Compression is Real

Started May 26, 2018 | Discussions
Mike CH Veteran Member • Posts: 9,631
NO IT DOES NOT
2

Brian_Flex wrote:

Incorrect. The focal length changes perspective.

As you can easily see in the illustration you provided, the view point was changed between the two shots. The black dot is much closer to the foreground cowboy in the left example. This, and not the focal length, changes the perspective.

So, NO IT DOES NOT!

And the explanation in first paragraph of the illustration is wrong. A wideangle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view.

Regards, Mike

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Mike CH Veteran Member • Posts: 9,631
No

Brian_Flex wrote:

Spot on.

No.

Here's a similar test we did, but only the focal length changed.

To my eyes, it looks like something changed position between the second and third shot...

Regards, Mike

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jrtrent Veteran Member • Posts: 5,027
Re: no cropping or stitching

stevedavidsonphotography wrote:

jrtrent wrote:

Donald B wrote:

Mike CH wrote:

Donald B wrote:

You have displayed in the images that the background looks closer to the team using longer focal lenghts.

No, he has shown that when he moves backwards and forwards the proportions between foreground and background changes. The lens and its focal length is only responsible for maintaining framing, i.e. size of the foreground subject.

The proof is easy.

In the position where the 400mm shot was taken, also take a 100mm shot. Crop that last shot to the size of the 400mm shot. You will now see that the cropped image show exactly the same "compression" as the 400mm image.

Regards, Mike

Im only commenting on the images posted . And taken ooc not cropped reducing image quality.

I've been reading photography books for 50 years that talk about the exaggerated perspective created by wide angle lenses and the compressed perspective given by telephoto lenses. My experience in taking pictures confirms what those books have said, and, typically wanting my pictures to have a natural perspective, I shoot almost exclusively with a focal length that is "normal" for the film or sensor size I am using. I dismiss any argument that depends on cropping or stitching to refute the apparent perspective distortion created by wide angle and telephoto lenses because by doing so they negate the differences in field of view that is the primary property of choosing different focal lengths.

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:

"A telephoto lens, for example, renders distant objects larger in the frame, and has the effect of compressing the apparent spatial relationship between objects. A wideangle does precisely the opposite; in squeezing more content into the image, objects appear smaller and more distant. 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."

When you stand in the same spot and zoom in and out everything in the frame will become equally larger and smaller.

And doesn't that echo what the quoted excerpt says? If you zoom wider than normal, then distant things in the scene look smaller and farther away; if you zoom longer than normal, those distant things look bigger and closer than normal. Tamron had some interesting things to say about normal, wideangle, and telephoto lenses, too, though I can no longer find a working link to the article these excerpts came from:

"A focal length approximating the diagonal dimension of the camera’s image plane will render an angle-of-view with negligible magnification—similar to normal human vision. Focal lengths numerically lower than normal will render negative magnification, resulting in wider angles-of-view (wide angle), while those numerically greater than normal render positive magnification, producing narrower angles-of-view (telephoto.)."

"A photographic lens provides a visual effect, making closely located subjects larger while remotely located subjects smaller. As the focal length becomes shorter in a wideangle lens, this perspective difference expands making closely located subjects even bigger and remotely located ones even smaller (exaggerated perspective). In contrast, in a telephoto lens, as focal lengths become longer, less difference is observed between close and distant subjects, making it appear as if they are closer regardless of the distance between them (compressed perspective)."

"Generally speaking, a focal length range that provides a similar perspective to the human eye is considered to be somewhere between 40-60mm."

That last quote referred to pictures made on the 24 X 36mm format.  If you take a variety of shots of normal scenes (that is, those with both near and distant items included; not, for example, a brick wall or reproduction of a flat painting) with 24, 50, and 105mm equivalent focal lengths, I think you will clearly see the exaggerated perspective of the 24, the compressed perspective of the 105, and the normal perspective of the 50mm.  If not, well, I still see it myself, and so I choose my focal lengths accordingly.

Mike CH Veteran Member • Posts: 9,631
Go out and try it
5

jrtrent wrote:

stevedavidsonphotography wrote:

When you stand in the same spot and zoom in and out everything in the frame will become equally larger and smaller.

And doesn't that echo what the quoted excerpt says? If you zoom wider than normal, then distant things in the scene look smaller and farther away; if you zoom longer than normal, those distant things look bigger and closer than normal.

True, but... Foreground and background change the same in size when you zoom. As long as you remain in place, that is.

Go out and try it out.

So many people refer to old articles they’ve read, things they’ve heard or learned back when. It reminds me of “science” in the dark ages where people would rather interpret yet again what some old Greek has written thousand years ago instead of performing an experiment.

So, go out and try it out, instead.

Regards, Mike

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stevedavidsonphotography Senior Member • Posts: 1,372
Re: no cropping or stitching

jrtrent wrote:

stevedavidsonphotography wrote:

jrtrent wrote:

Donald B wrote:

Mike CH wrote:

Donald B wrote:

You have displayed in the images that the background looks closer to the team using longer focal lenghts.

No, he has shown that when he moves backwards and forwards the proportions between foreground and background changes. The lens and its focal length is only responsible for maintaining framing, i.e. size of the foreground subject.

The proof is easy.

In the position where the 400mm shot was taken, also take a 100mm shot. Crop that last shot to the size of the 400mm shot. You will now see that the cropped image show exactly the same "compression" as the 400mm image.

Regards, Mike

Im only commenting on the images posted . And taken ooc not cropped reducing image quality.

I've been reading photography books for 50 years that talk about the exaggerated perspective created by wide angle lenses and the compressed perspective given by telephoto lenses. My experience in taking pictures confirms what those books have said, and, typically wanting my pictures to have a natural perspective, I shoot almost exclusively with a focal length that is "normal" for the film or sensor size I am using. I dismiss any argument that depends on cropping or stitching to refute the apparent perspective distortion created by wide angle and telephoto lenses because by doing so they negate the differences in field of view that is the primary property of choosing different focal lengths.

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:

"A telephoto lens, for example, renders distant objects larger in the frame, and has the effect of compressing the apparent spatial relationship between objects. A wideangle does precisely the opposite; in squeezing more content into the image, objects appear smaller and more distant. 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."

When you stand in the same spot and zoom in and out everything in the frame will become equally larger and smaller.

And doesn't that echo what the quoted excerpt says? If you zoom wider than normal, then distant things in the scene look smaller and farther away; if you zoom longer than normal, those distant things look bigger and closer than normal. Tamron had some interesting things to say about normal, wideangle, and telephoto lenses, too, though I can no longer find a working link to the article these excerpts came from:

"A focal length approximating the diagonal dimension of the camera’s image plane will render an angle-of-view with negligible magnification—similar to normal human vision. Focal lengths numerically lower than normal will render negative magnification, resulting in wider angles-of-view (wide angle), while those numerically greater than normal render positive magnification, producing narrower angles-of-view (telephoto.)."

"A photographic lens provides a visual effect, making closely located subjects larger while remotely located subjects smaller. As the focal length becomes shorter in a wideangle lens, this perspective difference expands making closely located subjects even bigger and remotely located ones even smaller (exaggerated perspective). In contrast, in a telephoto lens, as focal lengths become longer, less difference is observed between close and distant subjects, making it appear as if they are closer regardless of the distance between them (compressed perspective)."

"Generally speaking, a focal length range that provides a similar perspective to the human eye is considered to be somewhere between 40-60mm."

That last quote referred to pictures made on the 24 X 36mm format. If you take a variety of shots of normal scenes (that is, those with both near and distant items included; not, for example, a brick wall or reproduction of a flat painting) with 24, 50, and 105mm equivalent focal lengths, I think you will clearly see the exaggerated perspective of the 24, the compressed perspective of the 105, and the normal perspective of the 50mm. If not, well, I still see it myself, and so I choose my focal lengths accordingly.

It is an optical illusion.

With both eyes open when zooming out objects that get smaller appear to be getting farther away.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 41,183
Re: It's worse
4

Mike CH wrote:

It's worse. He tried to show, at least until he deigns to explain otherwise, that it's a function of focal length and not of position.

I didn't interpret it that way because he didn't say anything to clarify. I can't read his mind. Going purely by looking at the photos my interpretation was he meant to show as you change focal length and adjust distance to maintain the same FOV  framing on the primary subject, objects in the background will appear closer at longer focal lengths. What he didn't show was if you keep the same distance while zooming in on the subject this "compression" doesn't occur. Some people call what he did compression while others attack that notion because when you zoom in on the subject while maintaining distance there is no no change in perspective. It's one of those senseless debates built around semantics so common on DPR.

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dmartin92 Senior Member • Posts: 1,919
Re: Saw compression with my eyes
2

For a few years I would wait for a train at a station that had a curve just before the station.

Thanks to the curve, I could see all of the train when it was off in the distance. Off in the distance, the train looked quite short.

I could see how short it looked, every day.

And as it got closer, it seemed to get longer.

And by the time it was right next to me, there on the station platform, I could see... it was really long.

I watched this happen, many, many times... and I am sure, that’s the way it looked.

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Brian_Flex Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: NO IT DOES NOT

Mike CH wrote:

Brian_Flex wrote:

Incorrect. The focal length changes perspective.

As you can easily see in the illustration you provided, the view point was changed between the two shots. The black dot is much closer to the foreground cowboy in the left example. This, and not the focal length, changes the perspective.

So, NO IT DOES NOT!

And the explanation in first paragraph of the illustration is wrong. A wideangle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view.

Regards, Mike

Firstly, the documentation is correct. Secondly, I responded to the poster who wrote:

"Changing the focal length of a lens doesn't affect the perspective of the picture. But, subject distance does."

The point of having different focal lengths is to change perspective, otherwise we'd shoot an entire movie on a 25mm lens, and I'd be out of a job.

In response to your statement, "a wide-angle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view". You are correct, they don't have the same FOV, but it clearly illustrates keeping the subject the same size.

dsjtecserv Veteran Member • Posts: 3,757
Re: NO IT DOES NOT
11

Brian_Flex wrote:

Mike CH wrote:

Brian_Flex wrote:

Incorrect. The focal length changes perspective.

As you can easily see in the illustration you provided, the view point was changed between the two shots. The black dot is much closer to the foreground cowboy in the left example. This, and not the focal length, changes the perspective.

So, NO IT DOES NOT!

And the explanation in first paragraph of the illustration is wrong. A wideangle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view.

Regards, Mike

Firstly, the documentation is correct. Secondly, I responded to the poster who wrote:

"Changing the focal length of a lens doesn't affect the perspective of the picture. But, subject distance does."

The point of having different focal lengths is to change perspective, otherwise we'd shoot an entire movie on a 25mm lens, and I'd be out of a job.

In response to your statement, "a wide-angle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view". You are correct, they don't have the same FOV, but it clearly illustrates keeping the subject the same size.

The change in distance is the cause; the change in focal length is the effect, When you change your shooting position relative to the subjects, you have change the perspective, period. You then have a choice as to how to frame the scene. You can leave the focal length the same and frame the scene wider than before, or you can adjust the focal length so that the field of view is narrower than before, and keep one or the other of your subjects the same size as before.

So while you may choose to change the focal length as a consequence of your change of position, there is no sense in which the change in focal length causes the change in perspective. That was already done when you moved.

Even if you choose a focal length first, and then move back in order to recreate the framing you had, the change in perspective does not happen until you change your position. If you change to a longer focal length but don't move, the framing becomes tighter, but the perspective (the size relationships among the objects in the scene) does not change.

Dave

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stevedavidsonphotography Senior Member • Posts: 1,372
Re: Saw compression with my eyes

dmartin92 wrote:

For a few years I would wait for a train at a station that had a curve just before the station.

Thanks to the curve, I could see all of the train when it was off in the distance. Off in the distance, the train looked quite short.

I could see how short it looked, every day.

And as it got closer, it seemed to get longer.

And by the time it was right next to me, there on the station platform, I could see... it was really long.

I watched this happen, many, many times... and I am sure, that’s the way it looked.

Right.  And the closer the train got the larger the engine was compared to the caboose.

From a distance they were about the same size ?

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dmartin92 Senior Member • Posts: 1,919
Re: Saw compression with my eyes
3

It was there on that train platform that I fully understood what some forum member was saying, when they said,

”it’s not about lens length, it’s about perspective”.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 41,183
Re: NO IT DOES NOT
1

Brian_Flex wrote:

In response to your statement, "a wide-angle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view". You are correct, they don't have the same FOV, but it clearly illustrates keeping the subject the same size.

I think such discussions should clarify by saying the same FOV on the target, ie. keeping the subject the same size. The FOV on the total scene changes considerably.

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stevedavidsonphotography Senior Member • Posts: 1,372
Re: Saw compression with my eyes
1

dmartin92 wrote:

It was there on that train platform that I fully understood what some forum member was saying, when they said,

”it’s not about lens length, it’s about perspective”.

Understanding this is a good tool to have.

I think understand this is very important for doing portraits.

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Mike CH Veteran Member • Posts: 9,631
Re: NO IT DOES NOT
2

Brian_Flex wrote:

Mike CH wrote:

As you can easily see in the illustration you provided, the view point was changed between the two shots. The black dot is much closer to the foreground cowboy in the left example. This, and not the focal length, changes the perspective.

So, NO IT DOES NOT!

And the explanation in first paragraph of the illustration is wrong. A wideangle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view.

Regards, Mike

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Firstly, the documentation is correct. Secondly, I responded to the poster who wrote:

"Changing the focal length of a lens doesn't affect the perspective of the picture. But, subject distance does."

Which is perfectly correct.

The point of having different focal lengths is to change perspective, otherwise we'd shoot an entire movie on a 25mm lens, and I'd be out of a job.

No, one point of having different focal lengths is to be able to maintain framing as you change perspective by changing view point.

When you move closer to something, the relative size of the background to the foreground shrinks; when you move away, it grows. It is completely independent of what lens you have on your camera, and even if you have a camera and a lens at all.

Your choice of lens, when you stay at the same distance, solely determines the size of the foreground subject, and not the relative size of the foreground to the background.

In response to your statement, "a wide-angle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view". You are correct, they don't have the same FOV, but it clearly illustrates keeping the subject the same size.

Which becomes necessary because you changed position with regard to the subject.

Regards, Mike

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TN Args
TN Args Veteran Member • Posts: 7,857
Re: NO IT DOES NOT
2

dsjtecserv wrote:

Brian_Flex wrote:

Mike CH wrote:

Brian_Flex wrote:

Incorrect. The focal length changes perspective.

As you can easily see in the illustration you provided, the view point was changed between the two shots. The black dot is much closer to the foreground cowboy in the left example. This, and not the focal length, changes the perspective.

So, NO IT DOES NOT!

And the explanation in first paragraph of the illustration is wrong. A wideangle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view.

Regards, Mike

Firstly, the documentation is correct. Secondly, I responded to the poster who wrote:

"Changing the focal length of a lens doesn't affect the perspective of the picture. But, subject distance does."

The point of having different focal lengths is to change perspective, otherwise we'd shoot an entire movie on a 25mm lens, and I'd be out of a job.

In response to your statement, "a wide-angle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view". You are correct, they don't have the same FOV, but it clearly illustrates keeping the subject the same size.

The change in distance is the cause; the change in focal length is the effect, When you change your shooting position relative to the subjects, you have change the perspective, period. You then have a choice as to how to frame the scene. You can leave the focal length the same and frame the scene wider than before, or you can adjust the focal length so that the field of view is narrower than before, and keep one or the other of your subjects the same size as before.

So while you may choose to change the focal length as a consequence of your change of position, there is no sense in which the change in focal length causes the change in perspective. That was already done when you moved.

Even if you choose a focal length first, and then move back in order to recreate the framing you had, the change in perspective does not happen until you change your position. If you change to a longer focal length but don't move, the framing becomes tighter, but the perspective (the size relationships among the objects in the scene) does not change.

Correct in every sense.

I dare you, Brian, to change nothing but the focal length, and show us a changed distance perspective. If you cannot do that, then focal length cannot be the cause.

Conversely, if you changed nothing but the camera position, the distance perspective will always change.

Pretty obvious, then, by simple logic, what causes it.

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dsjtecserv Veteran Member • Posts: 3,757
Re: Compression is Real
2

Brian_Flex wrote:

Spot on. Here's a similar test we did, but only the focal length changed. These are just screen grabs.

If only the focal length changed, then the perspective didn't change; there is neither more nor less "compression" in the shots with different focal lengths. The aptly demonstrates that perspective is NOT a function of focal length.

Dave

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Mike CH Veteran Member • Posts: 9,631
Re: NO IT DOES NOT
2

tbcass wrote:

Brian_Flex wrote:

In response to your statement, "a wide-angle lens and a tele cannot have the same field of view". You are correct, they don't have the same FOV, but it clearly illustrates keeping the subject the same size.

I think such discussions should clarify by saying the same FOV on the target, ie. keeping the subject the same size.

They shouldn’t use FoV for that at all. FoV is an angle. If the intent is keeping the subject the same size, say that. Or say framing. But don’t say anything with FoV in it.

Regards, Mike

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Mike CH Veteran Member • Posts: 9,631
Re: Saw compression with my eyes

dmartin92 wrote:

For a few years I would wait for a train at a station that had a curve just before the station.

Thanks to the curve, I could see all of the train when it was off in the distance. Off in the distance, the train looked quite short.

I could see how short it looked, every day.

And as it got closer, it seemed to get longer.

And by the time it was right next to me, there on the station platform, I could see... it was really long.

I watched this happen, many, many times... and I am sure, that’s the way it looked.

Absolutely.

Did you change any kind of lens or focal length between the observations? Did you even have a lens? I’m guessing you didn’t, at least not every time, right? 😉

So what did change? The distance between you, the train and the background, as the train moved closer and closer to you.

Regards, Mike

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JackM
OP JackM Veteran Member • Posts: 8,480
Re: It's worse

Mike CH wrote:

It's worse. He tried to show, at least until he deigns to explain otherwise, that it's a function of focal length and not of position.

He failed.

It's a function of both, obviously.

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tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 41,183
Re: NO IT DOES NOT

Mike CH wrote:

They shouldn’t use FoV for that at all. FoV is an angle. If the intent is keeping the subject the same size, say that. Or say framing. But don’t say anything with FoV in it.

I'm good with that. Same size or identical framing. When you don't clarify people come up with different interpretations hence the senseless arguments.

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