Wide angle camera lens suggestions?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by bcg, Sep 11, 2010.

  1. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    It's kind of off topic but not really. I need a wider angle lense to be able to photograph my projects from closer so I can minimize the obstructions (mostly trees) in the foreground of the shot. I have a Canon EOS 450D body and am considering either these two lenses -


    Are either of these good choices? Is there something else you guys would suggest?
  2. The Lighting Geek

    The Lighting Geek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 886

    What lens are you currently using? I use an Sigma 18-50 F/2.8 zoom and it is just starting to fish eye at the widest setting. If go go any wider you get an increase in the bubble effect or fish eye. You will get better shots in lower light with a 2.8 or lower but you pay for the faster lens. I also use a Nikon 70-200 F/ 2.8 as well depending on how much closer I want the background to the subject I am shooting. I am hoping to pick up a Nikon D700 body here soon as I have out grown my Fuji S3 Pro.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  3. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    I'm using a Canon EF-S 18-55 right now but with an APS-C sensor at 1.6 I effectively have a 28.8 - 88 mm range. I wish I could afford a full size sensor camera body but it's not in the budget just yet.

    I know I'll have a little barrel distortion at the edges with it zoomed out to the widest setting but with night shots I don't think it's going to matter as much as it would in daylight shots.

    Here's an example of the problem I'm having. To get this entire house in the frame I have to go all the way out to the street which puts all the trees in the way. I'd really like to be able to get in closer.

  4. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    I understand your desire to use a wider lens but there are a couple things to keep in mind:

    1. When photographing architecture, you want all vertical and horizontal lines to be straight and in the proper perspective in the image. While human vision makes unconscious adjustments to interpret straight lines in a scene, the viewing of a photograph is different - distortions are perceived as 'wrong' or 'distracting'.

    Two types of distortions are important - perspective distortion and lens distortion.

    Perspective distortion applies more to the positioning of the camera than it does to the choice of lens. If the camera is brought close to a building, near its base, then vertical lines will converge towards the top center of the image. This type of distortion can be corrected fairly easily in PhotoShop but will result in some image degradation.

    Lens distortion is of several types, the most important being the 'fisheye' effect with wide angle lenses. This results in straight lines appearing curved around the center of the image. The wider the angle, the more pronounced the effect. The distortion also makes worse any perspective distortion. This type of distortion is extremely difficult to correct in PhotoShop.

    You may say, "Who cares if there's a little distortion?" The answer - most probably don't care, but you will never see a distorted image in a trade journal or high-end mag.

    2. Another problem is color separation. Digital photography works by combining three distinct images (red, green, and blue) and superimposing them upon each other to produce a single image. If the three color images are not exactly lined up then the final image can display one or more of the colors slightly displaced from the others - this gives the appearance of red, green, or blue rimming of the image.

    This color displacement is largely the result of the lens, because it acts like a prism and deflects different color wavelengths, offsetting them on the digital collector. Pricey lenses have special coating to minimize this effect. But the big problem is at the edges of the image where angles of deflection are greatest. This edge-of-the-image problem is even worse with wide angle lenses because the outermost edges of the image are liable to show gross amounts of separation.

    Red, green, and blue rimming can be corrected to a certain extent in PhotoShop (raw image editor) but cannot be eliminated entirely.
  5. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    Thanks, Steve. I know I'm going to have some trouble with distortion at the edges but when a house is 150' wide and I can't get more than 40' away without getting a bunch of obstructions in the frame, I don't know any other way to get it in the frame. I don't plan to shoot everything with the wide angle but I do want to be able to have a couple of shots that show the entire lighting scene and then closer shots that will give a truer reproduction of the details.
  6. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Understood, let me know if you'd like some PhotoShop work done to correct the distortions.
  7. Tim R.

    Tim R. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    Why not just take a series of photos and stich them together to make a panoramic photograph? I do it all the time, yes you have to deal with some distortion, but that is no different than a wide angle lense.
  8. MarcSmith

    MarcSmith LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,157

    http://www.tamron-usa.com/lenses/prod/1024_diII.asp I 'm a big fan of the tamron line of lenses...

    FWIW don't forget about BH KEH, and PENN camera stores, they sell used merchandise at significant savings...

    in fact my latest purchase was used tamron 28-300 for my T1i
  9. steveparrott

    steveparrott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,276

    Great suggestion!
  10. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    I've done that in the past. I don't really like the way it comes out.

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