Ophrys Photography

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Tutorial - Lens focal length comparisons

What focal length lens do you need to use?

I have provided these comparisons to give a feel for the field of view you can expect from a variety of Canon L lenses. Please note, that these framings are based on calculations and are not meant to illustrate actual images taken with the lenses concerned.

The field of view will also change according to sensor size of the camera (Full frame/1.3x or 1.6x) but each set of comparisons below assumes the camera sensor size remains constant throughout.

1) Medium to long telephotos

The 70-200mm zoom is at the long end of its range. This lens works pretty well with a 1.4x converter so I have included it as it gives a way into bird photography. The 400mm length represents the 400mm f2.8 or f5.6 or the popular 100-400 f4-5.6 at the long end.




2) More medium to long telephoto options

These are telephoto options including the use of extenders on the 300mm f2.8.



2) Long to very long telephotos

These are the long prime super telephoto lenses.


3) A bit of fun

Have you seen the BBC Top Gear programme where they compare the acceleration of a hot hatch with a supercar ? Well, here is the telephoto lens equivalent - lets put a 400mm prime up against Canon's longest current production lens - the 800mm f5.6 plus a 2x converter. The atmospheric distortion and camera vibration would make this a challenging image to capture well.



4) Macro lenses


This comparison illustrates the considerable differences between the three lenses when trying to photograph a skittish insect such as this large tortoiseshell butterfly.

5) Wide angle lenses

In this comparison two popular wide angle zooms are calculated at their widest settings and are compared to a 50mm " standard lens".

6) Extreme wide angle lenses (fisheye)

These calculated illustrations show the field of view available from these lenses but do not illustrate the distortions that they typically demonstrate.