Focal length guide for Dsrl and other types of cameras

 

Focal length guide for Dsrl and other types of cameras cameras

What is focal length?

Focal length defines the field of view of a given lens. Generally if we simplify there are three types of lenses available: wide angle, normal lens and telephoto. How to separate them ? Normal lens is something similar what we see with the center portion of our vision (not 180 degree we can see if we stretch ourselves). Telephoto lenses has narrower field of view, wide angle lenses has wider field of view. In numbers: the normal lens has an angle of approximately of 40 degree, wide angle lens has more, telephoto lens has narrower angle. The bigger the focal length the narrower is the field of view. The smaller the focal length the wider the field of view.

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For different cameras the focal length is different for the same angle. To determine that first needs to identify the sensor size of the camera.
The sensor sizes are the following:
Full frame: 36x24mm (1.41×0.945 inch)
Aps-C: usually 22.5x15mm or little smaller or bigger (0.885×0.59 inch)
Micro 4/3: 18×13.5mm (0.7×0.53 inch)
Smaller sensored cameras has longer focal length with the same lens, bigger sensored cameras has wider focal length with the same lens. Note that not all lenses can used to different formats.

Normal lens focal length (similar to our vision):

for Full Frame cameras(Canon 5d, 6d, Nikon d600, d800): 50mm,
Aps-C cameras(Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony Nex, Fuji X-E1) 30 mm,
Micro 4/3 cameras(Panasonic, Olympus):25 mm

Short gide to focal length:

From 10 meters with an Aps-C camera for example Canon d700 the following field can we see:

8mm: 28.13 m
10mm: 22.5 m
17mm: 13.24m
24 mm: 9.38m
35mm: 6.43m
50mm: 450 cm
100mm 225 cm
200mm 113cm
400mm: 56cm
800: 28cm

For Micro 4/3 needs to divide this numbers by 1.25, for Full Frame multiply by 1.6.

General usage focal length:

for Full Frame cameras(Canon 5d, 6d, Nikon d600, d800): 24-160mm,
Aps-C cameras(Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony Nex, Fuji X-E1) 15-100mm,
Micro 4/3 cameras(Panasonic, Olympus):12-80mm

Landscapes:

Usually the wider is better, but can be made nice compressed landscapes with telephoto lenses.
for Full Frame cameras(Canon 5d, 6d, Nikon d600, d800): 10-80 mm,
Aps-C cameras(Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony Nex, Fuji X-E1) 10-50mm,
Micro 4/3 cameras(Panasonic, Olympus):5-40mm

Portrait:

for Full Frame cameras(Canon 5d, 6d, Nikon d600, d800): 80-240 mm,
Aps-C cameras (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony Nex, Fuji X-E1) 50-150mm,
Micro 4/3 cameras(Panasonic, Olympus):40-120mm

Wildlife:

for Full Frame cameras (Canon 5d, 6d, Nikon d600, d800): 640 mm and more,
Aps-C cameras(Canon, Nikon, Sony Nex, Fuji X-E1) 400mm and more,
Micro 4/3 cameras (Panasonic, Olympus):320mm and more

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