My first experience with an urgent need for a wide angle lens was when I discovered the Tomb of the Jade Jaguar under an ancient Maya pyramid at Tikal. The burial crypt was only about 9 feet wide and perhaps 12 feet long. I was 20 years old at the time and had only a 35mm lens on a Leica M1. The resulting photo (which still exists after over 30 years) is on another section of our web sites.

Home| A to Z INDEX| Site Map| FREE REPORTS| Training| Services| FLAAR at BGSU| FLAAR at UFM| Help


Ultra-Wide Angle Nikon Lenses for 35mm Format can now be utilized to create Virtual Reality panorama photographs.

When I began to photograph Maya architecture full time, a 28mm lens became my standard lens. A 35mm lens or even was not wide enough to record Maya temples and palaces. I experimented with perspective correcting lenses; perspective correcting lenses are definitely better than straight lenses. They helped, but inside small chambers in the ancient temples I needed a wider angle coverage.

Then architect Hasso Hohmann of Graz, Austria told me about the 15mm lens of Nikon. He said it did not distort the images. At that time I had only Leica cameras. The price of a Leica 15mm lens was more than the price of an entire new Nikon F3 camera plus the 15mm lens. So I asked several benefactors of the FLAAR archaeology research program for help, and they chipped in to enable us to obtain this ultra-wide angle Nikon system.

This was the most useful lens I ever got for a 35mm camera system. I have been able to record views inside Maya buildings that no other archaeologist had the capability to capture. On several occasions I have loaned this 15mm lens to other photographers that I ran into out in the field. FLAAR has also used this wonderful lens to take pictures for several archaeological projects that we have visited.

I do not know why I went through so many years and never heard about the properties of this 15mm lens. As long as you hold it at an appropriate angle there is minimal distortion, and no noticeable circular distortion. This is a wonder lens.The angle of view is 110 degrees.

If you want 118 degrees of coverage, try the 13mm f5.6 Nikkor AIS lens. More fascinating than the wide coverage is the fact that you can focus to 12 inches. Just as soon as we can get this 13mm lens to test we will reveal results on these FLAAR Web pages.

In recent years Nikon has added a 14mm version, the AF Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D ED.

Every architectural historian should have at least one of these three lenses, every archaeologist needs one. Obviously if there are strong lights, or the sun, overhead, a wide angle lens will produce flare. But I have gotten more than enough great shots with the 15mm Nikkor f/3.5 lens over the years.

We do not know wich, if any, of these lenses will fit onto the Nikon D100 or D70. If they do, they are well worthwhile. Lack of auto-focus is not an issue since with wide angle lenses almost everything is in focus anyway.

Camera cases and backpacks
Remin (Kart-a-bag)
Tamrac, Domke, Tenba
Gyroscopic stabalizer
Named by brand
Studio equipment

introduction to filters
Color conversion filters
Color correction filters
Filters for b+w photo
Filters for infrared
Graduated filters



Light stands
Balcar fluorescent



for museums
North Light
What to Avoid

Light meter

Tripod heads

Manfrotto (model 3263)


For travelers

Specials Sets FLAAR
Premium Reports
.. Giclee-Decor Set
.. Set for Print for Pay
.. Set for CAD and GIS
.. Indoor-Outdoor Print Set
.. Enterprise Set: corporations, government, museums
Premium Reports

NEW! Scanners
.. Media and Inks
.. Color Management
.. RIPs for Inkjet Printers

.. Fine Art Giclee Printers
.. Solvent Ink Printers
.. UV Curable Ink Flatbeds

.. Wide Format Printers for Signs
.. Wide Format Printers for Photo-Realistic Quality
.. Surviving in the Wide Format Printing World

.. Bonus Reports

Free Reports

.. Previews Self Download
Free FLAAR Reports

.. About FLAAR
List FLAAR Reports

Digital Photo Textbooks
.. Medium Format
.. Panorama camera system
.. Rollout photography
.. Aerial photography
.. Digital Photography
.. Super wide camera
.. Photographic solutions
.. Virtual movies
.. Accesories
.. Equipment
.. Software
.. Training
.. Scanners
.. Printers
.. Media
.. Software
.. Storage
.. Equipment
.. Books
.. Tradeshows
Meet Dr. Hellmuth
Privacy Statement

Updated July 14, 1999; links organized April 20, 2000;
Most recently updated March 11, 2004, r
edesigned January 2004

Note: All further updates during Spring and Summer 2004 are being added to the textbook on photography by Nicholas Hellmuth. This textbook is not sold other than given to students and participants in the FLAAR courses on photography. You can get all the web site, plus essentially the entire website, organized as an easy course, if you sign up for the FLAAR program. The FLAAR course on photography is available worldwide, in the comfort of your home or office, via the Internet. Next course starts August-September 2004.

FLAAR Information Network.
© 2001- 2007 All rights reserved

Privacy Statement | About the website | Site Map | Back to top

Any problem with this site please report it to , or if you note any error, omission, or have a different opinion on a review,
please contact the review editor,, or find out how to meet Nicholas Hellmuth and speak with him personally