In this answer, Stan argues that having the choice between many focal lenghts in a large range is essential for studio photography, making a zoom lens a good choice.

This was surprising to me as a beginner, since I'd assumed that "zooming with your legs" would be completely sufficient in a limited space. In the same vein, It's always sounded strange to me when focal lengths of 100mm or more are called "portrait lenses" when a portrait is supposed to show a person the way another human interacting with them would see them - and isn't that what a normal 50mm focal length does?

Now I do know that the focal length influences not just the angle of view but also the way objects appear relative to each other, but I guess I've never really considered it relevant except in extreme cases.

The dolly zoom demonstrates pretty clearly the technical effect, but are there example pictures or maybe even a tutorial that shows it in terms of artistic image composition?

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    Based on history, asking for where you can find examples gets you a few short responses and a few links, but nothing great or lasting. It's better to ask for answers here.
    – mattdm
    Mar 27, 2014 at 20:26
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    We do have Which focal-length lens is usually used for portrait photography, and why? about portrait lenses in specific.
    – mattdm
    Mar 27, 2014 at 20:28
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    And How can a telephoto lens take great landscape photos? covers much of the topic for landscape.
    – mattdm
    Mar 27, 2014 at 20:29
  • But, we don't have a broad general question about traditional focal lengths and their typical use cases (and strengths and weaknesses for different applications). I don't think it would be bad at all to turn this question into that.
    – mattdm
    Mar 27, 2014 at 20:30

2 Answers 2


There are a few places that you can do that.

My preferred, but not specifically for that is flickr.com

You can search for all type of photography, and all of the photos have meta data information. When I started I used that a lot. Another thing that you can do is also go to a specific photographers website. Someone that you like and look at their meta data on the photos they have on the website.

I did this recently for a photo I thought was interesting and wanted to know what the aperture/shutter speed were.

you should keep in mind that its not always possible to get metadata as some people don't upload that information into their jpgs etc.

Hope that helps.


How about this long, lost blog article? It shows a variety of focal lengths :)


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