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07-11-2011, 12:45 AM   #1
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FL: on film & digital bodies

If I use an old lens from a film camera on a new digital camera, will the focal length be 1.5 times smaller than that was while on a film body? for example if i use a old135mm lens from film days on my new dslr will the focal length be same as using a new 90mm lens on dslr?
Will the extent of frame covered using old 135mm on dslr and the new 90mm lens on dslr be same?

07-11-2011, 01:02 AM   #2
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Rather than dividing the focal length of a lens you need to multiply it. So you 135mm lens will have the same affect on a digital camera, (cropped or smaller sensor) as a 200mm lens would have on a film camera.

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07-11-2011, 01:10 AM   #3
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Focal length never changes, but the field of view of your 135mm on a Pentax DSLR would be the same as that of about a 200mm on film.

The equivalence can be seen in this chart of fields of view:



The easiest way to think of this is that the DSLR sees less than the film camera, since its sensor is smaller. You can read the full article on that here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/90477-crop-factor-fo...ield-view.html

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07-11-2011, 08:02 AM   #4
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That was great! and even those articles.
It really helps my new lens line up decision making. Itt is good that I didnt go for the old 55 mm that are now favourites for many (although they are fast) will almost make the same FOV of my 35mm, since I dont want to pile up lens with same coverages (slthough some argue they have character). Also, 85 would be almost close FOV and now I can look for other FLs to do my job.

Thanks all!

07-11-2011, 08:02 AM   #5
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As said above....focal lenght doesn't change at all.....so 50mm lens will be 50mm on APS-C as well, just cropped 50mm. So don't expect that your standard lenses miraculously turn into telephotos, they wouldn't .... etc.
07-11-2011, 08:10 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vrrattko Quote
As said above....focal lenght doesn't change at all.....so 50mm lens will be 50mm on APS-C as well, just cropped 50mm. So don't expect that your standard lenses miraculously turn into telephotos, they wouldn't .... etc.
I am only concerned about the FOV, be it same FL I am not bothered. I am only concerned as to what you were able to capture in the film days with those FLs to be achieved in a different FL. So my concern is only the FOV (not the focal length as i understand the FL is not changing)

PS: I want to see how the old photographers saw through their lenses and adopt it.
07-11-2011, 10:43 AM   #7
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Cartier-Bresson used 50mm almost exclusively. Lens design was limited back then.

Since the APS-C sensor is smaller than the 35mm film format it creates telecentricity. So if you want 50mm from the 35mm film days you need ~35mm FL on APS-C.

We still have to reference FL because that is how lenses are labelled.
07-11-2011, 03:33 PM   #8
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Old-time photographers saw through their lenses in many ways, or not at all. (We don't look through the lenses on box and folding cameras, rangefinders, etc. We look through different lenses on TLRs.) We only look through the picture-taking lenses on view cameras and SLRs. Using LiveView on a dSLR, with a black cloth pulled over your head, gives you an idea of what view-camera photographers see.

If you want a taste of old-time photography, try this: Set your camera to B&W, no filtration. Put a 28mm lens on your camera. 28mm is the 'normal' focal length for your dSLR. Put a light Blue B&W filter, or a violet or blue-violet CC (color correction) filter on the lens. Now you and the camera will see the world as early photographic emulsions saw it: no color, and no green-yellow-orange-red tones recorded.

If that is too primitive for you, then use the 28mm lens and set the aperture to f/8. Set the camera to B&W, with Orange filtration. Now you'll capture the visual world as Cartier-Bresson and that mob did, in glorious monotones with deep DOF. Be sure to leave ISO at 100.


Last edited by RioRico; 07-11-2011 at 04:15 PM.
07-11-2011, 04:05 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Be sure to leave ISO at 100
25 is more like it!
07-11-2011, 04:14 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
25 is more like it!
Right. Throw on an ND2 filter! ND4 if you want that "original Kodachrome" feel.
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