Close-Up Wide-Angle

Text And Photography By The Editors
Not every subject lends itself to the ultrawide perspective, of course. With the Sigma 10-20mm at 20mm, this photo has more depth than if it had been photographed with a normal or telephoto lens (which would have created some foreshortening), but it has very little wide-angle distortion. Keeping the camera level also minimizes any distortion.
Wide-angle zooms have always been popular with nature photographers. When you venture into the ultrawide arena, a new world of opportunities opens up. Ultrawide zooms typically span the 15-35mm range, meaning they can go from very wide to a slightly wide-of-normal perspective. That’s a lot of versatility in one lens. In this article, we’re using the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC to show some of the compositional options in this range. The Sigma lens is designed for APS-C DSLRs. These cameras have a magnification factor of 1.5x or 1.6x, depending on the manufacturer, which gives the Sigma 10-20mm an apparent field of view that’s similar to a 15-16mm to 30-32mm lens on a full-frame DSLR. That translates to a range that’s ultrawide to slightly wide. When you get wider than this range, you’re usually entering into the realm of fisheye lenses, which usually exhibit extreme distortion.

At the wide end, the Sigma 10-20mm can get to 9.4 inches from the subject, which gives you some nice compositional options. Too many nature photographers think of the wide-angle lens as a good way to capture a wide angle of view. It’s when you start to get close in at that wide angle that photos can become much more dynamic.

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