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Thread: How to find your Natural FOV

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    How to find your Natural FOV

    It was suggested to me to post this by a few members. After a few emails and such, I thought why not.

    (Mods, please feel free to move if this is the wrong place)

    I used to teach this with a M with no lens but now with the zoomiez, it's even easier.
    The idea is to find what you see naturally, with out fighting with what the camera sees. You can make images with out a natural FOV lens but it's nice to be able to have a synergy with the camera and process.

    Start by using a zoom lens on your camera. Look at your surroundings and mentally frame an image without using the camera.

    Then, use the zoom lens to find the framing to match what you see in your mind. After many times, in many different situations, you will see that a certain focal length is popping up more than others.
    This focal length will be close to your natural FOV.

    Why is this important? Glad ya asked.....
    When you see a scene from a certain vantage point, the perspective is having an effect on what you see.

    If you let the camera decide the framing, then the perspective could change as you adjust your distance to make the frame. Perspective changes every time you move.

    So with a natural FOV lens, when you see things in a certain perspective, you can make the image as you see it without the camera deciding what will be in the frame.

    There is always a synergy between the camera and the shooter but it's nice to have equal balance and not be dictated to by the camera/lens.

    There certainly is more than 1 natural FOV for each shooter. You could train yourself to see with any lens but by not doing so, you become compromised in your vision.

    you are now returned to the regular scheduled programming......
    shooter

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: How to find your Natural FOV

    BRAIN GAMES! Oh, it's probably too late at night for any rational comments from me, but here are some random thoughts.

    Random thought #1. If I'm out in open country my "natural" field of view seems to extend beyond what I can see with my eyes in a single position. I want what I can see from moving my eyes side to side. Give me at least a 24mm equiv. If I'm in an urban or other setting and looking at "details" (I rarely photography people) I'm quite comfortable with a 70-80mm equiv. (Hey, look mom -- a 24-70mm zoom!)

    Random thought #2. Sometimes FOV isn't as important to me as the viewfinder impression of subject distance. I'm very comfortable when what I see through the viewfinder appears to be about the same distance from me as what I see naturally. That happens at around 40mm (80mm equiv.) with the G1 EVF. Somehow my brain now provides the "framing" before bringing the camera to my eye. I guess this also speaks to the notion of not changing one's distance (and therefore changing the perspective). As a result, the 40mm Minolta M-Rokkor often finds a place on my G1 (just as the 50mm did on my Canon 1.6X DSLR). (Note to Streetshooter: I realize that this notion may make no sense at all to an "LCD" composer. But try using only a 35-45mm on your G1 for a day... Or not.)

    Random thought #3. Having used both the 20mm and the 17mm on the G1, I feel immediately more comfortable with the 20mm framing (open country excepted, when I want a 14 or wider). Not sure why. Diagonal of 20mm is 57 degrees and 65 degrees for the 17mm. Isn't the angle of view of the eye about 60 degrees?

    Random thought #4. Does natural FOV change with age or with periperal vision (or lack thereof)? How about with mood, introversion/extroversion/schizophrenia, etc.? Maybe the 17mm people are mostly extroverts and 20mm'ers are introverts!

    Random thought #5. Most landscape photogs reach for a wide (24 or wider). But some have a tele-zoom (e.g. 70-300) mounted much more often. I never understood the tele landscapers until I went out there with just a tele.

    OK. 'Nuff sleepy thoughts.
    Last edited by JBurnett; 24th November 2009 at 21:47.
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

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    Re: How to find your Natural FOV

    AFAIC, there is no "natural" FOV. Just the working distance changes.

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    Re: How to find your Natural FOV

    Thanks Shooter, this is interesting;

    I think it also points to the usefulness of "stepped zooms" that Sean Reid has crusaded about (and now Michael Reichmann). I have just got the Canon S90 that implements this feature very well - the front control ring (around the lens) can be set to change the zoom increments. I really like using it this way - my Rocoh GX also has it, but it's a bit more disconnected.

    Keith

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    Senior Member JBurnett's Avatar
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    Re: How to find your Natural FOV

    Quote Originally Posted by woodmancy View Post
    I think it also points to the usefulness of "stepped zooms" that Sean Reid has crusaded about (and now Michael Reichmann). I have just got the Canon S90 that implements this feature very well - the front control ring (around the lens) can be set to change the zoom increments. I really like using it this way - my Rocoh GX also has it, but it's a bit more disconnected.
    When I was using the Canon G9, I set the Custom 1 and Custom 2 controls to be at certain focal lengths. So I could select the "base" focal length before turning on the camera. Normally the camera woke up at 35mm equiv. But C1 and C2 gave me two additional options -- kind of like lens changes without the change!
    Best regards,
    John.
    http://jburnett.ca

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