Luminous Landscape Forum

The Art of Photography => Discussing Photographic Styles => Topic started by: Wim van Velzen on August 19, 2012, 03:40:59 AM

Title: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Wim van Velzen on August 19, 2012, 03:40:59 AM
hi all,

Having worked with a maximum of 40mm on 6x6, I was never used to really wide angle photography. In recent years I have been working with a digital back and learned the wonders of stitching. And then comes the moment: do I still like esthetically what I can do technically?

For example this picture of Glencoe Pass: the fact that in the same photograph you can have a normal look forward to the hills as well as a look of the waterfall floor underneath seems a bit weird. Or is this just a new look we all get used to? [ I recall having read a warning in a '70s photo magazine, stating that a 28mm wide angle in the hand of an amateur is a recipe for disaster... ]

I also post a picture of the same spot, with the same angle, but without giving me the 'too wide' feeling.

What do you think?
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: stamper on August 19, 2012, 04:19:26 AM
I don't see a problem. Both images are fine. If you have two lenses then take both views. Don't just use the longer focal length and ignore the wider one. In the first you see the context in which it is set and in the second the close up detail. Whoever made the quote is being ridiculous for the sake of it? :)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: louoates on August 19, 2012, 09:42:56 AM
Two completely different subjects here. The vertical is all about the moving water and the intrinsic interest a waterfall contains. The horizontal, to me, loses all the interest by bringing in too much extraneous information. My thinking of this scene is that you just had to get closer with the wide shots. Way closer, so that the waterfall still serves as the main center of interest.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: ckimmerle on August 19, 2012, 11:07:10 AM
It's not like it has to be one way or the other. If a particular scene needs to be shot extra wide, use technology to your advantage and make it so. If it doesn't need it, use whatever lens works best.

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Wim van Velzen on August 19, 2012, 02:30:52 PM
Thanks for the input!
The reason I didn't take a picture from a lower viewpoint, is simply that it was out of reach (this is taken from a kind of bridge) - but I admit it would have been a better picture.

It is not so much the question 'which of both is the best', but more: 'is a wide angle effect, where you have around 90 degrees view vertically, for you esthetically pleasing?'. For me my own example isn't, but maybe it is a look I get used to - the same as we collectively got used to a 28mm wide angle effect.

The author of that quote was not being ridiculous, just reflecting the esthetics of his time I think.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Rob C on August 19, 2012, 03:09:02 PM
The two images look anything but shot from the same spot or angle, the vertical shot looks taken far more from a position to the right. (Perhaps you didn't mean 'spot' as in camera position, but as in the general scene - it's very hot here and difficult to concentrate.)

The problem with wides isn't the wides, it's the way people sometimes use them. Generally, unless one is consciously trying for an effect, the focal length is best used in as neutral a manner as possible. Pix that depend on distortions etc. usually lack much else. Equally, some impressive images couldn't be made without exploiting the viewpoint/focal length in use.

Maybe it's just not a particularly dramatic scene that you chose to photograph. Looking uphill or downhill is usually quite difficult to do well in a way that shows the sense of height in either direction unless you are dealing with regular buildings; nature can look like anything, so where the clues unless you use waterfalls, as you have done?

Rob C
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Rhossydd on August 20, 2012, 01:54:06 AM
'is a wide angle effect, where you have around 90 degrees view vertically, for you esthetically pleasing?'.
It's an interesting subject. Almost all extreme wide angle and panoramic format photos are horizontal. I think the reason is that they are more 'natural' as the eye tends to scans horizontally, rather than vertically. Hence most people will find horizontal wide angles more comfortable to view.
There's also less obvious perspective distortion, which again helps comprehension of the subject.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: stamper on August 20, 2012, 03:21:35 AM
Two completely different subjects here. The vertical is all about the moving water and the intrinsic interest a waterfall contains. The horizontal, to me, loses all the interest by bringing in too much extraneous information. My thinking of this scene is that you just had to get closer with the wide shots. Way closer, so that the waterfall still serves as the main center of interest.

You wouldn't have taken the wide angle shot as well?
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: louoates on August 20, 2012, 04:25:51 PM
You wouldn't have taken the wide angle shot as well?

Stamper, yes I would have taken the wide shots but from much closer. It would serve to minimize the surrounding stuff that serves as a reference to place while still showing enough of it without minimizing the waterfall.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: stamper on August 21, 2012, 03:24:10 AM
Of course the one advantage of the wide angled shot is the ability to crop? There are numerous times I have taken an image at a long focal length and then wished I had taken it wider. It is a more flexible approach assuming you are willing to lose pixels.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on August 21, 2012, 01:19:20 PM
Really? Wide angle so you can crop? Why not use a longer lens and just bang away in all directions? You can merge the stuff later on and you'll have a lot more pixels to work with. You might even be able to find a picture somewhere in all that stuff.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: stamper on August 22, 2012, 04:14:18 AM
Russ you were quite happy to praise the poster in this thread when he posted a cropped image.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=69706.msg552922#msg552922

I didn't see the jibe about.

<You might even be able to find a picture somewhere in all that stuff.>

I would be really interested if you would state definitively your view about cropping. Sometimes you state you are against it, as in your above post and other times you ignore it when it is presented to you as in the above link. Does it boil down to the mood you are in? :)

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: louoates on August 22, 2012, 04:57:36 PM
A technique I use all the time with landscapes is to take multiple shots right to left with a 200 to 400 mm telephoto ala shooting then stitching them together ala panorama. Everything gets equally "up front" and you can crop to your heart's content. The added benefit is having a huge file size for virtually any enlargement you need.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on August 23, 2012, 07:45:02 AM
I would be really interested if you would state definitively your view about cropping. Sometimes you state you are against it, as in your above post and other times you ignore it when it is presented to you as in the above link. Does it boil down to the mood you are in? :)

Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Rob C on August 23, 2012, 07:58:28 AM
Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.



That says it all, accurately.

The single exception I have to sneak in here is cellpix: framing is largely guesswork (hardly lenswork - oh, never mind, it's the humidity) and so cropping has become a regular, nay, constant feature of such work with me. And would you believe that even then I often find I've chopped something off in my shot in the dark?

But, reverting to the original theme of cropping, I believe that the avoidance of doing that is a result of working a lot with 35mm film, both colour tranny and negative, where acreage counted a very great deal.

Rob C
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: WalterEG on August 23, 2012, 08:19:53 AM
Coming, as I did, from Motion Picture and Television, cropping has never really been an option for me.

Even with large format where many would be slack due to the image real estate I frame in the camera and work full-neg.

The rare occasions that I crop it is to change aspect ratios.

Cheers,

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: stamper on August 23, 2012, 09:02:35 AM
Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.

A more than reasonable explanation with which it is hard to quibble. Close framing on moving subjects can be hazardous, leaving room for perspective adjustments and aspect ratios are problems. However the point I would make to you Russ is that there must have been a lot of images on here that you have praised but have unknown to yourself been heavily cropped? From experience I have learned that attempting to crop too tight means that you sometimes clip some of the focal point. I prefer to frame loosely which means more flexibility and the downside is a loss of pixels.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on August 23, 2012, 10:12:41 AM
C'mon guys! Cropping is always an unavoidable part of photography. The camera always crops the image circle that the lens projects, whether you like it or not.

Having decided upon a particular field of view, at the time you press the shutter, does not mean you have to stick with that decision for ever more. People can and do change their mind, sometimes for good reason.

Have you noticed that the cropping tool in Photoshop divides the screen into 9 sections?
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on August 23, 2012, 11:03:54 AM
The camera always crops the image circle that the lens projects. . .

Exactly, Ray. That's the point at which you should crop. Not later, unless there's no other option.

Quote
Have you noticed that the cropping tool in Photoshop divides the screen into 9 sections?

Absolutely. I've also noticed that Photoshop developers are world-famous software engineers, not world-famous photographers.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on August 23, 2012, 11:08:46 AM
. . .there must have been a lot of images on here that you have praised but have unknown to yourself been heavily cropped?

What's posted here is what's posted here. I'm sure I could download each picture and analyze it in Photoshop to determine whether or not it's been cropped, but frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a damn. I'd also be willing to bet that the posters whose work I most admire are people who most of the time frame on the camera.

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on August 23, 2012, 11:43:36 AM
Exactly, Ray. That's the point at which you should crop. Not later, unless there's no other option.

Absolutely. I've also noticed that Photoshop developers are world-famous software engineers, not world-famous photographers.

Russ, I tend to remember quotes because they are meaningful, but often forget the names of those who made the statements. I guess I'm getting old.

A couple of quotes that spring to mind here, paraphrased as I remember them, are:

(1) I've never seen a photo that could not be improved with some cropping.

(2) I always like to distance myself from my shots by processing them some years later, which involves viewing them in a more objective manner which reduces the extraneous emotional impacts that may be present in my mind for some time after taking the shot, but not present in the photo from the perspective of the viewer who wasn't there.

Ideally, a photo is an amazingly detailed record of what one saw at a particular moment in time. What you do with that record is entirely up to you, unless you're working for a client who pays for and demands a particular effect.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on August 23, 2012, 12:31:02 PM
Hi Ray, I don't have any idea who might have made that first statement, but I'm sure it wasn't Cartier-Bresson. In any case, to put it as politely as I can, it's a statement that leaves something to be desired. How about after the crop that "improves" the photo? Can the revised photo still be "improved" by cropping? If so, where do you stop? With a single pixel? If you've never seen a photo that couldn't be improved with some cropping, it seems to me that even that last pixel would have to go and you'd end up with a blank screen.

The second statement sounds as if it might have been made by somebody who does landscape. Yes, in landscape it's important to get rid of any emotional impacts, extraneous or otherwise, so sitting on a landscape for years probably makes sense.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: fike on August 23, 2012, 01:00:27 PM
Stamper, As far as I'm concerned the art of photography is in what you frame on your camera. That means you see what you're after, frame it, and shoot it. You don't bang away hoping you might find a picture later when you're playing around in Photoshop. There are times when you can't get exactly what you want: the scene is vanishing and you're not yet close enough, so you have to include things in the frame that you know you'll have to crop out later. But if you're having to crop more often than once in a blue moon, you haven't mastered your art.

I think that "master the art without cropping" thing is baloney.  Don't tell people how to make their art.  Judge their results and not their methods. 

My work that I consider art, is almost always panoramic. It is the way I see the world.  I like to show a context and an environment...whether that ranges across thousands of yards across or two feet across, I will generally shoot in a wide format, something like a ratio of 2.5, 3 or 4 to 1.  Sometimes I think landscape photographers are too reductive in their obsession to narrow into one aspect of a scene instead of looking to find an entire environment that works to create a harmonious interaction between elements. 

Vertical pano is doable, but hard (as others have mentioned) to do without showing lots of distortion.  It is one of the challenges of photographing from within a forest in a way that captures the entire scene from your feet to the canopy.  For example, this one starts to get wonky at the top, but it still manages to be a very wide angle, vertically. http://www.trailpixie.net/general/ice_tree_mornin.htm
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on August 23, 2012, 01:57:40 PM
Don't tell people how to make their art.

Hi Fike, I'm not telling them a damned thing. I'm well aware that people do all sorts of crazy things

Quote
My work that I consider art, is almost always panoramic.

That's nice, and I'm glad to hear you consider your own work art. Panoramic landscapes always look good in banks.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on August 23, 2012, 02:22:06 PM
Hi Ray, I don't have any idea who might have made that first statement, but I'm sure it wasn't Cartier-Bresson. In any case, to put it as politely as I can, it's a statement that leaves something to be desired. How about after the crop that "improves" the photo? Can the revised photo still be "improved" by cropping? If so, where do you stop? With a single pixel? If you've never seen a photo that couldn't be improved with some cropping, it seems to me that even that last pixel would have to go and you'd end up with a blank screen.

Hey! Russ, are you trying to be logical?  ;D

I assume such a statement refers to an individual preference for cropping. All artists will differ as to the degree of cropping that is best for any particular image.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Rob C on August 23, 2012, 03:26:28 PM
Cropping or not cropping is about many things, primary amongst which is the knowing of what you want from the scene before you. Common sense would then dictate that you choose the lens that will give you the coverage that you want from the position that gives you the perspective that you require.

Your choice of format will obviously dictate the general parameters of the situation and influence the choices described above.

Once you've got that all together, I should imagine that you have all the information you need to get the shot your heart desires.

Then, you press the shutter button and make the exposure.

Whatever you choose to do after the event is always up to you and the purpose of the shot. The penalty of cropping will unavoidably be a lowering of the overall quality if the used format would have given you the shot you wanted had you moved in or used another optic. If your final image shape precluded any standard format, then you can safely relax and crop, knowing it isn't your fault.

There is no limit to the number of pleasing or more pleasing or less pleasing shapes you can cut out from the original work. That's just mechanics again, and will obviously work if you are prepared to sacrifice quality to some extent.

As a rule, cropping doesn't make a lot of sense if your world can be framed nicely in the shape your camera allows. It always makes sense to make the most of what's to hand.

Rob C
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Wim van Velzen on August 24, 2012, 06:05:43 AM
Here the OP again  :D

In a way a photograph is always a crop, that is to say, a crop from what a photographer can see at a given moment and place.
For me, the point is not whether I crop at the moment of the shot, or afterwards. The point is: do I give enough thought to what I see and want to show?

That said - as far as the original question goes: as we look around as, we are more used to 'panning' horizontally and less vertically. Therefor my instinct seems rightthat the example photograph was looking odd.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: John Gellings on January 08, 2013, 11:55:49 AM
Wide is too wide when one is not confined by space and uses it to get "more" into their photos.  The wide then expands perspective and makes everything look way too far away. 
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Wim van Velzen on January 08, 2013, 01:45:51 PM
Do you think that is the case in the photographs I posted?
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Peter McLennan on January 08, 2013, 03:42:15 PM
Wide is too wide when one ... uses it to get "more" into their photos.

... and the whole point of the image is lost.  Part of the photographer's job is to show people where to look.  If everything's in the shot, then where should the viewer look?

Speaking of wide, I once used a camera that could photograph its own viewfinder.  Now that's wide!  : )

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on January 08, 2013, 04:06:27 PM
Hi,

I have never ever seen an image that was too wide or too narrow, I have seen photographs I like and photographs I do not like.

(http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/US-NorthEast-National-Parks/i-T9tkqrg/0/X2/20091026-JennyLake_03-X2.jpg)
(http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/US-NorthEast-National-Parks/i-73bRdm6/0/X3/20080928-DSC01011-X3.jpg)
(http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/US-NorthEast-National-Parks/i-HhDVV5C/0/XL/20091017-DSC05613-XL.jpg)
(http://echophoto.smugmug.com/Travel/US-NorthEast-National-Parks/i-bVBxjcD/0/XL/20081213-LewisCanyon_01-XL.jpg)

Best regards
Erik


Do you think that is the case in the photographs I posted?
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: John Gellings on January 09, 2013, 08:41:51 AM
Do you think that is the case in the photographs I posted?

No, not at all. 
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: markmullen on February 17, 2013, 02:15:32 PM
My personal preference is to very rarely crop after I take the shot, I prefer to move my location or choose a different focal length. The only time I shoot loose is if I'm doing something architectural where I know I'm going to have to correct perspective which will mean I lose some area.

Regarding using ultra wides, my personal view is that they need a very strong foreground, without that they can look empty.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: cjogo on March 25, 2013, 04:12:03 AM
A very large portion of my portfolio has been shot with a 38 Biogon SWC .. with 120 ...  21mm on Leica .....75 Biogon on a 4X5 .....so Yes, wide is how I see  :D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Alan Klein on March 26, 2013, 10:44:26 PM
I crop but still try to frame the shot I want in the viewfinder.  That's probably a result of shooting a lot of 35mm slides when I was younger.  But it's also imporant to maintain perspective and balance between objects as well as eliminating things like poles going through people's heads.  No amount of cropping can correct for shooting from the wrong location.  That requires some relocation from where you shoot.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on March 27, 2013, 12:35:53 AM
There are lots of good reasons for cropping images in post.
1. Best shape for image is not necessarily the shape of sensor. I don't like the 4:3 aspect ratios for example which is common in smaller cameras, so why should I not crop to a more pleasing shape.
2. When shooting for magazines or graphic design layouts, shooting a bit wider allows for more flexibility.
    6x6 was also good for that as you could shoot both horizontal and vertical shots in one go.
3. Not all types of photography allow for a considered and careful approach, so you may not have the luxury of accurate framing, unlike say with landscape work.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Iluvmycam on March 27, 2013, 12:59:21 PM
I love WA. When is it too wide? When it does not work for the pix.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: wolfnowl on March 27, 2013, 03:20:06 PM
I think we're talking about apples and grapefruit here.  There's stitching, there's cropping and there's wide-angle or telephoto lenses.  While one can use a telephoto lens to make a series of images and get a similar field of view (and much higher resolution) than a single image with a wide angle lens, it won't be the same shot as it won't have the same distortions, the way wide angle tends to push everything away and the way telephoto lenses tend to magnify and flatten the foreground/background.

To get back to Wim's image, they're both different, they're both good, and I agree with John's comment:
Quote
Wide is too wide when one is not confined by space and uses it to get "more" into their photos.  The wide then expands perspective and makes everything look way too far away. 

Mike.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RSL on March 27, 2013, 03:44:00 PM
For example, this.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: fike on March 27, 2013, 04:03:09 PM
...  While one can use a telephoto lens to make a series of images and get a similar field of view (and much higher resolution) than a single image with a wide angle lens, it won't be the same shot as it won't have the same distortions, the way wide angle tends to push everything away and the way telephoto lenses tend to magnify and flatten the foreground/background.

...

Don't forget that a pano of two or more images compared to a single frame shot with a wider angle lens over the same field of view will have the same (or very similiar) compression, distortion, and projection attributes. 

http://www.trailpixie.net/photography/comparing_focal.htm
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on March 28, 2013, 12:54:02 PM
I think we're talking about apples and grapefruit here.  There's stitching, there's cropping and there's wide-angle or telephoto lenses.  While one can use a telephoto lens to make a series of images and get a similar field of view (and much higher resolution) than a single image with a wide angle lens, it won't be the same shot as it won't have the same distortions, the way wide angle tends to push everything away and the way telephoto lenses tend to magnify and flatten the foreground/background.
Lens focal length has nothing to do with perspective, it's your position relative to subject that determines that.
Obviously getting a head shot with say a 28mm lens will mean exaggerated perspective of the features. But only because you moved closer to subject than if using an 85mm.
If you stay in same place however and enlarge the wider picture/crop to be the same as the longer lens, then the perspectives will be identical.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: cjogo on March 29, 2013, 01:56:34 PM
A super wide angle became essential for me traveling .  You just can't back up for a shot>>  with all the tourist in your way.   Closer the better.  Of course :: the Biogon formula was just made for shooting > close & wide non- distorted images  ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: nemo295 on April 09, 2013, 06:56:04 PM
When is wide too wide? When it's too wide for what you're shooting. Sorry, but a catch-all question like that merits a very general answer.

As with shooting anything else, ideally you would use the right lens for the job. Get to know the various focal lengths and what they will give you. Shoot a lot and eventually you'll know what to use for a given scene. End of story.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide? When you can't identify the subject
Post by: NancyP on April 29, 2013, 05:35:20 PM
If everything seems equally important in the photo, then the field of view may be Too Wide - unless that lack of differentiation is the point of the photo. Unless extra thought is put into wide angle composition, landscapes can tend to be a little dull (saving a spectacular sky). I am a newbie and am having to learn how to use an ultra-wide angle lens.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide? When you can't identify the subject
Post by: Rob C on May 03, 2013, 11:56:34 AM
If everything seems equally important in the photo, then the field of view may be Too Wide - unless that lack of differentiation is the point of the photo. Unless extra thought is put into wide angle composition, landscapes can tend to be a little dull (saving a spectacular sky). I am a newbie and am having to learn how to use an ultra-wide angle lens.


Wait some years; it would seem that no manufacturer other than Leica is capable of making one these days. Zeiss is supposed to be hot there, but I have read disappointments even with a modest 2/35mm.

I have seldom seen an obviously ultra-wide image that I like; many have impressed because of being ultra-wide, but perhaps that's actually a failure. As with the opposite end of the spectrum: I like my 500 Cat because of the doughnuts; others think them a typical failure of design, but for me they were the reason to purchase.

Rob C
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: theguywitha645d on May 08, 2013, 05:55:35 PM
Lens focal length has nothing to do with perspective, it's your position relative to subject that determines that.
Obviously getting a head shot with say a 28mm lens will mean exaggerated perspective of the features. But only because you moved closer to subject than if using an 85mm.
If you stay in same place however and enlarge the wider picture/crop to be the same as the longer lens, then the perspectives will be identical.

Um, the point of view is determined by location which is referred to as the "true" perspective. The focal length, or to be more accurate, the difference between the "correct" viewing distance (based on a ratio of the focal length to format) and the "standard viewing distance (based on a ratio of the format), changes the "apparent" perspective. The "apparent" perspective is real, which is why we have a bias against wide for portraiture--people don't look distorted because we are close to them or further away. They look distorted in photographs because the projection does not match the point of view.

Your crop example is simply showing the apparent perspective is real and changes with the angular projection of the image. And that is really a basic difference--a linear relationship and an angular relationship. The camera position fixes the linear relationships and the focal length setup the angular relationships.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 14, 2013, 12:24:22 PM
Um, the point of view is determined by location which is referred to as the "true" perspective. The focal length, or to be more accurate, the difference between the "correct" viewing distance (based on a ratio of the focal length to format) and the "standard viewing distance (based on a ratio of the format), changes the "apparent" perspective. The "apparent" perspective is real, which is why we have a bias against wide for portraiture--people don't look distorted because we are close to them or further away. They look distorted in photographs because the projection does not match the point of view.

Your crop example is simply showing the apparent perspective is real and changes with the angular projection of the image. And that is really a basic difference--a linear relationship and an angular relationship. The camera position fixes the linear relationships and the focal length setup the angular relationships.
To summarise in English, changing your position, not the lens changes perspective. Exactly as I said.  :P

BTW as it happens, I do a lot of people photography and a 16-35mm is my favourite lens.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: muntanela on May 14, 2013, 01:18:31 PM
Ultrawides reverse the ontological hierarchy: kill the mountains and magnify small, unsignificant rocks and pools.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 14, 2013, 06:32:30 PM
Marc, interesting article.

WRT the 'crop in camera' and 'image purity' nonsense related to cropping after the fact, there are plenty of reasons and needs to crop after the fact.  Aspect ratio is a big one.  Being constrained by some artificial film or sensor aspect ratio and thinking that is what one should be forced to use is bollocks.  A few cameras help in that regard by offering different aspect ratios (D800, GH3) but those are few and even then only offer a couple of options.  The idea that cropping is bad is as stupid as the idea that no editing should be done to an image post-capture - film or digital.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Rob C on May 15, 2013, 04:38:30 AM
Marc, interesting article.

WRT the 'crop in camera' and 'image purity' nonsense related to cropping after the fact, there are plenty of reasons and needs to crop after the fact.  Aspect ratio is a big one.  Being constrained by some artificial film or sensor aspect ratio and thinking that is what one should be forced to use is bollocks.   A few cameras help in that regard by offering different aspect ratios (D800, GH3) but those are few and even then only offer a couple of options.  The idea that cropping is bad is as stupid as the idea that no editing should be done to an image post-capture - film or digital.


The way you put it makes sense, but in doing so you miss/avoid the rationale behind the dictum: in the world of 135 format, as you start with a tiny amount of real estate, you are pretty much obliged to maximize its use at capture. Doing otherwise does you no favours. That's all it's about. That's also why 6x6 made such sense: with that format you could gather the most relevant, possibly valuable visual information around your subject and later crop to suit editorial purpose that often varied for the same shot.

So whilst nobody really believes that cropping, per se, is a sin, the concept behind it is very real and based on common experience of what was probably the most-used format in photography.

With 135 you did best for yourself composing as per viewfinder (hence the value of Nikon's 100% coverage) where the job allowed. If it didn't you were better off using other formats, which is why we all owned different formats.

Rob C
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 15, 2013, 05:30:50 AM
I'm continually amazed at the confusion on this issue. Even Slobodan, who usually seems to be quite a perceptive sort of chap, appears to be confused on this issue of perspective.

Theguywitha645d gives a clue as to what's going on here, by creating a distinction between 'real' perspective and 'apparent' perspective. I'd go further and claim that everything about a photographic image is 'apparent', as opposed to real.

So, when talking about perspective, one should be clear as to the perspective of what, precisely, one is referring to; the perspective in the real scene as viewed by the unaided human eye; or the perspective in the representation of that real scene in a photographic image, with all the variables and characteristics of DoF, FoV, and resolution limitations etc?

Now it's clear that the perspective in the real scene, as viewed by the naked eye, changes only with changes in the position of the viewer, and/or with the movement of objects within the scene.
Such perspective in the real scene is not influenced one whit by the type of camera or lens one uses, just as it's not influenced by the style of shirt one happens to be wearing, or what one ate for breakfast that morning.

However, the perspective as displayed in the photographic print can be influenced by many factors, including the focal length of lens used, the degree of cropping by the camera's sensor, the degree of further cropping in post-processing, the size of print made, and the viewing distance to that print.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 15, 2013, 07:24:52 AM

The way you put it makes sense, but in doing so you miss/avoid the rationale behind the dictum: in the world of 135 format, as you start with a tiny amount of real estate, you are pretty much obliged to maximize its use at capture. Doing otherwise does you no favours. That's all it's about. That's also why 6x6 made such sense: with that format you could gather the most relevant, possibly valuable visual information around your subject and later crop to suit editorial purpose that often varied for the same shot.

So whilst nobody really believes that cropping, per se, is a sin, the concept behind it is very real and based on common experience of what was probably the most-used format in photography.

With 135 you did best for yourself composing as per viewfinder (hence the value of Nikon's 100% coverage) where the job allowed. If it didn't you were better off using other formats, which is why we all owned different formats.

Rob C

I understand the limitations of film size, Rob.  I just don't agree with the idea you're positing.  If you want to crop a smaller film frame you may have other limitations such as the size you can enlarge, but you shouldn't be forced into a specific final image shape or composition just because of the film size.  You work being conscious of all the limitations faced.  Interestingly I very rarely cropped my Mamiya TLR frames.  I love the square format.  But I also like the tightness of the 11x14.  Gotta crop to get that.

Here's another reason for cropping:  Less than 100% FOV viewfinders.  You can often find unwanted detritus creeping in at the edges with such a camera.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 16, 2013, 11:35:32 AM
However, the perspective as displayed in the photographic print can be influenced by many factors, including the focal length of lens used, the degree of cropping by the camera's sensor, the degree of further cropping in post-processing, the size of print made, and the viewing distance to that print.
Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length.
All that matters is one's distance from subject - the confusion has arisen because when you are close to subject, you tend to need a wider lens to capture said subject and when you are at a distance you tend to use/need a long lens to capture same subject, so people associate the lens with the change in perspective and not the distance.

Take a full length shot with a telephoto of someone and then increasingly wider lenses from same location. Crop the widest shot to match framing of other shots and there will be no difference in perspective.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Rob C on May 16, 2013, 02:16:16 PM
Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length.
All that matters is one's distance from subject - the confusion has arisen because when you are close to subject, you tend to need a wider lens to capture said subject and when you are at a distance you tend to use/need a long lens to capture same subject, so people associate the lens with the change in perspective and not the distance.

Take a full length shot with a telephoto of someone and then increasingly wider lenses from same location. Crop the widest shot to match framing of other shots and there will be no difference in perspective.



This is fact: it should settle the discussion once and for all, but I know perfectly well that that's not the objective in some minds: the objective is making a contradictory argument that holds the delusion of a morsel of truth when, in reality, it's bogus.

That's usually the time when a thread's worth abandoning for good.

Rob C
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 17, 2013, 02:47:10 AM

This is fact: it should settle the discussion once and for all, but I know perfectly well that that's not the objective in some minds: the objective is making a contradictory argument that holds the delusion of a morsel of truth when, in reality, it's bogus.

That's usually the time when a thread's worth abandoning for good.

Rob C

I only accept facts that make sense, Rob. JJJ has made a very categorical statement as follows:
Quote
Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length.

So let's examine this statement from a rational and logical perspective. First, let's take the  phrase, "Cropping has zero effect on perspective".

The question that immediately springs to my mind here is, "The cropping of what precisely has zero effect on the perspective of what precisely?"

I can find numerous examples where cropping really does have zero effect on perspective, just as I can also find numerous examples where cropping has a very clear and obvious effect on perspective. I'll mention a couple.

As I sit at my computer cropping an image that I'm processing, I'm quite certain that the cropping of that image on the monitor has no bearing whatsoever on the perspective of the elements in another photographic print that is hanging on the wall. The two are obviously unrelated.

Okay! That's silly you're probably thinking. Obviously JJJ is referring to the cropping of a specific image taken with a specific lens, and he's referring to the perspective of specific elements in that image.

So let's talk about a specific image and try to imagine how the perspective of elements in that image might change after cropping, in accordance with the following definition of perspective which you may or may not agree with. If you don't agree with this definition, then that could be the cause of the confusion.

The definition I'm using is as follows: "The appearance of objects, buildings, etc, relative to each other, as determined by their distance from the viewer, or the effects of this distance on their appearance", and I'm applying this definition to  photographic images.

A key concept in this definition is, 'appearance of objects relative to each other'.  Now surely it's not difficult to appreciate the consequences of removing objects within a scene by cropping them out so they no longer exist. Do I have to spell it out?

An object in a photographic scene may appear small and distant relative to another object in the foreground which is larger and therefore appears closer. If one removes the larger object (or objects) in the foreground through cropping, then clearly one has broken a relationship and therefore changed the perspective in at least two ways. (1) One or more of the elements in the image has no perspective at all because it no longer exists. (2) The remaining elements in the image have a changed perspective due to a change in the relationship with other objects in the image that no longer exist.

How anyone could argue with this obvious fact beats me. But I do understand what JJJ and others are trying to say in their muddled way. I believe they are trying to say that the perspective of elements in two images of the same scene with the same FoV, will only be influenced by the position from which the shot was taken. By what process that equality of FoV was achieved is irrelevant to the perspective of the elements in that image. The equality of FoV could have been achieved by using different focal lengths of lenses with different formats of cameras, or it could have been achieved by different degrees of cropping in post-processing, using the same focal length of lens on different formats of cameras.

The main point here is that different focal lengths of lenses may have been required, or different degrees of cropping may have been required to achieve that equal perspective, therefore it is not correct to claim that cropping or focal length has no bearing on perspective.

What is correct to say is that changing position will always affect perspective to some degree, whereas cropping and/or changing focal length of lens may not always change perspective, but sometimes it might.

An example of achieving equal perspective using different focal lengths of lens would be using a 50mm lens on a Canon 7D and an 80mm lens on a Canon 5D2. Provided the shooting position is the same, and provided one does not perform additional and different cropping during post-processing, the perspective will always be the same in the images from both cameras. The image from the 50mm lens on the 7D receives more in-camera cropping than does the image from the 80mm lens on the 5D2, and is therefore said to be equivalent to an 80mm lens on the 5D2. However, a 50mm lens on a 7D is not equivalent to a 14mm lens on a 5D2, and without significant cropping of the 14mm shot in post-processing the 14mm lens will produce an image with a very different perspective, even after correction for volume anamorphosis.

I don't think I can make this much clearer, but if anyone thinks I am presenting a fallacious, bogus or muddled argument, then please point out the flaws in my logic.   ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 17, 2013, 03:15:49 AM
Take a full length shot with a telephoto of someone and then increasingly wider lenses from same location. Crop the widest shot to match framing of other shots and there will be no difference in perspective.

Absolutely true, JJJ, provided one is not comparing extremes of wide-angle crops with extremely long telephoto shots. But haven't you defeated your own argument here? Why is it necessary to crop the wider shots to match the framing of the other shots if cropping has no bearing on perspective?
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: torger on May 17, 2013, 06:42:57 AM
With wide angles one can create perspective effects and make "exciting" compositions out of simple subjects through the rectilinear stretch effect towards the border of the frame. Stretch out clouds in the sky so it looks more dramatic, or stretch structures in the foreground.

While this is very popular these days, especially among amateur photographers like myself, I don't like it that much. I don't go wider than 24mm (135-equivalent) possibly with some shift, but if I can make the shot with say 35mm I'll generally prefer that. I want the perspective to look natural, ie no stretch effect. The few times I've stitched panoramas of landscape scenes I usually do cylindrical projection as that too will avoid stretching.

It's a matter of taste and style though. Making an image stand out largely thanks to perspective effects I feel is like a cheap trick so I try to make fine images without that.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 17, 2013, 07:07:27 AM
Ray, you're wrong.  Cropping has zero impact on perspective.  There's a difference between actual perspective and the apparent perspective distortion of a lens.  Actual perspective is a product of distance to subject only.  Focal length or cropping have no impact.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 17, 2013, 08:37:23 AM
Ray, you're wrong.  Cropping has zero impact on perspective.  There's a difference between actual perspective and the apparent perspective distortion of a lens.  Actual perspective is a product of distance to subject only.  Focal length or cropping have no impact.

But can you prove this, Bob? Anyone can repeat a mantra. Merely repeating something without explanation or examples doesn't make it right.

I'm quite certain that the wide-angle shots that I take, result in images which display elements with a different perspective than the same elements in the narrower-angle shots that I take from the same position.

I can also demonstrate that such differences in perspective, as displayed in the wider-angle shots, can be altered through cropping and made the same as in the narrower-angle shots, thus proving that cropping can change the perspective in a photographic print or image.

Perhaps your definition of perspective is different from mine. What's your definition of perspective, Bob?

The one I'm using is the following, which is similar to the definition I've found in all the dictionaries that I've checked.
Quote
"The appearance of objects, buildings, etc, relative to each other, as determined by their distance from the viewer, or the effects of this distance on their appearance
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 17, 2013, 08:54:18 AM
I'm quite certain that the wide-angle shots that I take, result in images which display elements with a different perspective than the same elements in the narrower-angle shots that I take from the same position.
I can also demonstrate that such differences in perspective, as displayed in the wider-angle shots, can be altered through cropping and made the same as in the narrower-angle shots, thus proving that cropping can change the perspective in a photographic print or image.
Can you also demonstrate how Warp Drive works whilst you are at it?

Absolutely true, JJJ, provided one is not comparing extremes of wide-angle crops with extremely long telephoto shots. But haven't you defeated your own argument here? Why is it necessary to crop the wider shots to match the framing of the other shots if cropping has no bearing on perspective?
Duh-uh!! Bangs head on desk repeatedly.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 17, 2013, 09:11:19 AM
I only accept facts that make sense, Rob. JJJ has made a very categorical statement as follows:
Quote
Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length.
So let's examine this statement from a rational and logical perspective. First, let's take the  phrase, "Cropping has zero effect on perspective".

The question that immediately springs to my mind here is, "The cropping of what precisely has zero effect on the perspective of what precisely?"

I can find numerous examples where cropping really does have zero effect on perspective, just as I can also find numerous examples where cropping has a very clear and obvious effect on perspective. I'll mention a couple.

As I sit at my computer cropping an image that I'm processing, I'm quite certain that the cropping of that image on the monitor has no bearing whatsoever on the perspective of the elements in another photographic print that is hanging on the wall. The two are obviously unrelated.

Okay! That's silly you're probably thinking. Obviously JJJ is referring to the cropping of a specific image taken with a specific lens, and he's referring to the perspective of specific elements in that image.

So let's talk about a specific image and try to imagine how the perspective of elements in that image might change after cropping, in accordance with the following definition of perspective which you may or may not agree with. If you don't agree with this definition, then that could be the cause of the confusion.

The definition I'm using is as follows: "The appearance of objects, buildings, etc, relative to each other, as determined by their distance from the viewer, or the effects of this distance on their appearance", and I'm applying this definition to  photographic images.

A key concept in this definition is, 'appearance of objects relative to each other'.  Now surely it's not difficult to appreciate the consequences of removing objects within a scene by cropping them out so they no longer exist. Do I have to spell it out?

An object in a photographic scene may appear small and distant relative to another object in the foreground which is larger and therefore appears closer. If one removes the larger object (or objects) in the foreground through cropping, then clearly one has broken a relationship and therefore changed the perspective in at least two ways. (1) One or more of the elements in the image has no perspective at all because it no longer exists. (2) The remaining elements in the image have a changed perspective due to a change in the relationship with other objects in the image that no longer exist.

How anyone could argue with this obvious fact beats me. But I do understand what JJJ and others are trying to say in their muddled way. I believe they are trying to say that the perspective of elements in two images of the same scene with the same FoV, will only be influenced by the position from which the shot was taken. By what process that equality of FoV was achieved is irrelevant to the perspective of the elements in that image. The equality of FoV could have been achieved by using different focal lengths of lenses with different formats of cameras, or it could have been achieved by different degrees of cropping in post-processing, using the same focal length of lens on different formats of cameras.

The main point here is that different focal lengths of lenses may have been required, or different degrees of cropping may have been required to achieve that equal perspective, therefore it is not correct to claim that cropping or focal length has no bearing on perspective.

What is correct to say is that changing position will always affect perspective to some degree, whereas cropping and/or changing focal length of lens may not always change perspective, but sometimes it might.

An example of achieving equal perspective using different focal lengths of lens would be using a 50mm lens on a Canon 7D and an 80mm lens on a Canon 5D2. Provided the shooting position is the same, and provided one does not perform additional and different cropping during post-processing, the perspective will always be the same in the images from both cameras. The image from the 50mm lens on the 7D receives more in-camera cropping than does the image from the 80mm lens on the 5D2, and is therefore said to be equivalent to an 80mm lens on the 5D2. However, a 50mm lens on a 7D is not equivalent to a 14mm lens on a 5D2, and without significant cropping of the 14mm shot in post-processing the 14mm lens will produce an image with a very different perspective, even after correction for volume anamorphosis.

I don't think I can make this much clearer, but if anyone thinks I am presenting a fallacious, bogus or muddled argument, then please point out the flaws in my logic.   ;)

OH. MY. GOD!
My jaw just hit the floor so hard, I now have broken teeth.

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: torger on May 17, 2013, 09:53:31 AM
Really long discussion about perspective here, what's it about?

If you shoot from the same position and crop to the same field of view the perspective will be the same regardless of focal length. If you move to another position, then perspective will change. Otherwise it will not. Oh well, pointing the camera in a slightly different direction will also change how the final picture appears, but with fixed camera position and direction and "perfect" rectilinear lenses you can take a 14mm lens and crop it down to produce the exact image of the 500mm lens, at a reduced resolution of course. As soon as you move and/or change camera direction you get a different view. Clear?

This article is quite good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_distortion_%28photography%29
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 17, 2013, 10:20:15 AM
Already said that torger.
But it appears that there is another universe with alternative physics, but interestingly you can still post to LuLa.  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 17, 2013, 11:00:50 AM
But can you prove this, Bob? Anyone can repeat a mantra. Merely repeating something without explanation or examples doesn't make it right.

I'm quite certain that the wide-angle shots that I take, result in images which display elements with a different perspective than the same elements in the narrower-angle shots that I take from the same position.

I can also demonstrate that such differences in perspective, as displayed in the wider-angle shots, can be altered through cropping and made the same as in the narrower-angle shots, thus proving that cropping can change the perspective in a photographic print or image.

Perhaps your definition of perspective is different from mine. What's your definition of perspective, Bob?

The one I'm using is the following, which is similar to the definition I've found in all the dictionaries that I've checked.

You say you can disprove the laws of physics?  If you can, that's probably worth a Nobel Prize.  So do it.  Demonstrate it.

Do the same test that others have talked about here.  I've done it in the past and I've seen others do it.  There are plenty of examples on the web doing it too.  Take a shot with a 50mm lens and a 200mm lens from the same spot.  Now crop the 50mm shot so it has the same AOV as the 200mm shot.  The spacial relationship of elements within the shot will be the same.  That's perspective.  It's got nothing to do with what gets cropped out or any other nonsense. 
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 17, 2013, 11:04:19 PM
Really long discussion about perspective here, what's it about?

If you shoot from the same position and crop to the same field of view the perspective will be the same regardless of focal length. If you move to another position, then perspective will change. Otherwise it will not. Oh well, pointing the camera in a slightly different direction will also change how the final picture appears, but with fixed camera position and direction and "perfect" rectilinear lenses you can take a 14mm lens and crop it down to produce the exact image of the 500mm lens, at a reduced resolution of course. As soon as you move and/or change camera direction you get a different view. Clear?

This article is quite good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_distortion_%28photography%29

Torger,
What you've written above seems generally correct to me, with a couple of caveats. For example, if the focal length comparisons are too extreme, it might no be possible to identify the elements in the lower resolution image which are claimed to have the same perspective.

There is also a basic confusion in the above statement between the perspective of elements in the real scene as opposed to the perspective of elements in the photographic image, as implied by the following statement, "If you move to another position, then perspective will change. Otherwise it will not." I presume what is meant here is that the perspective of elements as seen in the real scene do not change, unless one changes position. That makes complete sense to me.

However, surely you guys have taken enough photographs by now to realise that the taking of a photograph is a process of selection and exclusion. The perspective of elements in a photograph can be made to look quite different to the perspective of the same elements in the real scene as seen with the naked eye, through a process of lens selection, cropping, print size and viewing distance. Haven't you noticed?

I haven't checked the Wikipedia article to see if there are any other confused statements. I'm too busy trying to knock some sense into certain posters on LL.  ;)

If cropping has zero effect on perspective, then why is it necessary to crop the 14mm shot to to demonstrate that the perspective is the same as in another shot taken with a longer lens?
Are you guys really not able to see the absurdity of your arguments? Ah! Perhaps 'Alice in Wonderland' is your favourite book. C'mon! Admit it!  ;D

The reason for cropping a wide-angle shot in these circumstances is to demonstrate that position always has an effect on perspective, not to demonstrate that cropping or changing focal length never has an affect on perspective. Can't you see the difference? Blimey! ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 17, 2013, 11:45:12 PM
Ray, what you're referring to is the idea of apparent perspective distortion.  The apparent contraction of distances by longer lenses and the apparent lengthening of distances by short lenses.  The key there is the word apparent.  Do the tests I and others have mentioned.  If you disprove the laws of optical physics, I think the entire membership of this board with support your nomination for a Nobel.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 18, 2013, 01:39:22 AM
You say you can disprove the laws of physics?  If you can, that's probably worth a Nobel Prize.  So do it.  Demonstrate it.

I've never said any such thing, Bob. If you think I'm implying that I can disprove the laws of physics, then please specify which laws you are referring to. All 32,769 of them?  ;)

Quote
The spacial relationship of elements within the shot will be the same.  That's perspective.  It's got nothing to do with what gets cropped out or any other nonsense.
 

Absolutely true! Maybe now we're getting somewhere. The perspective, or spatial relationship, of elements within a shot have nothing to do with elements that are outside of that shot. This is an important principle in understanding the perspective effect of a wider-angle lens.

If it's true that the perspective of elements within any photographic image can only be assessed in relation to those elements that are present in the image, and I maintain this is true, then introducing new and different elements into the image, by using a wide-angle lens from the same position, changes the spatial relationship of those same elements in the uncropped, wide-angle image. New spatial relationships are formed.

Quote
Ray, what you're referring to is the idea of apparent perspective distortion.  The apparent contraction of distances by longer lenses and the apparent lengthening of distances by short lenses.  The key there is the word apparent.

Bob, all photographic images are appearances. Everything about them is 'apparent' and a distortion to some degree. It's inherent in the system. Perhaps the most obvious distortion is the fact they are 2-dimensional representations, whereas reality is 3-dimensional.

There is a common distortion called Volume Anamorphosis which wide-angle shots frequently exhibit in the corners. DXO tools can fix it.

But never mind. If you understand that perspective is a spatial relationship between the specific elements of the scene that have been captured, then it should not be difficult to understand that by introducing new elements into the scene, by using a wide-angle lens, you will also unavoidably introduce new spatial relationships. The distant mountain peak not only has a spatial relationship with other parts of the mountain, glaciers, waterfalls and trees etc, at the foot of the mountain, but the whole mountain might have a spatial relationship with the face of your girlfriend that appears in the foreground of the wide-angle shot. That spacial relationship is destroyed if you crop out the face of your girlfriend. The spatial relationships of the mountain would then change and as a consequence the mountain would appear closer on the same size print. What could be easier!  ;D

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 18, 2013, 06:59:53 AM
Ray, the number of elements within an image is irrelevant. You're wrong.  Period.  Full stop.  And I'm done with this nonsense.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 19, 2013, 08:41:16 PM
Ray, the number of elements within an image is irrelevant. You're wrong.  Period.  Full stop.  And I'm done with this nonsense.

LOL!  No elements, no picture. Goodness gracious me!

I'm talking about perspective as it appears in a photographic image consisting of numerous elements. I understand completely that perspective as a theoretical geometric model, as applied to a real but static scene, as viewed by the naked eye, is changed only by the position of the viewer. Even moving one's eyeballs to one side is a change in position.

However, the camera can do things which the unaided human eye cannot. You must have noticed.

It can crop and enlarge, or diminish the field of view according to choice of lens. When the image is processed, further cropping may be applied, and when the image is printed the size can vary according to purpose.

Such changes do not alter the laws of physics or the rules of geometry. They merely change the circumstances within which the same laws apply. In a photographic image the eye perceives a distortion of realty. It cannot be otherwise. All photographs without exception are distortions of reality. Only the degree of distortion varies. It never occurred to me that some folks might not be aware of this fact.

A part of this distortion is a change of perspective resulting from practices such as cropping, enlargement of FoV due to use of a wide-angle lens, and physical size of image or print after processing.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 20, 2013, 05:21:46 AM
Here you go Ray.....


(http://i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/newsfeed/000/540/681/b7d.jpg)

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: stamper on May 20, 2013, 05:40:54 AM
I have been following this thread with interest and finding it very informative. Ray's reply
#68 makes sense to me but then again it is a "concept" that is difficult to get a proper handle on. :-\
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 20, 2013, 10:13:28 AM
Thanks, Stamper. I'm glad at least someone reading this thread is able to think outside of the box.  :)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on May 20, 2013, 10:21:59 AM
Why does this all look like a deja vu ?

Here's why:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61388.0 (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61388.0)
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67945.0 (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67945.0)

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 20, 2013, 11:45:41 PM
Why does this all look like a deja vu ?

Here's why:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61388.0 (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61388.0)
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67945.0 (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=67945.0)

Cheers,
Bart

Hi Bart,
There are many topics that are raised again and again on LL, some of which are raised far more frequently than the topic of 'perspective'. One such topic would be Expose To The Right, or ETTR.
You've provided a couple of links to previous discussions on perspective but have missed out perhaps the longest thread that I link below.
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=61535.120

The reason why I raise this issue again is because I am genuinely amazed that so many apparently experienced photographers seem to be in such a state of denial about this issue and present the most illogical of arguments in order to maintain their position.

Thinking about the reasons for this, I wonder if it's because the thought that any scene as represented in a photograph might not be real, or that it is a distortion of reality, is too uncomfortable. Perhaps people like to kid themselves that the camera really does never lie. And whilst such people might admit when pressed, perhaps grudgingly, that the camera does or can lie, they perhaps kid themselves that it lies only a little bit, or lies only sometimes.

The main argument presented by those who maintain that focal length of lens, or degree of cropping, has no bearing on the perspective of elements, as seen in a photographic image, is as follows.

If one takes two shots from exactly the same position, using widely different focal lengths of lens, resulting in two images with an apparently different perspective, and one crops the wider shot in post processing so it has the same Field of View as the other shot, then both shots will be identical in terms of perspective, although probably not in terms of resolution.

Now to claim that this experiment proves that neither cropping nor focal length of lens changes perspective is where the absurdity comes in, or the Alice in Wonderland aspect.

Let's examine this absurdity, but first the facts which I hope we agree upon.

(1) Two images can 'appear' to exhibit a different perspective when taken with different focal lengths of lens.

(2) All photographs are 'appearances', not to be confused with reality.

(3) The image taken with the wide-angle lens clearly and unambiguously gives the impression that certain objects, because of their small size in relation to other objects or elements in the image, appear very distant.

(4) The image taken with the longer focal length gives the impression that those same elements that appear so distant in the wide-angle shot are now much closer to the viewer. The perspective from the position of the viewer is therefore different because it appears different, and all photographs are appearances.

(5) If one crops away the large objects in the foreground of the wide-angle shot that are responsible for creating the impression that elements in the background are so distant, lo and behold!, surprise! surprise!, the perspective in the wide-angle shot now appears the same, provided one views same size prints from the same distance.

Now let's examine what this experiment really does demonstrate, in my opinion.

(1) If we have to crop the wide-angle shot in order for the image to have the same perspective as in the narrower-angle shot, then that clearly demonstrates that cropping affects perspective, surely.

If cropping doesn't affect perspective, as JJJ claimed it doesn't earlier in this thread, then why is it necessary to crop the wide-angle shot? Ah! Perhaps JJJ thinks that the different perspective, as seen in the wide-angle shot before cropping, is merely an illusion, an aberration, a distortion, a trompe l'oeil, and that such illusions of perspective can always be magically dispelled through the act of cropping. Wow! Are we now back into 'Alice in Wonderland'?  ;D

What this experiment really demonstrates is the relationship between cropping and focal length of lens, and the fact that any lens used with a given format of camera can be effectively converted to a longer focal length through cropping, but unfortunately with consequent loss of resolution.

The experiment also demonstrates that in order to get photographic images to display the same perspective when the shots are taken from the same position, it is necessary to either use lenses which have the same focal length, or create the same equivalent focal length through cropping in post processing.

But what happens when we want the perspective that only a wide-angle lens can provide, and all we have is, say, a normal lens? No problem, I can hear Bart and JJJ declare. Just take a number of shots and stitch.

Really! I've never succeeded in taking shots for stitching a wide panorama without moving the position of the lens between shots. What's the technique here, Bart? On the one hand you're claiming that only position determines perspective, and that only a change in position results in a change in perspective, not a change in focal length, and to demonstrate this principle you are changing the position of the lens in order to create the equivalent of a single wide-angle shot which has been taken from one precise and exact position.

Something fishy going on here!  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 21, 2013, 07:25:59 AM
But what happens when we want the perspective that only a wide-angle lens can provide, and all we have is, say, a normal lens? No problem, I can hear Bart and JJJ declare. Just take a number of shots and stitch.
Really! I've never succeeded in taking shots for stitching a wide panorama without moving the position of the lens between shots. What's the technique here, Bart? On the one hand you're claiming that only position determines perspective, and that only a change in position results in a change in perspective, not a change in focal length, and to demonstrate this principle you are changing the position of the lens in order to create the equivalent of a single wide-angle shot which has been taken from one precise and exact position.

Something fishy going on here!  ;D

Only in your mind Ray.  :P
There are a couple of things wrong with this particular bit of your batty rambling essay. No-one suggested using a narrower lens to replicate the wide field of view and slightly changing angle of camera is not noticeably changing camera distance/position relative to subject, which is the bit that actually alters perspective and which you still do not understand. All you are doing in that case is making a small sensor capture the scene as if it were a much bigger sensor with a wider angle lens.
And finally here's a flickr pool (http://www.flickr.com/groups/brenizermethod/pool/) dedicated to doing making wideangle shots from narrower lenses.

The reason why I raise this issue again is because I am genuinely amazed that so many apparently experienced photographers seem to be in such a state of denial about this issue and present the most illogical of arguments in order to maintain their position.
Rather than proposing a lot of bizarre ideas that seem to rewrite physics, go and take some photos that demonstrate exactly what you mean and prove us idiot photographers and all the physicists wrong.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 21, 2013, 11:00:41 AM
There are a couple of things wrong with this particular bit of your batty rambling essay. No-one suggested using a narrower lens to replicate the wide field of view and slightly changing angle of camera is not noticeably changing camera distance/position relative to subject, which is the bit that actually alters perspective and which you still do not understand. All you are doing in that case is making a small sensor capture the scene as if it were a much bigger sensor with a wider angle lens.

There seems to be some confusion in your above statement, JJJ. I have never asserted that changing position does not change perspective. Where did you get that idea? I understand quite well that any change in the position of the camera lens causes a change in perspective, whatever the focal length of lens. What I'm arguing against is the absurdity of the logic in the claim that only a change in position of the camera lens can result in a change of perspective in a photographic image, and that a change of focal length of lens, and/or a change in effective focal length of lens due to cropping, can have no effect on the perspective or the spatial relationships of elements within the image.

The proof that is frequently used to demonstrate that focal length has no bearing on perspective is the experiment of either cropping the wide-angle shot to the same FoV as the telephoto shot taken from the same position, demonstrating that perspective then becomes the same, which I agree it does, or stitching a number of shots with a telephoto lens to duplicate the perspective that one would get with a single wide-angle shot.

What I would like you to answer and explain to me is how one can achieve the same perspective, as in a single shot from a wide-angle lens, by taking a series of shots from different positions, whilst simultaneously maintaining that any change in position must result in a change in perspective.

Or do you perhaps believe that it is not possible to duplicate the perspective in a single wide-angle shot by stitching a number of shots taken from different positions? If you believe it is true that this is not possible, then by what sort of logic can you claim that focal length of lens has no bearing on perspective?

Alternatively, do you believe that turning one's head from the left to the right when viewing a real scene, does not constitute a change in position and therefore does not result in a change in perspective?

Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: torger on May 21, 2013, 11:07:08 AM
Ray,

To take the discussion further you need to post images that proves your point. Here's an experiment for you:

1. Mount the camera on a tripod, point it at some area with geometric objects, like a playground or similar
2. Shoot two photographs with one wide angle and one longer focal length (or use a zoom). Do not move the camera or change its direction.
3. Make sure that you apply distortion correction in your raw converter so the lenses render as close as possible to perfect rectilinear
4. Crop the wide angle so it has the exact same FOV as the longer focal length
5. Compare.

If I understand you correctly you claim that there will be some more difference apart from lower resolution. I have not been able to understand what difference that would be from all your long posts. Can you describe in a short way what you mean the difference between cropping a wider and using a longer focal length would be?

I can give you a lead: the experiment above will show that there is no difference to be found.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 21, 2013, 11:20:54 AM
That's about the 5th or 6th time someone has suggested the exact same test.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on May 21, 2013, 11:35:34 AM
...
4. Crop the wide angle so it has the exact same FOV as the longer focal length
...

If I am allowed to interpret Ray's position:

If you CROP to achieve "the EXACT same FOV as the longer focal length," than you are effectively comparing "the longer focal length" with "the longer focal length," which, as a tautology, then proves nothing.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: torger on May 21, 2013, 12:06:16 PM
If I am allowed to interpret Ray's position:

If you CROP to achieve "the EXACT same FOV as the longer focal length," than you are effectively comparing "the longer focal length" with "the longer focal length," which, as a tautology, then proves nothing.

Exactly. That's why I don't really understand what Ray wants to point out.

That you actually use different focal lenghts to be able to stand closer or farther away from a subject and therefore render it with different perspectives (wider or more compressed) is obvious, but then we change position to change perspective, focal length is just for cropping, ie identical (assuming you increase f-number proportionally to achieve the same DoF too). It seems to me that Ray tries to convince us that a longer focal length does something different than cropping in terms of perspective.

Cropping from the center is of course important to achieve the same effect, if cropping off-center one will instead simulate a shifted lens, and shift is as we know often used for perspective control in architecture photography.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on May 21, 2013, 12:21:39 PM
Exactly. That's why I don't really understand what Ray wants to point out...

Hmmm... not sure about the "exactly" part. If I understood correctly, Rays wants to point out that your proposed test proves only that "the same" is "the same," i.e., proves nothing.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: torger on May 21, 2013, 12:59:50 PM
Hmmm... not sure about the "exactly" part. If I understood correctly, Rays wants to point out that your proposed test proves only that "the same" is "the same," i.e., proves nothing.

It's a bit confusing, but I guess the reason is some misunderstandings. Reading through some of the posts earlier in the thread it seems like Ray understands all this, so I don't really know what the discussion is about.

There seems to be no disagreement in how things work, just hair-splitting on exactly how to use the word "perspective", and about the practicality of cropping in post. Of course cropping a 14mm lens to a 200mm framing is inpractical because of lost resolution, and it seems like Ray is using that as a base for saying that a 50 and 80mm lens can be made equivalent through cropping but not a 14 and 200, and throw in some "perspective" into that and confusion begins.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 21, 2013, 04:28:30 PM

Cropping from the center is of course important to achieve the same effect, if cropping off-center one will instead simulate a shifted lens, and shift is as we know often used for perspective control in architecture photography.

What you correct with a T/S lens is the apparent perspective distortion of the lens.  The perspective - spatial relationships - remains the same. 

The reason to crop from the centre is because that's where the two lenses can be seen to have the same angle of view and the same subject matter for comparison.  Crop from the edge of a WA frame and there'll be nothing in the tele frame to compare to.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 22, 2013, 08:24:33 PM
Ray,

To take the discussion further you need to post images that proves your point. Here's an experiment for you:

1. Mount the camera on a tripod, point it at some area with geometric objects, like a playground or similar
2. Shoot two photographs with one wide angle and one longer focal length (or use a zoom). Do not move the camera or change its direction.
3. Make sure that you apply distortion correction in your raw converter so the lenses render as close as possible to perfect rectilinear
4. Crop the wide angle so it has the exact same FOV as the longer focal length
5. Compare.

If I understand you correctly you claim that there will be some more difference apart from lower resolution. I have not been able to understand what difference that would be from all your long posts. Can you describe in a short way what you mean the difference between cropping a wider and using a longer focal length would be?

I can give you a lead: the experiment above will show that there is no difference to be found.

Torger, I have posted images relating to this issue in other threads. I own a Nikkor 14-24 so I'm very familiar with the effect of moderately distant objects, such as mountains in the background, appearing really tiny in relation to the much larger objects in the foreground  which seem closer to their normal size, or the size one might expect them to be.

I also know very well that cropping a wide angle shot to the same FoV as a shot from a longer lens, from the same position, results in images with the same perspective, provided that resolution is sufficient for one to be able to recognize the elements in the cropped image.

For me, this issue is about describing a phenomenon or image characteristic clearly, precisely and logically so that the statement holds true in all situations. If there are exceptions, then the theory cannot be claimed to be true, in the absence of other explanations for the anomalies.

All I'm asking is for some bright spark to provide the explanation for these obvious exceptions and inconsistencies, as in the following example which highlights the problem and perhaps even proves that people like JJJ and Bart are wrong on this issue. I never accuse people of being wrong unless I'm also able to provide reasons and evidence for their being wrong.

In view of the categorical statement from JJJ that "Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length", then why have you required the act of cropping, in procedure # 4 above, in order to demonstrate that cropping has no effect on perspective?

If two images taken with different focal lengths of lens appear to have the same perspective, and after cropping one of the images, the perspective is still the same, then that would demonstrate that cropping has no effect on perspective, provided one repeated the cropping a few times with different images just to be sure there were no exceptions.

However, if all images taken from the same position, without exception, appear to have the same perspective, whatever focal lengths of lens was used, then what is the purpose of cropping, in your experiment as described above? Are you with me so far?

Is it reasonable for me to assume that you recognise that the image from the wider-angle shot only appears to have a different perspective and that you have cropped the wider-angle shot in order to demonstrate that this apparent difference is a mere illusion?

Now this is what I suspect is going on here.  People like JJJ and Bart, and others, are trying to claim that images taken with wide-angle lenses only appear to have a different perspective as a result of various lens distortions, and that cropping removes such distortions to reveal the true perspective which is determined only by lens position.

let's examine this argument to see if it makes sense. It's true that wide-angle lenses tend to produce a type of distortion known as Volume Anamorphosis, which editing programs from DXO can correct reasonably well, and it is now commonplace for image editing programs such as ACR and Lightroom to correct for various types of lens distortions, provided there's a profile available for the lens.

But let's take this a step further and claim that despite such distortion corrections in programs from DXO and Adobe, the images from the wider-angle lenses are still distorted and this is the only reason why the wider-angle shots appear to have a different perspective.
If this statement is true, then it would follow that in any comparison of shots taken with different focal lengths of lens, the longer focal length would always provide the truer perspective. In other words, the shot from the 14mm lens appears to have a different perspective to the same scene  shot with a 35mm lens, only because the 14mm lens is plagued by uncorrectable distortions. Also. we would have to claim that the shot from the 35mm lens compared with another shot from an 85mm lens only appears to have a different perspective because 35mm lenses are inherently more prone to distortions than 85mm lenses.

We could apply the same comparisons of 85mm lenses with 200mm lenses, 200mm with 400mm lenses and 400mm lenses with 1,000mm lenses and so on. With each comparison between longer and longer focal lengths of lenses, we would eventually arrive at the situation where the longest focal length of lens that it is possible to manufacture would provide the truest perspective and that any differences in perspective that may appear in images taken with shorter focal lengths, are merely illusions.

Is this what you believe, Torger?


Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: torger on May 23, 2013, 02:27:16 AM
It seems to me that you are describing self-explanatory things like "a wider lens has a wider FoV and therefore perspective appears different"?

The most natural-looking perspective is typically something whose focal length is close to the diagonal of the sensor, the appearance becomes close to what our eyes experience. As soon as you crop you effectively lengthen focal length and get a more compressed perspective in the image, but you also see less.

When people say that cropping has no effect on perspective what they mean is that no angles or relations change in the scene, ie no magic lightbending happens. They don't mean that the appearance of the perspective of final image does not change, because it does of course. It's a confusion around how people use the word "perspective". You seem to use it in a painter's way, the apparent perspective in the final image, while those other guys use it as the eye see it when at the actual scene (ie "to get a different perspective you need to move to a different view point"). Partly in the discussion it seems like there are some deliberate misunderstandings and misinterpretations which makes it very difficult to move the discussion forward.

Viewing distance of the image can change the appearance too, if you stand very far away from a tele shot it may look more natural and less compressed, as what you see is so small it could be a cutout of what the eye sees. Likewise standing very close to a large print of a wide angle shot can make it appear more natural, as long as you look at the center and don't turn your head. But in practice viewing distance is rather irrelevant I think as one nearly always watch an image at a typical distance and/or the trained eye has learnt to concentrate on what's in the frame only, ie a wide angle will always have the wide angle perspective look and the tele will have that compressed look.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on May 23, 2013, 05:10:39 AM
Now this is what I suspect is going on here.  People like JJJ and Bart, and others, are trying to claim that images taken with wide-angle lenses only appear to have a different perspective as a result of various lens distortions, ...

Hi Ray,

You suspect wrong.

Re-read the posts that were linked to before, and you'll see that lens distortions play no role in linear perspective, they are merely aberrations.

We're simply dealing with an apparent perspective distortion caused by projection on a flat plane, and from usually viewing it from the wrong position/distance. If the flat plane projection were to be viewed from the proportionally correct position, the perspective would look exactly the same at it did in real life.

Since, for obvious reasons, we usually do not adjust our viewing position to achieve 'correct' perspective, prints may exhibit e.g. a seemingly wide-angle look or a compressed tele-lens look, and a good photographer can use that as a compositional element.

This article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perspective_(graphical)) on Wikipedia opens with the following overview:

Quote from: Wikipedia
Linear perspective always works by representing the light that passes from a scene through an imaginary rectangle (the painting), to the viewer's eye. It is similar to a viewer looking through a window and painting what is seen directly onto the windowpane. If viewed from the same spot as the windowpane was painted, the painted image would be identical to what was seen through the unpainted window.

"torger" summed it up pretty well in the preceding post, so I see no further need to keep repeating what has been said before by myself and others.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on May 23, 2013, 08:27:41 AM
All I'm asking is for some bright spark to provide the explanation for these obvious exceptions and inconsistencies, as in the following example which highlights the problem and perhaps even proves that people like JJJ and Bart are wrong on this issue. I never accuse people of being wrong unless I'm also able to provide reasons and evidence for their being wrong.

In view of the categorical statement from JJJ that "Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length", then why have you required the act of cropping, in procedure # 4 above, in order to demonstrate that cropping has no effect on perspective?

If two images taken with different focal lengths of lens appear to have the same perspective, and after cropping one of the images, the perspective is still the same, then that would demonstrate that cropping has no effect on perspective, provided one repeated the cropping a few times with different images just to be sure there were no exceptions.

However, if all images taken from the same position, without exception, appear to have the same perspective, whatever focal lengths of lens was used, then what is the purpose of cropping, in your experiment as described above? Are you with me so far?
Grief Ray are you trying to convince everyone you have lost your marbles? Cropping is done so you can [easily] compare same sized image subjects side by side, thus proving that it is position, not lens choice that affects perspective. The only difference then is image quality.

Quote
Now this is what I suspect is going on here.  People like JJJ and Bart, and others, are trying to claim that images taken with wide-angle lenses only appear to have a different perspective as a result of various lens distortions, and that cropping removes such distortions to reveal the true perspective which is determined only by lens position.
You assume incorrectly. So everything else you said about this daft assumption is irrelevant.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 23, 2013, 12:52:02 PM
Hi Ray,

You suspect wrong.

Re-read the posts that were linked to before, and you'll see that lens distortions play no role in linear perspective, they are merely aberrations.

Good! I'm glad to hear it. We can now rule that out as a possible explanation as to why changing focal length of lens appears to change perspective.

Quote
We're simply dealing with an apparent perspective distortion caused by projection on a flat plane, and from usually viewing it from the wrong position/distance. If the flat plane projection were to be viewed from the proportionally correct position, the perspective would look exactly the same at it did in real life.

Linear perspective always works by representing the light that passes from a scene through an imaginary rectangle (the painting), to the viewer's eye. It is similar to a viewer looking through a window and painting what is seen directly onto the windowpane. If viewed from the same spot as the windowpane was painted, the painted image would be identical to what was seen through the unpainted window.

Good analogy, Bart. I accept that as being reasonable and possibly correct. But we should inform JJJ because he seems to be under the misapprehension that viewing distance of print is irrelevant to perspective. This is what he wrote in reply#52. "Cropping has zero effect on perspective, nor does print/sensor size or viewing distance and the biggest myth of all, focal length."

I can imagine if one makes a huge print of a very wide-angle shot that appears to make the mountains in the background more distant than they did to the naked eye when the shot was taken, one can at least partially correct for that perspective distortion by viewing the print from a very close distance so that the mountains then appear to be at the correct distance within the over all scene. Unfortunately, I suspect that from such a close viewing distance required, one would unavoidably create other distortions when viewing at an extreme angle other  elements in the image that exist towards the edges of the print.

To correct for this one would probably have to mount the print on a concave surface. Unfortunately again, one cannot so easily do the opposite of viewing up close, that is viewing a small print from a long telephoto shot from a great distance. A long telephoto shot may result in a distant speck, hardly discernible by the naked eye, appearing as a large bird on the print, so close that one could reach out and grab it if it were real.

I understand that the rules of perspective were formulated before the camera was invented, and such rules seem to apply to perceptions by the unaided human eye. Instead of painting the scene directly onto the window, as viewed through a particular size of window, if we were to photograph the view through the window, standing in the same spot as the painter and using different focal lengths of lenses to take a number of shots from the same position, then make prints the same size as the window and paste them onto the window, we would have a lot of different perspective effects instead of the one effect that the painter sees.

Quote
"torger" summed it up pretty well in the preceding post, so I see no further need to keep repeating what has been said before by myself and others.

Maybe, but still a few mistakes, Bart. I'm doing my best to dispel muddled thinking on this issue, but it's not easy.  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 23, 2013, 01:13:31 PM
Grief Ray are you trying to convince everyone you have lost your marbles? Cropping is done so you can [easily] compare same sized image subjects side by side, thus proving that it is position, not lens choice that affects perspective. The only difference then is image quality.

Good grief, JJJ. Is that how you cheat? You compare two shots taken with different 'effective' focal lengths, and to make it easy, you crop the wider-angle shot to the same FoV as the narrow angle-shot so that no-one can tell the difference. Are you sure that's ethical?  ;)

By the way, the image quality doesn't always have to be different. That depends on lens quality and sensor pixel density. To get people really confused so they can't see any difference at all between the two images, you could use a D700 with a lower quality, longer focal length and a D800 with a better quality shorter lens so that both images, after cropping the D800 shot, have the same pixel count and resolution.  ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 23, 2013, 01:49:29 PM
It seems to me that you are describing self-explanatory things like "a wider lens has a wider FoV and therefore perspective appears different"?

That a wider lens has a wider FoV is self-explanatory, but that explanation doesn't include the reason why perspective appears different. In fact, what I consider as very self-explanatory is the notion that a wide-angle shot after cropping to the same FoV as a narrow angle shot will then look the same, provided both shots were taken from the same position. Or as Slobodan wrote, "Ray wants to point out that your proposed test proves only that "the same" is "the same," i.e., proves nothing", and Slobodan is often quite perceptive.

Quote
The most natural-looking perspective is typically something whose focal length is close to the diagonal of the sensor, the appearance becomes close to what our eyes experience. As soon as you crop you effectively lengthen focal length and get a more compressed perspective in the image, but you also see less.

By seeing less, do you mean you see fewer elements within the image; those things that Bob Fisher denies have any relevance to perspective?  ;)

Quote
When people say that cropping has no effect on perspective what they mean is that no angles or relations change in the scene, ie no magic lightbending happens. They don't mean that the appearance of the perspective of final image does not change, because it does of course.

If that's what they mean, they are of course at least partly right and partly in error. But notice that I don't claim people are wrong without providing detailed and helpful information on precisely why they are wrong. They are right in thinking that no magic light-bending occurs as a result of cropping. One is not able to see around corners without changing position.

However, it seems clear to me, almost self-explanatory, that some spatial relationships do change as a result of cropping. Not all change of course. Only the relationships of those elements that remain after cropping, with those elements in the wider-angle shot that have been cropped out, change.

I've mentioned very clearly, earlier in the thread, that I'm discussing the perspective as it appears in the final image. This is a photographic forum. Lens focal length and concepts of cropping apply only to photographic images, not paintings. But I'm glad you agree that the appearance of perspective does change with cropping.
 
Quote
It's a confusion around how people use the word "perspective". You seem to use it in a painter's way, the apparent perspective in the final image, while those other guys use it as the eye see it when at the actual scene (ie "to get a different perspective you need to move to a different view point").


I've never, ever argued that moving to a different viewpoint does not provide a different perspective. I'm not only using  perspective in a painter's way, but in a way that I assume most people see things whether they are painters or photographers, or neither.

Quote
Partly in the discussion it seems like there are some deliberate misunderstandings and misinterpretations which makes it very difficult to move the discussion forward.

I assure you there are no deliberate misunderstandings on my part. I believe that some of the confusion may be due to some people interpreting perspective too narrowly, as though it were a single thing, either/or, black or white.
I interpret perspective as an impression, not only of the relative positions of all the objects in the scene, but their relative size and an impression of their relative distance to each other, and distance from the viewer as determined by their relative size.

Quote
Viewing distance of the image can change the appearance too, if you stand very far away from a tele shot it may look more natural and less compressed, as what you see is so small it could be a cutout of what the eye sees. Likewise standing very close to a large print of a wide angle shot can make it appear more natural, as long as you look at the center and don't turn your head.

Absolutely true! You should tell that to JJJ.  ;)

Quote
But in practice viewing distance is rather irrelevant I think as one nearly always watch an image at a typical distance and/or the trained eye has learnt to concentrate on what's in the frame only, ie a wide angle will always have the wide angle perspective look and the tele will have that compressed look.

I find that what mainly influences my viewing distance is the size of the image or print. I tend to peer closely at small prints on the wall, and stand back from large prints, whatever the focal length of lens that was used for the shot, so yes, I agree that adjusting viewing distance to correct for perspective distortion is not something that most viewers would attempt or bother to do.

However, I would maintain, if it is true that the use of a particular focal length of lens on a particular camera results in an unavoidable perspective distortion that requires the viewer to adjust his viewing distance to the image in order to correct that distortion, or at least partially correct it, then logically one surely has to admit that a change in focal length can affect the perspective in the final image or print.

I rest my case.  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 23, 2013, 02:12:02 PM


I rest my case.  ;D

Good.  Get all the rest  you can.  Because I don't think even you know what you're talking about any longer.  Not that you ever did, at least in this regard.  ::)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 23, 2013, 11:15:20 PM
Good.  Get all the rest  you can.  Because I don't think even you know what you're talking about any longer.  Not that you ever did, at least in this regard.  ::)

What I think is far more likely, Bob, is that it is you who do not understand what I am talking about, not me.  ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 23, 2013, 11:46:30 PM
I can only conclude that some of you guys are, shall we say, logically challenged, to be polite, which is why I keep bringing up the Alice in Wonderland scenario. Your arguments sometimes remind me of  the amusing absurdities in that book.

For example, I write:
"Now this is what I suspect is going on here. People like JJJ and Bart, and others, are trying to claim that images taken with wide-angle lenses only appear to have a different perspective as a result of various lens distortions, and that cropping removes such distortions to reveal the true perspective which is determined only by lens position."

Notice that I am not declaring that I believe that lens distortions and aberrations are the cause of perspective appearing different with different FLs of lens. I am merely speculating on the possible reasons why some people do.

Now Bart responds with the flat statement, "You assume incorrectly", thus speaking on behalf of all those who are of the opinion that choice of lens has no bearing on perspective. Notice in my original statement, I used the phrase People like JJJ and Bart, and others. I wasn't referring only to Bart.

In my opinion, Bart could have more correctly responded along the lines, "I can only speak for myself and I can assure you that I do not believe that lens distortions contribute to an apparent difference in perspective."

Now, you might think this is just nitpicking, but I find it revealing because JJJ immediately jumps in and declares if I'm wrong on one point I must be wrong on all points. He writes: "You assume incorrectly. So everything else you said about this daft assumption is irrelevant", thus demonstrating his own incapacity for logical thinking.

This is all the more ironic because Bart is speaking on behalf of JJJ who has previously declared that viewing distance to the resulting image has no bearing on perspective, whereas Bart considers that viewing distance to the resulting image is instrumental in correcting the apparent distortion of perspective that presumably varies with the changing focal length of lens, requiring a print from a wide-angle lens to be made large and viewed from close up, and a print from a telephoto lens to be made small and viewed from a proportionally greater distance.

I have always made it clear in these discussions that I am referring to perspective as seen in a photographic image.

Now that I'm fully rested, I'll expand upon the point that Bart has made in relation to his explanation for this apparent change in perspective, hoping that he can clarify matters a bit more. He writes: "We're simply dealing with an apparent perspective distortion caused by projection on a flat plane, and from usually viewing it from the wrong position/distance."

I'm not sure how simple that is if we have to adjust viewing distance for every individual print in accordance with both print size and 'equivalent' focal length of lens used, with the almost infinite number of variables implied. That sounds very complicated to me.

If the perspective distortion caused by the projection of a 3-dimensional view onto a flat plane were a fixed quantity that varied only in proportion to print size, then that would be simple.

I can only conclude, in accordance with very basic laws of logic, that focal length and cropping, or effective focal length, can change our perception of perspective in the final print. What further proof does one need?

By the way, I'm using very basic laws of logic which I assume we are all capable of understanding. If A=B and B=C, then it follows logically that A also equals C. Would anyone care to dispute that?  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 24, 2013, 07:29:30 AM
"Perception" of perspective is a different matter, Ray.  It's like 'apparent' perspective distortion.  It doesn't change the fact that linear perspective is solely a function of distance to subject.  It's like saying the road looks like it's converging in the distance but when you get to that spot it isn't, but it then looks like it is further along.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 24, 2013, 08:51:36 AM
Bob,
This is a photographic forum, not a mathematics or geometry forum.

A photograph is usually a 2-dimensional representation, on a flat surface, of a particular scene that the photographer captured with camera and lens of choice.

Linear perspective is a scientific theory attributed to the architect Fillipo Brunelleschi, sometime around the year 1413.

Now don't tell me, whilst I've been discussing the perception of perspective as it appears on photographic images, all along you've been discussing Brunelleschi's scientific theory and never once mentioned it.  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 24, 2013, 09:12:22 AM
Bob,
This is a photographic forum, not a mathematics or geometry forum.

Tell that to the members who go on for pages and pages and pages about the minutiae of pixel density or examine 500% enlargements for image noise.

Quote
A photograph is usually a 2-dimensional representation, on a flat surface, of a particular scene that the photographer captured with camera and lens of choice.

That's what a photograph is?  [slapping hand to forehead]

Quote
Linear perspective is a scientific theory attributed to the architect Fillipo Brunelleschi, sometime around the year 1413.

Now don't tell me, whilst I've been discussing the perception of perspective as it appears on photographic images, all along you've been discussing Brunelleschi's scientific theory and never once mentioned it.  ;D

I'm using the same term Bart (and I think JJJ) used.  You can obfuscate all you want.  You're wrong.  You've always been wrong on this and if you persist in the silliness you've been engaging in up till now you'll continue to be wrong.

I'll admit to having been hard headed in a few discussions in the past where my thought process was incorrect.  But in the end even I came around to the right answer. 
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 25, 2013, 01:56:25 AM
I'm using the same term Bart (and I think JJJ) used.  You can obfuscate all you want.  You're wrong.  You've always been wrong on this and if you persist in the silliness you've been engaging in up till now you'll continue to be wrong.

Bob,
Anyone can tell anyone he is wrong. It means nothing unless you can explain why a person is wrong. If the explanation is satisfactory the person who is wrong on any particular issue  may change his way of thinking. If the explanation is either absent or unsatisfactory, only a fool would change his way of thinking on that basis.

I have made it very clear from the start that I am talking about the appearance of perspective in photographic images.

I have always made a clear distinction between the perspective as seen in a real 3-dimensional scene by the human eye, and the representation of that same scene in a photographic image. I've mentioned this several times in this thread.

I understand completely that light, as relfected from the objects we see, generally travels in a straight line, except when it's diffracted for whatever reason. If an object is fully or partially obscured by another object which is situated in front of it, then no matter what lens you use with your camera, no matter what you ate for breakfast, no matter what clothes you happen to be wearing, that object that is further away will remain obscured in the real scene, unless one changes one's viewing position, or unless the objects move of their own accord.

Furthermore, if one is able to capture those particular objects with a camera, and present only those objects, and nothing but those objects, in a photographic image, then the perspective of those particular objects will not change whatever the focal length of lens used.

This is what is being demonstrated when people crop the wider shot to the same FoV as the narrower shot. They are demonstrating that perspective is the same if all the objects represented in the photo are the same, and provided the shots were also taken from the same position.

This is an important principle in photography because it demonstrates something of practical significance known as 'focal length equivalence'. Focal length equivalence, or effective focal length, is always a particular combination of lens focal length and cropping. All photographs without exception are crops. Whether such cropping is done in-camera or during post-processing is immaterial regards effective focal length.

The point I've always made regarding this issue is that a wider lens captures more objects than a narrower lens, and the presence of those additional objects in the wide-angle shot changes the perspective of those fewer objects, seen as a whole in the narrower or cropped shot. Without cropping, those fewer objects would be seen in a different context. They would be surrounded by other elements which create a different perspective with regard to relative distances.

This is why I think it is a scientifically fraudulent practice to crop a wide-angle shot to the same FoV as a telephoto shot, in order to demonstrate that perspective is the same whatever the focal length. It's equivalent to destroying evidence in order to maintain a falsehood.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 25, 2013, 07:11:24 AM
Tired of reading. 
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Wim van Velzen on May 25, 2013, 04:43:24 PM
Original poster here. Shall I change the subject title to: 'when is much too much?'? :-)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on May 25, 2013, 07:04:58 PM
Original poster here. Shall I change the subject title to: 'when is much too much?'? :-)

Way past that.  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on May 25, 2013, 07:18:44 PM
Original poster here. Shall I change the subject title to: 'when is much too much?'? :-)

Not necessary. I think we are now in a better position to answer your original question, which was 'When is wide too wide?'

Answer: When your printer is not big enough, or your wall not big enough, or your room not big enough, to accommodate the size of print required so that you are able to appreciate a correct perspective from your normal viewing distance, or the viewing distance you will conveniently adopt.

I'm pretty sure Bart would agree with that answer.  ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: cjogo on June 02, 2013, 01:24:47 PM
When the angle does not lend itself to the image .. otherwise you are the guide.   I shot a very large portion of my images with a 38 Biogon ( 21mm) for almost 25 years...
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: theguywitha645d on June 05, 2013, 12:02:03 PM
When is wide too wide? When I can't get my butt through the door.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on June 05, 2013, 12:34:22 PM
When is wide too wide? When I can't get my butt through the door.

No, that means the door is not wide enough ... ;)

Afterall, it's all a matter of perspective.

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: NancyP on June 11, 2013, 12:19:35 PM
theguywitha645D definitely "wins" best answer on this thread.
Personally, I love working with ultra-wide angle lenses because I tend to be forced to consider different composition methods and viewpoints to make things interesting.

Here's one at 8mm focal length, APS-C: Squirrel's-eye view of a Bald Eagle
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on June 11, 2013, 02:34:13 PM
Nancy, what lens is that?  8mm are generally a fisheye but that doesn't show the usual fisheye effect.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: NancyP on June 11, 2013, 07:34:40 PM
APS-C-only lens: Sigma 8-16mm f/3.5-4.5 at 8mm, with Canon 60D. I used the Adobe lens profile correction.

I plastered myself and camera against the bark of this old tree, and took a series of images at different f/ stops and with slight variations in positioning of the tree's crown. One of the pictures had a bald eagle - I didn't notice at the time. I had been shooting a lot of 400mm eagle-in-flight and eagle-at-rest at a popular-for-eagles area just downstream of the Winfield Locks and Dam on the Mississippi, just north of St. Louis. I wanted a rest and change, so switched to the Sigma at 8mm and started photoing the bluffs, river, trees.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on June 12, 2013, 08:31:42 PM
theguywitha645D definitely "wins" best answer on this thread.
Personally, I love working with ultra-wide angle lenses because I tend to be forced to consider different composition methods and viewpoints to make things interesting.

Here's one at 8mm focal length, APS-C: Squirrel's-eye view of a Bald Eagle

An excellent example, Nancy, of the way in which a wide-angle lens can change the appearance of the perspective of objects within an image.  ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on June 15, 2013, 12:15:32 AM
This entire discussion is interesting for me because I see in it an example of how people can sometimes overlook the most basic requirement of scientific procedure when promulgating a particular idea which they are convinced is right.

When examining the effect of one specific change in any system, such as a change in the focal length of lens used to take a photograph, one should try to avoid simultaneously making other changes within the system, otherwise the consequences of the one change which is being examined may be confused by the effects of the other changes.

This is clearly what has happened in these discussion about perspective and focal length of lens.

If one wishes to be rational, logical and scientific about an issue, which is what I've attempted to be in these discussions, then, when comparing two images taken with different focal lengths of lens in order to determine if there is any difference in perspective apparent in the resulting images, one should make only the one change that one is examining.

That change in this case should be the change in FL of lens, because that's what we are examining.

The position of the photographer should remain the same. The camera body should remain the same. The lighting conditions should remain the same. The f/stop and shutter speed should remain the same. The processing, as far as reasonable, should remain the same. The final print size should remain the same, and the viewing distance to the final image or print should remain the same.

Having met these conditions, we are then in a position to see clearly what changes in perspective may have resulted from the use of different focal lengths of lenses. Or to be more precise, what changes in 'apparent' perspective may have taken place, because it should be understood that everything about a photograph is apparent. I'm reminded here of that anecdote about Pablo Picasso. When he was confronted by some bloke who criticised his paintings of women, claiming that they were distorted and unrealistic, unlike a photograph, Picasso asked the bloke if he had a photograph of his wife to demonstrate what he meant. The bloke pulled out a photo of his wife from his wallet. Picasso studied the photo for a while, then asked, "Surely your wife is not this small?"

Because this issue is not serious and not likely to affect anyone's health, I find it very amusing that someone would crop the wider angle shot to the same FoV as the narrower angle shot when making the comparison, or attempt to produce different size prints and/or view them from different distances in order to compensate or correct for any apparent changes in perspective, then claim that there is really no change in perspective.

Do some people really not understand that this is tantamount to scientific fraud, destroying and/or manipulating evidence?

If one wishes to demonstrate that an image from a wider focal length of lens when cropped to the same FoV as an image from a narrower focal length, will result in the same perspective, when the shots are taken from the same position, then one clearly must crop the wider image because that's the purpose of the experiment.
The conclusions that can be drawn from such an experiment is that focal length of lens in itself does not necessarily have any bearing on perspective. What is critical is that the 'equivalent' focal lengths be the same in order for perspective to be the same, and what is also demonstrated is that a wider-angle shot can always be cropped to produce the same equivalent focal length of a narrower-angle shot. If the equivalent focal length is the same, and if the position from which the shots are taken is the same, then the perspective will be the same, excluding such issues as differences in lens distortions.

However, when photographers select a wider lens for a particular shot, it is usually not for the purpose of cropping the image to emulate the effect of a narrower lens, with consequent loss of resolution. It is usually for the purpose of including additional elements in the composition. At least, that's why I select a wide lens for any particular shot.

The inclusion of other elements in the image, such as large features in the foreground, by necessity diminishes the size of the more distant objects within the photographic composition, and the perspective of those more distant objects, in relation to the additional elements that the wider-angle lens has included in the composition, has unavoidably changed.

Thus endeth the lesson in clear thinking.   ;)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on June 15, 2013, 04:08:37 PM
This entire discussion is interesting for me because I see in it an example of how people can sometimes overlook the most basic requirement of scientific procedure when promulgating a particular idea which they are convinced is right........<snip>........Thus endeth the lesson in clear thinking.   ;)
I think you'll find that ended many, many posts back Ray.  :P
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on June 15, 2013, 09:02:15 PM
It certainly didn't end with anyone admitting he was wrong, or anyone explaining clearly and precisely why he thought I was wrong. Whenever it is demonstrated that I am wrong on any issue, I admit that I am wrong, and I'm often pleased to be proved wrong because I feel I have learned something. Simply telling someone he is wrong teaches him nothing, apart from raising a suspicion that the person making the pronouncement that someone is wrong, may not understand the issue and may be just parroting the opinions of others.

In summary I would say that a change in the position of the photographer will always change the perspective as it appears in a photographic print. A change in focal length of lens will also always change perspective, provided that no other compensatory changes are made to the photographic image, such as cropping, or changing the print size and/or changing the viewing distance to the print.
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: jjj on June 21, 2013, 09:14:38 AM
It was explained fairly clearly and precisely, but the fact you completely failed to grok the explanations is not something any of us can help you with I'm afraid.   :P
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on June 21, 2013, 10:31:18 AM
The fact that I have failed to be persuaded by weak and inadequate explanations riddled with logical flaws and absurdities is quite understandable.

You haven't even provided a definition of perspective so we know what you have been talking about.

However, there can be a certain humour in absurdity, so don't think I have any hard feelings.  ;D

I mean...fancy cropping a wide angle shot which appears to have a different perspective to a narrower-angle shot, in order to demonstrate that the perspective, after cropping, is really the same as in the narrow-angle shot, and that cropping has had nothing to do with it being the same. Really!  ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on June 21, 2013, 06:34:06 PM
I'm an atheist, but am willing to pray please God let this thread die. ::
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Ray on June 21, 2013, 09:44:37 PM
I get the impression that you didn't finish that sentence, Bob.

Shouldn't you have written: "I'm an atheist, but am willing to pray please God let this thread die.....so I can continue believing in my fallacies"?   ;D
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: RFPhotography on June 22, 2013, 07:53:40 AM
I get the impression that you didn't finish that sentence, Bob.

Shouldn't you have written: "I'm an atheist, but am willing to pray please God let this thread die.....so I can continue believing in my fallacies"?   ;D

No, Ray, if I were going to continue I would have said 'because I'm tired of reading Ray's nonsense.'  ::)
Title: Re: when is wide too wide?
Post by: Guillermo Luijk on June 22, 2013, 08:22:43 AM
Quote
When is wide too wide?.

When you see the width before seeing the picture.