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Thread: longer lenses perspective

  1. #1

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    longer lenses perspective

    hi,
    i am just wondering.
    are largeformat lenses focal lenght affect perspective like how the smaller formats lenses do?

    if i use a 210mm lens, will my perspective be more 'compress' than a 150mm lens?

    thanks for the answer

  2. #2

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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    Yes, physics is physics.

    A better test is to compare an even longer lens to your 150mm.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  3. #3

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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    The perspective has nothing to do with the lens, it's only a question of the point of view.

    Without moving the camera you can take a picture with a 150mm lens and another with a 210mm. Than enlarge and crop the negative taken with the 150mm and you get the same perspective.

    Peter K

  4. #4

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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    I know what you're asking but lens focal length actually has no effect on perspective, the focal length of a lens only affects its angle of view. The only thing that affects perspective is your camera position. The "compressed" effect you mention with a long lens isn't caused by the length of the lens, it's caused by the apparent change in relative size of near and far objects as you move farther away from those objects (the near objects appear to get smaller faster than the more distant objects because you're moving proportionally farther away from the near objects so the near and far objects appear to be closer in size and thus closer together or "compressed"). The opposite is true with short focal length lenses, which is why the distance between near and far objects can appear to be exagerated with those kinds of lenses.
    Brian Ellis
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    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    It's kind of a messy subject, but yes, for a given view the 210mm will flatten/compress the viewer's perspective on space slightly. This is because at a given focusing distance and format, it will give a narrower angle of view, and it's the angle of view that determines the apparent compression of space.

    A 210mm on a 5x7 will give about the same appearance of compression as a 150mm 0n a 4x5 or a 300mm on an 8x10, as all have about the same angle of view for their formats.

    BTW, a 150mm on 4x5 at infinity is equivalent to a 50mm on a 35mm camera, and a 210mm is the equivalent of a 70mm, but if you focus closer with the 150mm, running the bellows out to 210mm, it gives an angle of view and compression effect equivalent to a 70mm on 35mm zoom lenses, where the lens focuses by moving internal elements and the rear element doesn't move...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  6. #6

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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    wow! i am starting to get headache.
    hehee!
    thanks guys for the information.
    so, the 'nearer background effect when using longer focal lenght lenses' do apply in large formats after all.
    hehee!

  7. #7
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    Quote Originally Posted by ifer View Post
    so, the 'nearer background effect when using longer focal lenght lenses' do apply in large formats after all.
    No, its not that simple, compression & perspective are not dependent on the focal length used, rather are governed only by the distance of the camera (more specifically the lens) from the subject.

    So a 28mm lens on 35mm camera, 150mm on a 5x4, and 300mm on a 10x8 camera give roughly the same compression & perspective of a subject if the cameras are placed in the same position. Don't muddle angle of view with perspective.

    Zooming or changing focal length while the camera remains in the same position only alters the angle of view/degree of image magnification on the negative, it does not alter perspective/compression.

    In the case of a LF camera shooting close ups focussing can decrease the lens/camera to object distance altering the perspective.

    Ian

  8. #8

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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    One thing follows another, and it's helpful if you consider them in the right order. Otherwise, you go around in circles and get a headache.

    On a 35mm camera, a normal lens is considered roughly 50mm, since that is roughly the diagonal of the film frame. On 6x6, it is roughly 75mm. On 4x5, it is roughly 150.

    Let's say you get those 3 cameras, place the appropriate "normal" lens on them. Place each camera 100 feet from a model. If you shoot a picture, (or simply look through the viewfinder or ground glass) each setup will give the same perspective and angle of view.

    Now double the length of each lens, to 100, 150, and 300. Again, if you compare the images, they will have the same perspective and angle of view as one another.

    One thing you will notice, however, is that longer lenses have less depth of field, no matter what size film you use. A 150mm lens, even though it's a normal lens for 4x5, will have to be stopped down 2 extra stops, in order to give the same DOF as a 75mm lens. (Each time you double the length, you have to double the f/stops).

    Flattened perspective is gotten whenever the subject is far away. If you take a picture of someone's face from far away, using a 50mm lens on 35mm film, you will need to blow up the image rather large to see the face. Once you do, you will see that the face looks rather "flat". It will look equally flat if you shoot it with a 150mm lens on 35mm film, and don't blow it up at all. The 150 simply magnifies the same flat-looking face. It doesn't bring you closer.

    The reason the face looks flat when you are far away, is that compared to the distance away from the subject, the distance from the person's nose, to their face, is very little. At 100 feet away, 2 inches is almost nothing. If you come in close, like 3 feet away, then that same 2 inches becomes... substantial. At very close range, the person's nose looks more like a... mountain.

    It's all relative.

  9. #9

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    Re: longer lenses perspective

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    It's kind of a messy subject, but yes, for a given view the 210mm will flatten/compress the viewer's perspective on space slightly. This is because at a given focusing distance and format, it will give a narrower angle of view, and it's the angle of view that determines the apparent compression of space.

    A 210mm on a 5x7 will give about the same appearance of compression as a 150mm 0n a 4x5 or a 300mm on an 8x10, as all have about the same angle of view for their formats. . . . . .
    Once again from the top, lightly - Angle of view has nothing to do with perspective or "compression." The only thing that affects perspective is the position of the camera relative to the objects in the scene. A 210 mm lens doesn't inherently produce a more "compressed" look than a 75mm lens. It all depends on where the camera is placed relative to the objects in the scene.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  10. #10

    Re: longer lenses perspective

    Brian is correct---angle of view is different than perspective compression.

    Also---depth of field is not related to focal length.

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