What focal length for the most realistic pictures?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Mike Fewster Veteran Member • Posts: 7,452
Re: What I think Magnar is actually asking and the answer.

Magnar W wrote:

Mike Fewster wrote:

We need you to add a bit more to the definition here. We have to say something like "what focal length is closest to that of human eyes and the way images made by those eyes are perceived by the human brain." Eyes from different species have different focal lengths and brains do something like post processing to the images that are formed by the eye. So, I think what Magnar is talking about is the image as perceived by the human brain, not the image as formed by the human eye.

We don't even see the picture as projected by the eye. Seeing is a learned process, and all our bodily senses are part of what we see. A lot of the information that is projected onto the cones and rods in the back of out pupils are filtered away before we are aware of what is in front of our eyes, and a lot of memories are added to what we "see" ...

And most important. Seeing is not a static process with a fixed field of view. We don't perceive the world as a series of still images.

Exactly. That is the point I was making when you asked "what is natural"? It needs more definition. Natural in terms of some objective reality or natural in terms of what an eye sees or in terms of what the brain perceives and in any case, what kind of eye are we talking about?

Then we have to consider what we effectively see and where we want to draw the line in our definition. The Cambridge colour article is very good on explaining this. Actually, computational compiled images such as those used for hdr shots, macro stacked shots and in top range camera phones, are closer to what our brains do pp to the images from the eye.

The discussion is about "how real are the representation made with photography as a technique? Color? Other aspects that affects the differences between outer reality and the photograph as an object?

And the point I was making is that there is no objective reality that is shown in images. images. Images are perceived and therefore subjective. Ref the Cambridge article about what we actually see. Images collected by a lens are not statements of objective reality.

This is the challenge taken up by the Impressionist painters (and impressionism was a response to the first photographic images) when they tried to paint what the eye actually saw.

Sure. The impression painters tried to represent some aspects about how we perceive - how we "feel" the outer world. I find their approach impressive! So with later development, like Pablo Picasso, that added different moments and perspectives in one and the same frame. And others before and after those, exploring how we experience the world.

IMHO. not quite. The impressionists tried to show what we actually see rather than what happens once our brain has got to work PP ing the image. It was a direct response to the challenge of photography and photographers who tried to include lots of detail and thought this was "natural" or reality.

I agree with your statements on the post impressionist moderns- they tried to go beyond the impressionists and what the eye sees, or the constructs the brain puts on what the eye has captured.

It's an interesting discussion that goes back to the dawn of photography and also is essential if trying to get one's head around movements in painting.

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Mike Fewster
Adelaide Australia

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