Wide angle focal lengths

Wide angle lenses have a 35mm equivalent focal length of less than 45mm. Due to the crop factor on many digital cameras, the lens’s real focal length has to be shorter in order to achieve the respective 35mm equivalent focal length.

Wide angle lenses exhibit perspective distortion when capturing images at a short distance. Other features of short focal lengths are among others: the great range of depth of field and the low risk of blurring. Targeted use of these optical features that belong to wide angle lenses can considerably expand the number of photographic possibilities available.


  • Landscape
  • Architecture
  • Interiors
  • To achieve certain effects
  • ...

Special features

  • Great depth of field (foreground and background in focus)
  • Wide image angle
  • Low risk of blurring – relatively long shutter speeds possible for hand held shots (reciprocal value)
  • Low positioning of camera often advantageous (see example image)
  • Distorting effect when capturing images in close proximity (distorting effects are sometimes thought to be unfavourable but can also be used consciously when creating a certain image) – especially portraits should not be shot from a close distance as images can become bizarrely distorted
  • Foregrounding details appear oversized – objects in the background appear very small
    • This increases the image’s depth effect
    • Using a wide angle e.g. people can easily appear to be larger than e.g. buildings or mountains – this effect occurs using a wide angle lens when the distance from the person to the camera considerably shorter is than the distance between the building and camera
  • By tilting the camera, vertical lines become distorted (converging lines)
  • Often barrel distortion

The following image shows the view of Monument Valley. The image was captured at a small height with a 28mm wide angle. Due to the wide angle and the respective diaphragm (1:11), the image has a great depth of field that stretches all the way from the bottom to the top of the image. In connection with the camera’s low positioning, the depth effect is accentuated in the following image (view of Monument Valley).

Monument Valley - Weitwinkel - große Tiefenschärfe

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