Saturday, June 13, 2009

Varieties of Canon Wide Angle Lenses

Sooner or later, you will feel the need to purchase a wide angle lens. I suggest buying from Canon as they have an extensive selection! “Wide Angle” covers the approximate range of 14mm through 28mm. Any range that is longer than 28mm is really more of a general purpose lens. Anything that is shorter than 14mm would be considered a “fisheye” lens.

Canon EF28-105/3.5-4.5 USM

This is an eminent lens. It is minute, light and reasonably priced. This Canon wide angle lens covers a useful 28mm to 105mm range and the sharpness of your pictures will be exceptional. This camera takes 58mm filters which are a common size in the Canon lineup. If your finances are limited and you can only afford to purchase one lens, this is the Canon wide angle lens for you!

Canon 24/2.8

The 24/2.8 isn't a USM lens. It uses a micro motor which means you can hear it focus and you don't have full time manual focus. The advantage of the prime over the zooms is that it's smaller and lighter. What it does have is a floating element focus, which means that the optical formula of the lens changes when you close focus to maintain optimum sharpness by minimizing spherical aberration and field curvature. This can be a benefit if you do a lot of close-up photography work. A point to consider in this case would be the fact that the 24 prime lenses focus down to just below 10” while the 20-35/3.5-4.5 only focuses t0 13”. You may be thinking that 3” doesn’t sound like a lot, however for a wide angle lens used that close, it is substantial. The other major advantage of the prime ‘Canon wide angle lens’ is reduction in flare.

Canon 20-35/3.5-4.5 USM

This Canon wide angle lens is well constructed and an optimal performer when it comes to taking excellent photos. This lens has silent operation and full time manual focus allowing ease of use. This is probably the “best buy in the Canon wide angle lenses selection. The sharpness and flare control are exceptional and vignetting is negligible. This Canon wide angle lens is compatible and can be used with a standard Tiffen 77mm polarizer. The standard Canon filter size is 77 mm, so you may already have filters that fit this lens.

What to buy?

From a sharpness point of view, for landscape work where you are at f8-f16, I would chose a Canon wide angle lens that covered the focal length I wanted and had the features I wanted (filter size, weight etc.), with optical differences being a smaller weighting factor. If you intend to shoot a lot under flare provoking conditions though (e.g. with the sun in the frame), that's the time to give extra consideration to the prime lenses. Prime Canon wide angle lenses also typically show less distortion, though again, for landscape work, this isn't usually a big issue

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