Before the rush

Before the rush
by evan-pak

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Now, let me clarify (or...divulge) a few things. I know cell phone cameras are generally wide angle, which makes sense because hey, people wanna go out to dinner, or a show, or at the park with their kids, and they wanna get the whole scene. And hey, even though digital zoom is horrible...if anyone needs to get closer, they zoom.

Now, I took a picture with my phone the other day, and I didnt realize it, but it had EXIF info! It said 5mm. Now I understand the sensor size on the cameras are MUCH smaller, so does ANYONE know what this equates to?

Point of all this?? I am not in a rush to get a wide angle lens for my DSLR just yet. I believe that I can get away with just using my phone for wide shots....for now. And yes, I know it's not necessarily the same. (although there could be an argument that there is no shallow depth of field in a wide angle lens or a cell phone, so....).

But anyway, thoughts everyone? Does anyone know what the focal lengths are on cell phones...generally?

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There is an EXIF tag called FocalLengthIn35mmFilm that gives you the equivalent focal length for (naturally) 35 mm film, or a full-frame DSLR. Maybe not all phones populate it, but my iPhone 5 does (33 mm equivalent, from an actual focal length of 4.13 mm). You may need a good EXIF viewer to see this field. I use PhotoME on Windows. – coneslayer Apr 20 '13 at 22:55
up vote 3 down vote accepted

The actual focal length of the lens is usually measured along with the crop factor of the sensor. Cell phones, needless to say, have a huge crop factor. For example, the Samsung Galaxy SIII and iPhone 4 are a 7.6x crop. So, if you have a 5mm lens on one of those, you're looking at an equivalent full frame focal length of 38mm. That's wide, but not that wide... you could get far wider on any dSLR.

If you want to play with some comparisons, you can check out this cool Camera Sensor Size comparison site to match up your phone and dSLR. I would expect the phone lenses to usually fall somewhere around 30-50mm in effective field of view versus a full frame dSLR.

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