Broad Angle Versus Telephoto Lenses for Lovely Panorama Images


A straightforward assumption to make, when capturing landscapes, is to make use of a wide-angle lens. In any case, most panorama photographers favor wide-angle lenses for a purpose: They naturally provide the widest view and permit you to get the complete panorama into the body, from the foreground to the horizon.

Broad-angle lenses even have the widest depth of discipline, so that you get the entire panorama in focus. And their distortion enlarges objects within the foreground, letting you exhibit close-up particulars. The identical distortion additionally emphasizes main traces, enhancing your compositions and giving your picture a extra dynamic really feel. However once you default to wide-angle glass, you miss many hidden alternatives provided by telephoto lenses.

Area of view: The entire and its elements

That is probably the most fundamental distinction between the 2 lens varieties:

Broad lenses offer you a large view; telephoto lenses offer you a slender view.

And whereas landscapes look nice of their entirety, it’s an excellent behavior to take a second and search for particulars. These particulars are lovely components of the panorama which may get shrunken or ignored within the expanse of a wide-angle picture. That is the place your telephoto lens is available in. Its slender discipline of view is ideal for trimming the additional components and for specializing in small, lovely scenes just like the curve of a mountain, a mirrored image in a far-off pond, or the silhouette of a tree.


Within the two photographs above, you possibly can see this in motion. They have been each taken from Olmstead level in Yosemite Nationwide Park, one with a wide-angle lens and the opposite with a telephoto.

Within the first picture, the wide-angle lens exhibits off the whole panorama. It consists of each side of the valley, the up-close textures of the rocks, and the far-off peak of Half Dome. Within the second picture, the telephoto lens brings the attention proper as much as the mountains, displaying off their shapes and the main points of the geology.

One other pair of photographs (under) exhibits this impact much more dramatically. The primary picture is not only a wide-angle picture, however an aerial shot as nicely, taken from a small airplane over the Okavango Delta in Botswana. From this vantage level, all the particular person components of the panorama grow to be extremely small and your eyes pay extra consideration to their association than their particular person shapes. Within the second picture, additionally from the Okavango space however this time on the bottom, a telephoto lens is used to attract consideration to the gorgeous curves of a single Acacia tree.



Depth of discipline: Focusing the attention

The second main distinction between wide-angle and telephoto lenses is the innate dimension of their depth of discipline.

Put succinctly, the upper the focal size, the narrower the realm of focus. In follow, which means when capturing huge, it’s a lot simpler so that you can get every little thing in focus, from the grass at your ft to the ridge on the horizon. That is very true once you’re making an attempt to make use of your lens’s sharpest apertures (the so-called sweet spot).

Nevertheless, a narrower depth of discipline is significantly better for isolating your topic from the background, and that is the place your telephoto lens comes into play. Strive capturing a close-up element at a large aperture, utilizing the panorama as a pleasant, creamy bokeh backdrop.



The 2 photographs above are excellent examples of this impact. Within the first picture, the wide-angle lens brings the entire panorama into focus, from the close-up sunflowers to the far-off mountains.

Within the second picture, capturing with a telephoto blurs out the flowers and mountains within the background, turning them into a pleasant gentle background for the principle sunflower.

Depth compression: Enjoying with dimension

It’s no secret that wide-angle lenses broaden the sense of depth in a picture by enlarging components within the foreground and shrinking these within the again. That is nice for creating photographs that make you’re feeling like you possibly can step proper into the body.

On the flip facet, you run the danger of constructing towering, superior mountains within the distance appear like puny hills. Telephoto lenses, however, compress depth, inflicting objects close to and much to look extra related in dimension. A compressed sense of depth is nice for abstracting a scene and bringing out its graphical qualities. Colourful forest canopies, layered mountain ridges, and curving sand dunes are all nice topics for this type of capturing.


Within the left picture above, discover how the wide-angle lens exaggerates the dimensions of the flowers within the foreground on the expense of the mountains within the background. The mountains are so tall that they’re shrouded in clouds, however the lens retains them from wanting fairly as grand.

Pull out a telephoto lens, and you’ll zoom straight in on the mountain, displaying off the distinction between the rugged define of the height and the gentle wispy type of the cloud (proper).



Listed here are two extra photographs, each taken on the identical location in Large Bend Nationwide Park, that exhibit this impact. Within the first picture, you possibly can see that the wide-angle lens will increase the dimensions of the crops and rocks within the foreground whereas shrinking the big desert mountains within the background. Within the second picture, a telephoto lens flattens out the depth of the numerous desert ridges, calling consideration to their graphic patterns and descriptions.

Abstract: House versus object

Have a tough time remembering all these particulars? Right here’s a simple technique to summarize it with a easy concept:

Broad-angle lenses exhibit house, telephotos exhibit objects.

The wide-angle lens’s massive discipline of view, ease of uniform focus, and depth-distorting talents are nice at displaying off massive, expansive landscapes. Nevertheless, they take focus away from particular person components throughout the panorama in favor of displaying the entire. Telephoto lenses are naturally the alternative: they’re nice at displaying off the dimensions, form, and intricacy, of element of particular person components throughout the panorama. However their slender discipline of view, small depth of discipline, and depth-compressing qualities make it arduous to seize the panorama as an entire.


You’ll be able to analyze this pair of photographs to see precisely how all of those methods work collectively. Beginning with the picture above, you possibly can see how the wide-angle lens suits the entire panorama into the body, from close-up rocks to far off peaks and sky. Due to the lens’s massive depth of discipline, the entire panorama is in acceptable focus as nicely. The lens’s depth distortion is quickly obvious, as nicely: the foreground rocks look very massive, creating a lovely sense of depth, and emphasizing the main traces that draw the attention from the perimeters of the body to the middle. General, you get an excellent sense of the house and the expansiveness of the valley.


This picture was taken in the identical place, however using a telephoto lens captures it in a really totally different means. The picture brings out a single ingredient of the panorama; look carefully and you’ll see this peak within the earlier picture on the highest proper. It permits the viewer to understand its delicate particulars.

Due to the telephoto lens’s slender depth of discipline, the sky is barely out-of-focus whereas leaving the main points of the height itself completely sharp. And most of all, the compressed sense of depth flattens the picture, displaying off the rocky mass of the mountain, and calling consideration to the gorgeous curve of the ridgeline. General, you get an important sense of the mountain as a strong object, slightly than a bounded house.

When to shoot what?

One of the simplest ways to know which lens to make use of is to get on the market, look, and suppose. What a part of the panorama are you most drawn to? Does the panorama’s expansiveness give it its character? Are there gorgeous particulars surrounded by much less photogenic components? Are you capturing areas or objects?


That mentioned, my private technique is to simply shoot each, as a result of nearly any panorama has sufficient magnificence that only one kind of lens isn’t sufficient to get to all of it.


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