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09-27-2009, 07:29 PM   #1
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standard view of field?

What focal length would give you a "normal" field of view on a film camera?

09-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #2
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50mm, I believe?
09-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #3
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43mm if you measure the diagonal of a 24x36mm film frame, funny how pentax makes a limited prime of that length. 50mm is the 'historical' standard, a little tight but usually gives you 1:1 viewing in the viewfinder at infinity.
09-27-2009, 09:56 PM   #4
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back in the day, ~58mm lenses were standard because they were the easiest to make

09-27-2009, 10:15 PM   #5
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It depends on the format. By convention, 50-something (45, 48, 50, 52, 55, 58) is normal for 35mm. This is cool since a 50mm lens also has about the same magnification as the eye. To a great extent, what you see through the viewfinder is similar to what you saw before you put the camera to your eye.

There is a full discussion on the Wikipedia:
Normal lens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Please note that this designation is a matter of convention only. People see in different ways. For me personally, the FOV of all "normal" lenses (including the "perfect" 43mm) are a little on the narrow side. I perceive the world with a wider perspective and generally like something in the range of 28mm to 35mm for general photography on 35mm film. For other people, it is quite the opposite. I have known several photographers over the years that used a 135mm as their general walk-around lens...go figure...

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 09-27-2009 at 10:26 PM.
09-28-2009, 06:32 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gokenin Quote
What focal length would give you a "normal" field of view on a film camera?
As Steve said, it depends on what you mean by "film camera". On medium format at 6x4.5 or 6x6 one commonly finds 75mm or 85mm as the "normal" lens. On medium format at 6x9 this would be something like 105mm. Don't ask me about large format. I don't have the money to monkey with those and have never bothered to learn much about them.
09-28-2009, 06:47 AM   #7
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When I have a focal length of 50mm mounted on my K10D, I have both eyes open, and the viewfinder sort of merges into the whole scene. Makes it much easier doing panning and keeping track of a scene.
09-28-2009, 07:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by freeload Quote
When I have a focal length of 50mm mounted on my K10D, I have both eyes open, and the viewfinder sort of merges into the whole scene. Makes it much easier doing panning and keeping track of a scene.
That's because viewfinder magnification is calibrated for 50mm lenses.

09-28-2009, 07:14 AM   #9
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So then if I wanted to take my 43 ltd and use it as an everyday lens on any of my film cameras (except the spotmatic) it would be a good walk around lens?
09-28-2009, 07:52 AM   #10
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The 43 would be a good walkaround lens for a film body.
09-28-2009, 07:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
.... I perceive the world with a wider perspective and generally like something in the range of 28mm to 35mm for general photography on 35mm film. For other people, it is quite the opposite. I have known several photographers over the years that used a 135mm as their general walk-around lens...go figure...

Steve
Yes. I'm on the other side; I see the world narrowly & tend to mentally zoom in on a subject.

It is a fascinating subject and is entwined with the physiology of vision. There are three significant fields of view for human vision; the high resolution foveal view (small, like your thumb nail at arm's length), normal (about your hand size at arms length), and wide (greater than 180degrees.) It is not surprising there are individual preferences.

Dave in Iowa
09-28-2009, 07:45 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gokenin Quote
So then if I wanted to take my 43 ltd and use it as an everyday lens on any of my film cameras (except the spotmatic) it would be a good walk around lens?
Very nice, I think. 50-55mm is to me the most 'normal' in terms of how things relate to each other in space, but FOV wise, I like the neighborhood of 40mm for a lot of things. To me it's 'semi-wide' but I like things a little tighter than convention. (where many would like to use a 35, I like more like 40, as I learned from Canonets and a zoom. If my fast 50mm on my Canons were a 58, that'd be just nice, too. )

I find that with digital, I can carry one 28mm (which equates to about a 43) and it'll do the job of a 35 and a 50. Since I live in the short portrait lengths, mostly, it's very useful. I joke that on my old film Canons, if someone glued my 85 on there, I might not notice for a few weeks, but if I could only have one other focal length, it'd probably be around 43.
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