Wide Angle VS Telephoto Lens

selection of lenses

In photography and video, a wide-angle lens is a lens that sees a 180-degree angle of view. A telephoto lens in contrast, captures the same viewing angle but on an object at much greater distances.

A wide-angle lens captures much more of the scene within its frame than a telephoto, which makes it ideal for capturing two people standing close to each other indoors, or one building during exterior shots.

Wide Angle Lenses

Wide angle lenses have one single lens element or group of elements. Two primary advantages of wide angle lenses are their ability to “see” a wide field of view and an expansive area for focusing, providing better group shots for capturing an entire scene. Wide angle lenses can be found to use on cameras ranging from a compact point-and-shoot all the way up to full frame digital cameras.

Advantages of a wide angle lens include

Versatility – A very wide field of view at short distance is especially useful for including both nearby objects and the surrounding environment in the shot.

Depth – A wide angle lens is able to capture a large amount of foreground and background along with the main subject of the shot.

Group shots – A wide angle lens can capture all of the people in a scene without needing to be very close.

Wide field of view – Wide angle lenses have a “wide” field of view, typically covering much more than 180 degrees.

Less distortion – It is easier to employ a wide angle lens when dealing with large subjects like buildings, monuments and other tall objects, because the distortion is less pronounced, offering more detail in the image.

When To Use A Wide Angle Lens

When you want to create a panoramic image showing the surrounding environment with a single shot, use a wide angle lens. Wide angle lenses are ideal for group photos when the subjects are close together and you want to include objects both near and far in the shot. It is also good for shooting large landscape features like mountains or skyscrapers as it helps to reduce distortion and capture more of the scene.

Telephoto Lenses

Telephoto lenses have one single lens element or group of elements. Two primary advantages of telephoto lenses are their ability to capture an area and depth, as well as their ability to focus on a smaller area which tends to produce a sharper image. Telephoto lenses can be found to use on cameras ranging from an entry-level point-and-shoot all the way up to full frame digital cameras.

They excel at taking pictures of subjects that are far away, such as wildlife, sports or other situations where the photographer wants to capture the subject without disturbing it.

Advantages of a telephoto lens include

Smaller field of view – Because of their long focal length, even though they cover a wide area, they are able to capture less of the overall image than a wide angle. They are much better at getting close-ups on distant subjects than wide angle lenses.

More detailed – Telephoto lenses can focus on distant objects, allowing them to create more detailed images. For example, they are good for capturing details on a distant nature scene or athletes.

When To Use a Telephoto Lens

Telephoto lenses are ideal for close up shots of distant subjects, whether it is wildlife, sports or other activities. They are also good for taking photos in confined spaces where you want to get as much detail as possible without including a lot of background.

Bottom Line

It is easier to employ a wide angle lens when dealing with large subjects like buildings, monuments and other tall objects because the distortion is less pronounced. It is easier to employ a telephoto lens when dealing with wildlife, sports or other activities. Telephoto lenses are ideal for close up shots of distant subjects, whether it is wildlife, sports or other activities. They are also good for taking photos in confined spaces where you want to get as much detail as possible without including a lot of background.