BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Brandon Currey

Wide Angle Lense

I have a Sigma 28-80mm lense. Is this considered a wide angle lense? I was looking into buying a wide angle lense, but I keep finding lenses that are described as being "wide angle" starting at 28mm. Anything below this seems to be considered a fisheye. Will the 28-80mm be good at mountain and landscape shots? Thanks.

To love this question, log in above
4/25/2005 6:55:01 PM

Kerry L. Walker   Yes, it is fine as far as focal length is concerned. However, as I stated in your previous question, a 28mm prime would be a much better choice for the reasons I gave previously.

To love this comment, log in above
4/25/2005 7:27:45 PM

Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
kerry says a 28 prime is great and he's right,but a 24 prime is better.
however a ,maybe,a 19-35 will cover your needs at a much lower cost,if you buy a good one.check the reviews .

To love this comment, log in above
4/25/2005 9:12:43 PM

David J. Hartley   I'm not sure how you are shooting but also bear in mind that it will not be a 28mm if used with most digital cameras. There is a factor for the focal length due to the sensor size so, as an example, if you're shooting D100 you must multiply by 1.5 to give the true 35mm equivalent focal length of about 42mm - not very wide at all! I'd agree that a 24mm for 35mm film camera gives more options and if shooting digital probably 15mm or less.

To love this comment, log in above
4/26/2005 2:03:08 AM

Kerry L. Walker   A 28mm prime, or a 24mm prime, or even a 35mm prime will do the trick. Even better, get all three. I still say stay away from zooms when shooting landscapes. Without a distance scale, which many zooms do not have, it is very difficult to take advantage of shooting at hyperfocal distance - almost a necessity for good landscapes.

To love this comment, log in above
4/26/2005 7:08:59 AM

Kerry L. Walker   One other suggestion. You can't shoot at hyperfocal distance using autofocus so turn it off.

To love this comment, log in above
4/26/2005 7:25:59 AM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I agree with Kerry. There's no magic number that says this is the best focal length for shooting landscapes. The reason shorter focal length lenses are used for landscapes is that they have more depth of field. The best way to take advantage of a lens's DOF is to use the hyperfocal distance method.

The manual-focus 28-70 zoom that I had for my old film camera had a DOF and distance scale built in to the lens. I could set my aperture, then align the matching-colored line with infinity and that was it.

Many AF zooms don't have a distance scale, so it's harder to do this.

To love this comment, log in above
4/26/2005 7:37:02 AM

Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Isn't there a way to use a Depth of Field prview to shoot good landscapes? I've been told about it but can't really determine how to do it. For instance on the 20D how would I go about insuring that I had a good landscape shot? Up to now I've just been stopping down and hoping. I know I have the DOF preview button, but I push it and can't hardly tell a difference.


To love this comment, log in above
4/26/2005 8:05:08 AM

Kerry L. Walker   Yes, you can use the DOF preview button but it is not nearly as effective as the DOF (or distance) scale that SHOULD be on all lenses. Yes, I know it isn't, especially on the less expensive lenses. Everything the manufacturers leave off saves a few bucks and makes the lens cheaper to make and thus, cheaper to sell.

To love this comment, log in above
4/26/2005 9:10:21 AM

Andrew Laverghetta
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/13/2004
  By landscape, I assume that you will be shooting things that are pretty far away? Even if they are decently close, you should still have a pretty large depth of field so that means that a lot will probably be in focus. Also, landscapes are outside so like is better outside than inside. You will be able to use a pretty small aperture to get even greater depth of field. I just don't thing that with the autofocus that's in new, modern cameras, that there is a need in EVERY lens for a distance scale. Just autofocus on the most important part, go to aperture priority mode and set it to as high of a number as you can and still have a fast enough shutter speed to hand hold the camera. For many applications, 35mm on a film camera would be enough. However you may want to go even whiter like 24mm or 28mm. Yes, the quality on a prime lens will be better than on a zoom, but that doesn't mean that the quality on zooms is bad at all. If you buy a newer zoom lens, the quality is actually quite good as long as you use a smaller aperture. If a lens if "fisheye" it will say that it is. Usually fisheye lenses are around 15mm or wider. Also, Karma, this biggest time when I use the depth of field preview button is during macro work. Get as close as you can to something, set your aperture to something like f8 or smaller, and press the button. Make sure you're in good lighting because this will make it hard to see the difference. Anway, mess around with the depth of field preview button when you're closer to things and see how it works then. One last thing, when you're traveling, I would rather carry a "catch-all" zoom lens than 3 prime lenses within 20mm of each other unless you're going to be paid a lot for your pictures. Hope this helps!

To love this comment, log in above
4/29/2005 2:56:02 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.