Wide angle lenses are good, you have heard me say this many times.
Not just for travel. Also, for instance, for “event background shots”, like this recent picture taken at a corporate event:
Or for this:
Wide angles because:
- You get more in (d’oh).
- They are easy to focus – if you wish, you can get it all in focus (but see the note below).
- It is easy to avoid camera shake (a safe-ish shutter speed is “1 divided by the lens length”, after all, so shorter lenses are easier).
- You introduce depth (“close-far” technique).
- You can exaggerate perspective, if you wish.
So how wide is “wide”?
I would say 16-35 mm on a “full frame” camera – that means 10-20 mm for those of you who use a crop camera, like a Digital Rebel, 50D, D3000, or D90.
Now I promised you a footnote. Wide lenses make it easy to focus on “everything”. So what if I want selective focus, like in the bar or in the following shot? Selective focus is oh so important in photography, as it helps you tell a story:
Well, then I need to have a wide open aperture. Wider than on a longer lens.
And that is why I use a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens, and if I could find a faster one I would get it, too. The faster (i.e. the lower the “F”-number), the better. So when some say “a wide lens does not need to be fast”, they are wrong.