Short Description

Wide angle refers to the minimum focal length offered by the cameras lens. A short focal length provides wide angle shots allowing a wider field of view to be captured. The smaller the focal length the wider the shot. If you halve the focal length you double the width that can be captured. For example a 15mm photo will be twice as wide as a 30mm photo.

Wide Angle Photo Example

The following photo illustrates the differences in how much 15mm 18mm and 24mm focal lengths capture of a given scene relative to a neutral 50mm focal length. As you can see the wide angle focal lengths permit the photographer to capture a significant amount more.

wideangle Vancouver Cityscape at 15mm
photo of manufacturer model The following photo of Vancouver taken on a 5d MkIIat 15mm illustrates the different levels of wide angle focal lengths vs a neutral 50mm focal length. Original photo by The Real Darren Stone

Why Use a Wide Angle

Abandoned church at 18mm
photo of an abandoned church shot at 18mmThis photo demonstrates the perspective a wide-angle lens offers. While still fitting in the entire scene the short 18mm focal length emphasizes the church against the background. Photo by Kansas Poetry.

Cameras that are good at wide angle photos can be useful for capturing wide landscapes, taking group photos in tight spaces, architectural photos and much more. Wide angle lenses permit you to get very close to your subject while still capturing the background around them. Being able to get so close to your subject makes them very big and creates impact. Wide angle lenses provide artistic possibilities that are not possible with longer focal lengths. The longer the focal length the smaller the relative difference between foreground and background, this means if you really want to emphasize the subject a wide angle lens is the way to go.


Wide Angle Compact Digital Cameras

The following are great digicams with wide angle lenses.

GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition
GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition
from $379
Wide angle Wide angle lens Help
5 mm
External mic jack External mic jack Help
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
Size Really small Help
Ultra compact 60x42x30 mm

Learn more about the GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition

Ricoh WG-M1
Ricoh WG-M1
from $297
Wide angle Wide angle lens Help
3 mm
Weather sealed Weather sealed Help
Shoot in extreme weather
Announced New Help
September, 2014

Learn more about the Ricoh WG-M1

GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition
GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition
from $590
Movie format High resolution movies Help
4096 x 2160 @ 12fps
Wide angle Wide angle lens Help
5 mm
External mic jack External mic jack Help
Record higher quality audio with a microphone

Learn more about the GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition

Green arrow See more of the top wide-angle digicams

Discussion

Showing 8 comments

Criss (10:41 AM, September 15, 2014)
Thank you :)
 
Opi (4:13 PM, November 06, 2013)
Excellent instruction. Now if I can just remember this 15 minutes later.
 
Jish (7:21 AM, June 10, 2013)
Thanks a lot for the useful tips.. will help a beginner like me a lot...
 
rachid (1:50 AM, August 29, 2012)
the best usefull tips, very clear for beginners and thank you
 
vishal (0:54 PM, July 20, 2012)
thank you so much for real short but usefull tip. thanks agin.
 
Granina (3:44 AM, November 22, 2011)
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Sharif (11:39 AM, August 21, 2011)
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