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Focal Length and Perspective

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The thing to keep in mind with your lenses Focal Length is that the shorter your focal length the wider your angle of view the Longer your Focal Length the narrower your angle of view.  This means that as you zoom in you will see less of the image.

Changing your Focal Length does not change the size of one object compared to another.

The images below were taken from the same distance from the subjects but changing the focal length.  Zooming in with your camera’s lens.

Perspective is controlled by the lens-to-subject distance, Not the focal length of the lens.

Keep your focal length the same, go to the short focal length your lens allows and move closer to the subject.  As your lens comes closer to the scene, foreground objects are enlarged more than background ones to give three different perspectives.   As the lens gets closer to the subjects closer to the lens get larger.

We judge depth in a photograph mostly by comparing the size of objects, so the depth seems to increase if foreground objects appear larger than background ones.

A long focal length lens used far from a subject produces a telephoto effect.  In the image on the right the crowd is compressed into a mass.

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A short focal-length used up close increases the apparent size of the part of the subject that is closest to the camera.  This is wide angle distortion.

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