I acquired a new lens a few weeks ago, and it’s rapidly become the one that spends the most time on the camera – unless Christa’s using it, in which case it tends to get switched for “Big Ugly” – a Tamron 28-300 (50-540-ish on the Canon 300D) behemoth. The two lenses complements each other perfectly, for reasons I’ll go into in a mo’.
The new lense is the wonderful Canon 10-22/3.5-4.5 USM which gives a focal range from 16mm to 35mm on my 300D. There’s so much that’s good about this lens, it’s difficult to know where to start.
Perhaps the pic above sums the lense up best of all; it’s pin sharp (it uses L class glass, fer chrissakes!), has beautiful bokeh, and works very well witheven the most tricky compositions. To take this shot I was laid on the floor barely 3 inches away from the ‘shroom. With any other lens this would be a macro shot, but the 16mm wide-angle pushes the ‘shroom right into it’s context. It’s more of a close-up than a macro.
And that’s really what this lens is all about – context. The 35mm end makes for a great ‘standard’ focal length, especially for reportage style images.
At the other end, the 16mm end really puts the subject into it’s place in the environment.
It’s a tricky lens to use compositionally though. At 16mm, it’s very difficult to get a perfectly horizontal horizon, especially if hand-held. Expect to need to rotate most of your shots to get things perfectly level. As the lens is so wide, it’s possible to use very low shutter speeds – I’ve used 1/10s at 16mm with no problems – so a tripod is really unnecessary. When composing for the wide end, make sure that there’s something in the foreground or you’re going to get a lot of empty space. Either that, or aim for dramatic skies. This lens likes blue skies and green fields, a lot.
For comparison of the focal lengths, here’s a shot at the 35mm end:
And here’s a shot taken from the exact same spot at the 16mm end:
In all, it’s a great lens for when your needs are on the wide side. It’s perfect for landscape, reportage and street photography, and has quickly become my standard lens. Tied with the Tamron 28-300 for those time I need a goot telephoto or macro lens, it’s perfect.
Oh, one last thing. The detail produced by this lens is truely remarkable. Here’s a HDR shot taken from the top of a multi-story car park in Chesterfield.