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Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses

Lesson 5 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses

Lesson 5 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Class Trailer



Nikon Lens Class Introduction


Nikon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Equivalent Aperture


Depth of Field


Maximum Sharpness




Hyper Focal Distance


Nikon Mount Systems


Nikon Cine Lenses


Nikon Lens Design


Focusing and Autofocus with Nikon Lenses


Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction


Image Quality


Aperture Control and General Info


Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses


Nikon Super Zoom Lenses


Nikon Wide Angle Lenses


Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses


3rd Party Zooms Overview


3rd Party Zooms: Sigma


3rd Party Zooms: Tamron


3rd Party Zooms: Tokina




Nikon Prime Lens: Normal


Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Nikon Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Primes: Sigma


3rd Party Primes: Zeiss


3rd Party Primes: Samyang


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hood


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Teleconverters


Macro Photography


Nikon Micro Lens Selection


Fisheye Lenses


Tilt Shift Photography Overview


Tilt Shift Lenses


Building a Nikon System


Making a Choice: Nikon Portrait Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Sport Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Landscape Lenses


Nikon Lens Systems


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lenses


Final Q&A


What's in the Frame


Lesson Info

Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses

So let's get into the world of wide angle, so technically anything less than forty three is wide. Angle, thirty five is just barely wide angle, so for the most part we're we're going to going into twenty four but twenty eight millimeters would be a very close cousin. You might say to this, so this is down sixteen millimeters and this is one of my favorite faux collings. I really think most all photographers should have a lens that sees this wide it's a nice, good, solid wide without getting into a lot of distortion. And we're going to really get in and explain distortion very, very soon. Here. This is a favorite of the landscape photographers because we have a lot of foreground area to work with. Remember the road that had a lot of foreground. Now we can have a subject in the foreground and we can have a subject in the background and that brings a little bit of mme or little bit more. Three dimension, three dimensionality. If I can use that as a word into the photograph brings it out o...

f the two dimensions. My cover shot for our class fundamentals of photography. I think it's, just a very my eyes match up a twenty four. Very well just the way that I see the world is this kind of naturally wide angle view some people don't some people see it thirty five some people see within eighty five everyone has their own unique point of view, which is which is great, but this is one that I really match up with and so I have never taken any sort of major photographic journey without a twenty for guaranteed that one is in the bag and so it could be very good for star photography you get up close to your subjects so this is in cuba where I do a photo tour and the dogs there are supposed to they're required by government law to have photo id and I wanted to show the photo id so there's a little picture of him I mean for us here in seattle it looks like an amazon or a microsoft had a pretty sweet charity and he's got the exact same expression to he just holds that expression the whole time, but the white angle lens gets you infer that type portrait it allows you to see some of the environment of what's going on because now you can see a sitting on the street there's people walking up and down the street rather than just a tight headshot normally you don't shoot sports with a wide angle lens, but when you're on the edge of a boxing arena right in really clubs so once again there isn't one lens that solves all the problems were specific for only doing one thing you can use a variety of lenses depending on your situation and the way you want to showcase what that isthe let's go all the way down to sixteen the ultra white territory twenty millimeter eighteen seventeen all in that jonah these type of things are going to be true and so the sixteen millimeter lands is a very wide lens it's a it's a bit of a challenging lends to work with I would say and so this is going to be very helpful when you just can't back up any further this is a cistern in morocco it's you know of limited size and I want to show is much of this little interesting environment as possible again in morocco on tour we were going into this just beautiful rug store that encompass this these former residents and right in the middle there's kind of an atrium that they hang all their carpets and I looked up like wow this is awesome and so I laid down on this plush moroccan wrong as I was shooting straight up and when you're shooting straight up lying on your back there is no place to move back you want the lightest lands that you can get and so that sixteen millimeter lens I'm shooting straight up, being able to see those rugs hanging from the balconies landscape you're being able to use a lot in the foreground here and so one of the mistakes people make with an ultra wide lenses they go stand at the edge of the grand canyon and they poked over the fence as far as they can get and everything is five miles away and tiny and the frame and so if you use these wide angle lenses having something bigger in the frame you need a decent size subject in there is something you want to be thinking of and so the landscape photographers are constantly looking for rocks and flowers to put in the foreground something here draws your eye back there gives a good balance and once again makes this two dimensional flat screen look a little bit more three dimensional can you shoot people pictures at sixteen absolutely I'd be careful about putting them too far off to the sides but you can shoot people pictures once again an environmental portrait showing a person in their environment all of these with the sixteen millimeter lands you got to be careful putting people off to the side but it doesn't mean you can't do it okay sixty millimeter a person is way off to the side a cuban artist he's a student this is his work every all the students at least that this graduate level get a work area and he cans all this photo's up so he's surrounded by all of his artwork so we'll go down to fourteen fourteen is nigh cons widest angle lens actually I think we have a fourteen over here and I want to show you this guy and I don't get a fairly close up shot of this but this has a really a bulbous front element here so there's no filter that you go on put on here and so this kind of looks like a frog's of fish islands but it's not it's just needs to be this wide because it's looking so white now this one also has a built in lens hood we'll talk about lens hood's when we get into the accessory section but this is their white ist lands and they have made wider than this but this is their current white ist lens fourteen millimeter so let's take a look at some fourteen millimeter shots and just in case anyone's keeping track how do you know it's fourteen? Well, I love digital because the metadata that comes on your photos I can go filter my library and looked for all my fourteen millimeter lens so these air fourteen millimeter shots they're not thirteen they're not fifteen there exactly fourteen millimetres in focus so a great one for the slot canyons down in utah because those are really tight small areas and you can use a wide angle lands not a slot canyon it's all a canyon the subway down in zion national park I don't use a fourteen very much, but it is very nice going down to these areas and so also could be very useful for architectural photography but that's the widest lens that they haven't allows you to just do things and get in really close on subjects remember I said if you have a white wide angle lens, get in close on your subject and make it big in the frame and so I am standing feet wet in the water to get this shot what does it mean to have distortion? And is it a bad thing most people would say? Oh distortion of course that's bad distortion is a bad word that's that's not good, well, it's just inherent in wide angle lenses, it's something that is changing shape. Okay, that's basically what it means now there's a couple different types of distortion the first type of distortion is really bad if you look at the horizon line in this photograph and what I'm going to do is I'm going to go back and forth between two photographs and you can see in the kind of the curved horizon here and the level horizon here that is what's known as barrel distortion it's kind of turning that image into a kind of a barrel shaped bulge in the middle and we don't like that in a photograph that is correctable in software and most all wide angle lenses have this effect to it. They tried to minimize it as much as possible, but it's still there, but it's very correctable. Okay, but there's a different type of effect when using the wide angle lenses. And so we're gonna look at a series of photos from thirty five to seventeen millimeters, the lens is going to stay in the same place, and as we move back to our wider angle lens, as I mentioned before, out on the road, the foreground starts playing a big, prominent role in these wide angle lenses. And so the effect of four shortening is an exaggerating of the size of the foreground, so the foreground seems bigger than the background. Because it's close to the camera, we're using a wide angle lens. If you compare the height of the walls close to us versus the height of the walls at the end of the room, it's much larger than it is at the end of the room. If we were to look at the panels in the ceiling, the edges that are closer to us are bigger than the edges that are further away from us. It's exaggerating the size of everything close to the camera. And this is something that we can use to our benefit or not, depending on how we shoot our photos. So to help show what this distortion does on different types of objects we're going to do with a really simple shot okay, just soccer ball in here now is the soccer ball round in real life? Yes, it iss okay and doesn't look around here absolutely does we're using a hundred millimeter lens in this case if we move the soccer ball off to the side is it round? It still is round because telephoto lenses do not have much in the way of distortion is not distorting the shape of this object. The fifty millimeter lens is technically a telephoto lens by a very small degree and if we move it off to the side we're not likely to see any distortion at all because it's not really into that white angle realm yet. So now when we put it at thirty five it's round in the middle and I suppose if you were extremely picky you might find a little distortion here but it's very, very little but we're going to clearly see it in this next one it is perfectly round in the middle we move the soccer ball off to the side and now you can see the distortion okay, so this is the distortion in its natural distortion it's not anything that is wrong with this particular lands because you're going to get this with any brand of lands it's that stretching effect that we get with wide angle lenses so what happens when we go all the way down to sixteen millimeters? The ball is perfectly round in the middle and so if we want to relate this to real life experiences, this is why I don't mind photographing people with a sixteen when they're in the middle of the frame, they are not going to be distorted, you do have to be careful and you can use it and sometimes is it was off to the side, but look at what happens to that soccer ball when we move it off to the side with a wide angle lens that's a very distorted look to it, all right? Just to make this even more clear, I wanted to shoot it in video so that you could see it in another manner. And so with one hundred millimeter lands, it's, a great documentary lens, if you want to document something and really have it accurate, use a short telephoto lens because it has no distortion, they're very, very good on that the fifty very clean and normal as we put that ball towards the corners, it doesn't really stretch out of shape at all, moving on to the thirty five if you're very perceptive, you'll see a little bit of shape changing in the ball as it goes into the corners very little, though and so that's why photojournalists like a thirty five millimeter lens it's wide angle but it's very true to the scene it doesn't distort the scene in any way or at least extremely small and we do have a step of twenty eight in between that we were switching but now you should clearly be able to see that ball starting to slightly change shape is we go wide angle and as I say that's not a problem with this lands but it's an effect of the lens that you just need to be aware of and when we go all the way down to sixteen that's when you have to be really careful with round objects because as they get off to the side they start becoming very oval ish I think this is just it's a simple but I think it's a very effective way of seeing what that distortion does. So be careful with round or shaped objects on the edge is the frame of those ultra wide but you can use him to your effect. You know this defunct swimming pool anyone won't go to swimming in sand. Uh this little portion here is the smaller part of pool, but by positioning myself here with a wide angle lens, I make it look much larger than the rest of the pool I am making these railroad ties look much larger than this railroad car because of my positioning and how close I am and how much I've had them fill the frame in the foreground, and so if you have multiple subjects and you're trying to draw attention to one of them, one of the techs need techniques is using a wide angle lens and getting really close up to that subject, they say it's a favorite technique, a landscape photographers, you know, I would like to tell you that up at mount rainier, there was a field of flowers running straight to the top of the mountain in reality, there's about twenty five, fifty yards of flowers, and by getting really close to it, I make it look like there's a carpet going up to the top of the mountain. So when it comes to the white angle lens, some final thoughts on this, so obviously you're going to use that when you just can't back up any further when you're in that rug shop in morocco, great for showing a subject in their environment so that environmental portrait type shot and it's gonna make those foreground objects appear larger due to that foreshortening effect, and these lenses tend to have a lot of depth of field, so if you want everything and focus the wide angle lenses, thie easy place to get that done. And you do have to be cautious when you were shooting people at twenty foreign below and so if you're shooting a group shot, I actually have a very specific siri's that I'm going to show you in the last section of the class using are really wide angled issued a group shot versus a normal ants and you'll very clearly see which lens is best for shooting a group shot of people. So before we jump into telephoto lenses, I'm just gonna do a quick check in on you guys here. So if there's anybody, any questions here in the class or with kenna and everyone else around the world, all right, saul started grabbing mike, if you would like, can you talk again about if you can use full frame lenses on crop sensors that can you use crop censored cleansers on full frame cameras? Well, to answer that question, I need to know more information, which is now I assume, going to make it more general, yeah, you know, the problem is is that it depends on which camera you're using, and I know this is nick on class will say that with a british accent, this is nikon, but we'll probably have people who have cannon and sony's and penalties are all sorts of other things, and so it depends a little bit on the manufacturer with a nikon you can use if you have a crop frame camera three thousand siri's of five thousand siri's seven thousand siri's, which means any of the city he won seven thousand seventy two hundred's any of those numbers in there, or numbers like the d ninety, the d fifty thirty, forty, you can use any of the d x r f excellence is on them. If you have a full frame camera, you're gonna want to use the full frame lenses, because, as I mentioned at the very beginning of the class, yeah, you can use the crop frame lenses, but you're going to get a cropped, you're gonna get a croft image from that, you're not going to get your full image ery off of it, and so it's it's, kind of a matter of where you are and what you want out of your photos the whole bit. Do you have to change any settings within your full frame camera? No, general, just you can just mount the land straight on your camera and you will see what you're going to get that's the beauty of the dslr folks is you get to see what you're actually getting, and so if you can mount the lens physically on without damaging them out and the electronics, just take a look through there and that's, what you're going to get

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon® Lenses Part 1
Nikon® Lenses Part 2
Nikon® Lenses Part 3
Nikon® Lenses Part 4
Field of View
Nikon® Lenses Part 5
Nikon® Lenses Part 6
Nikon® Lenses Part 7
Nikon® Lenses Part 8
Nikon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.

Anna Fennell

Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.

Student Work