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Film - Digital

Lens selection - affect on perspective

Lens selection for a subject can have a crucial effect on visual representation of a subject.
Initially for the Architectural Sites of Contestation project I used a 135mm lens with a 6x6 format camera. But as the project was centred on building sites with acute angles, I experimented and found that a 40mm lens gave a far more dramatic effect. While the 135mm lens gave the building a realistic proportion it flattened off the acute angles the buildings sat on an made then look closer to a right angle.

If we photograph an object, say a gazebo, from the distance with a telephoto lens we can fill the frame with the gazebo. Then if we photograph it from the same spot with a wide-angle lens, the gazebo will appear quite small in the frame and we will have the wider setting that it is placed in as part of the image. But if take the wide-angle lens shot and we crop and enlarge up the section with the gazebo in to match the telephoto image, we will see that the perspective is actually the same. That is the vertical and horizontal lines running off to a vanishing point. The enlargement would of course give us a very grainy or low-resolution image, and normally if we were using a wide-angle lens we would step forward to fill the frame. So, it is this change of camera viewpoint to the subject, which alters the perspective, not the lens.

Controlling Perspective.



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