Photographic Image Quality:
Lens Characteristics (2): Field of View

All of these images were taken with the Olympus E-M1, micro-4/3 sensor, from exactly the same position next to the entrance of Mission San Juan Capistrano. Both the actual focal length and its full-frame equivalent are listed; each shot is made with a prime (single focal length) lens (except for the 150mm, which is a zoom at its longest setting). Aperture was constant (priority) at f/11; auto-focus was set as near as possible to the statue; auto ISO and shutter speed varied according to the image contents.

▸ The field of view that you see here will vary slightly with sensor format. These have a width-to-height aspect ratio of 4:3; a full-frame or APS-C sensor has an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Wide angle

fisheye view
9mm "fisheye" (FF=18mm). The fisheye lens is unique both by covering an ultra-wide angle (approximately 180°) and by distorting the image circularly as its name suggests.

24mm view
12mm (FF=24mm). This is probably the most popular wide angle length, both in prime lenses and as the shortest setting of many zooms. (This example is not how you'd actually use it to compose an image.)


Normal view

50mm view
25mm (FF=50mm). Considered "normal" since this is a close approximation of the human field of vision. For many years this was the lens for most 35mm film photography.

90mm view
45mm (FF=90mm). Actually a short telephoto, this length has always been popular as a portrait lens, allowing a working distance that avoids distorting the subject's facial features.



300mm view
150mm (FF=300mm). Zoom lenses in the FF 80–200 range are popular for many camera systems; this one goes a bit longer.

600mm view
300mm (FF=600mm). You'll see the big white FF $$K version of this lens on the sidelines of many sporting events.


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