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wide angle lens

sandrasherman
Contributor

What is the best Canon wide angle lens to shoot pictures of large groups of children and/or adults?

14 REPLIES 14

Skirball
Authority

What camera?  What do you consider wide angle?

 

Personally I wouldn't use an ultrawide for that use unless I had to.  I just use a standard wide-ish lens and stand back.

 

But, for wide angles:  In my opinion, for full frame cameras the new EF 16-35 f/4 is the best buy (providing you don't need f/2.8), and for crop sensors the new EFS 10-18.

 

Edit: I just noticed this was the Rebel forum.  Then I'd definately check out the 10-18.  It's half the price of the 10-22, which I love, but I think Canon is offering a great deal on a $300 ultrawide with the 10-18.

 

Yes -- this is just what I needed to know.  I do have a Canon EOS   Rebel T1i           

The 10-18 sounds like jsut what I need and the price is sure right.

Thanks

TCampbell
Elite

This you posted this in the Rebel forum I'm going to assume you have an APS-C body and probably also have a "kit" lens (an EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6).

 

The "kit" lens is probably about as wide as I'd prefer to shoot for a large group.  I have lenses that go much wider but there are some nuances of wide-angle effects that make them great for landscapes but less desireable for group photos.

 

As for "best" lens... there are some amazing lenses out there and you can spend thousands of dollars on a lens.  But I suspect this is not really what you're asking.  I think you are probably trying to understand what focal length should be needed for a group shot of some size in order to fit them all in the frame.

 

For that, I refer you to this link with photography calculators:  http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm

 

Scroll down to the section labeled "dimensional field of view" calculator section.  You'll need to punch in a few values.

 

You'll need to test some focal length guesses to and check the calculator's answers to decide which focal length will fit your needs.   YOU type in the values they label in RED and the calculator provides the answers in the fields labeled in BLUE.

 

For example... let's just punch in 20mm as a starting guess.   Enter that (20) in the box labeled "Lens focal length (mm)".  

 

Next, enter your camera's sensor crop-factor.  This is a fixed value which never changes (for your camera).  If you own any Canon camera that has a Canon "APS-C" size sensor (every Canon Rebel camera model has an APS-C size sensor) then your crop factor is 1.6.  So you'll enter 1.6 in that box. 

 

Lastly, take a wild guess as to how far away you think you'll be standing from your group of people.  Let's just pick 15' away and enter that value.

 

Now click "compute" and read off the answers to the right.

 

The answers tell us that using 20mm and a crowd of people ... all of whom are lined up at least 15 away from you... then the "width" of the crowd can be up to about 16' wide and everyone will fit in the frame.  But enter shorter distances... for example if they are only 10' away now the width of the frame drops down to 11' wide.  

 

Hence if you can estimate how "wide" your group of people will be, you can estimate which focal length can get that crowd of people AND you can estimate about how far away you'll need to stand to get them to all fit inside the frame.

 

For group shots you probably want everyone in focus... front to back.  So assuming you have many "rows" of people (and you may need a step ladder so you can see everyone's face in the shot if this is a big group) you'll want to set an f-stop that yeidls enough "depth of field" to get everyone in focus. This means you'll avoid the low and middle focal ratios and go for the somewhat higher focal ratios.  E.g. use things like f/8 or f/11... but I'd probably avoid using focal ratios below f/8.

 

I also avoid using very wide lenses.  If you use, for example, the EF-S 10-22mm lens and you're down at the 10mm end of it... you are EXTREMLEY wide.  "Wide" lenses not only make the scene "wider"... they also make the scene "deeper".  They "stretch" distances (e.g. the reason some rear-view mirrors say things like "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear" is because of this depth-stretching effect.)  Commercial photographers will often use a "wide" lens for interiors because it makes the interior space seem bigger... roomier.    But this has a bad effect on crowds of people because it makes the people in the front-row look a bit farther from the camera... but people in the back row seem a LOT farther from the camera.  You don't want a group shot where the person in the back row who is really 20' away... seems like they are more like 100' away (you get a really really tiny person and can't see any detail in them.)

 

Good luck!

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

I have been using my 18-15 but I was hoping for a lens that I could use to get closer.  I had one with my first Canon AE1 and loved it and took many group pictures with it -- but it went the way of that sweet camera!  😢😢

The focal lengths will not provide the same "angle of view" that they did on your AE1. The AE1 is a 35mm film camera. If a digital camera has a sensor which is the same size as a single frame of 35mm film then the digital camera is referred to as a "full frame" camera. The Canon 6D, 5D series, and some of the 1D models (e.g. the current 1D X, the 1Ds Mk III) are all "full frame" cameras.

But the focal length of the lens is listed as "true" -- not as "equivalent". That means when you used a 50mm lens to get a normal looking image on your AE1, you'd have divide that focal length by the crop factor of your camera (all Rebel models use APS-C size sensors with a crop-factor of 1.6). That would mean a focal length of around 31mm would provide the same "angle of view" (the image would seem to be about the same as what you were used to getting with 50mm on your AE1).

The Rebel body will always seem like the angle of view is a bit narrower than it was on your AE1.
Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da

Thanks for this information -- wondered if there was much of a difference -- and since I have only taught 3rd grade math--all those numbers do not mean very much to me -- actually I don't understand any of them -- I just use this camera to take pictures of "cats, cows, and kids" as my husband laments all the time.  He claims I killed one of our prize roosters because I made him "pose" for a picture and it stressed him out because I had to  have everything perrfect.  So, as you can image, I mostly treat this as a point and shoot -- kinda like my first Brownie camera!!  The students at school dont know the difference!! 

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens will show you a much wider view.  It sells for about $300 bucks.

 

"I mostly treat this as a point and shoot -- kinda like my first Brownie camera!!"

 

And there is nothing wrong with this.  Most people that shoot Rebels do this and they are completely happy.  If you grow some and find the new lens perks up your photograpy interest, you may want to further educate yourself in the facinating workd of photography.  The new lens will work just like you have been doing, though.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

Hope so!  Thanks!

Just bought a 10-18 last night ---cant wait to play

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