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Focal length is the distance (measured in mm) between the surface of a lens and the focal point. Smaller focal lengths indicate wide-angle lenses, larger focal lengths indicate a telephoto lens.

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What is “angle of view” in photography?

I read on the Lens Buying Guide @ neocamera: Focal-length determines the angle-of-view seen through a lens for a given sensor-size. With a full-frame sensor a lens gives the same angle-of-view ...
36
votes
10answers
3k views

What is crop factor and how does it relate to focal length?

I'm reading that a 50mm lens is recommended as a first prime lens for DSLR owners as it's supposed to give a 'natural' perspective, but when used on (most) DSLRs, the view is cropped, as if you were ...
24
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4answers
3k views

Does my crop sensor camera actually turn my lenses into a longer focal length?

So, I mount a 200mm lens on my Canon 450D. It effectively becomes a 320mm lens. Is this the equivalent of 320mm on a full frame camera? That is, from what I've figured out I get an equivalent field of ...
29
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5answers
76k views

How do I convert lens focal length (mm) to x-times optical zoom?

What is the rule to convert the 'mm' notation to the 'optical zoom' notation? I searched a bit and found this one: optical zoom = maximum focal length / minimum focal length For example a 18-55mm ...
32
votes
10answers
8k views

Which focal-length lens is usually used for portrait photography, and why?

What focal length or range of focal lengths are usually used for portraits? What is used by professionals? Why would one select a certain focal length? What are the advantages and disadvantages of ...
16
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5answers
5k views

What focal length gives a “normal” field-of-view on APS-C cameras?

I wish to purchase a "standard angle-of-view" prime lens for my Canon Rebel, which has an APS-C sized sensor. Various articles note that the popular "nifty 50mm" lenses are a little too much of a ...
12
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4answers
2k views

What is a normal lens?

I've heard people call 50mm lenses "normal lenses". For a lens to be considered normal, does it have to be exactly 50mm or is there some leeway? Does the normal focal length depend on crop factor of ...
28
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3answers
3k views

What does it really mean that telephoto lenses “flatten” scenes?

This is another perspective distortion question. I understand that perspective distortion is primarily a function of capture and viewing distance, but I am still working on fully understanding the ...
29
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4answers
6k views

What software can show my most frequently used focal length?

Many people recommend a focal length of 35mm, 50mm, and sometimes even 85mm and upwards for those interested in purchasing a prime lens. I, however, would like to figure out what focal length(s) I use ...
20
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4answers
3k views

What is focal length and how does it affect my photos?

What is focal-length? Are focal-length and zoom synonymous? How does the focal length of a photo affect it?
6
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7answers
4k views

How can I visualize or simulate the effect of different focal lengths?

I have seen many camera review sites illustrate the effect of using different focal lengths on the same photograph using frames. There are also similar illustrations to compare different sensors (full ...
21
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5answers
5k views

How to capture the scene exactly as my eyes can see?

What settings of my DSLR camera will emulate the scene exactly as I can see through my naked eyes? I think it's not possible to get the contrast and colors exactly as my eyes can see, and it may vary ...
13
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4answers
4k views

How does changing focal length affect depth of field?

I'm curious about how my "area of acceptable focus" changes when the focal length of the lens I'm using changes as I zoom (or switch lenses). In particular, I'd like to know how the front & back ...
38
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6answers
2k views

Is crop-factor a bad thing?

It seems to me that there is a preference for full-frame sensors rather than cropped sensors, and I'm curious as to why. It seems to me, that the cropped sensor means that I get more bang for my buck ...
25
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3answers
3k views

Does changing the focal length change focus?

When using manual focus or back focus on D60, I sometimes zoom in the lens, set the focus, and then zoom out. Does changing the focal length (zooming out), also change the focus? In case the answer ...
8
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3answers
836 views

How can a 24-70mm and a 10-22mm both be “wide angle” lenses?

I've been looking at a 10-22mm lens for my Canon T2i. I've also come across some other "wide angle" lenses, like the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8. I don't understand how a wide angle lens can have such high ...
18
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4answers
2k views

How to test actual focal length?

From Matt Grum's comment to my previous question, I learned that manufacturers may casually "round" actual focal length of a lens to some nice number that gets printed on the box and stored into EXIF. ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Why does a 50mm lens appear to give a human perspective, rather than a normal lens?

I grew accustomed to the notion that what one sees through a normal lens equates (or is close to) what can be seen with the naked eye (although that is not the "pure" definition of a normal lens, ...
13
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5answers
1k views

Why do we talk about focal-length when frame sizes are different?

I keep seeing people talking about focal-length of lenses without saying how large the frame is. Is there a more sensible way to talk about how much a lens “zooms”? (I have seen so many adverts ...
11
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4answers
2k views

What is the reference point that the focal length of a lens is calculated from?

I understand the idea of a focal length for a single lens, i e the distance from the lens to the point at which parallel rays of light converge. However, in the case of a photographic lens with ...
14
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5answers
4k views

Can I use my APS-C kit lens as a reference for choosing between 50mm or 35mm prime lenses?

I'm looking at getting a second lens in addition to my Nikon D7000's kit lens. I want to know if it's possible to use my 18m-105mm kit lens to get an idea of the focal length for a 35mm lens vs. a 50 ...
8
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5answers
711 views

Does crop factor still apply to a vintage film SLR lens?

My friend has a Tamron 24mm lens on his Nikon D5000 and he says that because of its age and the fact it is manual focus, it is still actually a 24mm on his crop sensored camera. Is this right? If so, ...
7
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2answers
2k views

How can a prime lens focus on more than one plane?

By definition, a prime lens is a fixed lens system with a fixed focal length. Then, simple physics tells us that it should be able to focus only on one plane (at a fixed distance) in front of it. But ...
6
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3answers
973 views

What is the formula for percent of frame filled at a specific distance and focal length?

I am thinking about buying a new lens specifically to take photos of distant targets (birds, bears, etc). I currently own the Canon 70-300 IS USM, which is a nice lens, but I find that if I want to ...
13
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3answers
2k views

What is a parfocal lens and how beneficial is it to photography?

I heard someone say that after using a parfocal lens for the first time, they would never switch back. What is a parfocal lens, how is it different from any other lens, and what are the advantages and ...
20
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2answers
30k views

How do I calculate the distance of an object in a photo?

If I took a picture of a windmill on the horizon — given that I know the sensor size and the focal length of the lens and other factors to do with the shot — could I calculate how far away an object ...
21
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3answers
6k views

How can a 18-55mm lens focus on objects beyond 55mm?

I guess this is a total noob question, but doesn't 18-55mm mean that it can focus only up to 55mm?
18
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4answers
497 views

Is there construction-agnostic term for a lens with a long focal length?

Turns out that telephoto refers to a specific construction of a long-focal-length lens, i.e., one where the lens is physically shorter than the focal length. Is there a generic term for referring to ...
12
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2answers
2k views

When I use FX lenses on a DX camera, does the focal length or minimum aperture change?

If I put a Nikkor 35mm f/2 FX lens on a DX camera, is it still 35mm f/2, or has the effective focal length or minimum aperture changed, because it is being used on a smaller format than what it was ...
12
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2answers
4k views

What differences between point and shoot zoom versus DSLR zoom cause the price disparity?

I'm just getting into the world of photography, stepping up from a point-and-shoot. I've just purchased a Nikon D3100 and it should be here in a couple of days. I've done lots of research, but ...
7
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3answers
625 views

How much distance should one move so that a shot that can be framed at xx mm be framed at yy mm?

Is there a website / app that will tell you approximately how much distance a person should move so that they are able to frame the same shot at different focal lengths? Say for example, I'm ...
4
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5answers
2k views

Why do Canon EF and EF-S lenses exhibit the same crop factor?

I have a Canon 7D, which has a crop factor of 1.6x. When using a Canon EF-S lens I get the focal length stated on the lens, when using a Canon EF lens I get the focal length times 1.6 when used on ...
4
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4answers
2k views

When would one choose a 50mm f/1.4 over 85mm f/1.8 (or vice versa) for portraits?

Say you are using a crop body, and you have both 50mm/1.4 USM and 85mm/1.8 USM lens in your bag. Now, you want to take a portrait where there is adequate light and space, and you have decided to take ...
4
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5answers
2k views

Is an EF 50mm f/1.4 the same as 50mm with an EF-S lens on a Canon 550D?

I have a Canon 550D with the standard 18-55mm kit lens. The 550D has a 1.6× crop factor. My question is very simple but whenever I've asked before (Yahoo Answers) I always got overly-complicated ...
22
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4answers
1k views

Estimating focal length range required for shooting scenario

Is it possible to estimate (or calculate), in advance, the range of focal lengths you might need for shooting in a given scenario? For instance, suppose you will be going to the zoo (with your APS-C ...
11
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9answers
2k views

How useful is image stabilisation below 200mm, really?

Image stabilisation is all the rage, and hardly a new lens from Nikon or Canon is missing this "crucial" feature. To me this seems to be the new megapixel race (like when the manufacturers tried to ...
16
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2answers
7k views

How do people shoot very large moon views?

I see pictures of the moon that looks like it is very close to the earth; I am wondering whether they are real or is there a trick to show the moon that big? Here is an example: ...
12
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5answers
529 views

What are the different focal lengths of macro lenses and their advantages?

I am interested in macro-photography. I see there are macro telephoto (zoom?) lenses (e.g. 200mm), or smaller macro lenses (e.g. 40mm) ... What are the different types of macro lenses and their ...
5
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3answers
987 views

How does using a lens with some focal length on a full frame camera differ from using a lens with “equivalent” focal lens on a crop camera?

As an example, a 35mm lens on a crop body (such as Nikon DX) is said to be "equivalent" to a 50mm lens on a full frame body. Equivalent here means that they will have the same field of view, but what ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Why does the maximum aperture change with focal length? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do zoom lenses and compact cameras have varied maximum aperture across the zoom range? It is rather common with zooms that the maximum aperture changes (in fact, ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Does a Nikon DX lens on a FX camera get subjected to the 1.5X crop factor?

My friend has a Nikon 35mm DX lens that I want to use on my FX camera. If I use his lens on my camera in DX mode, does the effective focal length of the lens become 35mm * 1.5 = 52.5mm, or does it ...
7
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4answers
1k views

Do bigger focal lengths capture more light?

I never understood what the f really stands for in the f-stop values, like f/1.8. Wikipedia explains it in various articles, but I still find it very confusing. What I understand, though, is that it ...
5
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1answer
4k views

Why does my aperture setting change as I zoom on my DSLR kit lens?

I am new to the photography field, there are few things which I am not able to understand. I am playing around with my Nikon D90 along with its kit lens (18-105mm). While reading about Depth of ...
3
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3answers
496 views

Is the kit lens focal length specified for APS-C or FF?

I have the 18-55mm kit lens for my Canon 50D and was wondering if they're still specified against full frame 1:1 crop? Would my 18mm actually be 1.6x? I ask because I doubt anyone with a full frame ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Is it normal for focal length to change while focusing?

When I change the focus distance on my Pentax 55-300mm lens, the focal length appears to change. More specifically, the lens appears to zoom in as I focus towards the minimum focusing distance. This ...
4
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3answers
497 views

How can I get the same image with the same 50mm lens on both FF and APS-C?

First things first, I'm talking ONLY about framing here. No light sensitivity, no bokeh quality, no pixel quantity, etc. A 50mm in a FF camera will give a certain composition and framing. How can I ...
3
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5answers
9k views

If I have an 85mm lens for portraits, is a 50mm useful as well?

I recently got my Canon EF 85mm f1.8, after lot of thought over if I should buy Canon EF 85mm f1.8 or Canon EF 50mm f1.4, I decided on 85mm so that I can shoot portraits of people even from a ...
2
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2answers
384 views

Why are the area of aperture, focal length, and amount of light specified in these terms?

So I'm looking at the wikipedia article on Aperture, and I'm a bit confused. I understand aperture to be the diameter of the hole that lets light in. In the article, someone states that The ...
1
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1answer
302 views

Size of the entrance pupil vs size of the aperture

I understand that the entrance pupil is the image of the aperture as seen from the front of the lens. However, is the size of the entrance pupil the same as the size of the effective aperture? In ...
10
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4answers
15k views

What lens focal length most closely resembles the human eye perspective?

For example, if I have a lens that is 16mm-50mm, which focal length would be the closest to the human eye view? (I don't have a camera yet, so I'm just curious). Would 50mm be more zoomed in than ...