What focal length for the most realistic pictures?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
aSevenArr Senior Member • Posts: 2,138
Re: What focal length for the most realistic pictures?

Magnar W wrote:

Color is often described and discussed in terms of “good” and “bad”, or lifelike or not. “True color” might be a reasonable goal for some kind of work, like reproduction of artwork or color of products like clothes, makeup and furniture and other products that are advertised. But for most photography, descriptive as well as expressive, the pictures are independent objects that are viewed and interpreted without a direct connection to the scene than was photographed. In photography, color is mainly used to trigger emotions, more than judged against what was the “real” hue or tint. Just look at how people pump up saturation and add yellow to sunset scenes, or reduce saturation or add blue to pictures that are mainly intended to affect emotions.

With this in mind: What is the best focal length to record the “true” or “real” outer world?

Totally depends what you are trying to “record”.

If it’s changes in the rings of Saturn you want to “record” a 50mm lens is not going to be much use just to toss out an extreme example here.

Personally I think our focus should always be on producing art rather than simply “recording” some event.

Although it has to be said that some of the worlds most famous photographs simply recorded an event (eg. Some guy getting shot in the head in Vietnam for example).

Did the FL matter there? Not very much IMHO. It would have been an equally powerful image at a slightly longer or slightly wider FL.

On that topic, emotional content bears little direct relationship to the selected focal length in my experience.

And who knows what cropping (if any) was done with these famous images. Or how the photographer moved to frame the shot that he wanted.

But sometimes “recording” an event is just about being in the right place (with your camera) at the right time and hopefully having a usable lens on the front.

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