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Ultra Wide-Angle Lenses

October 28, 2009 - Dave Hecei
There is a big disadvantage when shooting with an APS-C type digital SLR camera, like the Canon Digital Rebel series, Canon 10D through 50D, Nikon D40 through D90, etc. The APS-C sensor used in these cameras is smaller than a standard 35mm frame of film. Because of this size difference there is a multiplier factor to every lens used. Canon DSLRs have a 1.6x factor, while Nikons have a 1.5x factor. This multiplier makes it harder to shoot ultra-wide scenes.

With a traditional 35mm film camera, an ultra-wide lens was in the 14 to 20mm range. The widest film lens I own is a 20mm. Multiplying 20 by 1.6 turns this lens into the equivalent of a 32mm on my DSLR. Not very wide.

To compensate for these smaller sensors, camera and lens manufacturers have been recalculating and redesigning lenses and have come up with some pretty amazing super-ultra-wide zoom and single focal length lenses.

Most of the camera makers now have zooms that start at 10, 11, and 12 mm. This works out to be the equivalent of 16, 18, and 19mm, when using a 1.6x factor (I rounded these numbers). Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, and others have zooms in this range. Third party lens makes like Sigma, Tamron, and Tokina also have some nice lenses too.

Canon has a 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5, 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6,  and a 14mm f/2.8L.

Nikon has a 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G, 12-24mm f/4G ED-IF, 14-24 f/2.8G ED, 10.5mm f/2.8G ED, 14mm f/2.8D ED, and a 16mm f/2.8D.

Sigma has a 10-20mm f/3.5, 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6, 4.5mm f/2.8, 8mm f/3.5, 10mm f/2.8, and a 15mm f/2.8.

Tamron has a 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5, 11-18mm f/4.5-5.6, and 14mm f/2.8 Asph IF.

Tokina has a 10-17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X, 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X, and a 12-24mm f/4 AT-X.

For other camera makers, please check with their respective web sites for more lens selections.

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
1.5X FACTOR MM 15 17 18 20 21 23 24 26 27 29 30
1.6X FACTOR MM 16 18 19 21 22 24 26 27 29 30 32


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