Wide Angle Lenses Explained

Have you ever wondered how people are able to get a shot in a tight space but still for some reason are able to capture every detail? Or how about a nature shot where the picture seems to capture EVERYTHING?!! How is this possible? The solution is easier than you might think.

Wide angle lenses are just that. They are able to capture extremely wide angle shots due to the way they are built. These are usually 10mm to 20ish mm but it really all depends on your cameras sensor! A 10mm is NOT the same using an APSC or Micro 4/3’s camera as it is with a full frame. I will explain why a little later.

Here is a shot with a wide angle lense:

As you can see, nothing is missing here! If the photographer were to take this same picture with a normal lense it would be cropped! A great representation of what I mean, is this next photograph. Pay close attention to each sqaure. These represent the different focal lenths of a wide angle lense!

As you can see…at 10mm you can capture pretty much everything. At 17mm you end up cropping most of your picture out because your lense isn’t “wide” enough! However, as stated earlier…not all cameras are created equal. I will explain below.

Let’s say you are using the Rokinon 12mm F2 wide angle lens on a panasonic Gh4/5. You aren’t shooting at 10mm because the sensor size of the gh4/5 is a micro 4/3’s. It’s actually closer to 20mm! There is a great calculator for this here.

The same lens on a Sony a6300/6500 would be 15.3mm.

The same lense on a Full Frame Sony A7/R/S would be 10mm! The focal distance and aperture does not change on a full frame camera because the senor isn’t cropped like a micro 4/3’s or APSC!

To learn all about the differences in camera sensors, check out this article!

In closing, if you want to get some great wide angle shots whether it be in a tight space…or something panoramic…you will need a wide angle lens! These types of shots are much easier on full frame cameras, both those are very pricey compared to a micro 4/3’s, or APSC camera!

As always, don’t forget to like our Facebook page for one on one consulting! We help people all of the time through messenger, and even live chats of needed!


Keith Heimericks

Black Hills AVP

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