foreground unless you can get something interesting to fill it with.

    An aquaintance of mine was into architectural images and shot these types of images pretty well only with a view camera so that he could align both the lens and film plane to compensate.

    The easiest fix (and I'm pretty sure your crop is too tight to do this) is to remove the keystone effect in PP. You do have to be careful with how you do this as the process adds distortion and you may end up stretching the image vertically to compensate after you take out the keystoning.

  5. #5

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    Re: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post

    An aquaintance of mine was into architectural images and shot these types of images pretty well only with a view camera so that he could align both the lens and film plane to compensate.
    Hello Manfred, pardon my ignorance, what would be a "view camera"?

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort

    Louise - This will give you an idea of a View Camera. It's all about large format photography.

  7. #7
    Glenn NK's Avatar
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    Re: Request Critique: is there such a thing as a wide angle lens that doesn't distort

    A Tilt/Shift lens can be adjusted to "un-distort" images or control perspective (I've used it to get the sides of a building parallel in the image):

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ft-lenses1.htm

    It can also be used to control the plane of focus. At first, this seems rather complex (the math can be confusing), but in practice with a camera with live view, it's not difficult - I use this feature quite a bit in landscape photography.

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ft-lenses2.htm

    There are several makers of these lenses (Hartblei, Nikon, Canon, and some other obscure makes).

    T/S lenses are somewhat more expensive that other lenses, and don't have autofocus. However some that I know of have "focus confirmation" - they send a signal confirming that the object selected is in focus (turn the focus ring back and forth until the little red square lights up).

    What Tom has said will also work. However, there are limits to the technique of keeping the camera level. Often a wider angle lens will be required, and much of the image will have to be cropped. For example on a tall building, with the camera level, the top of it may not be in the image. Or if a very wide angle lens is used, a large part of the image will be foreground and will have to be cropped.

    The photoshop method will work too, but has limits on how much distortion can be corrected.

    An interesting test of a T/S lens:

    http://the-digital-picture.com/Revie...ns-Review.aspx

    And some T/S images:

    http://ethanmeleg.blogspot.ca/2009/1...hift-lens.html

    Glenn
    Last edited by Glenn NK; 10th May 2012 at 04:02 PM.

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