Friday, October 24, 2008

Gear Bag Friday: Wide Angle Wonderfulness: Canon 10-22mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens Review

Good Morning Everybody,
Wow! What a show up here in NYC - about a gazillion things to see, and then still more to see. Hey, thanks, to all who came up to say "HI" at the show - its been nice to visit. You know, the funny thing was that so many people that stopped me - I guess I was easily recognizable with my semi-black eye which BTW is healing nicely, many with their own wedding disaster horror stories to share. One of my favorites was the story about the photographer who was backing up, backing up, backing up - tripped and landed full body into the baptistery font in the back of church. That story takes the cake for me in the bruised ego category.

My main impression about the PhotoPlus Show, is how much of a photographer's show it has become. I started coming to this show when it was called Photo East about 10 years ago. It was packed with lab suppliers, graphical software, and many vendors you would never find at a PPA - Professional Photographers of America or WPPI - Wedding and Portrait Photographers show. The PhotoPlus Expo has really been transformed into primarily a photography show. I'm not complaining. There is tons to see! Great trade show specials! Friends to catch-up with and new friends to meet. LaDawn and I are taking the trade-show cruise again today to revisit some of the more interesting vendor booths we've seen. I'll give you a short report on Monday. Anyway, how about on with Wide Angle Wonderfulness...

Wide Angle Wonderfulness: Canon 10-22mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens Review
Here we go with my next favorite lens in my gear bag - Canon's 10-22mm wide angle zoom lens. I'm listing these lens in the order of their importance and usefulness at a wedding. So even though I'm listing this lens fourth in the series, that doesn't mean it's my fourth favorite lens. It actually is one of my top favorite optics to shoot. I'm a wide-angle-aholic. This goes back to my Hasselblad days where I loved shooting with my 40mm Distagon and my 30mm Distagon Fisheye lenses. That little combo added up to about $18,000 back in the film days - you new guys are so lucky these days!

I said I loved the 40mm Distagon on my Hasselblad. In reality, that lens had only a 89 degree view - that's equivalent to a 24mm lens on our full frame DSLRs or 17mm on our ASP DSLRs. Heck, I shoot with two lenses that give me that angle of view everyday now - 17-85mm for my 40D and 24-105mm for my 5D. So I have to tell you, it was a BIG deal when I picked up my Canon 10-22mm lens. It was way cool when I put it on my 20D at the time and looked through the viewfinder. It was like WOW - this is about the most wide angle optic I would ever need - a full 107 degrees field of view! That super wide angle field of view has allowed me to open up a lot more opportunities to really play with composition. I even posted 3 shots so far this week taken with that lens.

Where do you need to be cautious when using this lens? The quick answer is the keep body parts of your subject away form the edge of the viewfinder. If you get too close, you will create some really weird "Mr. Gumby" effects. Your client will definitely look distorted and ultimately not be happy.

The lens is my favorite when it comes to dramatic portrait shots. The secret to using the lens with people included within the image is to keep them new the center of the composition to minimize any distortion, at least when shooting near the 10mm side of the zoom. Check out this link right here for all the shots I've posted here at DPT - it's a long list so keep scrolling down past today's post. Also, be sure to hit "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page for the entire list of images. It's great series of images that show the range of my application for this very cool optic. Be sure to read the Camera specs to see at what focal length I used. That will give you some insight to what I mentioned earlier on how to avoid the distortion.

The lens is great for immense interior location images. It allows me to capture nearly everything in the frame. When doing interior room shots, most of the time I try to keep the lines in the scene parallel with each other to get the best visual effect and least distortion. There are other times when I want the converging lines to enhance the composition because I love how it adds to the soaring effect of the large spaces - for example large churches.

Another great application of the lens is in landscape photography. When reviewing the images from DPT, scan down the the images [link] I made at sunrise while we were in Annapolis earlier this year. Notice how the sky takes on the rich blue tones at the top of the frame. That's because of the lens' long reach into the shy where the sun's light has not yet fully penetrated. I love the rich, wide ranging, contrasting colors of these compositions.

In the Comments of yesterday's post "Jessie's Place" I was asked if the photograph was hand-held. Yes it was, as are all the images I shoot these days. All the 10-22mm images posted here [link] at DPT are also hand-held. Here is the secret - the rule is that you can hand-hold a lens down to a shutter speed equivalent to 1/(focal length) second. That means with a 50mm lens, you are good to go down to 1/50 second. With my 10-22mm lens at 10mm, I'm good down to 1/10 second. That doesn't mean I can be sloppy in my shooting. I still have to use my best slow shooting technique, but yes, I get away with 1/10 second quite often when shooting with this lens in low light situations. Here the link right here where I discussed my slow shutter speed technique. Scroll down, it's the third question answered.

Do I wish I had a wider optic to shoot with? Well, I do have that optic, but I'll cover that in a future post. Well gang, that's it for me today. Hope you enjoyed the post, but more importantly, enjoyed the images I have made with this lens - here is the image link one more time.

LaDawn and I are ready to hit the trade show trail one more time before flying out early tomorrow morning. So once again, I'll plan to see you on the flip side of the weekend. Have a great one, -David

Related Links: Canon 10-2mm lens reviews
Luminous-Landscape Review [link]
The Digital Picture Review [link]


  1. Hi, David, I really enjoyed reading through your rationale on why using the 10-22 (and WA in general).
    I'm wondering if I should get it for a wedding I'm shooting in a couple of months or if I should get a second flash (and ring flash as well). I was almost made up for the flash, but now I'm confused! Which can only be a good thing! :)
    You referred the rule of inverse focal length, but shouldn't that take into account the focal length multiplier? For instance, the rule of thumb you should follow when shooting at 10mm on your 40D shouln't be 1/15s instead?

    Thanks once again for your inspirational posts, I'm trying to free up my schedule this weekend so I can watch some more of your great videos!
    Regards, Bruno Monteiro

  2. I never really got the point of the 10-22 till I started to read your blog. I've seen lots of your wide angle images in the last year. That's what prompted me to pick one up last month. What a fun lens! I was hooked on to my 70-200 and I had no idea the new world that was about to open up. I just came back from a trip in Denmark. I took about 3000 images. I mounted my 28-70 5% of the time and the 70-200 25%. The rest was the 10-22. This is obviously a great lens for the city and location shots but where it really gets fun is the creative shots. Shots where you have a lot of foreground/background elements surrounding you subject. Your shot where a girl is reading a book (maybe the Torah?) helped me to think outside the box. Thanks!
    BTW, you get the award for consistently the most post in a photo blog. Thanks for keeping it active!

  3. I would like this lens myself but I'm still shooting with the 40D alone. Now, I'm betting your going to talk next about the Sigma 8mm Fisheye. I hope so. I have this piece of wonderful glass and would like to see how you are using it.
    As always, wonderful blog David.

  4. Hi Everybody,

    Thanks for the nice remarks again. Bruno, opt for the 10-22mm - lots more fun. I'm still trying to find a place for the ring light.


  5. the 10-22mm is awesome. I use it all the time