Helpful Posts Helpful Posts:  0
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Being new to the telephoto arena , could someone give me an idea of just how much distance we're talking about using a 200mm lens on a 1.6 crop camera(320mm), if I wanted to get 2 or 3 people (full body) in a shot??
    Thanks
    Greg

  2. #2
    Amberglass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    343

    Re: New to telephoto

    Greg, rules of thumbs to remember about types of lenses.

    Wide lenses "exaggerates what you see" and fine details can be lost while viewing the "bigger picture". While Telephotos "brings you in" and you will gain in fine details "up close and personal".

    Most photographers who do a lot of portrait work prefers the longer telephotos because the lack of distortion. In other words, you see more of the subject and less of the background. While wide angle lenses will include more of the background, less of your subject. But if step closer to fill the frame with your subject with a wide angle, then lens distortion will appear. The classical "bubble head" (huge head with tiny body).

    A video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/user/snapfact.../9/7MNvYqUymQc

    Wider lenses are recommended for full body group shots fyi. But in general, there is no written rule on what you should or should not use in regards to portrait work. It's a personal preferences and tastes, but be careful with the "bubble head" look. It can get old real fast.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,273

    Re: New to telephoto

    Are we talking about using the camera in landscape or portrait orientation?

    To be honest this is something I would need to measure out but at a very rough guess I would think probably around 100 yards or more. For this type of shot I would suggest a much smaller lens, say 50mm.

    It's dark and raining here at the moment, but perhaps somebody else can measure out an average distance for you.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Epsom, uk
    Posts
    186
    Real Name
    Will

    Re: New to telephoto

    http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm has a FOV calculator, 200mm on a 1.6 crop in landscape gives a 4.3 degree FOV vertically. Take the tangent of 4.3 degrees and divide 2 meters (as the height of a person) by this value, and you get about 27m, so youll need to be about 30 meters from your subject under these conditions unless ive messed up the maths.

  5. #5
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    1,473
    Real Name
    Sean

    Re: New to telephoto

    In portrait orientation, Will's right: you can be roughly 27m (90 feet) away if you want a six foot person to span the height of your image. However, if you want 3 or so subjects, you'll potentially be taking the photo in landscape orientation. In this case, you can be roughly 40m (130 feet) away.

    There's also a required focal length calculator on this site within the camera lenses tutorial. With this, I just entered the the height of the subject (6 feet) and adjusted the suject distance until it gave a require focal length of about 320mm. No tangents needed.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    Greg, rules of thumbs to remember about types of lenses.

    Wide lenses "exaggerates what you see" and fine details can be lost while viewing the "bigger picture". While Telephotos "brings you in" and you will gain in fine details "up close and personal".

    Most photographers who do a lot of portrait work prefers the longer telephotos because the lack of distortion. In other words, you see more of the subject and less of the background. While wide angle lenses will include more of the background, less of your subject. But if step closer to fill the frame with your subject with a wide angle, then lens distortion will appear. The classical "bubble head" (huge head with tiny body).

    A video demonstration: http://www.youtube.com/user/snapfact.../9/7MNvYqUymQc

    Wider lenses are recommended for full body group shots fyi. But in general, there is no written rule on what you should or should not use in regards to portrait work. It's a personal preferences and tastes, but be careful with the "bubble head" look. It can get old real fast.
    Thanks Amberglass. I have been reading on the portrait lengths and am aware of most of what you have said. The biggest question was really : Did I make a mistake when I ordered the 7D with a 50mm f/1.4 (for portraits) and the 200mm f2.8L for the sports? I was worried that maybe I should have gotten the 100mm f/2 instead for the inside sports and cropped down for the outdoor shots.
    Due to what I do casually with friends and at get-togethers I got the 28-135 for a walk around lens.( Plus my son has a Rebel G that he can use it on, He would be pretty nervous with an L zoom, so this should work for both of us))
    I was second guessing what I ordered. It should be on the way tomorrow. I'm pretty hyped about it.
    Thanks for everything.
    Greg

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto

    Quote Originally Posted by wjh31 View Post
    http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/calc.htm has a FOV calculator, 200mm on a 1.6 crop in landscape gives a 4.3 degree FOV vertically. Take the tangent of 4.3 degrees and divide 2 meters (as the height of a person) by this value, and you get about 27m, so youll need to be about 30 meters from your subject under these conditions unless ive messed up the maths.
    Thanks for the reference. You math was pretty close. That site also gives the field of view in feet also.
    Greg

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto

    Quote Originally Posted by McQ View Post
    In portrait orientation, Will's right: you can be roughly 27m (90 feet) away if you want a six foot person to span the height of your image. However, if you want 3 or so subjects, you'll potentially be taking the photo in landscape orientation. In this case, you can be roughly 40m (130 feet) away.

    There's also a required focal length calculator on this site within the camera lenses tutorial. With this, I just entered the the height of the subject (6 feet) and adjusted the suject distance until it gave a require focal length of about 320mm. No tangents needed.
    Thanks. I have seen many of the tutorials on this site, but had not found the one you referenced. . Like I told Amber, I needed something for indoor and outdoor sports, and ordered the 200mm f/2.8L. I was second-guessing myself and was worried that maybe I should have got the 100mm f/2 instead and cropped down for the outdoor shots. I my just have to find a part-time job and get another lens if I messed up the first time.
    Thanks again. Greg

  9. #9
    Amberglass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    343

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    In answer to your question about the 50 1.4 with your 7D; no you did not make a mistake. It's perfectly fine for portrait work, and among the most classically loved primes. That's why it's nicknamed "the nifty fifty".

    The 200 2.8L is fine for indoor sports, but as I have said earlier; get there early and find your real estate. I would say stay around the mid or 2/3rd length of a basket ball court if that's what you're shooting (if basket ball is your sport). This will give you the options of good closeup shots by the hoop on your child's side.

    The 100 2 is a great value for the price, but it might fall short, and often times is too long for indoor shots in small rooms.

    Not to mention, if you're not comfortable changing out lenses; you can damage the contacts and miss a lot of shots in the process. Sports shooters train themselves to switch out lenses in less than 8 secs, or use two bodies mounted with a mid-range and telephoto zooms.

    Greg, take your time about buying lenses. The most common lenses for indoor sports for canon is the 70-200 2.8L IS, 24-70 2.8, and 16-35 2.8. I would suggest that your next lens would be the 24-70 2.8. Why? Because it's a wonderful walk around lens (general purpose) and if you're by the basket or goal area, it will suit your needs. When it comes to "game time" you can always "rent the 70-200 2.8L IS". You don't have to "buy everything now". Everyone has to start off somewhere, and Canon's rebate program pops up twice a year if you "have to have new".

    Another purchase would be to get the vertical battery grip for your 7D. Heavier lenses like the 70-200 2.8L IS will make your camera front heavy, creating strain on your wrists. But also it will give you more shooting time.
    Last edited by Amberglass; 23rd November 2009 at 11:50 AM.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by Amberglass View Post
    In answer to your question about the 50 1.4 with your 7D; no you did not make a mistake. It's perfectly fine for portrait work, and among the most classically loved primes. That's why it's nicknamed "the nifty fifty".

    The 200 2.8L is fine for indoor sports, but as I have said earlier; get there early and find your real estate. I would say stay around the mid or 2/3rd length of a basket ball court if that's what you're shooting (if basket ball is your sport). This will give you the options of good closeup shots by the hoop on your child's side.

    The 100 2 is a great value for the price, but it might fall short, and often times is too long for indoor shots in small rooms.

    Not to mention, if you're not comfortable changing out lenses; you can damage the contacts and miss a lot of shots in the process. Sports shooters train themselves to switch out lenses in less than 8 secs, or use two bodies mounted with a mid-range and telephoto zooms.

    Greg, take your time about buying lenses. The most common lenses for indoor sports for canon is the 70-200 2.8L IS, 24-70 2.8, and 16-35 2.8. I would suggest that your next lens would be the 24-70 2.8. Why? Because it's a wonderful walk around lens (general purpose) and if you're by the basket or goal area, it will suit your needs. When it comes to "game time" you can always "rent the 70-200 2.8L IS". You don't have to "buy everything now". Everyone has to start off somewhere, and Canon's rebate program pops up twice a year if you "have to have new".

    Another purchase would be to get the vertical battery grip for your 7D. Heavier lenses like the 70-200 2.8L IS will make your camera front heavy, creating strain on your wrists. But also it will give you more shooting time.
    Thanks again Amberglass for the advice . It's really hard trying to fit the best for all into one budget constrained basket just to get started. One problem I am having is getting to know new lenses etc. before I buy. There is not a camera store within 100 miles or so of where I live. Nashville or Knoxville is the closest. The closest thing would be an Electronic express, but they sell mostly cameras with the kit lenses. Renting might be an option if the right situation comes along. It might be fun just to take a day trip to the city, rent a lens for the day and just wander around. Ever been to Nashville? I was born in Tn.and have never been to the Grand Ole Opry, but I have been to Music Row where many great stars have recorded.
    Greg

  11. #11
    Amberglass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    343

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Who says you have to go into the city to rent a lens? Here are some options for you online: http://photodoto.com/8-online-lens-r...ores-compared/

    Really Greg, don't be discouraged. 25+ years later and I'm still making hair pulling decisions for my work.

    Looks at purchasing a 300 2.8 VR. Can't justify the cost for a seasonal shooter. Looks over rental receipts on the amount of usage compare to out right buying. (Gets pretty close to half). Once I get it, what do I have to do in regards in workload to make it justifiable? Will I or can I recuperate the cost? ARGH!

  12. #12

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    This flash tool shows a comparison of different focal lengths http://www.usa.canon.com/app/html/EF...101/index.html

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by Flammel View Post
    This flash tool shows a comparison of different focal lengths http://www.usa.canon.com/app/html/EF...101/index.html
    I have looked at this a few times and have found it interesting but somewhat lacking in practical terms. It would be nice if there was a combination of a few of this kind of thing put together in a way where a person would know the distance of the object and the size, etc. For instance, a person standing in form of a building 500 feet(meters) away and shown at the different focal lengths That would seem to put it into a little better perspective and be a more informative guide.
    Thanks for the link . I appreciate the response.
    Greg

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,273

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    It really just comes down to experience. This is where zooms score over primes with regard to convenience; although that can be at the expense of sharpness, weight and cost.

    Quite a few years ago, I remember something about holding the end of a ruler to your eye and sliding an empty slide film mount up and down the ruler length; then when the scene looked correct you read the distance on the ruler which converted to a lens length.

    Does anybody remember exactly how this worked?

    ps. I'm not accepting responsibility for anyone who sticks the ruler into their eye!

  15. #15
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Windsor, Berks, UK
    Posts
    15,996
    Real Name
    Dave Humphries :)

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F
    Quite a few years ago, I remember something about holding the end of a ruler to your eye and sliding an empty slide film mount up and down the ruler length; then when the scene looked correct you read the distance on the ruler which converted to a lens length.
    Do we need to use brown/opaque sticky tape to reduce the hole size for crop factor cameras, or just multiply the figures off the ruler? I guess either would do

    Ouch, the tape has stick to my hair, help ....


  16. #16

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Do we need to use brown/opaque sticky tape to reduce the hole size for crop factor cameras, or just multiply the figures off the ruler? I guess either would do

    Ouch, the tape has stick to my hair, help ....

    Good thing it wasn't that 200 mph NASCAR type tape!!!!

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    It really just comes down to experience. This is where zooms score over primes with regard to convenience; although that can be at the expense of sharpness, weight and cost.

    Quite a few years ago, I remember something about holding the end of a ruler to your eye and sliding an empty slide film mount up and down the ruler length; then when the scene looked correct you read the distance on the ruler which converted to a lens length.

    Does anybody remember exactly how this worked?

    ps. I'm not accepting responsibility for anyone who sticks the ruler into their eye!
    This is a new one to me. Never heard that. Most of the time Dad just used a 50mm on his Yashica, so not much need for it.
    It will be experience now. I got my 7D with a 50mm 1.4 and the 200m 2.8L today, and a 28-135, for kicking around. WOW, I'm kind of in awe. VERY nice!!
    Thanks for the response. Much appreciated.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    South Devon, UK
    Posts
    11,273

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    I also find the Canon 28-135 to be a good value handy size general purpose lens.

    Mine was starting to get a bit knocked about after some rather rough use so I have recently purchased the Canon 24-105. And when I did some side by side tests I found the 28-135 was actually the sharper of the two at the centre. The 24-105 does however have sharper results at the edges and better definition with the extremes of the contrast range. And a stronger construction; but that comes at around twice the price.

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cumberland Plateau, Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    35
    Real Name
    Greg

    Re: New to telephoto - focal length vs subject distance

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I also find the Canon 28-135 to be a good value handy size general purpose lens.

    Mine was starting to get a bit knocked about after some rather rough use so I have recently purchased the Canon 24-105. And when I did some side by side tests I found the 28-135 was actually the sharper of the two at the centre. The 24-105 does however have sharper results at the edges and better definition with the extremes of the contrast range. And a stronger construction; but that comes at around twice the price.
    This is my first dslr, so I only have the 35mm equivalent comparison of my P&S to go by. It is pretty close to the 28-135. It is a 35-140 , so it will be a pretty familiar focal length. I think I'm going to like it though. I never really wanted anything wider, but generally wished I had something a little longer. I've read some pretty good things about them , so I'm excited to get out and try it.
    Greg

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •