Wide Angle Lens: Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

  • Lenses
  • 8 min read
Why Use Wide-Angle Lens

A wide-angle lens is a lens whose focal length is less than or equal to 28 mm. Very popular with landscape photographers, the wide-angle lens can also help you produce more creative photos. Here are 7 reasons why use a wide angle lens more often as well as the different models of the moment for your Nikon camera.

Note: The photos illustrating above is taken with a 20 mm focal length lens mounted on a full FX format case. Users of Nikon APS-C / DX enclosures should consider the x1.5 conversion factor in the indications given below. The 20 mm equivalent in DX is therefore a focal lens between 13 and 14 mm (13×1.5=19.5 mm).

Angle of Field and Framing

Wide-angle photography means using a shorter focal length than the 35 mm focal length used by reporters and street photographers (see the 35 mm lenses guide). For the same value in mm, the visual difference between two short focal lengths is much greater than it is between two long focal lengths. Be careful to choose your wide-angle according to your desires.

The wide-angle allows you to frame very wide, to have a lot of space in the image to play with the composition, the subject and the secondary elements that will compose your image.

The Wide-Angle, A Real Friend

Why Use A Wide Angle Lens
Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

Many photographers think that a wide-angle is ideal for landscape photography because "you have a panoramic view". Yes but …

On the one hand it is not the notion of panning that is also known (juxtaposition of several photos). On the other hand, the wide-angle imposes framing constraints that must be taken into account when shooting and that do not make it so universal as it is in landscape photography.

The angle of field is such that many parasitic elements can enter the frame without you paying attention to it when shooting. Once the picture is taken it's too late. As much as a telephoto lens allows to frame tight and isolate the subject, as much as a wide-angle encompasses the whole scene. Be careful before triggering because an unwanted item in the photo and this one loses its charm.

Consideration of Deformations

Why Use A Wide Angle Lens
Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

Short focal lengths require the case to be held horizontally at the time of shooting, otherwise the verticals will leak outside or inside the photo.

This effect due to optical laws is very little correctable in post-treatment (especially without cropping). Some software helps you straighten the outlook but know that this is at the expense of part of the framework. So, take care to hold your case properly.

A Very Large Depth of Field

With a wide-angle the depth of field is very important at equal aperture with respect to a longer focal length. So, you will be able to play with this depth of field to get closer to your subject, to get the viewer into the scene.

Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?
Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

A wide angle used with a small aperture, 20 mm for example, allows you to photograph a few centimetres from the subject while having a very good sharpness in the background.

However, beware of inevitable optical deformations, especially on the faces. Avoid using a wide-angle for the close-up portrait photo, your models will thank you (see which focal point to choose for the portrait photo).

Slow Speeds and Low Lights

Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?
Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

One of the advantages of the wide-angle lens is to minimize blur when shooting. The lens is usually compact and light, the amplitude of parasitic movements is reduced by the short focus. You will be able to photograph with long exposure times more easily, in low light for example.

Take advantage of this advantage to shoot at wide-angle when light is missing, in dark places, rather than using a longer and more sensitive focal length. Framing wide in low light is a great opportunity to render night scenes, dim places and give to see unusual images.

Dare to Get Off the Beaten Track

What if you used a wide angle differently? Without trying to follow the rules, to photograph horizontally? Rather than trying to avoid vertical and horizontal problems, provoke them.

Point your case to the sky and photograph the monuments differently. Place it flush with the ground (help with the adjustable screen as needed) and barely lift it up. Play with the possibilities offered by these short focal lengths to make different images, this is also photography.

You may also like to read: Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM – The Best Wide Angle Lens.

The Affordable Prices

Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?
Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

The f/1.4 wide-angle aperture lenses are high-performance but very expensive models. Focus instead on f/1.8 or near models whose performance is largely sufficient if you do not have a professional use of your hardware (and again …).

Better to photograph at the 24 mm f/2.8 and make you happy than drooling in front of the unapproachable 24 mm f/1.4. And look at the list below, you will see that by changing the focal length you can find great opportunities, a 20 mm Nikon F/1.8 is much more affordable than a 24 mm Nikon F/1.4 and very interesting too.

You may also like to read: Advantages of Wide Angle Lens: Why is the Wide Angle Lens So Popular in Photography?

Nikon and Compatible Wide-Angle Lenses

In the Nikon range available at the time of publication of this article, there are several models of wide-angles. Rates are given for information purposes and may vary.

Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?
Why Use A Wide Angle Lens?

Nikon Wide-Angle Fixed-Focal Lenses

The latest generation Nikon wide-angles are AF-S versions compatible with all SLR housings. Only the AF-S versions are compatible with the DX SLR D3xxx and D5xxx.

  • Nikon AF 14mm f / 2.8 D ED
  • Nikon AF 20mm f / 2.8 D
  • Nikon AF-S 20mm f / 1.8 G ED
  • Nikon AF-S 24mm f / 1.4 G ED
  • Nikon AF-S 24mm f / 1.8
  • Nikon AF 24mm f / 2.8 D
  • Nikon PC-e Micro Nikkor 24mm f / 3.5 D ED
  • Nikon AF-S 28mm f / 1.8
  • Nikon AF 28mm f / 2.8 D

Nikon Wide-Angle Zoom Lenses

Nikon wide-angle zooms often include the 35mm focal length which is not exactly wide-angle but let's quote them anyway.

  • Nikon AF-S 10-24mm f / 3.5-4.5 G ED (DX compatible only)
  • Nikon AF-S 12-24mm f / 4 g If ED (DX compatible only)
  • Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f / 2.8 G ED
  • Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f / 4 G ED VR
  • Nikon AF-S 17-35mm f / 2.8 D if ED
  • Nikon AF-S 18-35mm f / 3.5-4.5 G ED

Fixed-Focal Wide-Angle Compatible Lenses

In independent lenses there are several fixed-focal wide-angle models for Nikon. Fish-eye models for very special use are excluded from this list:

  • Samyang 10mm f / 2.8 (DX compatible only, manual focus)
  • Samyang 14mm f/2.8 (manual focus)
  • Samyang 16mm f/2 (DX compatible only, manual focus)
  • Samyang 24mm f / 1.4 (manual focus)
  • Samyang 24mm Tilt shift f / 3.5 ED as UMC (dedicated to architectural photography)
  • Sigma Art 20mm f1. 4 DG HSM
  • Sigma Art 24mm F1. 4 DG HSM
  • Voigtlander color Skopar 20mm f / 3.5 SLIIn (manual focus)
  • Voigtlander color Skopar 28mm f/2.8 SLIIn (manual punching)

Compatible Wide-Angle Zoom Lenses

Wide-angle zooms for Nikon exist in DX and FX versions among leading lenses. Excluded from this list are models up to 50 mm and more to limit the choices to true wide-angles only:

  • Sigma 8-16mm F4. 5-5. 6 DC HSM (DX compatible only)
  • Sigma 10-20mm F3. 5 EX DC HSM (DX compatible only)
  • Sigma 12-24mm F4. 5-5. 6 II DG HSM
  • Sigma Art 24-35mm F2 DG HSM
  • Tamron SP AF 10-24mm F / 3.5-4.5 Di II LD Aspherical [if] (DX compatible only)
  • Tamron SP 15-30mm f / 2.8 Di VC
  • Tokina AT-x 11-16mm f / 2.8 PRO DX II (DX compatible only)
  • Tokina AT - X 12-28mm f / 4 PRO DX (DX compatible only)
  • Tokina AT - x 16-28mm f / 2.8 Pro FX
  • Tokina AT-X 17-35mm f / 4 Pro FX

Non-limiting list according to the evolution of the ranges of the different lens manufacturers.