Digital Cameras: Wide Angle Lenses Explained


While we’ve previously discussed digital camera lenses in some detail (see Digital Cameras: Digital Zoom vs. Optical Zoom for more info), we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the opposite end of the spectrum, e.g. the fully-zoomed telephoto. We of course refer once again to the wide angle lens, and we want to impress upon you that strong wide angle capabilities are just as important as monster magnification when it comes to taking digital photographs.

With a truly “wide” wide angle lens, your photos will look more natural. You can take a scenery shot and maintain focus from the foreground to the background. You can take a shot of a mountain range and effectively capture its panorama. You can take real estate and architectural photos without making your subject look cramped and small. Moreover, because wide angle lenses tend to accentuate objects nearer to the camera, you can do some very cool things with geometry and distortion.

wide-angle-lens-5The moral of the story: Look just as hard at a lens’ maximum wide angle setting as you do at the maximum telephoto setting. SLR’s have no problem in this regard, because the kit lenses packaged with most models offer an ample wide angle, and if you find you want even more in the future, you merely buy an additional wide angle lens. Compact cameras are a different story, however. Because of the design of the camera, they simply can’t offer the same level of wide angle. Whereas an SLR kit lens typically starts at the 18mm range, compact lenses begin nearer 28mm. That’s a big difference in the world of cameras. And remember, you can’t change the lens on a compact, so you’re stuck with what you bought.

Having said that, compact cameras lenses have “widened up” quite a bit in the past few years, and there are several models that can capably handle most casual wide angle needs.


2018 was a terrific year for new cameras. Here are our favorites

This year, we saw the unveiling of several exciting new cameras. We look back at our favorite models -- each delivering something unique, yet all are powerful and feature-rich. Camera fans, rejoice!

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

Want to make one hard drive act like two? Here's how to partition in Windows

If you don't want all of your files stored in one place but only have one drive to work with, partitioning is your best way forward. Here's how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, step by step.

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.

How to connect AirPods to your MacBook

If you have new AirPods, you may be looking forward to pairing them with your MacBook. Our guide will show you exactly how to connect AirPods to MacBook, what to do if they are already paired with a device, and more.

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.