Play the angles and get the big picture with an ultra-wide zoom lens.
With zoom ranges starting at just 8mm for APS-C format lenses, and 11mm for full-frame, you can shoehorn vast areas into the image frame. They’re great for shooting sweeping landscapes or architecture, and arguably even more useful when shooting indoors, where space is limited – but that’s just the start of the fun.
A key attraction of ultra-wide lenses is that you can create images with extraordinary perspective effects. Get in close to the main subject in a scene and you can massively exaggerate its relative size, against a shrunken, receding background. Parallel lines appear to converge at alarming rates and shots generally have a proper wow factor. Another bonus is that short focal lengths equate to huge depths of feld. Unlike portraiture, where it’s often favourable to blur the background, wide-angle lenses enable you to keep very close subjects and the distant horizon simultaneously sharp.
Barrel distortion can also add to the creative effect, especially when using wide-angle zooms at or near their shortest focal length. That said, all of the lenses in this test group are ‘rectilinear’, aiming to keep distortions to a minimum. The alternative is a fsheye or ‘curvilinear’ lens, which give even greater viewing angles but with more barrel distortion.
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