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Why is a 50mm FF lens 'normal'?

Started Feb 24, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Why is a 50mm FF lens 'normal'?
Feb 24, 2013

Oh, I know, I know. Because, you'll say, that it's close to what the human eye sees. Or that it's close to the 35mm 24x36 diagonal measurement. But 'normal'? I don't know.

Because when we look at something, only a very small angle of view is in focus. We are conscious of everything else in that 50mm expanse, but we really only focus on a small part of it.

So would we be closer to normal-reality if we used a telephoto lens as our everyday lens? Do we keep using those 35mm-to-50mm lenses out of habit? Habit dating back to those early 35mm film days? Cartier-Bresson, and then all those Canikons, and now a force-fed 'normal' translation for all the APS-C folks? And the benefits of that 'normal' standard -- years of engineering, learning to produce very sharp low cost 50mm 1.4s. But I wonder.

In line with this, how many of you are using a mild telephoto, or a full telephoto, as your 'normal' lens? The lens you prefer -- that you use most often -- that just because of the fact that you use it most often, means that it best coincides with 'normal' reality?

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Jonathon Donahue -- Olympus XZ-1 tips at http://jon404.co m

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