Thursday, 14 January 2010

Wide Angle Lenses

A post recently came up on a forum I visit regularly regarding the field of view of various wide angle lenses on APS-C sized sensors (specifically Nikon DX ones).  The person who created the thread was trying to decide between several wide angle lenses for a Nikon DX body (I don't remember off-hand specifically which one, but it's not really important).

I'm not trying to directly compare each of the lenses here, just show what's available for Nikon bodies and the different field of view range available with them (which was one of his questions).  That said, after doing some research, looking at comparison photos on the web, and trying some out for myself, I personally decided to go for the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 and don't regret the decision for an instant.

So, let's first have a look at what's available.
Now, I know that Tokina also do an 11-16mm lens,  but that wasn't brought up in the conversaion, and the image I made doesn't include those focal lengths, but you should be able to guesstimate a rough idea.

As I said, this wasn't to compare the quality, sharpness, chromatic abrrations, distortion or any other issues between each of these lenses.  I'm not Ken Rockwell, I can't provide reviews or comparisons for products I've never actually used, or even seen with my own eyes.

As well as 10, 12, 20 and 24mm I've also put 18mm on there so that you can get a rough idea when compared to the wide end of a kit lens (18-55mm VR or 18-70mm DX, for example).

I know the focal plane isn't at the front of the lens as it appears to be in this image, it's merely for illustration purposes.

Personally I prefer having the 10mm wide end rather than 12mm, it lets me get just that little bit extra when I need it (which I have needed for some interior shots), and the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 doesn't distort quite as much as some of the others mentioned.

These fields of view shown above are for Nikon DX sized sensors when using specifical focal lengths.  There are various field of view calculators out there if you have a look on Google that will allow you to work this out for yourself if you're on an FX or 35mm body (or if you want to look up other focal lengths for either sensor type).

Bear in mind that DX lenses aren't really going to be much use on FX bodies, so if you are calculating the field of view of a given focal length on full frame make sure it's a full frame lens. :)

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