Many people ask me what wide-angle lens to buy, so let me say here that I am a big fan of ultra-wide-angle lenses. For full-frame sensor cameras, I recommend a lens in the 14mm to 16mm range, and for less-than-full-frame cameras, a lens in the 10mm to 12mm range is excellent (such as the Canon 10-22mm or the Nikon 12-24mm lens). These lenses produce incredibly dramatic images.
For example, one of the highlights of my recent photo tour to Portugal and Spain was photographing the incredible staircase in the Lello bookstore in Porto, Portugal. The color, graphic design, and the light all come together to make an outstanding image, but it was my 14mm lens that enabled me to really capture the essence and the beauty of the architecture. Lesser angles obtained from 18 to 24mm wide-angle lenses produce a nice shot, but it is the extreme width of the 14mm that makes this subject especially compelling.
Tip: Ultra-wide-angle lenses are most dramatic when used very close to the subject.
Notes from the Editor:
- Jim Zuckerman teaches many excellent online photography courses at BetterPhoto, including Techniques of Natural Light Photography and Eight Steps to More Dramatic Photography.
- In addition, Jim Z contributed some of his amazing pictures to these new books (co-authored by Jim Miotke and Kerry Drager): The BetterPhoto Guide to Creative Digital Photography and the just-published The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light.