Imaging Products

  1. Home
  2. Products & Support
  3. Imaging Products
  4. History & Technology
  5. Digital SLR Camera Basics
  6. Perspective

Digital SLR Camera Basics

Perspective

Perspective is a term for a visual effect that causes objects to appear smaller as their distance from the viewer increases. In photography, you can control perspective by changing the lens focal length. Lenses are typically described as being either wide (wide-angle lenses) or long (telephoto lenses). Wide-angle lenses have wide angles of view, increasing the difference in the apparent sizes of objects that are at different distances from the camera. In other words, nearby objects appear larger and distant objects smaller. Telephoto lenses, in contrast, have small angles of view, decreasing the difference in the apparent sizes of objects that are at different distances from the camera. This effect can be used to exaggerate or reduce the effects of perspective by changing the focal length of the lens.

Imagine photographing a subject at the same apparent size using lenses with different focal lengths. Despite the difference in focal length, you will be able to photograph the subject so that it appears to be the same size in the frame , but only by moving the camera: with a wide-angle lens you will have to be close to your subject while with a telephoto lens you will have to be farther away. And although the subject will be the same size within the frame, the apparent distance to the background will change. At wide angles, more of the background will be visible and background objects will appear to be farther away. With telephoto lenses, on the other hand, less of the background will be visible and background objects will appear to be closer.

Wide-angle lens

More of the background is visible and background objects appear to be farther away.
  • The illustration is an artist's conception.

More of the background is visible and background objects appear to be farther away.

Telephoto lens

Less of the background is visible and background objects appear to be closer.
  • The illustration is an artist's conception.

Less of the background is visible and background objects appear to be closer.

Different perspectives

Focal length: 12 mm
Focal length: 12 mm
Focal length: 24 mm
Focal length: 24 mm
Focal length: 50 mm
Focal length: 50 mm
Focal length: 70 mm
Focal length: 70 mm
Focal length: 135 mm
Focal length: 135 mm
Focal length: 200 mm
Focal length: 200 mm

In these photographs, we changed the distance between the camera and the subject so that the subject always appears to be the same size. Note the difference in the balance between the portrait subject and the building in the background: the wider the lens, the greater the apparent distance to the building.


[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]