The super wide
The appearance of spaciousness is also
increased by the super wide angle lenses. Objects just a few feet away
seem to far more distant. Room interiors are huge and hallways stretch
out interminably anything placed close to the camera is gigantic
compared with something the same size just a little farther away. For
this and other reasons these super short lenses are the very worst
choice for portraiture. Getting close enough to a person to fill the
viewfinder with just head and shoulders produces wild and grotesque
distortion. Noses and foreheads bulge, chins and ears shrink and
recognition becomes almost impossible.
The distortion caused by pointing a camera
up or down is also greater with the super wides than with longer lenses.
Unless your camera is held perfectly level, vertical lines will converge
at outlandish angles, if you are seeking this effect deliberately, point
your camera up or down sharply. If the angle is only a slight one,
people may think you made a mistake, and your picture will label you are
merely careless instead of creative. If you can avoid any deviation from
level at all, straight line vertical distortion will disappear.
As with most wide angle lenses super wides
have relatively modest maximum apertures. However, focusing in dim light
(or in any light) may be even more difficult with the super wides than
with the other wide angle lenses because of the still greater depth of
field. A split image rangefinder built into your camera’s viewing screen
may help the accuracy with some kinds of subjects. If not, the enormous
depth of field will cover all but the most flagrant focusing errors in
With super wide angle lenses it is difficult
to use filters without cutting into the picture corners, although some
of the more expensive lenses have a rotatable filter wheel built into
the lens barrel. Lens hood too, can block out part of the picture, they
are either not recommended at all or they are so shallow that they are
almost totally ineffective.
A super wide angle lens isn’t purchased just
to get a photographer out of tight spots. It is probably used most often
to create eye catching photographic compositions. Its great depth of
field and strong perspectives can conjure up fantasy landscapes which
stretch from inches away to far in the distances with everything brittle
sharp, rich in detail and intriguingly distorted in size. Otherwise
common place objects and scenes take on the magic air of an alien world
when submitted to the whimsical eye of a super wide angle lens.