Bart, what good news! We don't have to revisit the problem of anamorphic distortion You've got a solution that we can all use, so that it's no longer a problem? Please advise all of us what that solution is.
The OP thinks there might be a link between the vision of the old masters to a Field of View of a lens.
Watch the following clip, and answer the following question: Does the photographer look through his viewfinder to decide which lens is needed, or does he position himself/his camera in such a position that the perspective is right?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTG8UCUeZxw
Just like the original painter Johannes Vermeer, Erwin Olaf
poses the model in an arranged setting and he records him/her while viewing from a given position. The choice of lens (focal length) will only determine the crop of the scene for the sensor size in his camera.
In Vermeer's time, there were hardly any lenses used for imaging, although there are suggestions that he was familiar with the concept of a Camera Obsura. Look at this clip
, which at 1:43 even stresses that the perspective is a perfect reconstruction of viewing the scene from a specific vantage point which helps to focus on a specific vanishing point, the focus of attention. Only a carefully chosen viewpoint in relation to the subject and direction of view play a role, and can achieve that. No lenses, mirrors nor smoke were required.
Here are some more examples of the use of perspective, deliberate distortons, alteration of shadows, simultaneous color contrast (Vermeer would have loved Photoshop if he were a contemporary photographer, no doubt):http://www.artbabble.org/video/ngadc/vermeer-master-light-music-lesson-part-2
, and a mirror http://www.artbabble.org/video/ngadc/vermeer-master-light-girl-red-hat-part-3http://www.artbabble.org/video/ngadc/vermeer-master-light-camera-obscura-part-4
, where the lens mentioned, instead of a pinhole, is used to keep the box smaller. Perspective is still dictated by the position of the entrance pupil of the Camera.http://www.artbabble.org/video/ngadc/vermeer-master-light-woman-writing-letter-part-5
A Camera Obscura with pinhole doesn't have a field of view, it just projects an image on a surface, it's plain projection perspective. This is similar to human vision, where we can scan the scene with our eyes to get a wider view, or even turn our head for a panaoramic view, from a given vantage point. Only vantage point (and thus distance between objects) and direction of view play a role in perspective.
If lenses would be needed to mimick the vision
of the old masters, then what lens would be needed to duplicate the result of, say, Vermeer's painting of the woman holding the balance/scales? Answer, whatever would give the same crop of the scene he viewed in front of him. Using a wider angle lens would require to shoot closer up, which would change the perspective (the relative size between foreground and background features), and the lines to the vanishing points would converge at different (less effective) angles. Although he understood how to manipulate perspective, he just used straight projection perspective in most of his works.
In this lecture about (amongst others) Vermeer's 'Milkmaid'
(at about 0:26:40 into the clip), we can learn more about the hows and why's and the symbols of it, but at 0:53:03 we also get shown other uses of Vermeer's keen sense of realistic (photographically accurate) perspective (look at the size of the Cavalier's head relative to the more distant woman), and how a higher or lower horizon due to a different vantage point and distance to the subjects adds almost subliminal clues about shyness or admiration/superiority.
It is, and has always been, all about projection distortion, nothing to do with the FOV of lenses. However, we can use lenses to exaggerate the effect by 'forcing' us to look at the image from the 'wrong' distance (see the other thread I referenced earlier for a discussion about that).
Nothing new, it's just that some people are not aware, now they know ...
P.S. I've added 2 other photographs by Erwin Olaf as attachment, from a series to commemorate the libration of the city of Leiden on October 3rd, 1574, just for the fun of showing the style of the old masters being reproduced with modern equipment (the making of
, mostly in the local language).
Erwin, with his wicked sense of humour, also added some contemporary accessories to the approx. 2x3 meter 'Liberty' composition. He added some bondage straps to one soldier's harness, had someone wear flip-flops instead of shoes or sandals, and strapped an iPod to one of the main figures' belt, to compensate for the people who had to eat cats and dogs to survive the siege while the plague was rampant. I love his sense of humour.