With all of the lens options available for a DSLR, one that seems to be last on the wish list of many photographers is a wide-angle zoom. There are probably several reasons for that; good ones can be fairly pricey and they often don't go really wide or really long. That being the case, they often take a back seat to a longer telephoto or a super wide-angle lens when it comes to "what I want to buy next."
Actually, though, these short- to medium-range zoom lenses are more versatile and fun than many photographers realize. It may not become your walk-around lens, but with a little bit of creativity, a wide-angle zoom could easily become one of your favorites. Here are a few fun ways to use one:
Let the Distortion Happen
Wide angle distortion can be a real problem, but when you think outside the box, it can bring a lot of fun into your travel and landscape shots or even portraits:
Capitalizing on a distorted view of just about anything can add a whole new mood to an image and with a zoom, you choose the amount of distortion needed to add drama or humor. Working in close with something like a 17-35mm can be really effective.
Emphasize the Foreground
When you really want to make that interesting foreground stand out, a wide-angle zoom can help and you might not even need to get down on your belly to make it happen. I'm not saying you shouldn't be willing to work to get the shot, just that a lens in the 24-70mm range can make it easier, while not giving you extreme distortion effects. Take a look at this one for a real bargain.
Reach for the Sky
At a different angle, these lenses can help you fill the frame with that awesome sunrise, sunset or night sky.
Thanks to the zoom, you can keep it real, as above, or add a creative twist:
Turn the camera ninety degrees and a whole new world of possibilities opens up at medium to wide angles. Dramatic framing is a piece of cake. Once again, you can zoom out to more extreme angles and take advantage of the whimsical effects, too:
Once again, because you've got some zoom range with these lenses, you can take the effect anywhere from mildly interesting to utterly ridiculous.
Framing your Shots
There are always going to be times when you can add some depth and interest to a shot by framing it with something, whether you're shooting landscapes, cityscapes or even portraits. Having a nice range of wide-angle possibilities available makes that process much easier. If only for this reason, I love having a good wide angle zoom in my bag.
Where to Get One Without Breaking the Bank
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, good zooms in this range can put a dent in your wallet. If you're like me and can't drain the back account, I suggest investing in a thoroughly tested, rated and guaranteed used lens from our friends at KEH Camera. Take a look at their inventory and find the lens that best suits your shooting styles. Now there's no good reason not to have one of these versatile lenses. You're welcome!