Why a Wide Angle Lens Will be Your New Favorite Lens
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Why a Wide Angle Lens Will be Your New Favorite Lens

If you’re anything like me you might always be itching to add a new lens to your camera bag. Let me tell you about one you should consider, a wide angle lens.

I hope I haven’t lost you yet! This lens isn’t just for really unique artistic shots. It can be for any photographer out there!

A wide angle lens is a great option for a second lens. I typically like to recommend the 50mm as a first quality lens to buy.

But If you already have a lens, or two, that you love then I have to tell you all about these lenses and why it’s one of my favorite to have and travel with.

Wide angle lens shot of a beach and large rock

What is a wide angle lens?

Some people immediately think that a wide angle lens is a “fish eye” lens that creates a very distorted image.

In reality though a wide angle lens is a lens that is 35mm or shorter. A 24mm, 16mm etc are all considered a wide angle. So not all of these lenses will create a dramatic lens distortion, but some will.

Just for you: 5 Reasons to shoot with a wide angle lens

Image of colorful buldings with boats in front using a wide angle lens

Wide angle lens categories

A wide angle lens has a wider area of view so you can fit more in the frame that most lenses can. There are a few categories of lenses because of how much area of view can fit into.

The three types are:

Standard lens are 24mm-35mm.

Wide angle lens are 16mm to 24mm.

Ultrawide lens are anything under 16mm.

Very distorted image of a child running on a beach with a wide angle lens

When to use a wide angle lens

Street

Typically in street photography you will not have a lot of space to back up. Also you want to get a lot in the frame. Most photographers want to include as many cars as possible, as much of the buildings, and these wider lenses will allow for just that.

This will be able to really express what the street scene was like without you having to be far away to get it all in the frame.

Street photography in London with people walking in front of houses

Travel

I love to travel with my 24mm and 35mm lens. Typically when I travel I like to take landscape photos and also photos of my family. The 35mm lens does a great job of getting a lot in frame but also not distorting faces.

The 24mm lens is even better for travel especially if you are more interested in shooting landscape photography. Just be careful with the 24mm because it was cause some distortion.

Indoor

Often when shooting indoors you will prefer to have a wider field of view because most of the time your space is not wide open.

A wider lens is also used for real estate photography to allow the viewer to see an entire room in one shot.

Architecture

Some of my favorite photos are architecture photos taken with a wider lens. You will be able to capture an entire castle or house in one shot.

a wide angle lens shot to show architecture with a blue sky

Although you can have distortion with these lenses, I don’t think it usually takes away from architecture photos. It enhances this photo and allows the viewer to see the whole scene!

What are some of the best wide angle lenses?

Each type of lens will have something different to offer. So it’s best to know what your photography style is and then decide what lens you will need.

As I said above there are 3 categories of wide angle lenses. So based off of that I will go over a few of my favorites.

35mm lens

This lens is an all over great lens to have. It is as close to a natural field of view that you can get. There is very little distortion and still allows you to get a lot in the frame.

This lens can be used for anything from portraits, to travel photography, to just every day use. The 35mm is almost always on my camera.

24mm lens

A 24mm lens is just wide enough to get the shot without causing a lot of stretching.

This is a perfect lens to travel with as it will allow you to basically get any shot you want especially in the streets.

Here are a few links to the 24mm Lens in case you are already ready to jump into owning one!

Nikon 24mm
Canon 24mm
Sony 24mm

A gothic looking cathedral

16mm lens

Anything wider than a 16mm is really unique and not typically used for your every day shot. These lenses are used frequently for astrophotography or very artistic shots.

Zoom Range but fixed aperture

I recommend getting a lens that has a zoom range on it so you are able to capture more shots with one lens.

But it’s important to know that I also recommend having a fixed aperture. You don’t want to continue readjusting you aperture everytime you zoom.

Try to keep the aperture abilities as wide as possible to allow that nice beautiful blurred background and sharp focal point.

Is a wide angle lens worth it?

Absolutely! I believe one of these lenses is an essential lens to have in your gear collection.

A lake and village shot with a wide angle lens

They will allow you to take your photography to another level by opening up the frame to wider than your typical portrait lenses.

Having one of these lenses gives you a way to take photos like you never could before. Being able to have a larger field of view really opens things up especially in travel photography.

Still not sure? Check out this on When to Rent a Lens.

Can you take portraits with a wide angle lens?

While these lenses are not typically used for portraits due to the distortion they cause, yes you can take portraits with one.

I would recommend the 35mm lens for any portraits. But anything wider will cause distortion to your subject and that would not be flattering unless an artisic out there shot is what you’re going for.

portrait of a chuld taken with a 35mm lens

Wide Angle Lens FAQs

Is the 24mm a wide angle lens?

Yes! In fact a 24mm lens is a standard wide angle lens that is great for travel photography.

What is the difference between a wide angle and a regular lens?

A wide angle lens is a lens that is wider than 35mm. This lens allows the field of view to be larger whereas the regular lens makes the field of view typically smaller.

What’s the difference between a fisheye and a wide angle lens?

Fisheye is a type of wide angle lens that causes major distortion in the view. The image will be stretched and pulled and will look different. Other lenses like the 35mm will not cause too much distortion.

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