- Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Nikkor Wide Angle Zoom Lens
- Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED Lens
- Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S
- Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
The amazing diversity of lenses that are available for most systems is something that gets most beginners confused, even a little scared maybe.
Let's have a look at two of the most widely used lenses: wide angle lenses and telephoto lenses. What do they do differently and what should you use each of them for?
Let's start by saying that a wide angle lens has a focal length ranging from 10mm to about 28-30mm. It should not be confused with fisheye lenses that can have similar focal lengths and physical dimensions. The key difference between a wide angle lens and a fisheye is that although it will distort heavily around the corners, the wide angle lens will always keep the center of the photograph straight and undistorted. The fisheye on the other hand will distort the entire image.
Wide angle lenses offer a very large perspective on things. They include a lot of the surroundings in the frame.
That's one of the reasons why these lenses are among the most important items in the kits of landscape photographers, photojournalists, wedding and architectural photographers. They can make tight spaces look bigger and closer objects look farther. They're not the ideal lenses for portrait photography, unless you want an original perspective, but you have to keep the distortion in mind. They'll also do a poor job at capturing subjects that are far away from the camera
That's where telephoto lenses come in. The first obvious distance between the two is size and weight. Even a bulky super-wide angle lens like the Nikon 14-24mm AF-S f/2.8G is small compared to a 300mm f/2.8, or even the standard 70-200mm f/2.8 .These are long, heavy lenses and their main job is to give you a closer look at subjects that are far away from your camera. Wildlife and sports photographers use them every day, usually mounted on tripods or monopods. While wide angle lenses distort, telephoto lenses flatten. You will notice that with just about any subject, from portraits to crowds of people. The angle of view is also much narrower than what you would get with the other lens. Telephoto lenses are great for separating the subject from the background. The long focal lengths will produce a very nice bokeh.
(Gear Tip: Trade in your old lenses for newer models)
It's not a question of choosing between the two as they are totally different tools for different purposes. Each photographer should purchase lenses according to his needs.
Photography legend Joe McNally will tell you more about the differences between the two in this video made for AdoramaTV.