In the previous exercise, the purpose was to note how changing focal lengths narrowed the field of view with the position of the camera remaining pretty static throughout. In this exercise, the object was to show how changing viewpoints when using different lenses will also affect the image — particularly when changing between wide-angle and telephoto lenses.
The subject I chose was the long-suffering partner, who is often a reluctant subject when I need to check something out with a camera or lens. I knew before starting that wide-angle lenses — when used close-up on people can result in caricature-type studies with distortion of features or body-shape, but guess that was half the fun! However, I have opted not to include the images! Many of them are real caricatures; and I worry that if I post them, he’ll not be posing for me again!!
The first shot was taken with a 70-200mm telephoto set at 200 mm; with the close-ups being taken with a 16-35mm wide-angle set at 16 mm. The aperture stayed constant at f/8. I kept the aperture constant because I wanted to see the different depth-of-field produced by the two lens.
Image 1 was taken at 200 mm at a normal eye-level. There is no evidence of perspective distortion; and the perceived depth in the image is flattened. The distance from the subject to the tree behind on camera-left looks markedly less than what it looks like in the wide-angle lenses. The greenhouse, and the tree on camera-right have been rendered pleasantly out-of-focus which is what I would expect to happen with a telephoto lens.
With all three of the wide-angle lenses, there is both an increased depth-of-field; and an increased sense of depth between the objects within the frame. The distance from the subject to the tree (camera-left) seems markedly more than that in the telephoto lens. The angle of view is increased with more of the surroundings — for example, the shed (camera-right) becoming visible. The ground no longer seems flat — especially visible in images 2 and 3 —where it seems to rise away from the camera. The lines in the grass are more visible; and seem to converge.
In all the wide-angle shots, there is a marked increase sense of depth with the image, with greater space seeming to exist between the objects. The depth of field is also noticeably greater in the wide-angle lens.
Also noticed when I did the shots on the previous page, that the wide-angle lens tended to accentuate the clouds — what minimal clouds there were — and consequently added to the drama of the sky.
use of wide-angle lens in fashion
Although I was aware that using a wide-angle lens on the subject, at both the distance and vertical position that I was using it, would inevitably lead to a non-sympathetic distortion of the subject, I am aware that fashion photographers often use a moderate wide-angle lens when shooting vertical full-length shots of models. They use the perspective change to increase the perceived length of the model’s legs and height.
The increased sense of space and depth of field in a wide-angle lens is very suited to landscape shots where we want to increase this sense of space; and not really suited to people as it distorts characteristics when used at extremes.
The telephoto is useful for flattening depth and also for extracting the subjects from its surroundings.
Having assessed these photographs, I wish I had continued with the series, shooting wide-open (f2.8) and stopped down to f16 or f22 to see the difference between the depth of field on the two lenses at those settings. I had anticipated some of the differences in perspective, but had not really anticipated the difference in depth of field.Read More »