Compression is Real

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 4,989
Re: no cropping or stitching

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

jrtrent wrote:

The article the OP referred to starts out with, "We've been saying for years that the term "lens compression" is misleading," and perhaps that is true, but I prefer some of the articles they had in the more distant past. Below is an excerpt from one that was primarily discussing what a normal, or standard, lens is, and explains why I prefer using a normal focal length for most of my shots:

There's a saying "correlation isn't causation" and that applies to your quotation below.

"A telephoto lens, for example, renders distant objects larger in the frame,


and has the effect of compressing the apparent spatial relationship between objects.

True. But these are two separate things that a telephoto lens does; it isn't the fact that things look larger that explains why perspective appears compressed.

A wide angle does precisely the opposite; in squeezing more content into the image, objects appear smaller and more distant.

This is more problematic - it suggests that everything in the frame looks more distant when, in fact, things in the foreground don't. What really happens is that the apparent difference in size of foreground and distant objects is what causes the apparent false perspective.

[Edit] And it's the fact that the telephoto lens cuts out the foreground objects (which would appear huge) that causes their apparent false perspective.

It's in the happy medium between these two extremes that the standard lens lies; the apparent sizes and spatial relationships between image elements appear natural, and much as they did in real life."

I have no problem with the quotation as a pragmatic guide to the visual effects of various lenses; but it shouldn't be taken as an explanation of those effects.

I can't disagree with anything you wrote. Regarding the problematic statement about the wide angle lens from Andy Westlake's article, I agree and think that Tamron's description covers the ground a little better. I quoted Tamron's take on it in a later post:

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