Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The ins and outs of a landscape photographer’s most used lens
Some wide-angle zoom lenses use a twist ring to zoom, while some use a push-pull ring. Either way, the zoom control should operate smoothly, and the focal length shouldn't change when you tilt the camera up or down as much as you're likely to when shooting.
Fast pro zooms can be rather heavy, and this can cause the lens to extend to its longest setting as you walk with the camera on a neckstrap. Some zoom lenses, mostly telezooms, have zoom locks that prevent this from happening.
If you like to move close to a small object to exaggerate its size relative to the surroundings—"close-up wide-angle" shooting—you'll want a lens with a close minimum focusing distance. You also may want to consider the maximum magnification possible with the lens. Wide-angle lenses have short focal lengths and aren't known for their magnification, but one that provides greater magnification can be helpful when you want to get a smaller object as large as possible in the frame.
Lens hoods can reduce flare and, thus, enhance image contrast. But superwide-angles generally don't accept lens hoods because their wide angles of view would cause the hood to appear in the image. Hoods for wide-angles often stick out farther at top and bottom than at the sides since the angle of view is greater horizontally than vertically. Make sure you install this type of hood in the proper orientation or you risk significant vignetting.
Like lens hoods, filters can be problematic when shooting wide. Some ultra-wide-angles don't have filter threads because of the shape of the front lens element and the risk of vignetting. Even if your lens is threaded for filters, look carefully through the viewfinder when using one. Some low-profile filters have narrow rings to avoid vignetting, but even these don't always do the trick, especially at wider apertures. You certainly can use filters, but take extra care when doing so.
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