Focal Lengths and Different Viewpoints

Telephoto – 185mm

Wide Angle - 17mm

Wide Angle – 17mm

The two images above have been taken for this exercise. The scene was selected as the walls of the converted factory provide depth and the building in the distance provided a good marker.

Initially, I used a telephoto zoom lens and zoomed in to a point so that the corner of the factories lined up with the left edge of the frame and the right side of the building in the background matched up the right of the frame. Once the image was taken, I swapped to a wide angle zoom lens, set to 17mm and walked forward until the frame boundaries matched that of the image taken with the telephoto lens.

Reviewing the Images

Comparing the two images identifies the following difference:

  • The building in the background appears much closer in the telephoto image.
  • The apparent depth of the factory buildings is much less in the telephoto image than in the wide angle image.
  • The apparent width of the building in the background is much greater in the telephoto image than in the wide angle image.
  • The height difference within the telephoto image stays much more consistent in the telephoto image than in the wide angle image

The images taken to demonstrate these differences don’t fully highlight the perspective difference because we can’t see the base of the factories but they do highlight the differences sufficiently. However, we can look at the depth differences quite closely.

Drawing lines along the building edges only shows the following:

Telephoto Depth – 185mm

Wide Angle Depth - 17mm

Wide Angle Depth – 17mm

Another in-depth review of the affect telephoto images, which discusses the differences see in this exercise, can be found here.

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