Have you ever wondered what is so special about shooting in 24mm? Or, have you ever wondered what focal length is good for landscapes is but never been quite sure what it is? The fact is that there are many angles to shoot at. Each time you zoom in or out, you will be affecting the overall look and feel of your photo. Let’s look more closely at the 24mm angle. Why is it so good?
There are many benefits of shooting at 24mm. I use a canon lens at 24mm for landscapes. The best 24mm lens is one that will tend to always provide you with an adequate range or width. Any canon 24mm lens (or nikon 24mm lens) tends to eliminate the dreaded “warp” that comes with the ultra wides. If you don’t know what this means, simply head to the Internet and search for a few wide angle photographs of tall buildings taken up close with lenses less than 17mm. In some landscape photography situations it can work well, and in others it can’t. Sometimes, when you shoot at an ultra wide angle, the landscape you are shooting can look like it’s bulging in the middle. If this happens, then why not try shooting at 24mm?
When shooting landscape photography we want to aim for “wide”, but not “bulging” in the middle, as some ultra wide angle lenses can create. This is where the wonderful 24mm focal length comes in. Not only is it a good overall length to shoot at, but you can shoot at 24mm to create panoramas. In other words 24mm makes for a lovely single photo AND it can be an ideal shooting length to stitch multiple single photos together to create a panorama.
To get a good idea of the quality of the standard 24mm wide angle lens, let’s just look at the image below: (This is my unedited version. I’ll edit it in a moment, but for now, I want you to get a feel for the angle of the photo.)
Photo by Amy Renfrey
This was taken with my canon lens at 24mm, a tripod, and a small aperture that held the entire setting in sharp focus. Does it have a realistic perspective? For example, do you detect any unnatural warping or bending in the horizon or along the foreground? No, we can’t. That is usually a sign that the 24mm focal length is just right for the application.
Is this image “wide enough”? Yes it is, but we can take three single photos at 24mm an create a beautiful panoramic scene. Some lenses that are ultra wide, such as the 17mm or less, can bulge a panorama too much. However, because I shot at 24mm, we can see that this photo works perfectly:
This image is made from a series of three shots taken from the same perspective and using a tripod to ensure good results. I used my favourite Panorama Maker Pro 6 photo editing software to merge or stitch the images together into a single frame.
Is this image any more effective because of the small amount of additional scenery at the edges? The answer is going to be generally “relative” because it has to do more with personal preference and the intention of the photographer. For example, a photographer may not have felt it beneficial to show the rest of the dune on the right edge of the scene, and the wider angle would be a waste.
Most would agree that both versions of this image “work” and that it would be unnecessary to consider such a costly expense as an ultra wide angle lens if these two images could be made through the use of a 24mm lens and photo editing software.
Here is the edited version I did in Lightroom. I reduced the shadows, sharpened the image (only slightly), brightened the lighter areas and increased the vibrancy.