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How wide is wide enough?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Uncle Frank, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. Confession time. I bought my 20/2.8 out of guilt, because the forum's wide-angle afficianados kept telling me that 28mm, with a 42mm FOV on the d70, isn't wide enough. But now that I have the sweet little 20mm lens, I haven't found occasion to use it, other than for the shots I took to test it. It seems that, unless my back is literally against a wall, the short end of The Beast is wide enough for me. I'm probably the exception, because I don't take many scapes, but when I do, 28mm seems to take in all I want or need.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I'll keep the 20/2.8 in my bag for the occasional interior shot, or large group portrait... and to keep you guys from realizing how narrow minded I really am :roll:.
  2. twig


    May 23, 2005
    Frank try shooting indoors with your back up against the wall.

    I rarely use my 12-24 myself as I am not a big landscape guy, but when I am stuck indoors it is quite useful.

    It is VERY hard to use wide lenses effectively, but when you for example have an interesting foreground element and still want the horizon, it works wonders. You shot above might be very different if you used 12mm and shot right behind the couple
  3. Very different, because this was a candid shot of complete strangers. Using 12mm would have resulted in the photographic equivalent of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principal.

    A quantum mechanical principle due to Werner Heisenberg (1927) that, in its most common form, states that it is not possible to simultaneously determine the position and momentum of a particle.

    In other words, the very act of getting that close to the subjects to take the shot would ruined the shot by making the subjects aware that they were being photographed.

    Besides, the rocks in the foreground were an important element of the composition I was looking to create.
  4. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  5. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Wide, wider, widest ?

    Frank :

    It all depends on your needs, I guess. I very regularly shoot in industrial facilities where I need to capture views of equipment from quite confined spaces (in fact - this is the bread and butter use of my camera). As such, the 12-24mm AFS is my stock lens on the body. A fisheye would introduce just too much distortion for my work, and I do sometimes need to be a bit closer, so the zoom feature is very handy.

    I tend to walk around the plants with the 12-24mm on the body, and the 24-120mm AFS/VR in my very small bag (tight spaces to get in and out of many times). Occasionally, I'll bring a tele with me where I can't get access to the equipment (e.g., a distillation tower 200' feet tall that they don't want me to climb) or where the equipment is unsafe to be close to (e.g., 800F temperature), but the 12-24mm probably comprises 90% of my shots.

    Now, I'd be quite tempted if there was a high quality PC lens in the 12mm up to 18mm size, as it would allow me to far better compose my shots without as much distortion.

    In the interim, I'll be shooting a lot with the wide end of the 12-24mm...

    John P.
  6. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    There are really two different reasons for using wide- and superwide-angle lenses. The first is just to get the greater field of view, such as shooting from confined spaces, interiors, architectural photography, basically any instance where you need to get something entirely in the frame and backing up isn't an option.

    The other use is to take advantage of the exaggerated relationship between foreground and background elements. Some of my favorite landscape photography in books, etc use this to great effect by including a strong foreground element. To do this usually requires a lens in the 18-24mm range(35mm FOV). Creating strong compositions at those focal lengths can be very challenging (for me, at anyways), but when done well it gives an incredible sense of depth to the image and provides a different way of looking at things.

    Your 20mm lens is really not all that wide on a DSLR. I wonder if you tried something wider like one of the 12-24 zooms if you'd feel differently about wide-angle photography. It's something that takes some getting used to though, I'm still struggling to learn how to create effective compositions in that focal range.
  7. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I love wide. I use my 12-24 a lot, and usually at the wider end.
  8. Even shooting landscapes (not to mention interiors), it may not be possible to go further back to get a shot.

    Here is an example at 18mm (full wide, except I missed 1mm... which happens sometimes when rotating the zoom ring quickly), for which I regretted not having a wider lens. :shock: http://proger.smugmug.com/photos/18971955-O.jpg Backing from the shot was not an option as that would have revealed lots of tourists, a railing and other man-made constructs... It just needed to be a tad wider: perhaps 14-15mm.

    I subsequently got one: the Tokina 12-24 and I'm really glad I did. Nearly half the pics I took in Alaska, mostly from the boat, were with the 12-24 and nearly all of them below 18! ;-)
  9. Does anyone else notice a seed being planted? :lol:

  10. I noticed, but decided to ignore it :wink:.

    I already have 2 lenses on my fantasy list... 85/1.4 and 300/4 AFS.

    Other than money, the problem is that I'd have to buy another camera body, because I can't bring myself to unscrew The Beast from my d70.
  11. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Ah ha, you do need the second D70. You can find a good used one for around $600 now Frank. lol
  12. I surely do. I dread doing events with my 5700 for backup. I've been waiting for the D200, but I'm beginning to feel like a member of the Cargo Cult :-/.
  13. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Yeah. By the time there's a D200, the D300 will be out.

    ... :?:
  14. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  15. dbirdsong

    dbirdsong Guest

    I tend to either use my 70-200 (with a 1.4 TC on it most of the time) or my 12-24 Tokina. I have been forcing myself to use my Sigma 24-70 F2.8 (Not sure if it is as big as the beast, but it is big) lately.
    Just 2 weeks ago, the 12mm on the Tokina wasn't wide enough, hard to believe but true.
    I was in the middle of a field of hot air balloons and I really wanted wider. Now that doesn't mean I am going to go out and buy a true Fisheye lens, but it would be nice to have.
    Ultra Wide angle are very useful and fun to use.
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