How wide do I need to go?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by 18PercentGray, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. 18PercentGray

    18PercentGray Member

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    So I'm looking to buy a 35mm camera primarily to capture the life of my significant other and I. I want a camera with a lens with a large enough field of view that I fit my s/o and I in the frame when I hold the camera out at arms length. I was looking at a Minolta Hi-matic G, but I wasn't sure if its 38mm lens would be wide enough. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    That depends on how much you would like to capture. If you only want the heads to show and it is ok to have the arm straight out (it will then be visible in the picture) you can use a 35mm lens.
    I think I would recommend a tripod and self timer though.
     
  3. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    How distorted do you want to go is really the question. I did just that for the first time (with an SLR at least) a few weeks ago on a holiday in Singapore.
    (ok, so it was on a dSLR, so purists just stop reading).
    7D with Sigma 8-16mm, so 35mm equivalent of a 12-24mm lens. At about 20mm (35mm equiv) I got me and the missus head+shoulders, with a bit of space in between where the Merlion was in the background.
    Turned out horribly (wide-angle) distorted, over-inflated noses and whatnot, so I'm not about to share it...


    Or just use a calculator like here (dimensional, third one down). If arm's length is 0.6 meter, and lens is 24mm, you frame 60x90cm as a good start.
     
  4. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Have you considered a Lomo LC-Wide? They are on sale at the moment at www.lomography.com. I've had a Lomo LC-A+, the build quality is, well, not stellar, but they work. The LC-Wide has a 17mm lens, you'll get everything in with that.

    Also there is something like a Bessa L or Bessa T with a Voigtlander 15mm lens.
     
  5. clayne

    clayne Member

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    38mm isn't that wide, but the hi-matics are great cameras! 24mm is wide. 20mm is WIDE. Start with 35mm or around there and then go from there.
     
  6. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Also consider the minimum focus-ability of whichever camera you settle for. For eg, say you go for a Oly XA, which has a 35mm lens, it's minimum focus is .9 meter (about 3 feet), is your wing span .9 m?
     
  7. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    We use 24mm lens for that purpose. It's kind of difficult to aim right so I need some extra coverage. Be mindful of the shortest focus-able distance!
     
  8. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i would also suggest something with a shorter lens ...

    OR you could always hang from a bar and stretch your arms.
    when i was younger, before i grew to the enormous size that i was
    i used to stretch on a bar and eventually i could tie my shoes without bending down, it was FUN.
    i don't suggest you get THAT extreme, i mean i was a kid, ... and your arms don't "recoil"
    i was lucky to grow to about 6'8" otherwise i'd really look freakish as an adult ...
    i didn't stay that height for long a house fell on me when i was about 16, now im kinda short
     
  9. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Somewhere out in cyberspace you can probably find an arm length to focal length ratio chart but you should check the Manfrotto/Bogen catalog for camera supports beside tripods there are extension arms and clamps that may be helpful.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  10. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    Only works in Rhode Island.
     
  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    :laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  12. maderik

    maderik Member

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    A typical cell phone camera lens tends to be a little over 30mm equiv. So a camera with a 28mm lens would be about right. Something like a Nikon Lite*Touch AF-600 should work (i.e.. it focus to about 14").
     
  13. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, 18%;

    The fact that you know about the "average scene" reflectance is a good thing.

    There are at least two different things here. You want to know "How wide to go," and you want to take portrait type photographs. Those two goals may not be compatible in only one lens.

    For a 35mm film format, I have found that a 24mm lens is about as wide as I can go and not worry too much about "I am using a wide angle lens and I need to handle the camera appropriately." Basically, 24mm is as far as I can go and treat it as a "normal" lens. I really like the 24mm lens for interior shots in a room. It is a good compromise between field of view and possible distortion of straight lines. A "rectilinear" design helps.

    Then for portraits, I like the perspective and the appearance that I get with a lens from about 85mm up to 105mm. With a wide angle lens, there seems to be a lot of strange emphasis with the nose and other unpleasant effects. A "moderate telephoto" lens yields a more pleasing image. The one disadvantage to this length lens, if you are the only person around, is the need for a tripod or other camera support and the use of a timer to delay the release of the shutter until you and any other subjects are in the field of view and composed.
     
  14. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Correct, but keep in mind that cellphone cameras (due to the tiny sensor they use) have far more DOF than 35mm for the same angle of view.
     
  15. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    I'm not sure if you want to worry about this, but in general, portraits shot with a wide angle lens are not very flattering - they tend to make the nose look bigger and distort the face. Another issue is that if you are using it when travelling, and you want to get that iconic picture of you and S.O. standing in front of the eiffel tower - using a really wide angle lens will make the background shrink to nothingness. You may want to consider taking those self portraits the way that it was done back when cameras like the Himatic were developed - using the self timer, and setting up the scene with a bit more care, and selecting the lens that will make you (and your S.O.) look good. You can either use a small tripod, or I often just set the camera on a wall or railing....
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Yes, there's no sense using a decent camera/lens combo and just holding it in your hand. Might as well stick to the cellphone cam for that.
     
  17. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    Just like that Moscow chimp!

    You found your way back to Kansas then, John? Now I finally understand what's up with those retina prints!
     
  18. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Ultra-wide angle lenses are not all that ideal for portraits, the distortion when tilted up or down is their major feature (not a fault). Rectilinear/planar corrected ultra-wides in the range of 16 to 20mm overcome some of the distortion, but never all of it — it's impossible. I would settle for 35mm or 40mm as a comfortable medium for arm's length shots. A 20mm can be used if you can incorporate other objects in the frame to add interest and scale, remembering always that the wider your lens is, the further the subject is pushed back, the smaller it becomes, and at closer distances features "balloon out" comically. Your significant other may not take kindly to such a look. Experiment with several lenses you are interested in.
     
  19. PaulMD

    PaulMD Member

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    You probably want a 35mm lens or at most a 28mm. 24mm and below start to get very, very wide quite quickly.
     
  20. one90guy

    one90guy Subscriber

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    I like my 28mm on my Mamiya NC1000s, rarely take it off.

    David
     
  21. maderik

    maderik Member

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    Cell phone cams also have f/2 to f/2.5 fixed aperture lenses. With 400 speed film, most compacts will be using f/16 in daylight. Still less DOF than the cell cam, but getting closer. Anyway for what the
    OP asked for (35mm film, compact size, and selfies with two people at arms length meaning focus at 20" or so) a 28mm P&S would be the best bet. Oly XA-4, Nikon Lite*Touch or 28i, Ricoh GR1 or similar.
     
  22. Andrey

    Andrey Member

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    I've had good luck doing one arm portraits of two people with 30mm iphone camera... and I managed to misframe two out of three shots.

    So if I were to shoot film, I'd use a tripod. I'm not sure if it's "the best" compact tripod, but it's the one I use and it's light and has a zipper to tie it to posts or round objects. Kind of like gorilla pod with less bulk and weight.