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Author Topic: choosing an angle of view  (Read 1255 times)

bluekorn

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choosing an angle of view
« on: June 26, 2019, 06:49:01 pm »

Photographers of this site and elsewhere are often heard to say "because that's how I see the world". The discussion is about lens choice for the best personal experience. "I like 35mm but I don't like 50mm." "My eye/brain sees 28mm but I don't particularly enjoy shooting at 35mm". And it seems this is mostly about angle of view rather than subject distance or depth of field etc. The issue is compelling to me. For some reason I think photographers that know this about themselves and their visual experience have an advantage, at the very least in enjoying their work and perhaps in making stronger photos. Do any of you "see" the world best at a particular angle of view? If you had to try that experiment of using one camera, one prime for an extended period of time would you know unquestionably which lens you would choose? Thanks for any reflections. Peter
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Shiftworker

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2019, 02:47:38 am »

Probably the best way to think about it is to forget the idea that our eyes have any real connection to how a camera sees the world. For instance if you consider the FOV of human vision you would be using a fisheye lens but if you considered the area of our vision that can identify fine detail then you would use a very long telephoto.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2019, 05:32:06 am »

I am ok with between 35 and 50mm. I tend to prefer 35mm because it is more versatile for me: travel, travel/environmental people, landscape.

petermfiore

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2019, 07:14:01 am »

I tend to go out with a single prime and that ranges from 35-100mm. I go with one lens to explore. I like the limitation of the single choice. It forces me to look and see. I do a good amount of street photography and I enjoy using a 35mm a 75mm equivalent in M43. Makes for a more graphic image. A 35mm equivalent is a great walk around lens, when environment is wanted for context.


Peter

Ps   As of late I have been using a 25mm f1.2 for street, 50mm equivalent M43. I am enjoying the very selective focus such a lens affords.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2019, 09:45:41 am by petermfiore »
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Alan Klein

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2019, 09:04:09 am »

On vacation or just shooting around with a P & S with an equivalent 24-70mm zoom, I tend to shoot most pictures at the wide angle end 24-28mm.

BernardLanguillier

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2019, 06:05:56 pm »

My recommendation would be to use a 24-70 lens exclusively for a few days and frame each image to your liking.

Then check later in your raw conversion software what focal length you ended up using most.

As far as I am concerned, I see two clear peaks of usage at 24mm and 35-40mm.

A friend of mine did a casual test with me last year, and she was mostly 50-70mm.

Cheers,
Bernard

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2019, 12:45:02 am »

Good advice Bernard. I tried much the same thing but over a long period and looked to see where most of my higher rated images were to be found. It was a revelation. Obviously there are outliers and such but I could quickly see where where my favorite images were coming from.
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jim t

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2019, 01:51:46 am »

I would have to say it's all about perception and what you want to say about the scene. If you have enough experience shooting different focal lengths, then it would be much clearer what lens to use. Since there is no one perfect lens for all scenes, why limit yourself. Carrying just one lens is great for experimentation and challenging yourself, but when I want to express my vision I need flexibility.
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Martin Kristiansen

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2019, 02:48:46 am »

Worked for a HCB, and lots of other. We are all different but a significant number of very successful photographers found that limiting equipment had a positive effect on their creative output.
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petermfiore

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2019, 02:57:52 am »

Worked for a HCB, and lots of other. We are all different but a significant number of very successful photographers found that limiting equipment had a positive effect on their creative output.

One lens forces you to design and make that one lens work. In time you start seeing the world as the lens does, it happens rather quickly. When you have an option, you will doubt the choice and stop and change lenses. Often loosing the moment.

The one lens makes you work a little harder. I have often been rewarded by this method. You see in terms of that one lens.


Peter

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2019, 03:44:14 am »

One lens forces you to design and make that one lens work. In time you start seeing the world as the lens does, it happens rather quickly. When you have an option, you will doubt the choice and stop and change lenses. Often loosing the moment.

The one lens makes you work a little harder. I have often been rewarded by this method. You see in terms of that one lens.


Peter

Agree completely.
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Rob C

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2019, 04:05:21 am »

One lens forces you to design and make that one lens work. In time you start seeing the world as the lens does, it happens rather quickly. When you have an option, you will doubt the choice and stop and change lenses. Often loosing the moment.

The one lens makes you work a little harder. I have often been rewarded by this method. You see in terms of that one lens.


Peter


I could not agree more!

Beyond that, it varies/varied with format. On 135 flm I would use 135mm for headshots and 35mm for full-length fashion. Quite often, during the 60s, we would use 35mm for half/lengths too, which gave a distortion, an elongation to heads at the edges of the frame, which was graphically novel for a while, but hardly flattering. Seek out some of the many relevant Penelope Tree shots by Bailey to get the idea. I don't think he was doing that with Shrimpton!

Were I doing commercial work today, fashion and calendars would see me using 300mm and my 500mm reflex a lot more than I used to use 'em. But the point about that is all about an interest in "look".

Today, old, not terribly fit and also very much retired, if taking a camera walkies at all, I would not dream of leaving home without a single lens already fitted. Photography is no longer about making my living, but amusement. Why play at mules and Nat. Geog. stars on a three-month trip? Use that single lens choice to its best advantage and be surprised at how quickly you discover photographs are about you, not equipment. You have a better chance of learning that if you keep the lens pretty wide open. Stop down until all is sharp, and waddya got? Confusion.

On 120 fomat (6x6) I used the 80mm for studio full-lengths and the 150mm (180mm when I had one) for portaits and some full-lengths when I wanted less background. I would not go walkies with a big camera, ever again.

Rob C

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2019, 06:55:51 am »

Further to the above: the black/white beach shot was a 4/200mm Nikkor; the squate shot with 500 Series 'blad and a 150mm. I also used a weak Softar on it.

Thr fashion pic was a 2.8/35mm Nikkor.

As I say, you could shoot with any lens, but the choice gives the identity - to an extent.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 07:44:22 am by Rob C »
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Alan Klein

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2019, 11:17:13 am »

Nice angles, Rob.

Rob C

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2019, 11:48:33 am »

Nice angles, Rob.


Best thing about 'em: they had no interest in politics at all! Well, neither they nor I ever raised the subject, so conclusions were there to be drawn.

:-)

John R

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2019, 08:48:08 pm »

One lens forces you to design and make that one lens work. In time you start seeing the world as the lens does, it happens rather quickly. When you have an option, you will doubt the choice and stop and change lenses. Often loosing the moment.

The one lens makes you work a little harder. I have often been rewarded by this method. You see in terms of that one lens.


Peter
Peter I agree with this up to a point. I have seen this view expressed many times on different sites. I do just that on most of my walks. Too lazy or too slow to change lenses, so start to use and see in terms of the lens I am using. 90 mm macro. However, if we must choose and be constrained, it is only reasonable to make a lens choice based on your interests and the kind of photography you do. Zooms are so good now there is little reason to pick a prime over a zoom if you are limited to one lens; especially if your interests are varied. When I shot slide film, I used 35-105 zoom 90% of the time. If one looks at Slobodan's city-scapes architecture/abstract images, there is no way he can do those without the ability to zoom in and isolate his chosen design. It's not like he can hire a crane and ask to be moved around. I think, no matter the lens, if a person is any good at photography, he will adapt to the viewpoint of the lens.

So the other side of the coin is well expressed by Jim T; and I think both ways will work.
I would have to say it's all about perception and what you want to say about the scene. If you have enough experience shooting different focal lengths, then it would be much clearer what lens to use. Since there is no one perfect lens for all scenes, why limit yourself. Carrying just one lens is great for experimentation and challenging yourself, but when I want to express my vision I need flexibility.
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petermfiore

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2019, 10:49:01 pm »

Peter I agree with this up to a point. I have seen this view expressed many times on different sites. I do just that on most of my walks. Too lazy or too slow to change lenses, so start to use and see in terms of the lens I am using. 90 mm macro. However, if we must choose and be constrained, it is only reasonable to make a lens choice based on your interests and the kind of photography you do. Zooms are so good now there is little reason to pick a prime over a zoom if you are limited to one lens; especially if your interests are varied. When I shot slide film, I used 35-105 zoom 90% of the time. If one looks at Slobodan's city-scapes architecture/abstract images, there is no way he can do those without the ability to zoom in and isolate his chosen design. It's not like he can hire a crane and ask to be moved around. I think, no matter the lens, if a person is any good at photography, he will adapt to the viewpoint of the lens.

So the other side of the coin is well expressed by Jim T; and I think both ways will work.

John,

Absolutely...The single lens option for me is for street photography.

When I'm out in the landscape looking for landscape material for my paintings I use a Sony RX 10 IV. It has a 24-600mm equivalent in 35mm. I need all of that for finding and enhancing what it is I'm designing for paintings. I get the image as perfect as I can in camera and move things around invariably when making the painting... after all, a painting is not a photograph and has different needs.

Peter 



« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 02:14:06 pm by petermfiore »
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Rob C

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2019, 07:06:25 am »

And there you are: zooms, the one thing I no longer own, having only ever had one, and hating it with a vengeance.

They defeat the entire point for the non-assignment situation - for me - because of weight and the inevitable problem of blessed choices which are decidedly not what I want on a walkabout. If I remember the OP correctly, the thing is about finding a focal length that appeals, and using a zoom makes you hop from this to that and make that journey to visual identity so much longer and confusing than it need be.

Remember a time when people bought a Rolleiflex tlr and lived happily ever after?

Enough is enough, and more too much. At least at the beginning.

John R

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2019, 08:06:46 am »

John,

Absolutely...The single lens option for me is for street photography.

When I'm out in the landscape looking for landscape material for my paintings I use a Sony RX 10 IV. It has a 24-600mm equivalent in 35mm. I need all of that for finding and enhancing what it is I'm designing for paintings. I get the image as perfect as I can in camera and move things around invariably when making the painting... after all, a painting is not a photograph and has different needs.

Peter 

Peter the way you and others describe the Sony RX 10(s) or IV is sure making me lust after it. To think I can see something in my mind's eye as I walk and be able to frame it without considering what lens I have, is awesome to say the least.

JR
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BJL

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Re: choosing an angle of view
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2019, 10:07:48 am »

One lens forces you to design and make that one lens work. ... When you have an option, you will doubt the choice and stop and change lenses. Often loosing the moment.
At the risk of seeming a photographic philistine, another obvious solution to that problem is using a single zoom lens. For me lately it has been an Olympus 12-60/2.8-4; (“24-120”); if I were on the 36x24mm EVF camera band-wagon it would probably be one of several excellent recent 24-105/4 options.

I am instinctively skeptical of “artistic” arguments in favor of restrictions that originated in technical limitations that have since been greatly mitigated: lenses limited to one focal length, manual focus, manual exposure, (36x24mm format :) ) ...
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