50mm "Normal" Lens... Ok, but "Normal" on FF or APS-C Sensor?

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
jrtrent
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Re: 50mm "Normal" Lens... Ok, but "Normal" on FF or APS-C Sensor?
In reply to jrtrent, Nov 13, 2012

jrtrent wrote:

I haven't seen the full study, but there's an interesting abstract at Journal of Vision on depth compression and expansion in photographs.

http://www.journalofvision.org/content/11/11/65.abstract

"Photographs taken with long focal length lenses appear to be compressed in depth and those taken with short focal lengths appear expanded. A common rule in photography is to use a 50-mm lens to create a natural-looking image (i.e., neither compressed nor expanded in depth). We hypothesized that this rule is a byproduct of people's viewing habits and an inability to take viewing distance into account."

What they found is that not only do people have "an inability to take distance into account when interpreting 3D contents of the photograph," the preferred viewing distance is mostly determined by print size, thus they stand too far from pictures taken with wideangle lenses and too close to pictures taken with telephoto lenses. The study found that images taken with lenses between 50 and 70mm were least susceptible to perceived compression/expansion effects.

It's possible that the 50-70mm range quoted above is a misprint in the abstract I referenced.  I found another abstract of the same research, and it said, "The effects are minimized when the focal length is 40-60mm." http://f1000.com/posters/browse/summary/1263

I'll have to see if I can get access to the full presentation at some point.

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