My friend Charles and I call this lens “the Big Eye”. The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 USM is a superwide angle lens, but not a fisheye lens. I’m not fond of photos that are so wide that they become circular. The Canon 14 mm lens is ultra wide, but reasonably distortion free. Of course, it does distort as do virtually all lenses, but not in a bad way except for people/portraits and such. People tend to look funny in a super wide lens–just see my blog “My Favorite Martian”.
When will you use a really wide angle lens such as the 14 mm? Landscape shots, skies/sunsets, and architecture are among the wonderful uses for the lens. To the right is a shot of the lobby of the Davenport Hotel that was possible only thanks to the wide reach of the 14mm lens (Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 USM).
Notice that this lens has a bubble or dome shape. As such, there is no way to put a protective filter over the glass. Therefore, you will want to take wonderful care of this $2500 piece of glass. Compressed air helps with dust removal and I use only true microfiber lens cleaning cloths or lens paper with a lens cleaning solution. If the price tag, the fact you can’t cover the lens with a protective filter, and the extreme width are just too much for you, then consider the Canon 17-40 mm zoom. It is far less expensive and 17 mm is still a very wide angle.
You’ll fall in love with this lens if you take it to your favorite spot for that sunset shot, or somewhere that can really be opened up with the wide perspective. As with all wide angle lenses, the depth of field is excellent, so you can capture a neat foreground subject as well as your beautiful sky and have it all look spectacular. The wide angle can put movement into the sky. I’ve put a picture of New Mexico’s King of Wings below so you can see it at work in such a setting.
I suggest the Big Eye if you happen to also have a camera body that is full frame. Without a full frame camera body, you will not get the full 14 mm effect. If your camera body has a 1.4 multiplier effect because it is not full frame, the 14 mm is effectively transformed to a 19 mm lens. I would hate to pay that much for that size lens. A full frame camera body such as the Canon 5D Mark III will retain the full wide range. If you have the camera body and you like taking landscape or architecture shots, then the Big Eye (Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 USM) might just be the lens for you to have your eye on.