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

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions thread
jrtrent
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In reply to jrtrent, Nov 13, 2012

jrtrent wrote:

I still agree with Tamron that "normal" isn't a single focal length, but can be anywhere between 40 and 60 mm (for a 35mm format camera), but I'm intrigued by the Journal of Vision abstract I referenced above which found focal lengths of 50-70mm to produce the least compression/expansion effects in images viewed by their test subjects. I already know from experience that I personally find focal lengths shorter than 50mm too wide for my tastes, but I'll have to experiment more with focal lengths up to 70mm.

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.

Edit:  On the website of one of the authors of the study, there is a short summary.  Here is part of it:

"Photographers, cinematographers, and computer-graphics engineers create striking pictorial effects. By using different focal length lenses, they can make a scene look compressed or expanded in depth, make a familiar object look natural or distorted . . . We examined the perceptual and geometric bases for why these effects work. We found that people’s preferred field of view when looking at pictures leads them to view long-focal-length pictures from too near and short-focal-length pictures from too far. By following the popular 50mm lens rule of thumb, photographers greatly increase the odds of a viewer looking at a photo from the correct distance, making the percept undistorted. . ." http://www.emilyacooper.org/Emily_A._Cooper/Photographic_Practice.html

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