What is focal length: definition, comparison, every question answered

    | Photography for Beginners | 07/09/2012 02:00am

    Understanding Focal Length: Wideangle vs Telephoto

    Wide-angle and telephoto focal lengths each give pictures a very different look and feel. Here’s how to make the most of the extremes


    What is focal length: adding depth


    Adding depth
    A wide-angle lens (above) exaggerates perspective, making the foreground 
and background appear further apart.

    What is focal length: adding depth


    A telephoto lens (above) appears to flatten the image, bringing the key elements closer together. Notice that the tree in the foreground is the same size in each shot.


    What is focal length: cleaning up the frame

    Cleaning up the frame
    Because long lenses have a narrower angle of view, it’s easier to keep distracting elements out of the picture and create ‘tighter’ shots. Wide-angle lenses take in a much greater expanse, meaning you have 
to check the edges of the frame closely for unwanted elements.


    What is focal length: controlling distortion


    Controlling distortion
    Used at close range, a wide-angle lens (above) creates a distorted image, which can make portraits look like caricatures.

    What is focal length: controlling distortion

    Shot at a longer focal length

    For more flattering results, stand further away from your subject and zoom in with a longer focal length (above). The narrower view isolates a cleaner background too.

    PAGE 1: Focal length definition and common questions
    PAGE 2: Understanding Focal Length: wideangle vs telephoto
    PAGE 3: Focal length comparison cheat sheet


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    Posted on Friday, September 7th, 2012 at 2:00 am under Photography for Beginners.

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