"Focal Length" - Digital Photography Podcast 141


We toss around terms like 50mm, 16mm, and 200mm like everyone knows what they mean. But what are the inherent differences that accompany different focal lengths? In this podcast I spend some time talking about this aspect of lenses.

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Quiet is this month's photo assignment. As summer begins to wind down, it's time to change gears a bit and enjoy a few quiet moments. You have lots of latitude for your interpretation of this assignment. You can read more about how to submit on our Submissions page. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30.

Listen to the Podcast

Now that I've piqued your curiosity, it's time to listen to today's audio show titled, "Focal Length." You can download the podcast here (29 minutes). You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

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I think you missed one thing when talking about wide angle. Like you said wide angle gives you the wide field of view. However specific lens design makes a difference. If you want the maximum field of view you need Canon's 15mm. That'll give you a 180 degree field of view on a full frame camera. On an APS camera (Rebel line, *0D, D30/D60) the 10-22 is the widest you can get but I believe the 15mm still has more FOV, though with more distortion. You'd need to check the specs to be sure.

But my question what controls the FOV like that? I know the 15 sorta has that center buldge look and the 14mm 2.8L doesn't.

It's interesting when you start to think about lens design, especially at the wide end. I'm not an expert by any means. But I do know that some wides, such as my 16-35, provide a relatively natural view of the world, while others give you more of a fisheye effect.

This is one of those times when I want to see through a lens I'm interested in on the camera that I own. In the end, it's the best way for me to judge how I like the characteristics of a particular wide lens.