Angle of View
So now we're going to get more into the angle of view and how you would use different lenses for different types of purposes. So when we measure lenses and our angle of view, there's a couple of different ways that we can do it. And you'll see this in brochures about lenses and so forth. You can measure diagonally or you can measure vertically. And I'm going to go with horizontally and that's because most of us take horizontal photos most of the time and that's kind of how we think, from side to side. So we're going to go with horizontal as kind of our primary angle of view in here. And my favorite place for comparing angle of view is on this road that leads to Monument Valley. And we're going to be looking at this with all these different lenses. And so if you were to stand out in the middle of the road. Take caution, kids. Don't do this for very long. You've gotta be very, very careful about this. But I'm a professional, so I can do this. So, 50 millimeter lens on a normal camera is ...
gonna give you this point of view. For those of you with the crop frame, because I know there's a lot of you out there, pay attention over to the right hand side of the screen where you have the blue sensor which is showing you what you're getting with a crop frame camera. You would be at a 35 millimeter lens to see the same lens. Over on the left we'll throw up the angle of view that you're gonna see over there. And let's go ahead and start exploring the wide angle capability. As we zoom down to 35, it's a modestly or moderately wide lens. And then we get to kind of a middle wide angle lens at 24. We head into the world of ultra wide at 16. And one of the things that you'll notice as we get into this very wide category is how much the foreground road takes up of the scene. It's really become quite dominant of things that are here, gonna show up and be very significant in the frame. And especially as we go down to the uber ultra wide of 11 millimeters, that foreground really takes up a ton of space in there. And so let's go ahead and bring up where our 16, 24, 35, and 50 are. And so that's what we're doing when we go to wide angle. Let's go ahead and zoom back in to 50. And we're gonna get ourselves back to the telephoto range in a second. And you of course keep an eye on the right hand side for the equivalent focal length if you have a crop frame camera with a 1.5 crop. All right, let's get into a short telephoto, around 100 millimeters. A medium telephoto at 200. Move into the range of super telephoto at 400. And here at the super telephoto and telephoto ranges we're getting into an effect called compression. This is where you are gonna have multiple subjects or objects in the frame that are gonna appear closer together. And that is because it's from your point of view. These things look relatively close together. So if we look at this road, it leads into the background and there's this big butte, this backside, this hillside back here. I looked at this, and I was looking at the photos, and I said, "I think that's kind of a long distance there." And I was estimating that it was about a mile back to the butte. And I actually went back to the location a few years later. And I said, "Well I've got to measure this "because I teach a class and I use this photo." I measured it on the odometer in my car. And to get from this curve in the road back to the butte is five miles. Which is a really good example of compression. And this is a standard Hollywood technique. They use it for car chase scenes, to make cars look like they're closer together. If you've ever seen someone running down the street with a car chasing them down, and it looks like the car is just about to run them over, well, they're actually pretty far off, and it's not really a dangerous situation at all. And so that's a compression effect. And it can be really good when you want to have two objects that are kind of not close together, appear to be pretty close together. So let's go ahead and bring it back to our normal 50 millimeter perspective. And we'll be able to see where our crops were for our short, medium, and super telephoto lenses. I think this is a good way of illustrating where we're going from the wide angle to the telephoto end. So what I want to do in this section is really look at the key lenses and how you might want to use them for different types of photography. And so I always think it's helpful to kind of really illustrate it right here what you're gonna see from side to side. When I was in college, in my dorm room, I had this up on my wall. There was a LensCatalogue. I love that. That went right up on my closet because I just thought that was cool. I just wanted to learn that. And so right now in the studio we have two of them up at the same time so we're getting double vision right here. Because it's important. Now we're gonna get into the different lenses. But remember, if you have a crop frame camera, pay attention to the blue numbers. If you have full frame, pay attention to the red numbers. If you have the micro 4/3, we still love you. You just need to do a little bit of math. Take the red numbers and divide it by two. It's a pretty easy formula there. Now a lot of people are wondering, well what about the human eye? I'm gonna talk more about this in the photographic vision section, section 10 of this class. But just for right now let's talk a little bit about how the human eye sees. Because some people are like, "Why don't we just have cameras "that take pictures of what I see? "Why is that not possible?" Well, in the human eye we have a lens out in the front. And the way we see stuff is that the retina, this area in the back of our eyes, is sensitive to light. So everything that hits the retina is gonna be sensitive to light. Which means we can see about 150 degrees from side to side. Now it's not with great detail that you can see over here, but you can see movement, and color, and a bit of what's going on to the sides. At the back of our retina is the fovea, which is where the rods and cones are tightly packed in there where we get to see image detail. And when you read a book, do you hold the book over here and read it way off to the side? No. You've gotta look directly at the words you want to read. And that's because you're using the fovea in the back of your retina to look at that exact word so that you can see what the detail is so you can understand what's going on. Now as you move out from the fovea, the rods and cones are still pretty tightly packed in there so that you can get some pretty good information if it's generally in your middle vision. Once it gets further out here to the side, you don't have as much detailed information on it. So in some ways, you have a 2500 millimeter lens in your eyes. Not exactly, but kind of. You have a five millimeter lens that sees this huge, wide angle that expands. But for the most part, it's around a 50 degree angle of view which is very similar to a 38 millimeter lens as far as a normal perspective. You know, I think of this. When you go into a movie theater and you have all the seats available. Do you go right up to the front or do you go way to the back? We all kind of have our favorite places we like to sit because we don't want to be too close and have to move our head back and forth. We don't want to be so far back that we can't see what's going on. We just kind of want to sit there where it's right there comfortably in front of you. And that is about your central retina. Where you just feel nice and comfortable. It's covering most of my stuff but I don't have to look around too much. So you could call a 38 millimeter lens a normal lens. If you recall, back when we were talking about sensors, one of the ways to determine a normal lens is by the diagonal of your sensor. So one could also say that a normal lens for a full frame camera is a 43 millimeter lens. Nobody makes 43 millimeter lenses. I think somebody made a 42. But you could call that as a normal lens as well. It's pretty close to that 38. You'd be looking at about 28 here for your crop frame cameras. Now traditionally the 50 millimeter lens has been normal, which is really kind of a very short telephoto lens. The telephoto lenses are a little bit easier to make than wide angle lenses. And so back in the early days of photography, rather than making something that was a little bit wider and more difficult, they'd make something a little bit more telephoto because it was a little bit easier to make. And so that's how 50 millimeter lenses kind of became our normal lens. But I think 38 being so close to 35, which is a very common standard. The 35 to 50 millimeter lens can really be considered the normal lens. And so just need to do a little bit of math if you don't have the full frame sensor to do that. So let's take an in depth look at the 50 millimeter lens. 35 on a 1.5 crop. 25 on those micro 4/3. The normal lens in this case is great when you want to be really faithful and honest, and just showing something the way it really exists as far as size relationships between objects in the foreground and the background. And so if you're not trying to mislead-- And it's not that I like to mislead. But I do like to play optical games and do things in photography that you can't do with your own eyes. But if you are trying to be very faithful and honest with your photography, then a 50 millimeter lens is a great way to go. Objects in the foreground versus the background appear very much the way they do to our normal eyes. For everyday objects, it's just a great way to document something that you find interesting. Because it's not gonna change the way it really looks. If you're gonna be using a 50 millimeter prime lens, you'll be able to shoot it at a very fast aperture for not much money. In fact right over here I've got... This is one of my favorite little lenses. I think it's the cheapest new lens I've ever bought. It's a 50 millimeter 1.8 lens. And I've put this on a crop frame camera to get a portrait lens out of it. I've shot it on my full frame because it's super lightweight, and I'm not gonna drop it. But if I did drop it, I'm not gonna cry. You know, it's $125. I wouldn't ever do that. Trust me. I don't drop lenses. But it's just a great inexpensive lens. And especially for someone who just wants to go lightweight, this is amazing. These are really, really good values. I know they make faster, cooler lenses. But value wise, through the roof. It's really, really good. And these are also pretty good for documenting people. I don't know that I would do it portrait photography. But people photography, portrait photography, just slightly different there. And so for general people photography, a 50 millimeter lens. Their proportions are gonna be normal. It's a comfortable working distance. It's a good people lens. Especially at kind of a lifestyle lens. If you're gonna be photographing your kids and your family, 50 millimeter lens is just-- You don't need to play optical games with that. You just want to be honest and truthful about that I think. So this slightly wide angle normal lens is the 35 lens. This is your moderate or slightly wide angle lens. And I have joked in the past that this is the most boring lens they make. And the only reason I joke about that is because it's also probably the most practical lens that you could put on your camera. This is the lens that, for quite some time was in all the disposable cameras. And I think was one of the most popular lenses on our phones. But I think now they've gotten a little bit wider angle because we like using our phones in different ways. We want wider angle. But 35 is a very good practical lens. A lot of different things you can do with this. Obviously here you're just getting a little bit more from side to side. So good for landscape photography. Definitely one of the most popular lenses for street photography. General travel photography. Very good for what is known as environmental portraits. You're gonna photograph a person in their environment. And you want to show what they're doing, and where they are, without going too wide. But you want to be able to see the person in there. Using them with verticals. Travel photography, landscape photography. Very nice, but as I say, street photography. Just seeing what you see along the street is a great little thing to show people in their environment with this moderately wide angle lens. Now I really like, and I do have some favorites. Let's talk about this here for a sec. This is similar perspective to our own eyes. And so if you want to be very faithful and honest about what you're shooting, 35 and 50 works really well. Gonna give you that standard perspective. An when I say use with subjects that have a good working space, sometimes you'll have a fixed 35 or a fixed 50, and sometimes you're gonna need to be able to move up a few steps, and back up, depending on how much you're trying to show in that particular scene. So if you're working with those types of fixed lenses. And this is really gonna have people thinking about the subject in your photograph. I know I like to use a really wide angle lens, and a super telephoto lens, to make something that's on its own not that interesting. But optically I can do things that make it more interesting, make you see it in a new way. In this case, it's the subject that you have to make interesting. So if you have a really good subject, you don't need any special effects with your lenses. You can just use a basic lens, and your subject will do all the talking it needs in that photo. Now one of my favorite lenses is the 24 millimeter lens. And I like this for a couple of reasons. Number one, it's different than most people have on their phone. It's different than most people have on their point and shoot camera. So it just has an intrinsically slightly different look than you're gonna get with anything else. I also like it because when you're shooting with a 24 millimeter lens, it usually means that everything in front of you is looking pretty good. And I've gotten to be a little bit picky. "Oh, I've got some clutter here. "And I've got some clutter here. "Can't use a 24. Okay I gotta use a 50 millimeter lens "because there's some cluttery stuff over here." When I'm using a 24 millimeter lens, it's like I'm in a really happy place. Because there's a lot that's beautiful. And so up at Mount Rainier. Reflection lakes in here. Big environment. So this is a really popular lens for landscape photography. For travel photography, when you want to show a good portion of the environment around you. Gonna be a great lens for doing that. When you shoot vertical with that you're able to include a fair bit of the foreground in here. This is hard to do with a 50 millimeter lens. But it's much easier to do with a 24. And so shooting verticals is something I do quite a bit with the 24 millimeter lens. Going into a cistern in Morocco. Trying to show as much of this environment as I can for the most part. But as I say, very popular for landscape photography. Going ultra wide. Not everyone needs to do this. And so this is something that is not supplied with the standard kit lenses. But for those of you who like to look at the world in a different way, and go into a variety of environments and really record everything that they see, the 16 millimeter lens, or anything in that ultra wide category, can be a lot of fun. So here looking straight up. Getting buildings all around. If I was shooting with a 50 millimeter lens, about all I would get is the blue sky there. And it's sometimes a little hard to tell the perspective on this because it is so wide. But it is fun to be able to use this because everything in front of you is looking pretty good and is something that's gonna be pretty much included in the frame. And once again if we shoot verticals we're gonna be able to include lots of information in the foreground. So foreground is very important with wide and ultra wide angle lenses. You can work in fairly confined places. This is just a walking street in Cuba, and it's really not that wide. Maybe 30 feet wide. But I was able to include the three blue doors and the windows up on top. And having that color and that pattern helped add to the shot. And the only way I could get that, because there was a building there, I can't back up any further, is using that ultra wide lens. When you use the ultra wide lens, there is gonna be a little bit of distortion. Objects closer to you are gonna appear bigger than objects further away. It's kind of the way it works in all lenses. But it really gets exaggerated when you get to these really wide angle lenses. These stairs are evenly wide as you go up them, but it looks a lot wider as you get close. And so it's an optical illusion. It's a distortion that you're seeing here. And I want to talk a little bit about that distortion. We're gonna be twisting and moving things in some ways. But the word distortion is used for multiple things in photography. And there is one type of distortion known as barrel distortion. And if you notice the horizon there's a slight curve to it here. And that's because the lens I used has a little bit of barrel distortion. And I can correct for that in post production. Nobody really likes barrel distortion, unless you're shooting fisheyes, and we'll get to that. But that's a separate subject. And so we prefer not to have that. So that is one type of distortion. But there is another type of normal wide angle distortion. Because I hear people using the term incorrectly when they say, "Oh, that lens has distortion." No, it's the normal-- And I prefer to use the term stretching effect. And so as we go from a 35, modestly wide lens, into a wider angle lens, we're now kind of stretch these sides out. And we end up getting this foreshortening effect where it makes the foreground look larger. This is what I've been talking about with the 24 and 16 millimeter lens, is foreground is really important. These walls right here to the side appear much larger than the walls in the back. And we all know that they're the same height. The tiles in the roof are gonna appear bigger on the side closest to the camera than the one further away. And so foreground subjects become very, very important when using wide angle lenses. And so you have to be a bit careful on how you use them. They can get misused in some ways. And one of the most important things is finding foreground subjects that you can include in the frame. We'll talk more about this in the composition section. But this is good because we have something to look at in the foreground, we have something to look at in the background. You can use these in really tight places and there's a lot of distortion in here, but most people would never know because you don't know what these natural lines look like. And so you can use these in this environment. If you were to shoot this in someone's bathroom, or a tight hallway, those lines are gonna appear very awkward. But here it just looks like, well, I don't know. They could be curving in that direction. They can be very useful in these natural environments. Some tips for using these wide lenses. Obviously you may need to use them when you just can't move further away from your subject. If you want to show your subject but also the environment in which they're working. You know, a car mechanic. They've got this wall of tools up there. Wide angle lens would be a great way to have that kind of as a pattern with your subject there in the corner. Think about foreground subjects. Sometimes I want to photograph something like a manhole, but I want it to be kind of significant in the frame. I'll get right in real close with a wide angle lens. And then also show buildings in the background or something else. Now it's really hard to get shallow depth of field. I know we haven't talked about shallow depth of field yet, but I know a lot of you already know about that. But if you were trying to shoot shallow depth of field, when you have these wide angle lenses, they inherently have a lot of depth of field. And so it's very hard to shoot a wide angle shot with something in the foreground in focus and everything behind it really out of focus. It's not impossible, but it's limited as to what you can do in that regard. You do have to be careful when shooting wide angles, 24 and wider, with people. Because there is this stretching effect. And people's heads-- Well, does anyone remember the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live? In the corner you start getting coneheads when you get these wider angles. And so if you're doing group shots and so forth, I recommend trying to use a longer lens like a 35, or a 50 millimeter lens, if you can. Sometimes you're limited. But try to use the longest lens you can for those people shots, especially if they're close to the corners. If they're in the middle of the frame, not as much of a big deal. But it's when they get to the corners that it's a problem. Next up we're gonna dive into the world of telephoto lenses. We'll start with the short telephoto lens. We're talking about 100 millimeter lens. And when I say 100, 90, 85, 105. Yeah, it's all good. And so anything in this general range is what I'm talking about. This is good when you have a little bit narrower focus on what you want to get. Maybe not everything looks good in the frame. You want to be a little bit more detail oriented in showing a particular subject. One of the things that you'll notice as we start going through this is that we are starting to get to some shots that have shallower depth of field. And so if you're the type of person that likes to highlight a subject by having it be in focus and blurring the rest of it out, telephoto is what you're really gonna like and be able to get into. This is also where we're gonna run into macro lenses. And so if you want to get into macro lenses, they're typically gonna be in the short to medium telephoto lenses that are specially designed for closeup work. And that's a whole world unto itself. And we'll talk more about macro lenses actually in the gadgets section. We don't have enough room in the lens class. It kind of got bumped to the gadget section. It's also good for just general documentary street photography and so forth. But what this short telephoto lens is known for more than anything else is the portrait lens. And there's a number of reasons why it is known as a portrait lens. And first off, it shows peoples faces and bodies in normal perspective. And part of it has to do with the working distance we are from our subject. And it's gonna put us a comfortable working distance from our subject. A comfortable distance that we would normally be from somebody that we are talking to for instance. And so it looks very, very normal. And we're also able to get that shallow depth of field, depending on what lens we're using. We could spend a little bit of money, or we could spend a lot of money to get that shallow depth of field. And there's a lot of inexpensive options to get this if you want. Lenses are really tools for photographers. And every photographer needs to have a toolkit. And the question is is how many different tools do you need in that toolkit. I think on the wide angle, and most people need something around a 24 millimeter lens. Some people need to go beyond it. But most people are gonna need at least a 24. You need something in that 35 to 50 range. Probably need 100. And I think on the telephoto end, most people are gonna need a 200. Some people need to go beyond it. But I think that 24 to 200 range is a really important range for most photographers to have. And this is important so that you can shoot detailed shots. Photographers are very often detail oriented people and they notice small things. Great looking guy, nice scene on there. But you know what? Let's just get in right on that cigar and we're gonna have a whole new picture rather than showing the entire portrait. And so getting in on smaller subjects and being more focused in what you're shooting is what you're gonna be able to do with these 200 millimeter lenses. This is a reflection in the water of Seattle's Great Wheel. And I just thought there were some really interesting reflections in the water. Yeah, there was another nice 35 millimeter, 24 shot. But just let's look at this one little area here and create a pattern with this longer telephoto lens. Isolating subjects that are a little bit further off are very easy to do. This is also very good for portrait photography, very much like the 100 millimeter lens was. We're able to be able to shoot a little bit further off, or we're able to be shooting a little bit tighter and not in the way of the lights and so forth. And so very, very practical lens. I cannot think of the last time I left my house with my camera bag without having a 200 millimeter lens in there if I'm going out to shoot. It's just 24 to 200, I got to have that toolkit. Sometimes more, but at least that range. Sometimes you don't have a lot of options on getting closer to your subject. And so the 400 millimeter lens tends to be very popular for people into sports, action, and wildlife photography. And so remember, if you have the crop frame sensor, that means a 250 millimeter lens. That's a lot less money and a lot less weight than the 400. Bit of an advantage for those of you who are shooting the crop frame sensors. You can only park so close to the animals before you're gonna disturb them. You can only get so close to the cyclists before you're going to, well, get run over or something like that. And so being able to get these tighter shots, it is absolutely necessary to have something in the 300, 400, 500 millimeter shot. Now the effect with these telephoto lenses is that you get to have this compression effect. I talked briefly about it earlier. I love this shot in Cuba. I love going down this street. Because we can use each of the sides of the street here for framing the capitol building. Even using the archway here. And I can take something that takes place over probably about five or six blocks and I can compress that into a single photograph to help frame my subject. Going into the desert. I think this is Eureka Dunes in Death Valley. And get up on a high dune, and you're looking off in the distance. And I'm photographing these dunes that are a quarter mile away from me. Walking on these dunes, each one is 100 meters apart. It would take you five minutes to talk from one end of this picture to the other end. But I can create a nice pattern that you wouldn't normally see with your own eyes, but you can see with that telephoto lens. And so that compression effect is a really powerful tool in a nice big open environment like that. So we're gonna kind of flatten and squeeze into a smaller space. One of my favorite compression shots is at the Very Large Array in Arizona. Now, what I like about this shot is it's very meta. I am taking a telephoto shot of what is essentially a telephoto lens. This essentially is a lens. And they actually have focal length and aperture listed on one of their marks there about what it is. But what's very interesting is that it's not just a really powerful lens. It's a zoom lens. And the way they zoom it is they take these giant antennas on double railroad tracks, because they weigh so much, and they move them in and out, closer to further together, depending on how they want to focus it. And about three times a year they move them so that scientists can look at different stuff in the sky. And right now, I was a little disappointed when I went there because they were the most spread out that they can get in this case. And each satellite is roughly about 600 yards apart. Excuse me, it's about a half mile apart. Let's just call it 800 yards. And so it's spread out over about 3.5 to four miles from the first telescope to the last telescope. But if you stop on the entry road at just the right spot with a 400 millimeter lens, you get them all lined up in one shot. Some trees down in Oregon. They really didn't cover up that much of the surrounding. But with a 400 millimeter lens you could create a pattern shot. Being able to shoot with these long lenses you can get images that you just can't get closer to. If you get closer to this, it just changes the whole nature of the shot and you can't do that. Having a 400 millimeter lens can be very, very handy in many, many environments. But it is something I usually will only pick when I know that I have the open environment to work with. The one shot that I showed you earlier of Cuba, and Havana, and the capitol, I didn't bring my 400 millimeter lens. I normally don't bring a 400 lens to Cuba because Cuba has really small, tight streets, and you're in really close, and there's just not enough room to back up for a 400. But one person on our tour had a 400, so I asked if I could borrow it for five minutes. Which is great if different people own different lenses. Just use it for when you need it for that. All right, so the telephoto lens. Some things to think about here. If you can't get any closer, yep, that's what you're gonna need. You're often gonna be getting shallow depth of field. And there are gonna be a variety of lenses at different prices. They're all gonna be able to get you shallow depth of field. Some just more than others. One of the nice things is that you can minimize the background area. If I was needing to shoot a portrait of somebody and hair and I just wanted a clean background. There's just a lot of stuff in any room, or this room. But if I can find, okay, there's a little bit of white space on the wall back here that I want as a clean background. I can use a telephoto lens and have you stand in the right position and make use of that. Sometimes you have a cluttered background and a subject that you can work with. A telephoto lens is really, really easy to work with because you can just pick a nice little spot and you're finding the best spot in the entire area for shooting. If you ever need to compress a subject in the foreground versus the background. You're photographing two people working but they're at different workstations. Photograph them from the side so you can see one and kind of compress one on top of the other. Does flatten the scene in many ways as well. Here is another example of using all the lenses. But in this case, I am gonna be moving as the photographer, forward and back, so that our subject stay exactly the same size in the frame. And so we're gonna start with a 50 millimeter lens. And watch what happens to the background as we go to the wide angle, and all the way down to a fisheye lens. Notice how much we can see of the background here. Let's go back to 50. And work our way into telephoto. Now as I change positions here I am moving further away to keep her the same size in the frame. Notice that stairway in the back behind her. Watch what happens when we get all the way up to 800. I'm gonna quickly go back just so that you can see this. Because I think it's a fun example. If I was shooting video they might call this a dolly zoom or a Hitchcock zoom. And there's a number of movies that will employ this effect. But I think it's fun to do just to learn about lenses and see what they do with your subject, its background, and the surroundings. And so I think this is a good learning exercise for people who want to just learn what lenses they have, and what they do, and how they affect the environment around that subject. And so it's really handy to know which lens to pull out for any situation. And when I fall into a situation, I usually know what lens I need. Because I have an idea of what I can get from that subject. But when you're new to photography, you're not always sure, "Well, do I want this lens? "Or do I want to shoot with this lens?" And partly it's just knowing the lenses that you have.