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07-27-2019, 10:46 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Portland, OR
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Choosing a Wide Angle Lens for foreground photography

Hello, Chuck:

On my Pentax K-r camera, I use a 16mm, f/2.0 lens for APS-C sensor. My problem is that it pushes the foreground, i.e. the one to twenty foot space in front of the lens, too far away. Of course, the rejoinder is to ask, 'Why don't you simply get closer to the subject?' Of course, this is frequently what I do. However,this does not always solve the problem.

Is there another lens available to meet my demand?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

07-29-2019, 10:59 AM - 1 Like   #2
B&H Photo Specialist
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 934

A very good way to describe the effect a WA lens has on a subject is making it appear like it's being pushed further away. WA lens enlarge what is closest to it while making distant subjects smaller. You did not mention distortion so I assume you are not bothered by what is referred to as barrel distortion.

The quick fix would be to increase the focal length of the lens you are using. If trying to capture a vast scene into a single frame, you can experiment with shooting segments of your view and stitching them together. When composing a scene with a WA lens, you will want to avoid lines or long streched subjects coming towards the camera, say for example standing in the street and shooting down the road. Also try to avoid low camera angles or shooting with your camera not level to the subject. For example tipping the camera back or pointing it slightly upwards.

Personally when going wider than 24mm's on a full frame sensor, I try and fill my frame with my intended subject as best I can. Too much extra especially in front of the subject can have a negative affect on your image. I recently shot with the Sony 12-24mm lens on an A9 and most of my images were disappointing even though the club was small. The lens captured way to much of the ceiling and floor for my liking. Because WA lenses make distant subjects appear smaller, say a guitar for example. The area the guitar is captured by on the sensor is small, meaning lower resolution. So in this example, a guitar close to the camera would have detail showing all 6 strings, the one further way would not have enough detail to crop as a means of tweaking the image or in my example eliminating some of the floor or ceiling.

A lens like any tool should be matched to the intended job. Using a sledge hammer to tap in a finishing nail to hang a picture may or may not work depending on the person doing the hammering. From my experience, extreme lenses sometimes get over used and it's best to learn when they are needed and use them when appropriate.

I hope this helps.

07-30-2019, 09:49 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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Original Poster

Thank you for taking the time to send a thoughtful reply, Chuck. I am grateful to you.

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