01 Feb 2010

The Author

Andy Lim got started in photography after leaving design college, and has given several public talks on the subject of photography. SimpleSLR Workshops Photography workshops from beginners to advanced levels. SimpleSLR Guides Author of best-selling e-book series. Photography Tips Author of useful and practical tips on GoodPhotography.info website. Emotion in Pictures Accomplished professional wedding photographer. His brand attracts clients worldwide with his unique flavor of wedding and portrait photography.



For simplicity, we can refer to lenses with short focal lengths (less than 50mm) as wide-angle lenses. Lenses with longer focal lengths (more than 50mm) are called telephoto lenses. Zoom lenses offer a range of focal lengths in a single lens for convenience.

Lenses of different focal lengths can be used to create different perspectives. For example, you might want to use a wide angle lens to exaggerate several bouquets of flowers in front of a florist standing behind them. The florist would appear to be smaller than the bouquets, because objects closer to a wide angle lens appear larger than objects behind them.

Consequently, a telephoto lens can be used to make a small backdrop appear larger than the model in posing in front of it. This is because telephoto lens compresses the perspective and makes distant objects appear larger.

Wide-angle lens.

Typical Focal length: 28mm


Exaggerates perspective. Foreground objects look larger, background objects look smaller. Plenty of depth-of-field.

Angle of view is wide, the subject appears smaller.

Standard lens.

Typical Focal length: 50mm


Natural perspective. Medium depth-of-field.

A 50mm lens simulates the viewing angle of the human eye.

Telephoto lens.

Typical Focal length: 200mm


Flattens perspective. Background objects look larger. Shallow depth-of-field.

Angle of view is narrow, the subject fills the frame.


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