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Thread: help need with wide angle or ultra wide angle lens


  1. #1
    Tom75 is offline Welcome Me!
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    Default help need with wide angle or ultra wide angle lens


    Hi,

    as mentioned in my introduction I am relatively new to DSLR photography but I am continuously improving.

    I have used so far with my EOS 600D only a 18-270mm lens but now I have sees how nice it is to have a wide angle or ultra wide angle zoom lens for outdoor / fishing photography and therefore I am planning to buy one.

    I am aware that my camera does not have a full frame sensor however I might anyway buy a full frame body after some time and therefore I definitely want a lens that is suitable for full frame.

    I would like the lens to be as wide as possible however not so wide that I get a lot of distortion. Therefore my question what should I go for?

    I know that for example a Canon EF 17-40mm F4.0L USM is considered very wide ..... however this is in combination with a full frame camera. With my current 600D it will be 27-64mm if I under stand it correctly (x1.6)?
    Therefore I'm afraid it might not be wide enough for wide landscapes and outdoor shots I have in mind.

    Should I therefore rather consider something like a Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 DG HSM II or will this give already a lot of distortion at 12mm? Since such a lens will be with my current body about 19-38mm I somehow think something like this would be better.
    Of course it would also be interesting how the quality is between these two examples.


    I am really grateful for any advice, help or suggestions.

    Thanks and regards,
    Tom


  2. #2
    brucep is offline Contributor photozoholic
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    I love wide angle lenses. I feel they bring the viewer right into the scene with a sense of immediacy. When I was shooting a Canon 20D, I bought a Canon 17-40mm (thinking, like you, that I MIGHT go full-sensor someday). I was really happy with how much wider a view it gave than my 24-105mm (or was it my Tamron 28-75mm?). Having been used to 35mm film, though, this 17mm was only giving me the equivalent of 27mm (the 1.6 "crop" factor). This is what finally pushed me to going to the full-sensor Canon 5D.

    I was in a job where I never knew which of my photos might later be put onto a wall-size print or huge advertising poster, so pixels count meant something, as did low-light capability. These factors combined to make me put out the money for the larger sensor camera.

    Low light photography also made me later make the change to the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 which I now never leave the house without. I usually have that lens at 16mm and only zoom a bit now and then to remove something I don't want in the frame.

    If you're not going to make the leap to full-frame just yet, the most popular lenses for crop-sensor Canons are:

    Canon 10-20mm f/3.5-4.5
    Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5
    Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
    Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6

    I haven't tried these. You could buy one of them now and then sell it to help pay for a full-sensor camera later on.

    I did test the Sigma 12-24mm you mentioned. I wrote an article about it and other wide angle lenses in the Photozo Article section. I really liked how wide it was on my Canon 5D, but it wasn't nearly sharp enough for the fine work and large prints which were part of my job. I also carry one of the earlier 15mm Canon Fisheye lenses with me. It's VERY compact and adds some spice to a series of event photos, for instance. For video I've purchased a 14mm f/2.8 Rokinon. It's not sharp enough for stills, but works well for for transition shots, etc., and was very cheap. When I put it up on my 12-foot painter's pole, it almost gives an aerial photo of the scene.

    FYI: When I bought the 5D, for over a year I used the 20D as my backup camera. Those rare times when I needed two cameras at the same time, I had to keep doing math in my head to picture what effect each lens would have on which camera. One time I put the 17-40mm on the 20D and a 24-70mm on the 5D and had (instead of two different views) nearly the same zoom range on both cameras. (What's the point of carrying two then?).

    To do that math quickly, I came up with the idea of five thirds. I take the focal length of a lens (let's say 100mm to keep this example simple) and divide it by three (33mm), then multiply that by five (I find it handy to mulitiply by ten ...330mm... then divide by two... = 165mm). That gives me a quick, fairly accurate idea of what which lens does on which camera.

    Now I use a 5DII with the 5D as a backup, and no longer have to do the math.
    Last edited by brucep; 04-27-2012 at 10:50 AM.


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    Tom75 is offline Welcome Me!
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    Thank you very much for your detailed answer brucep, this helped me already a lot however I also have some more questions now.

    First of all regarding my plans for switching to full frame. Since I am doing a lot of fishing photography etc I don't want to buy a 5D mk2 right now because it is maybe a little too slow (even though the price is very good). Therefore I thought to wait a little and buy a 5D mk3 because at the moment I don't agree with the price.

    So what do you think about my idea to buy a full frame wide angle lens Instead of the crop sensor models you mentioned because the ones you mentioned will also not be 1,0x like a full frame. If I understand correctly these lenses will also have a factor of 1,3x.

    So if I would go for a Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM, how much distortion will give that with my current camera or with a full frame.

    I also heard that a Canon EF 17-40mm F4.0L USM will quality wise be much better than the above one however I am afraid that I might not be satisfied with the 17mm.

    This is really not easy......thanks again. For your help.

    Regards,
    Tom


  4. #4
    brucep is offline Contributor photozoholic
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    On a crop sensor camera, 17mm isn't wide enough for my purposes. Your taste may be different. I find myself shooting at 16mm on full frame often.

    The lenses I listed above will not fit on any camera except a crop sensor camera.

    You're right, that 17-40mm f/FL lens is a marvelous lens. The 16-35 is just a stop faster and costs MUCH more. Either of these need to be on a 5D to be actually 16/17mm.

    I didn't care for the image quality of the Sigma 12-24mm AT ALL. I had to stop down to at least f/8 to get acceptable images. You can see image samples side by side in the article I linked to above.

    It seems the choice is to:

    A. Get a full-sensor camera and the 17-40mm.

    B. Get an EF-S lens (as I listed) for your 600D and enjoy it for as long as you have that camera

    C. Wait until you do A, and have no really wide lens until then.

    D. Both B and A above, in that order.

    Here are some photos taken at the wide end of my 16-35mm on my 5DII:

    http://www.photozo.com/album/showpho...-persp&cat=500

    http://www.photozo.com/album/showpho...d-home&cat=500

    http://www.photozo.com/album/showpho...-conte&cat=500

    http://www.photozo.com/album/showpho...cal-ba&cat=500
    Last edited by brucep; 04-27-2012 at 02:01 PM.


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    Tom75 is offline Welcome Me!
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    Thanks again for your answer and the links....... Some really impressing pictures.

    I forgot to mention already in my previous post that I was for some reason not able to open your article, at least not from iPad. I can try it later today on a pc but I seemed the link didn't work.

    Looking at your A -D choices it seems that the Canon EF 17-40mm F4.0L USM would be the best choice for me, if having a full frame.
    However just to get one last thing clear, you wouldn't recommend at all to buy a Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM which would be with 19mm on a cropped camera significantly wider than the canon and therefore maybe wide enough for my purpose until I have a full frame.
    Did you not mention this option because of the quality differences between the two lenses?
    With the sigma lens I would also have, one owning a full frame camera, a even much wider lens than the canon.......

    Really not easy but I guess I have to try maybe both lenses and see for myself.


    Thanks and regards,
    Tom


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    John is offline Contributor Mega-zoer
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    Tom
    I agree with everything Bruce has said (indeed its very rare I don't!) , but......
    I own a 7D (which allows me to use EF-S lens) and a Canon 10-22 which is delightful for landscape use and indoor 'tight spots'.
    Perhaps you could try renting one for a weekend??
    John
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    brucep is offline Contributor photozoholic
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom75 View Post
    I forgot to mention already in my previous post that I was for some reason not able to open your article, at least not from iPad. I can try it later today on a pc but I seemed the link didn't work.
    It took a REALLY long time to load the article each time I tried (in response to your original question), so give it a bit of time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom75 View Post
    ... just to get one last thing clear, you wouldn't recommend at all to buy a Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM....
    With the sigma lens I would also have, one owning a full frame camera, a even much wider lens than the canon.......
    I would not recommend it due to low image quality. I have the older (cheaper) fisheye, and wanted a "rectilinear" (non-fisheye) extremely wide lens for my 5DII... that's why I tested the 12-24 for the Photozo article. In doing the testing I was shopping for myself as well. I decided against buying it, with no regrets. I can de-fish my fisheye shots and get better quality (yet still nowhere near the quality of the 17-40mm f/4L).


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    Tom75 is offline Welcome Me!
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    Thanks for your comment John / brucep.... I really think you have very good points.

    I was now also able to open your article which is great and really makes the differences clear, however I was actually quite impressed of the pictures in the article with the sigma 12mm. They look great but of course it has to be considered that the canon 17-40 seems quality wise much better at approximately the same price as the sigma.

    When reading your article I noticed another thing I have to consider. You mentioned in the section about lens caps that it is not possible to have a filter on the sigma, which I don't like at all because I would like to use with this type of lens a polarizing filter or maybe even a variable ND filter. Out from your article this seems not possible at all?

    Therefore my question, is it possible to use polarizing filters etc with the canon 17-40 lens or will this generally be a problem with this type of lens?

    If so I really might end up with buying the canon 17-40 and just hope the that the D5 Mk3 will zoo have a reasonable price. Or maybe I really get myself in the meantime a crop sensor 10-22 or so lens...... Not an easy decision.

    I also just heard that one of my colleagues has the sigma 12-24 so I might borrow and try it.


    Anyway thank you very much for your help with this, I have learned already a lot more.

    Regards,
    Tom


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    John is offline Contributor Mega-zoer
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    Tom
    You can buy filters for all the market leading lens - (and probably the not so market leading...... ) - you buy them by size (ie 70mm) and the thread is generic
    John
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    JimL is offline Moderator photozoholic
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    As an aside about the 5D mk II being too slow for fishing shots I have seen (more than once) photographers from a famous sports/fishing magazine "catch" a cover shot of a fish they caught breaking the waters surface with the star angler straining on the line from a boat when in fact the fish was mounted on a stick through the gills with a diver splashing water and wiggling the stick away from the camera. The angler really did catch the fish exactly as shown (and it was eaten later) but the photo was staged (not taken with a movie camera and a frame removed). Much better shots for a cover that way and, in my opinion, nothing was misrepresented in any significant way.

    Jim
    Canon 5D MarkII Adobe Lightroom v5.1 (64 bit)
    Paint Shop Pro Ultimate XI- PS CS5-Painter 11


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    brucep is offline Contributor photozoholic
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    When people say the 5D Mark II is "slow" for sports, they're speaking only of the burst rate, not the time from shutter depress to exposure. That depends only upon the reflexes of the photographer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tom75 View Post
    When reading your article I noticed another thing I have to consider. You mentioned in the section about lens caps that it is not possible to have a filter on the sigma, which I don't like at all because I would like to use with this type of lens a polarizing filter or maybe even a variable ND filter. Out from your article this seems not possible at all?

    Therefore my question, is it possible to use polarizing filters etc with the canon 17-40 lens or will this generally be a problem with this type of lens?
    You bring up a few related points here, Tom.

    Flat (non convex) front elements will permit filters. Extreme WA lenses such as the fisheye and that 12-24mm have convex front elements. Many of these will permit small gel filters in a special holder at the camera end of the lens. A Polarizer needs to be a rotating filter, so this won't work in the inside holder. I never use filters in those holders.

    The only time I could imagine using one is if I wanted a "steamy water" shot (a REALLY long exposure of moving water) with my fisheye or that 12-24mm, I'd frame the scene with the camera on a tripod without the filter and then install the filter and make the shot. This is because the filter would darken the image so much I wouldn't be able to see well enough. That "Steamy water" is also the only time I could imagine using an ND filter. Variable ND's are much more needed in video than with stills.

    A Polarizing filter is most effective at 90 degrees to the light source. If the sun is off your shoulder, a Polarizer will make the sky the deepest blue, for instance (because your camera is "looking" at 90 degrees from the sun). With any wide angle lens, you're not just "looking" straight ahead. Therefore, the wider the angle the more angles you're "looking at" in relation to the light source. A Polarizer on a 17-40mm, for instance, will have the sky the darkest in that stripe which is at 90 degrees to the light source and progressively less dark as the degrees change. I hate the look of that dark vertical stripe in my sky. I would avoid using a Polarizer on a WA for this reason.

    Be sure to shoot in Raw. This enables you much more exposure lattitude, including darkening skies.
    Last edited by brucep; 04-29-2012 at 05:16 PM.


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    Tom75 is offline Welcome Me!
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    Thanks brucep, slowly getting closer but it takes time

    I am actually using at the moment with my current 18-270mm lens sometimes a variable ND filter for exactly these kind of blurry water shots you mentioned and I also like generally very much the effect of a polarizing filter for outdoor photography, so this is something I really would like the opportunity for also with the potential wide angle lens.

    Here is a picture I took yesterday evening at the river where I am living in Norway. I used the variable ND filter for this one with 3sec exposure.
    I hope it works because this is my first try to upload a picture:




    I read your article again and compared the nice pictures etc one more time .........and what I actually want is a lens as wide as possible but without the fish eye-like distortion, so basically what the Sigma 12-24mm does. The fact that the Canon 17-40mm is quality wise much better has to be considered of course but generally I am afraid that the 17mm might not be wide enough, definitely not on a crop sensor and maybe I would not even be satisfied on a full frame with the 17mm?
    On th ecanon lens I would also be able to use filters different filters, I guess, which is a big disadvantage of the sigma lens.

    Maybe there is no such lens I am looking for at all, I mean one that fulfills all the points?

    Thanks and Regards,
    Tom
    Last edited by Tom75; 04-30-2012 at 12:50 AM. Reason: spelling


  13. #13
    brucep is offline Contributor photozoholic
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    Looks good, Tom. You can put an ND filter on the threaded front of a Canon 17-40mm because it doesn't have a convex front element (nor does the 16-35mm) as long as that filter is 77mm (a common filter size among "L" lenses). You can "step up" to a larger filter (using an adapter ring from the lens' 77mm to a larger filter size), but if you "step down" (to a smaller filter than your lens' size), you'll vignette (darken) the corners of your image.


  14. #14
    Tom75 is offline Welcome Me!
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    Hi bruceep and thanks for the comments regarding the filters, I have also posted some more pictures in the landscapes section.

    Regarding my lens situation, I borrowed Nd tested yesterday evening my colleagues sigma 12-24 mm lens. I went to the same place as in the above picture and and compared it directly to my 18-270mm.

    Considering of course that I am not a lens expert I was really impressed by the performance of the sigma lens. With my current crop sensor camera I would not want the lens I am going to buy to be any more narrow than 12mm on my camera, which means the canon 17-40 will not be an alternative, even if I would buy immediately a full frame camera with it I would not be satisfied with the 17mm.
    Of course I have never seen the lens at 12mm on a full frame but during my test yesterday I thought that it would be nice to have it even wider and I guess there will be a noticeable difference between the 19mm (I have seen with my camera) and the real, full 12mm?

    As I see it now after this short test , there is basically no reall alternative to the sigma 12-24mm for me expect if I would buy for example a 10-20mm EF-S lens, however I have the feeling that I might buy a full frame camera sooner than planned and then this lens will be useless.


    Regards,
    Tom


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