Society & Culture & Entertainment Photography

What"s the Best Wide Angle Lens?

What's the best wide angle lens? Best wide-angle lens? Two steps backward.
Look for the 'ah-ha'.
-Ernst Haas, Comment in workshop, 1985 Ernst has hit the nail on the head.
The answer to "What's the best wide angle lens" isn't Canon's new 16-35mm f4..
..
but which ever lens you have with you at the time.
As a professional Photographer, I can truthfully say that sometimes, I can't see the wood for the trees and get fixated about the next generation of new lens with a faster "this" and smaller "that", and for a couple of weeks will lust after it until the feeling finally subsides.
Photographers in general tend to be "gear hounds", but at some point you have to use what you have and not make an excuse that you didn't get the shot - but if you had the new "X" you would have! When travelling, I can't take all the gear I'd like to because:
  1. I'd never fit it into the small hand luggage size requirements airlines use these days.
  2. I'd never be able to carry it all day out and about.
But overall, this can be a good thing, because it forces you to think about what you're going to be shooting, and more importantly what you can do without.
I've had occasions when I've been shooting landscapes in the middle of nowhere and I'd wish I'd brought along X piece of kit, but it's possible to work around the shortfall 99% of the time.
Either by better technique, or moving position, I'd rarely had to compromise a particular shot because due to lack of kit.
Learning who to use the equipment you have more effectively can often mean you don't necessarily need that extra piece of equipment.
For instance:
  • What if the wide angle lens you have isn't wide enough for the shot? - Result, learn how to take panoramas where you can stitch images together.
    Because wide angle lenses tend to distort, you usually shoot at around 50mm anyway, so you wide angle lens wouldn't be any use in that situation.
  • Didn't bring your tripod for the long exposure shot? - Result, learn better camera handling through stronger posture, which means you can hand hold to a lower shutter speed, or learn how to fashion temporary camera stabilisers from what you've got in your kit, coat, pockets.
A good bit of lateral thinking can take you along way, and it starts with furthering your education, not just about your camera, but with photography in general.
The more you understand about the process of why things happen the way they do, the more you can understand to use them to your advantage, or not (i.
e.
camera shake at long shutter speeds, useless for landscapes, but potentially good for action shots).
As an aside, this will also make you a better photographer, and let's be honest, who wouldn't find that useful?

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