Wide Angle Lenses

I rented two wide angle lenses this week: a Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM and a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX. I wanted to try them out to see if that might be the next type of lens I’d like to own. They are certainly not for everyone. They’re pretty much limited in use to interiors, landscapes, group photos, and not much else. Since I do photograph interiors though, a wide angle lens would be a very useful thing to have.

Take a look at August’s nursery, as seen through my usual lens.

my typical lens, a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8

I was squished with my tripod in the back corner, and that was as much of the room as I could show you. Now, going wider and wider (but not moving my tripod), check out what these lenses can do.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX for Canon

Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X 116 Pro DX for Canon

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Nice, right? I liked both lenses, but I think the wider focusing range of the Canon would be more useful. That f/2.8 on the Tokina is tempting, but I’d likely be using this type of lens on a tripod for still shots, so it isn’t as important to have that low, fixed aperture as it would be with other types of lenses.

Have you ever used a wide angle lens? Or a fish-eye (they get a similar wide shot, but with more distortion)? And did you know you can rent lenses? It’s such a great option. I’m glad I can rent again until the day I plunk down the cash for a wide angle lens of my own.

43 Responses to “Wide Angle Lenses”

  1. Robin @ Our Semi Organic Life June 23, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    My husband and I have rented lenses before. Its so fun! Recently we rented a macro lense for a wedding which was amazing! He’s love to buy it one day but fun to play with it for a few days! Love the shots!

  2. tracy June 23, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    I ALWAYS use a wide angle lens for my photos. I have a Tamron 17-35mm and it’s great for taking pics of the rooms in my house. Works really well for taking overview shots of food (which is my primary use). I don’t have to stand on a chair most of the time…which is dangerous…since I’m a klutz.

  3. melanie June 23, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    umm, I had no idea you could rent lenses, awe-some! My nursery is also a tiny space, and I would just love to be able to take better pictures of it! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Amy June 23, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    I’m renting a lens for the first time next week! (I went with the apparently more expensive lensrentals.com though, didn’t really comparison shop, just impulse rented- oops!) I’m getting a telephoto for a trip, and I normally wouldn’t consider buying that kind, so it’s great. I’m excited to get to use some different equipment. :)

  5. Lauren @ chezerbey June 23, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    I have the Tokina 11-16mm. I haven’t directly compared it to another wide angle, but I really like it (although I frequently do have to switch to my stock 35mm lens for up-close or detail shots).

  6. Heather June 23, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Whoa, what a difference! We have a decent camera, but a regular 35mm lens, and even in big rooms with lots of space to back it up, I still get frustrated.

    Thanks for demonstrating the difference here!

  7. How fun! The renting option is so awesome.

    - Sarah

  8. Funnelcloud Rachel June 23, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    I have a 10-20mm Sigma that I use when traveling – great for photographing both mountains and skyscrapers (I actually bought it before I took a trip to Chicago a few years ago!).

    The only problem is that wide angles can cause crazy distortion – which is fine for getting that landscape or building or interior shot, but if there’s a human in your photo, it definitely looks like you took a photo in a funhouse mirror – the person looks either tall and skinny if they’re in the middle of the frame (which could be a good thing – who doesn’t want to look tall and skinny?!), or short and wide if they’re at the side of the frame (not so acceptable!)

  9. Rachel June 23, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    Wow! Thanks for sharing the comparison. I’m getting into photography. I have a decent camera with a standard lens. I’ve thought about toying with different lenses but don’t even know where to start. This is a great way to really see the difference.

  10. katherine@katherineoliverphotography June 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Fantastic post. Will be buying a Canon 35mm f/2 in a few weeks. Really enjoying your blog and so glad I stumbled across one of your rooms someone had pinned to Pinterest. Love your style!

  11. Chloe's Mom June 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    I know this is off the topic, but is that a Dyson air multiplier in the background? If so, do you like it? I’ve been thinking of getting one.

    • Making it Lovely June 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

      Yes, it is. We really like it! It’s nice and safe for the kids too… no blades.

  12. Giulia June 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

    We rent all the time for special events as we don’t have a budget for some of the fancier lenses. I particularly had fun renting a super lens for a Formula One race – I felt like a sports reporter ;)

    I use wide angle only for interiors and group shots and I only use them if I really have to because I love the quality of a 50mm that it tends to frustrate me, but that’s just me not being experienced in shooting interiours.

  13. Tiffany June 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I really need a wide angle lens since I’m taking a lot of before’s and someday some after’s of our renovation but the cost is outrageous. Good to know that you can rent them!

  14. Alison June 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Did not know about renting lenses — great idea, thanks! I will likely need to photograph my studio apartment this summer for a sublet, and I think a wide-angle is going to be important so people understand I’m not trying to rent a shoebox (it is more of a boot box…tall boots, even!).

  15. Kati June 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    This gave me that ah-ha moment for lenses! I’ve taken a few classes to learn a few basics about wrangling my Canon SLR but actually seeing your comparison helped me finally understand what the mm means (duh, I know). The renting option is quite cool. Thank you Nicole!

  16. Elaine June 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Wow.That is really interesting! Thanks for posting this. What a difference the lenses made. I agree with your choice about which might be the best for you. Looks great!

  17. MicheleLouise June 23, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    Another wide angle to look at, if you plan to stick with a crop sensor body is the sigma 8-16. That is WIDE! And while it might be variable aperture (not a fixed 2.8 like the tokina) if you are using it with a tripod indoors it isn’t an issue.

    I love my Canon 16-35L, but that wouldn’t really be wide enough on a crop.

  18. Katie June 23, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    I soooo want a fish eye lens but they’re soooo expensive! I’m definitely going to rent one. We’re moving to California so perfect – they have lots of shops there. Redwood forest through a fish eye? Yes please!

  19. Samantha Liz June 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Check out the 10-24mm Tamron. It’s about half the price of the Canon and actually a larger range even. (an f4, but I find that it performs well in low light!)

  20. Sarah June 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I should have known you can rent lenses. Great idea! Does your camera have a full frame image sensor? I’ve been dreaming about buying a camera that has one since I also photograph small spaces.

  21. Nicole June 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    I think you should check out prime lenses, much better quality and less expensive than zooms. Also, don’t forget used lenses! Check out B&H in New York, great quality and prices for used gear. I think you’d love a 20mm prime.

  22. DWJ June 23, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

    Oh you made my day with this renting site. I can rent from some places where I live but it’s sooooo expensive and this is perfect.

  23. Kari June 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    This is kind of unrelated but I’m wondering if you don’t have a crib bumper because of safety? We didn’t do one either but we have what’s called a breathable bumper that’s mesh and velcro. It keeps the little guy’s arms and legs from going through the bars during nap and nighttime. Just thought I’d throw that out there!

  24. Cassity @ Remodelaholic June 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm #

    This post couldn’t have been timed more perfectly! I was just searching for a lens to use while taking interior pics this morning. It was too overwhelming, I had no idea where to start and gave up for the day! so THANK YOU!

  25. Dana June 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you for this comparison post! I’m renting the canon wide angle for a trip to the grand canon and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do a lot of interior shots with it.

  26. shaina June 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    its so crazy that you posted about this because I’ve been thinking about a wide angle lens too. i also recently saw this macro/wide angle adapter on photojojo and was thinking about giving it a try… thoughts??

    http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/wide-angle-macro-lens/

    thanks for the helpful post!! :)

    • Making it Lovely June 27, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

      The price is certainly right! I wonder how sharp the images are, and if there’s a lot of distortion. I mean, there must be a drawback, or everyone would use those. …Right?

  27. Amanda June 23, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    I LOVE my wide angle lens. It’s actually very handy for travelling. So many cities have been built around amazing buildings, but you can’t stand back far enough to get a great shot of them. Enter wide angle. I’m so glad I invested in mine before my last trip to Europe and Thailand, cities are very squashed in in those parts of the world, but too beautiful not to photograph. My photos are so much better for it. As a bonus, when we got home and bought our house we got even more use out of it. Our nursery is pretty small but I can capture it very well. I use Canon lenses and am very satisfied.

  28. Sarah P.H. (Freestyle Home & Life) June 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Thanks for taking the time to put together this post; it’s really helpful seeing the same shot taken from the same angle with different lenses. My current lens only goes down to 18mm, and it seems like wider-angle lenses are prohibitively expensive for my budget. But I’d never heard of online lens rentals before and may be tempted to give them a shot!

  29. Katie June 24, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Thanks for this! It’s always helpful to see the comparison side by side. And I had never even thought about renting lenses! Genius!

  30. Alison June 24, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Neat post! Not sure if you’re using Lightroom, but it has the greatest slider for quickly getting rid of the edge distortion that can occur with wide angles.

  31. Kelly June 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing! As a beginner photographer I’m eating these camera tips up. It took me a minute to notice that someone was peaking out of the crib. So cute!

  32. Erin @ His and Hers June 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    Wow! I love that you showed the progression to give a real feel for the regular lens vs the wide angle.

  33. Lindsay June 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    so so cool! i’m curious about what other lens’ you’ve got in your camera bag.
    thanks for sharing the renting resource.
    love, lindsay

  34. Alicia June 25, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    I rented a lens through Calumet before and it was a nice price for a long weekend with a very awesome lens!

    Wide angle lenses make a huge difference in photos. I use my wide angle quite a bit, and I think you would be surprised at how many uses you can find for it. It makes for fun portraits when you get up close to someone, because it will fit more of the background in. I use a Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens.

  35. Corrin June 25, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    Love it. The Canon takes much nicer photos (but I am a Canon loyalist). I’ve been using my wide angle lenses more and more.

  36. Lisl Sukachevin June 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    What a timely post! I actually just listed my Canon EFS 10-22mm lens on e-bay! I bought it for a vacation to Yellowstone, and while it did take some amazing landscape shots, in the end I felt it was just too much wide angle for me, even at 22mm. I think something around 28-35 will be better for me. They are not cheap lenses, so make sure you like it before you buy one! On the plus side, you can pretty much get your money back by selling it used on e-bay. These lenses seem to popular and sell for a good amount there. Good luck!

  37. yvette June 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    I have the 10-20mm Sigma and love, love, love it! It changed my photography leaps and bounds. it’s outstanding for architecture and landscapes. During my last trip to Paris I shot almost exclusively with the wide angle. http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=sigma&w=41294084%40N00&s=int

  38. amy purple June 26, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    This is a fun comparison. Last night, i was googling examples of what a telephoto lens can do. Mind you, I don’t own a fancy camera with such capabilities.

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    [...] I’d want the new 5D Mark III). Next, I turned my attention toward photographing interiors. I rented and tested a few wide-angle lenses, and chose the Canon 10-22mm [...]

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