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Thread: wide angle lens

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    wide angle lens

    I'm new to Digital SLR photography. I was wondering about a lens I have. It's a Canon 18mm-135mm. Can this be used as a wide angle lens?? If not what would be a good choice.

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    Scott Stephen's Avatar
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    Re: wide angle lens

    It is a general-purpose lens, and not what is considered a wide angle lens. On the other hand, the 18 mm end of your lens should be wide enough for a lot of things. What do you want to shoot? Have you shot the lens much? Do you find it lacking in width?

    I don't have a true "wide angle" lens either, but my general lens goes about as wide as yours, and I am not personally feeling the need for anything else. On the other hand, I don't really shoot a lot of landscapes; I mostly shoot my kids and the occasional animal or bird. If you are seriously needing more, the options go as wide as 14, 12, 10 or even 8mm, BUT they are expensive and the widest of these are quite heavily distorted "fish-eye" lenses, which I personally think of more as a novelty item.

    If you only shoot ultra-wide occasionally, you get better (undistorted) results by taking 2 or 3 pictures in a horizontal spread, and then using software to "knit" them together. That is not only undistorted, but also free, or at least it is one of the many features included in post-processing software you probably want to have anyway.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Quote Originally Posted by riverrick View Post
    I'm new to Digital SLR photography. I was wondering about a lens I have. It's a Canon 18mm-135mm. Can this be used as a wide angle lens?? If not what would be a good choice.
    Hi Rick,

    If it's on a full frame camera then 18mm should be plenty wide enough. If it's on a crop-factor camera then it's still pretty wide, but you may want something wider (or you may not -- I have no idea what you're intending to use it for).

    Many folks think that "wider is better" for landscape, but unfortunately it's just not true. Rather than think in terms of focal lengths, what you really need to consider is FoV (Field of View) - ie what lens do you need that will give you the field of view that you need to capture the scene that you want to capture.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    You say you are new to digital SLR. Are you familiar with film SLR cameras and lenses? Your camera has a smaller sensor than the old 35mm film size (24x36mm). The size difference means you need to multiply the lens FL to get an "Effective Focal Length" (EFL) that you can compare to what you knew in the film days. So, 18mm = EFL 28.8mm -- what used to be the most common wide angle lens for most photographers (not an ultra-wide). 135mm = EFL 216mm --a good telephoto length. Your lens is a good lens that covers a bit of wide angle to telephoto. A good lens for most photography. If you want an ultra wide lens Canon makes a zoom that starts at 10mm (EFL 16mm). Hope this helps.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Thanks for all the input. My camera is a Canon T2i. And I'm planning a trip Yosemite next month. So that's why the question. I'm guessing my lens will be fine for this trip then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by riverrick View Post
    Thanks for all the input. My camera is a Canon T2i. And I'm planning a trip Yosemite next month. So that's why the question. I'm guessing my lens will be fine for this trip then.
    It should be - but if you need more width, consider shooting a 2 or more overlapping shots that can be stitched together later.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    I shot most of my long photographic lifetime (I have been shoting for approximately 55 years - much of that time professionally) never owning a lens wider than 28mm on a 35mm full frame camera. Your 18mm and my 17mm wide sides of our mid-range zoom lenses are roughly equivalent to 28mm on a full frame camera.

    I now own a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 lens but, in actuality, I seldom use it. I carried it on a two week trip to China but, had it on my camera for only one shot. My 17mm was plenty wide enough for the rest of my shooting.

    As Colin mentioned, many photographers have a knee-jerk reaction that the wider the lens, the better for landscapes. I believe that this craving for wide focal lengths when shooting landscapes is counter productive. Many UWA landscape shots are, IMO, quite vanilla and boring with lots of sky and uninteresting foreground, bordering a small strip of interest along the center of the image. The subjects in this strip of interest are often so miniscule that they are difficult to recognize.

    It seems like these wide angle afficianados think that if they include everything, they will get something interesting. This is not necessarily the case. Here is a great posting regarding the difference between wide angle lenses and pano shooting for landscapes...

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=17572474

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    Re: wide angle lens

    On the other hand, I'm an ultra-wide junkie; with a Tokina 11-16mm for the crop frame camera and a Nikkor 14 - 24mm for the full frame. Richard is absolutely correct about the ultrawides; they are probably the trickiest lenses to use in my collection, because things can look rather ordinary if used incorrectly. Shots that are all foreground and sky are all too easy to get.

    One really has to do something to fill the frame and often being less than a cm / 1/2" off can make the difference between an ordinary shot and one that is really compelling.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Many UWA landscape shots are, IMO, quite vanilla and boring with lots of sky and uninteresting foreground, bordering a small strip of interest along the center of the image. The subjects in this strip of interest are often so miniscule that they are difficult to recognize.
    Congratulations Richard, you're todays recipient of my "this man gets it" award. Couldn't agree more.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Having been out that way I would say as you have an 18-135mm, you will be using 50mm-85mm the most, and then up not down. Things are just to far away to use the lower end, wide is good, wide is great, however it is when the image is close and you need the width. So your 18-135mm will do you well, now remember your tripod that you will need.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: wide angle lens

    When shooting 'full frame' 35mm film I normally used a 50mm. Once I went out and bought a 35mm wide-angle but rarely had need of it. Now with digital until a year ago I only had 35mm as the wide end of my zoom, latest camera is 28mm and it can save time for some uses but it is so easy to stitch photographs in editing that I have yet to buy a wide angle. Obviously I am not a WA junkie but occasionally have use of a wider view which stitching gives me. I would suggest you stick with your current zoom until you know you need either the wider angle or the faster aperture being suggested.

    You are actually suffering from the interchangeable lens camera disease which is very hard to keep under control ...becuase you can get extra lenses you feel you have to
    I too am suffering since changing from a super-zoom bridge camera to my M4/3 but I know the symptoms and so far have it under control.

    Edit ..... PS. when I stitch I only use a stitch programme for quick and nasty stitches and normally do it in my editing programme where I have control over the process.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    i think the way ken rockwell explains the use of wide angle lenses really hit home for me. i love always going wider. in my s95 point and shoot, i rarely leave the wide end which is 28mm. my walk around lens on my dslr rarely leaves its wider end either which is 17mm.
    ive been really wanting an ultra wide zoom or just a fast wide prime but money doesnt permit..yet :/

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Rick,

    Many folks think that "wider is better" for landscape, but unfortunately it's just not true.
    This is so true. I purchased a TSE24 II last year for landscapes, and found it too wide - today I added a 2.0 Extender for it. So with my 30D, I'll have four effective focal lengths (24/48 and 38.4/76.8)

    Glenn

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    This is so true. I purchased a TSE24 II last year for landscapes, and found it too wide - today I added a 2.0 Extender for it. So with my 30D, I'll have four effective focal lengths (24/48 and 38.4/76.8)

    Glenn
    FWIW, I purchased "the ultimate landscape lens" - a Canon EF14mm/2.8L. I think I've used it commercially about twice in the past 4 years.

    For anyone who's interested, I wrote a blog article for premier filter manufacturer Singh-Ray some time ago, talking a little about why "wide isn't always better" ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.co.nz/2009/...-for-your.html

    Shameless plug ... my other blog posts there ...

    http://singhray.blogspot.co.nz/searc...lin%20Southern

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Rick

    I just returned from Yosemite recently and had the good fortune of being able to borrow my son-in-laws' Canon Ef-S 10-22mm to use on my 60D. I am really not a fan of wide angle lenses because of the perspective they produce but that is just a personal preference. I was able to practice a little with this lens before I went to Yosemite and it was certainly worthwhile because the way you hold the lens dramatically effects the results of the shot. I took only 2 lenses to Yosemite, the 10-22 and the 15-85mm and they served me quite well for most of the fabulous scenery I encountered. So, I think your 18-135 should work quite well for most scenery. Anyway, here is a photo of Half Dome with Vernal and Nevada Fall to the right of center; shot with the 10-22 at 12mm from Glacier Point in Yosemite to give you an idea of what 12 mm might look like.

    wide angle lens

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    . Many UWA landscape shots are, IMO, quite vanilla and boring with lots of sky and uninteresting foreground, bordering a small strip of interest along the center of the image.
    That is the biggest argument against the WA lens ... last Panoramic shot I took I used a 90mm AoV ...took about 13 frames instead of two but at least the lake in the foreground didn't occupy most of the shot ...different if you organise interesting foreground and great clouds of course
    The opposing argument [to UWA] is that photography is all about selection ... people with WA or even standard lenses seem not to have learnt this aspect or the ZWYF technique. The WA should be used for its perspective rather than to get 'everything in'.

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    Re: wide angle lens

    From a different perspective, here's one shot with a 70-200mm lens @ 70mm (13 hand-held shots automatically stitched into 1 composite in Photoshop)

    wide angle lens

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Too many generalisations here for my liking..!
    I'd prefer to differentiate between the tools and the people using them. Excellent, beautiful, inspiring images, have been made using WA and UWA lenses with care and thought.
    Ian

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Riverrick,

    I think a common thread in the advice you received is "it depends on what and how you shoot." The best way to determine what kinds of lenses you do -- or don't -- need is to shoot a lot with what you have and see whether there are things you want to do that you can't do with what you already have.

    The lens you have goes fairly wide. I suggest you use it at the wide end and see if you find it too long for what you want to do.

    Like you, I shoot a crop sensor camera. I carry two lenses for landscapes: a 15-85, and a 70-200. You have a big part of that total range covered with your one lens. On rare occasions, I have wanted something wider, but they are rare, and it has never been worth it to me. But that is just how I shoot. I find wider very hard to compose. Other people use wider-angle lenses and produce great images. YMMV.

    BTW, we use real names here. You can add yours to your profile.

    Dan

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    Re: wide angle lens

    Thanks to all for the tips, advice, info. Really appreciated. Leave for Yosemite this Sunday. Hope to get some great shots.

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