Wide angle lenses are used in photography to take pictures of closely located objects. They are called ‘wide angled’ because they have a much larger field of vision, or as it is technically called – a larger image circle – than the normal lenses. A wide angle lens has a much shorter focal length than that of a normal lens for a particular image size. Though the wide angle lenses give a much wider angle of view in the photograph, they also produce perspective distortion.
Wide angle lenses are good at creating interesting images – in which the exact proportions and perspective will be distorted, but nevertheless you get interesting images. The images produced by a wide angle lens are frequently used to highlight the subject of the image, wherein the main subject gains prominence and the dimensions of the surroundings are decreased in relative sizes.
Visual Effects of Wide Angle Lenses
A wide angle lens produces a number of interesting visual effects that add uniqueness to the pictures. Some of the main visual effects produced in a wide angle photograph are as follows -
Stretching of Perspective
This is the most notable effect of a wide angle lens. The relative sizes and proportions of the objects in picture changes dramatically, and so does the apparent distance between them. The objects closer to the lens gain in size, while those farther recede further.
Larger Field of Vision
When there is no particular subject that needs to be emphasized, and you need to show a lot of widely spread details in a limited space, the wide angle lens is the obvious choice. For example, if you need to take a picture of all your colleagues in a party, who are all packed into your room, a wide angle lens is a good idea. Do you remember those group photographs of all you classmates after the graduation ceremony? Such pictures also use wide angle lenses.
Another good example of the use of wide angle lens is the pictures taken in interior design magazines, where the overall picture of the room needs to be emphasized in a limited space.
Or when you need to include the top to bottom of a 12-storey building in a single picture, standing only 20 feet away from the building, wide angle lenses are the only choice.
As explained in the first point on the visual effects of using a wide angle lens, this type of lens stretches the perspective, and as a result, the relative sizes of objects change. Even if there is a single subject, the parts closer to the lens will be emphasized, while the part further to the lens will recede. As a result, a distorted image will result. For example, if you take a picture of a man from a slightly higher level, the size of the head will appear dramatically bigger than that of the rest of the body. This property can be used to create dramatic effects in images.
There are a number of technical issues that can come up when using wide angle lenses. They are as follows -
- Vignetting – That is, the corners of the image are dimmed. This can be usually avoided by taking a better quality lens, though you might need to pay more for that!
- Flaring – When taking outdoor pictures, the wide angle of the lens may produce flaring due to the sun. This can be avoided by using hoods, though they provide a limited protection.
- photography-all-about-wide-angle-lenses/”title=”Underexposure” >Underexposure – Again, an issue in outdoor photography. The wide angle lens may include a lot of sky, which will fool the camera meter into believing that there is ample light, with the result that the final image may be underexposed.
Canon EF – S 10-22 mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs
This is probably one of the best, though quite expensive at about Rs 37,000 – 40,000 (approx)
Canon EF 17-40 mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
An ultra wide angle lens, at a price of around Rs 40,000.
Sigma 10-20 mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
Very impressive, but very expensive, in the region of Rs 50K.