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  1. #91
    clayne's Avatar
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    For some people, normal is 50, for others it's 35. I do believe there is possibility in physical differences of eyes and bias of peripheral vision in some people - but that's just me pulling things out of my ass. Personally, 35 is what feels normal for me, and 50 is a short telephoto to my eyes.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

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  2. #92

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    The popularity of wide angle lenses seems to be something to do with the urge to explain, as opposed to imply. A wide will get everything 'in', but does everything tell the story better than something? Quite often it doesn't. Photographs that tell are usually associated with photojournalism, but how many truly great photos tell the whole story? Most leave something to the viewers imagination. The part is often more telling than the whole, but picture editors aren't big on expecting their readers to do the work, so we get a literal kind of picture.

    Wides have their place, a 24mm is part of my standard kit. The advantage is its depth of field, pretty much essential for street photography. On the other hand it distorts as soon as it leaves a horizontal axis. Is a photographer with a 50mm lens disadvantaged from taking a great photograph? I seriously doubt it.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    For some people, normal is 50, for others it's 35. I do believe there is possibility in physical differences of eyes and bias of peripheral vision in some people - but that's just me pulling things out of my ass. Personally, 35 is what feels normal for me, and 50 is a short telephoto to my eyes.
    I think a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera is nearer to peripheral vision than a 35mm, but that may be my own eyes talking.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

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  4. #94
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    Very interesting discussion, but at the same time, one of those things where our tastes dictate how we feel about something.

    Strangely, for my own purposes, I rarely use either telephoto, or wider angle lenses. Sometimes I stick a 35mm lens on, and other times I like a 50mm, but it exceedingly rare that I use a 28mm or a 100mm. I really don't know why that is, but it's how things have evolved. Once the lens is on I just automatically adjust for what's on the camera and don't think twice about it. Not even when I do my printing do I reflect much on whether it was a 35 or a 50. It just is what it is.
    Once in a rare while I put an 18mm lens on the camera, just because I want to hand hold at very slow shutter speeds, and the results can be interesting. But it's one shot in a thousand maybe. And there are times when the 100mm gets used, but less and less so. I may end up selling most of my lenses, just to keep things simple.

    Just my two cents.
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  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I think a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera is nearer to peripheral vision than a 35mm, but that may be my own eyes talking.
    The approximate field of view of an individual human eye is 95° away from the nose, 75° downward, 60° toward the nose, and 60° upward, allowing humans to have an almost 180-degree forward-facing horizontal field of view. But the visual acuity is limited to a very narrow cone. It is only the fact that the eye is moving about and the brain is integrating the many views that we seem to have good visual acuity over a wider area ; we see about 270 degrees because the eyes move. But peripheral vision is terrible for detail, and is mostly for detection of movement (so we are not so easily hunted by prey animals)
    Last edited by wiltw; 08-13-2013 at 10:19 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #96

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    It is difficult to pre-visualize an image taken with a wide angle lens. For me, 35mm is the limit. Wider and what I see in the viewfinder is not what I see bare eyes. It has little to do with distorsion but more with a field of view I am incompatible with.

    Same thing with the final result. Wide angle allows to get more details in the frame but the final effect is often diluted and instead of looking at the print as a whole, I need to pay attention to part of it as if I were looking at different pictures inside the same print. Disturbing (or am I disturbed?).
    "The problem with photography is that it only deals with appearances." Duane Michals

    "A photograph is a secret of a secret. The more it tells you the less you know." Diane Arbus

  7. #97
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    I've messed around with zooms to see if I could determine for me at least what would be a "natural" focal length. Close to 60mm turned out to work for me. According to some the diagonal of the format should render things in a natural way. Personally I like a 35mm as my walking around lens.
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  8. #98
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Thanks for the facts wiltw. The fact our eyes move gives us a lot, but our heads turn too...

    My take-away from clayne's statement about peripheral vision is that some people enjoy wider peripheral vision than average. And these people might incorporate that advantage into their perception of what is "Normal".

    I suppose that some mind's-eye views can better fit a 35mm or wider lens rather than the traditionally accepted Normal 50mm lens.

    I'm proud to have 180-degree peripheral vision, so I get it. Wide can be Normal for some people.

    Other times I am more influenced by my nearsightedness. I tend to look close. Then my Macro lens is my Normal lens.

  9. #99
    clayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blockend View Post
    The popularity of wide angle lenses seems to be something to do with the urge to explain, as opposed to imply.
    This is a value judgement about what's more valuable - the ability to explain or the ability to imply... Implication should technically have less value than explanation - the latter let's the viewers answer their own questions more readily. I get your point, though.

    A wide will get everything 'in', but does everything tell the story better than something? Quite often it doesn't.
    First rule of successful wide angle use is to specifically *not* try and get everything in. It's about getting in close, immersed, and due to the innate large angle of view, allowing the lens to pull in more environment at the same time. Though, maybe it's more accurate to say "change your perception of everything" rather than "don't get everything in."

    Photographs that tell are usually associated with photojournalism, but how many truly great photos tell the whole story? Most leave something to the viewers imagination. The part is often more telling than the whole, but picture editors aren't big on expecting their readers to do the work, so we get a literal kind of picture.
    This "leave something to the viewer's imagination thing" is an identifiable crutch BTW. Consistently attempting to use implication or ambiguity as a tactic for increasing the "mysticism" of a photograph becomes cloying quickly. I'd go so far as to say it's a cliche these days and people are still beating that horse day in and day out. Most PJ and documentary professionals are beyond this and know when implication is to be kept and when it isn't. It's not black and white - where it goes from imply/ambiguity<>literal/science. There are in-betweens. Perhaps it's more of an annoyance to me because I tend to notice it quite quickly - especially when it seems forced and not straight up.

    Wides have their place, a 24mm is part of my standard kit. The advantage is its depth of field, pretty much essential for street photography. On the other hand it distorts as soon as it leaves a horizontal axis. Is a photographer with a 50mm lens disadvantaged from taking a great photograph? I seriously doubt it.
    But is the photographer who has control of 20mm-50mm worse off? Definitely not. Best bet with wide angles is to get close, share space, and try to bring in *contextually relevant* portions of the subject's environment along with the subject themselves. That's where wide angles really take off.
    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

  10. #100
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clayne View Post
    For some people, normal is 50, for others it's 35. I do believe there is possibility in physical differences of eyes and bias of peripheral vision in some people - but that's just me pulling things out of my ass. Personally, 35 is what feels normal for me, and 50 is a short telephoto to my eyes.
    There's actually very little in the difference between them because they are nearly equal in distance from the diagonal measurement of the 24x36mm frame is 43mm which should be the ideal focal length to approximate human vision.
    Ben



 

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