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Top Reasons to Choose a Wide Angle Lens

A wide angle lens is sometimes considered as the lens for a photojournalist.

The wide angle of view, the ultra-sharp image quality and at times a matching build quality to go with, make a wide angle lens the choice of most photographers around the world, not just photojournalists alone.

If you are reading this article, probably someone told you about the wholesome goodness of a yummy wide angle lens. It is probable that you might have already made up your mind and just wanted to bounce your thoughts to find out what others think.

If you have already made up your mind, great decision! The following paragraphs probably would be what you were looking to glance upon.

However, the purpose of this article is not to sway decisions, neither reaffirm ones that have already been made. That’s not my objective. My objective is to merely highlight some of the features of a wide angle lens and the reasons why these are such popular with most photographers.

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When to Use a Wide Angle Lens?

A larger Angle of View

Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House by Rex Boggs
Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House by Rex Boggs

The first and the obvious reason for choosing a wide angle lens is the larger angle of view that you get to see and capture. A wide angle lens is an automatic choice when it comes to shooting photos of landscapes, architecture, interiors and of course real estate.

Having said that you can take a wide angle lens and shoot unique perspectives of almost anything under the sun. That is if you know what you are doing. I have seen wedding photographers shooting with a 35mm prime and still getting away with excellent photos.

Photographing Architecture

The larger angle of view obviously allows you to capture a lot more in the frame, which is a good thing in a sense. Say you are standing in front of the magnificent Taj Mahal and you have a wide angle lens with you. With

With it you should be able to get a tight composition of the entire mausoleum even when you are standing inside the compound. With a tele lens, you would have to cross the nearby river and go to the other bank in order to capture the entire structure in a single frame.

A problem with using tele lenses is that it sucks in more of the background when ideally you don’t want that to happen. Use a zoom lens to compose an image when the subject is some distance away. As you

As you zoom in you will find that the background is becoming larger and larger. Till at one point, your lens permitting, it assumes a disproportionately large size in comparison to the subject in the foreground. This is known as lens compression. Wide angle lenses don’t suffer from this problem.

Photographing Landscape

Kilchurn castle, Lochawe, Scotland, United Kingdom by Giuseppe Milo
Kilchurn castle, Lochawe, Scotland, the United Kingdom by Giuseppe Milo

But that’s not all, a wide-angle lens captures more of a landscape than a tele can. Wide angle lenses would give you a closer feel of the actual scene and not bits and pieces of a big picture. With a tele, you would be forced to shoot slices or portions of a much wider spectacle of the lord you are standing in front of.

Ultra-wide angle lenses offer you a vast depth of field. Combine an ultra-wide (or for that matter even a wide-angle) lens with a big f-number and you will notice the sharp details even at the corners of the frame. You don’t have to employ tricks like focusing 1/3rds into the frame or making difficult calculations to determine the hyperfocal distance of the lens.

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Street Photography

Street photographers shoot a majority of their images with a wide angle lens. This is because a wide angle lens is ultra-sharp. The same reason why these lenses are preferred by landscape photographers as well.

There is, however, a few reasons of their own for such a choice. An ultra-wide angle lens tends to stretch things and make them appear a bit, well, stretchy (!).

Why would you want to stretch things? Because it’s a good deal of fun and moreover I don’t mind making unique images of everyday stuff around me.

The thing that I would definitely mind, however, is making close-up portraits with a wide angle or an ultra-wide angle lens. It is never a good idea to stretch facial features.

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Forces you to change the perspective by getting close

The Two Year Olds (Or Nearly) by Henry Burrows
The Two-Year-Olds (Or Nearly) by Henry Burrows

One reason a pro would ask you to use a wide angle lens is that you may have developed the inevitable beginner syndrome of shooting from a distance and making use of the optical zoom of your lens.

This disease is more frequently seen among photographers who migrate from a Point & Shoot to a DSLR. Point & Shoot cameras and their tiny lenses often come with mind-boggling zooms. 15x, 25x, 30x.

It seems it is not far when we will have lenses with 500x zoom capacity. None of these make me drool though. As none of these are actually optical zooms. As a matter of fact, optical zoom taps out at much lower magnification.

After that, it’s just software enhanced digital zoom which appears in the final image as if you accidentally shot something obscene and had to pixelate it in post-production. Anyways the only way to recuperate from this disease is to buy a prime lens; and what better prime than a wide angle?

The only way you can ever zoom is if you move with your feet. You will be forced to if you are ever going to fill the frame and therein is the beauty of the wide angle lens. It makes you do things and get out of your comfort zone.

Fish-Eye Lenses

The Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom - Landscape photography by Giuseppe Milo
The Highlands, Scotland, United Kingdom – Landscape photography by Giuseppe Milo

While speaking about wide angle and ultra-wide angle lenses we cannot snub one particular lens – I am referring to the fisheye lens. These lenses are difficult to manage and shoot with.

Fish-eye lenses are designed to give you an ultra-wide and ultra-distorted perspective of the scene in front of you. This is a fun lens to use if you like everything to roll up, curl and get distorted.

Serious real-world photography pursuits are, however, limited with a fisheye lens. You can use a fisheye lens in a way so that it does not bring in the massive distortions and capture really wide perspectives of scenes which are otherwise impossible to be captured. These could include the Milky Way, panoramic shots of architectures,

These could include the Milky Way, panoramic shots of architectures, a really large wedding group or even a shot of a room where you don’t have too much of a working space.

The Best Wide Angle Lenses to Buy in 2021

Bestseller No. 1
  • 7-14mm focal length
  • 14-28mm equivalent focal length on Micro Four Thirds cameras
  • F4.0 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum
  • Image stabilization, via camera body where available
  • 0.25m/9.84" minimum focus
Bestseller No. 2
58MM 0.43x Altura Photo Professional HD Wide Angle Lens (w/Macro Portion) for Canon...
  • LENS ATTACHMENT: Easily screws on to the front of your lens, and instantly expands the field of view for breathtaking...
  • LENS COMPATIBILITIES: Popular 58MM Lens models including Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS...
  • CAMERA MODELS: Canon EOS Rebel T7 T7i T6i T6 T6s T5i T5 T4i T3i T100 SL3 SL2 SL1 90D 80D 77D 70D 1100D 700D 650D 600D 550D 7D...
  • NOTE: PLEASE VERIFY YOUR CAMERA'S LENS THREAD SIZE BEFORE ORDERING. This Wide-Angle is compatible with 58MM lenses only. Lens...
  • PREMIUM CUSTOMER SERVICE: Backed with DIGITAL GOJA 90-Day 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
Bestseller No. 3
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
  • EF S ultra wide zoom lens. Drive System Lead screw and rack system driven by stepping motor
  • Focal Length and Maximum Aperture: 10 18 millimeter,1:4.5 5.6
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.72 feet. / 0.22 meter
  • Stepping motor for noise free video shooting
  • Optical image stabilizer
Bestseller No. 4
Rokinon Special Performance (SP) 14mm F2.4 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in AE...
  • Aperture range: f/2.4 - f/22
  • Angle of view of 114.12 Degree with minimum focus distance of 11.02" (28 cm)
  • Magnification of 0.08x with 9 diaphragm blades
  • Constructed with 18 elements in 14 groups
  • Includes Lens Caps, Lens pouch, Instruction manual and 1 Year Warranty
Bestseller No. 5
Xenvo Pro Lens Kit for iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, Macro and Wide Angle Lens with LED...
  • ✔ COMPATIBLE WITH ALL SINGLE AND DUAL-CAMERA PHONES including ALL iPhone models, Samsung Galaxy and Note, Google Pixel,...
  • ✔ TRUVIEW 0.45x WIDE ANGLE LENS - CAPTURE 45% MORE PICTURE WITH EVERY SNAP: Shoot stunning photos of people, pets, travel...
  • ✔ GLOWCLIP RECHARGEABLE LED FILL LIGHT - The GlowClip LED light clips ANYWHERE on your phone to instantly illuminate your...


  • Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your "master guide" here at PhotoWorkout.

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