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  1. #11
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Viewing a photograph (or painting or drawing) from much closer or further than the "correct" distance can change the intellectual and emotional experience. National Geographic uses wide-angle shots (necessarily viewed from beyond the distance for correct perspective) to involve the viewer with the subject. Telephoto shots provide a more detached and analytical view. When well done, these uses of perspective provide an unobtrusive enhancement of the viewing experience.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    I prefer to view a print at about double the distance of the diagonal or so. It isn't a rule or anything that I know of, just seems about right.

    When my 8x10 contacts are hung, it is fun to overhear print sniffers, with their nose on my print- "Wow, that's incredible detail. I wonder what kind of printer he uses?"
    I've been taught that the right viewing distance is equal to the diagonal of the print, it works for me.

    Of course I have to confess that after viewing at the distance of the diagonal I sniff the print, call it critical viewing

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lipka View Post
    All these formulae and stuff are wonderful things to know. but we all know that the appropriate distance for a photographer looking at another photographer's photograph is to have your nose right on the glass.
    If you are of an appropriate vintage, you will either take your glasses off or push them up on your forehead before you stick your nose on the glass.
    Come on, you know this is true.
    Joe has it right. It doesn't matter how large the image is or how long or short the focal length was, if the image is engaging, my first tendency is to get close- real close- and then back up to wherever it feels right. Then again, sometimes I bob in and out several times.

  4. #14
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    Some older photography books seem fanatical about focal length/viewing distance. I wonder if people today are more accustomed to perspective flaws.
    /matti

  5. #15
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    I was taught that the correct view distance is 1 1/2 times the diagonal.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  6. #16
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    I like to get my nose up to the glass as well--I think that's what all photographers do as previously mentioned. I think we all want to get that itch out of the way first and really examine the print up close. Once I've gotten that out of the way, I will try to view it at a perspective that seems right for me and I think twice the diagonal is about right for me.

  7. #17
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    I'd somewhat generally agree with this but contend that it really much more so applies to wider angles (perhaps 50 and below on 35mm format). No matter how close or far (within reason) you are to something shot with a telephoto - it will never mimic natural perspective because of telephoto compression. But then again, "appropriate" doesn't necessarily equal "natural."
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    No matter how close or far (within reason) you are to something shot with a telephoto - it will never mimic natural perspective because of telephoto compression.
    Not sure that is quite right. If you stand in the same place and take two photos of the same subject, one with a normal lens and one with a telephoto, the perspective will be the same in both shots. Perspective is a function of viewer position. The telephoto image is just a portion of the normal image. The telephoto compression effect is simply the result of effectively bringing that portion closer and filling the frame with it. If you stand far enough back from an image taken with a telephoto, the perspective should appear natural enough.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lipka View Post
    the appropriate distance for a photographer looking at another photographer's photograph is to have their nose right on the glass.
    Don't forget the 10x magnifiying loupe.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    No matter how close or far (within reason) you are to something shot with a telephoto - it will never mimic natural perspective
    It will, but if you hold the print in your hands it shouldn't be enlarged to more than postage stamp size. If taken with a 200 - 300mm lens, 35mm format, the perspective will appear normal on a contact sheet held at a normal ~10 inch viewing distance.

    A problem with the 'magic' distance is that the eyes pick up distance ques from the position of the eyeballs and the focusing of the eye - just like a rangefinder. If you are viewing a picture of mountains with the correct perspective part of the visual system will insist the mountain is 10" tall. Viewing a small print through a large magnifying glass - with all the geometry correct - can provide a startling 3-D view.

    Sinar had an example in their view camera book that provided a startling effect: a view down from the ceiling of a cathedral taken with a wide angle lens. When viewed with a magnifying glass at a distance so that the image filled the entire angle of view the effect was quite vertigo inducing.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

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