Normal Perspective Lens.

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by fotogenik, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. fotogenik

    fotogenik TPF Noob!

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    Okay, Very shortly I am buying what is considered to be a "prime" lens. By Prime I am talking about a single focal length lens that is of "normal" perspective. What I am attempting to figure out is, what is considered normal perspective?

    I know normal perspective is considered to be what a person sees through their eyes. I have heard this equated to 50mm. I also know that with digital camera's there is a cropping factor that comes into play (maybe the correct term is focal length multiplier instead)

    For my D50 I know that the foacal length multiplier is 1.5.

    Therefore if I purchase a 50mm Nikkor lens and put it on my d50 does it in essence become a 75mm lens? If so should I really be considering a 34 or 33mm (based upon calculations) lens in order to come out with a 50mm focal length after the multiplier is taken into effect?

    Thanks
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Correct. You would look for a 35mm lens if you wanted a prime that was "normal". (BTW, prime is any lens that is a single focal length.)
     
  3. fotogenik

    fotogenik TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a bunch for the quick reply.

    Part 2 of this now that I have that understanding is....

    For portraiture photography and things of that nature should I be looking at lenses that are a little narrower than normal such as a 50mm lens wich on my d50 actually becomes a 75mm lens? It appears that many who do portrait photography use a slightly zoomed in prime lens such as a 50 or 85mm lens which on my camera works out to a 75 or 125mm lens in order to do that type of photography.

    I understand the "normal" lens would be good for group shots but for shots of a single person or maybe a couple would I want it to be zoomed in some for the most part?
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    It's usually best not to go below normal when shooting portraits, unless you want facial distortions. A lot of people shoot in the 80-130 range. For the 1.5 and 1.6 digital cameras, the 50mm and 85mm lenses turn out to be perfect. I do over 99% of my shooting with a 50mm/1.4 and an 85mm/1.8 on a 10D.
     
  5. fotogenik

    fotogenik TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a bunch, you have helped me greatly in figuring out why I hear 50mm and portrait connected so often.
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    No problem. If you want to see what portraits are like using a normal lens, check out Henri Cartier-Bresson's Tête á Tête. In his case, it's a 50mm lens on a Leica 35mm rangefinder.
     
  7. fotogenik

    fotogenik TPF Noob!

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    with that arrangement there is no multiplier correct? A 50mm lens is truly 50mm focal length?
     
  8. xion

    xion TPF Noob!

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    I shoot portfolios with my zoom lens between 70 - 120mm on a 35 mm film camera. On my D70s, I either shoot with 50mm 1.8 or a zoom 35 - 70mm. I have tried with higher zoom ratio but the faces come up two dimentional.
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Correct. And you'll see that his portraits are what's called environmental portraits, where the environment the subject is in takes part in the image. Getting up close to take a typical head and shoulder shot with a normal lens can be uncomfotable for the subject and also increases the likelihood of distortion.
     
  10. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Traditionally, normal lenses were those with a focal length roughly equal to the diagonal dimension of the film frame. For 35mm [1x1.5"], 45.8mm. For 6x6cm [120/620 film], 81mm. With time, 35mm rigs settled on 50mm as the 'standard' lens while 6x6's ran 75 or 80mm.

    A good 'portrait' lens should have a long enough FL that you're not in the sitter's face while still being able to fill the frame with head & shoulders and enough aperture to permit blurring the background. For 35mm, lenses 85 to 95mm were considered suitable for portrait work.
     

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