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A photograph can tell a thousand stories, they say. In the art of photography, one of the key elements is the choice of right lens to obtain the right filed of view. In order to obtain a larger coverage of the image than would be available with standard lens design, you need a wide angle lens. This may change the perspective in shift or tilt (horizontal or vertical direction) taking wider frame area into the picture. Relative to standard lens systems, a wide lens has shorter focal length and covers larger dimensions for the image frame or the image composition. By using wide lenses the perspective gets stretched and objects that are closer to the lens appear look bigger in the image, allowing you to fit more detail into the composed image. In other words, capability of the wide lenses to get the image stretched means that the distance between different elements in the field of view appears extended. Objects that are closer to your camera look enormous while those which are farther nearly disappear in the distance. This is only an optical illusion and not real, but certain compositions demand this. For example, if a large group of people like in a graduation ceremony has to be photographed with the entire faculty building in the backdrop, you can get this done only with use of a wide lens. As a rule of thumb any lens with less than 35 mm focal length is considered "wide" and the angle of view increase inversely with the focal length; i.e., smaller the focal length, larger is the angle of view. Commonly available lenses for wider field of view are 28, 24, 21, 20, 18 or 14 mm and all of them are in the wide angle class. One of the misconceptions harbored by many involves the use of wide angle lens when you are unable to step far away from the object, yet want to capture all the elements in the subject in a single frame. Actually, wide angle lens is preferred when you want to get closer to the subject. What makes the wide angle lens unique, relative to normal or even telephoto lenses are: • The image encompasses a wider angle of view • It has close minimum focusing distance The property of wide angle lenses to affect the perspective is due to the relation between focal length and angle of view. This is effectively used in adding emphasis and details to objects closer to the lens and those elements farther away get reduced in size and details. This property effectively used in photographing scenes, flowers or trees etc is satisfactory, but when using the wide angle for photographing people, one has to be careful that parts of the face or details such as hair etc are not enlarged disproportionately. For example a child may appear with slightly enlarged head and the parents standing just a couple of feet behind may appear smaller than they actually are. While using wide angle lenses in digital cameras, you need additional 'crop factor' to compensate for the relatively smaller dimensions of the photo sensor frame size. Wide angle lenses are inescapable while photographing indoors with space limitations.


And for additional resources related to photography equipment, check out The Hobby Photographer.

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Wide Angle Lens