Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The ins and outs of a landscape photographer’s most used lens
Wide-angle lenses are essential landscape photography tools for their ability to take in epic vistas and allow you to move in close to emphasize a foreground object while still showing enough of its surroundings to give a feel for the location.
To choose the best wide-angle zoom for you and your photography, there are some key factors to keep in mind.
What's Wide Angle For Your Camera Format?
Longtime 35mm photographers think of lenses from 35mm and shorter as wide-angles because these focal lengths produce a wider angle of view than a focal length equal to the format's 43.2mm diagonal measurement (or the 50mm focal length popularly considered "normal" for the 35mm format). But a focal length's angle of view also depends on the format of the camera with which it's used. With film, this wasn't a big deal. All 35mm SLRs produced 36x24mm images, so a given focal length on one 35mm SLR would produce the same angle of view on any of them.
With digital SLRs and mirrorless digital cameras, sensors come in different formats, and each produces a different angle of view with a different focal length because it "sees" a different portion of the image produced by the lens. The sensor in a "full-frame" DSLR is the same size as a standard 35mm image frame, so a given focal length on a full-frame DSLR will produce the same angle of view as it would on a 35mm SLR. The sensors in APS-C DSLRs are smaller (23.6x15.6mm or so vs. 36x24mm), so they "see" a smaller portion of the image produced by a given lens. APS-C digital cameras have a 1.5x crop factor, so a given lens on an APS-C camera shows the field of view of a lens 1.5 times longer on a full-frame camera. A 35mm "wide-angle" lens becomes a 53mm "normal" lens when used on an APS-C camera for framing purposes.
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