Moderate wide angle lenses

Just as short telephotos have proved to be the most practical and most popular of the longer than normal optics, moderate wide angles have taken the lead among the shorter lenses. It is entirely understandable that this should be so. Since normal lenses are ideal for the majority of picture situation, it follows that other focal length lenses (both longer and shorter) that are closest to normal are also closest to sharing the usefulness of the normal lenses.

A moderate wide angle lens is one having a focal length in the 28mm to 40mm range. A 28mm lens takes in almost four times as much subject area as a normal 50mm lens from the same distance. The coverage and the “look” of a picture taken with a 28mm lens are clearly different as to appear strange or distorted. A 35mm or 40mm lens will also cover more than a 50mm normal lens, but often not enough to justify their use.

Some of the most popular subjects for photographers are landscapes, street scenes and groups of peoples. If there is enough room, a normal lens is the best choice. However, if camera to subject distance is short and there is no place to back up, a moderate wide angle lens may be needed to get the entire picture.

A building is often difficult to photograph because of its size and its surroundings. If you stand close enough to avoid distractions such as sign posts, parked cars or other buildings, you may be too close for your normal lens to include the structure from top to bottom. A moderate wide angle lens will usually let you stand that close and still get everything.

Landscapes are generally easier to manage with a normal lens, for there is more room in which to move around and pick an ideal spot for your camera. However, telephone poles, advertising billboards and modern highways sometimes infringe on otherwise natural settings. If they can’t be eliminated without losing part of the main subject, a moderate wide angle lens will again help by letting you move beyond such intrusions and capture the total scene from a closer vantage point.

As already mentioned, a wide angle lens (usually a moderate one) is frequently the best choice when photographing groups of people indoors. People, however, are not the only indoor subjects that need a lens of this coverage. The room interiors themselves require a wider angle of view if they are to be photographed as units instead of bit by bit. The very shortest lens may sometimes be necessary in small rooms but moderate wide angles are often sufficient.


More about telephotos lenses

- Shorter wide angle lenses
- super wide angle lenses
- tips about using wide angle lenses
- fisheye lenses
- tips about using fisheye lenses