Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Choose Your Perfect Zoom
The modern zoom lens is a marvel of technology, and it’s the nature photographer’s best friend
You can change a composition (framing) and the subject size by changing focal length or by changing camera distance. Each method produces a different effect.
When you simply change focal length, whether by zooming or by changing from a prime lens of one focal length to a prime of another focal length, the perspective doesn’t change. You’re just changing the framing. A longer focal length shows less of the scene and makes the subject (and everything else in the frame proportionately) larger; a shorter focal length shows more of the scene and makes the subject (and everything else in the frame proportionately) smaller.
You can demonstrate this for yourself. Put your camera on a tripod, attach a telephoto lens, and take a photo. Remove the telephoto lens, attach a wide-angle lens, and take another photo. At your computer, blow up the wide-angle shot so it covers the same area as the telephoto shot, and examine both images. You’ll see that the perspective is identical: The subject’s size relative to its surroundings is the same (of course, the wide-angle image will be much “grainier” due to the degree of enlargement).
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