Ultra Wide Angle
versus Wide Angle

at Saddle Rock, Long Island,
mid-September 2002

  For 35mm photography, an ultra-wide-angle lens is defined as being 24mm or smaller, although some fanatics insist that an ultra wide is less than 20mm. By anyone's definition, the Pentax 15mm f3.5 is an ultra wide, and that's about as technical as I'm going to become.

The joy of such an ultra-wide-angle lens is that it opens a wonderland of artistic possibility. Leaves? a boulder? A 15mm viewpoint changes all the relationships. Following is a river of leaves with a bouder being tossed in the current:

Leaf river
  The next photo is the equivalent view from a 38mm lens (the wide-angle setting of the digital Sony F707): leaves and boulder. It's interesting enough as a photo, but the 38mm view doesn't have the inherent drama of 15mm.

Both photos were taken from about 15 inches above the ground (part of a cat-eye-level series of pictures that I've been working on); the following page has a "true view" of the scene.

Ground cover with boulder
  Photography note: The first photo was taken with a Pentax LX and SMC 15mm f3.5A lens, the second a Sony F707. (The digital Sony has an 35mm zoom equivalent from 38 to 190mm.) The former was taken in the early evening (red-orange cast); the latter in the morning.

Ultra wides, next page

20mm: High Raise, U.K. Lake District   |   Fairyland Castle, Bryce Canyon, Utah

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