So here's something that's been on my mind for a while and I hope some of the optical gurus here can help with. General optical theory as I understand it dictates that, as compared to how the human eye sees things, shorter focal lengths tend to exaggerate subject field depth, while longer focal lengths tend to compress it. For example, I take out my Nikon and take three shots of the same subject, each with a different lens. The first, with a 50mm lens, is a close approximation of how I see things with my eyes. The second, with a 24mm lens, creates a scene with an exagerrated amount of depth, making things essentially seem farther apart than they are in reality. The third, with a 300mm lens, shows compression of the scene, making things appear closer together than they appear to the naked eye.
Now, I'm not terribly knowledgeable about the actual optical physics that makes this happen, but what I'm more interested in is how it affects the appearance of photographs, especially as it relates to large format photography. Correct me if I'm off base, but these are my general observations.
If I put my 24" lens on my 8x10, I get the same kind of subject compression as I would with a 600mm lens on my 35mm. 600mm is 600mm no matter how big an area the negative covers. However, my field of view is a lot bigger, approximate to what I would get with a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera. If I go the other way and put a 150mm or even a 90mm lens on my 8x10, my field of view is enormous, but either lens is still a long lens in 35mm terms.
Now, let's consider the effects this has (or at least I think it has) on the appearance of the final photograph. If I take the same photograph with a 35mm camera and an 8x10, the 35mm cropped to the same aspect ratio as an 8x10, and appropriate lenses on each camera to give the exact same field of view on both cameras, am I wrong in thinking that the final photographs will have a fundamentally different, if not immediately obviously different appearance? For a given field of view, the 8x10 equivalent focal length is roughly 6x that of the 35mm focal length. If I use a 50mm lens on the 35mm camera and a 300mm lens on the 8x10, even if the field of view for both were identical, the 8x10 shot would have a different appearance due to subject field compression in the 8x10 shot, correct? A wide angle shot with a larger format has a different appearance than a similar wide angle shot made with a smaller format due to differences in equivalent focal lengths, correct? Same with long lens situations?
Assuming my assessment is correct, how does this affect how we use the various formats? Has anyone taken or otherwise been aware of any photographs in which this phenomenon is really visible? To me at least, this is something that's really interesting when you really think about it. But then again, if my math is wrong, then I really just have no idea what's going on. Backup or the contrary from the optical gurus or observations from anyone would be greatly appreciated.