Focal Length

The assignment here was to take a zoom lens and shoot at three focal lengths – longest, mid-range and shortest. Then, if possible shoot with another lens. I used my 18-105mm zoom lens for three shots and my 50mm prime lens for a final shot.

My preparation was to find a place to shoot. We were blessed with a lovely sunny day so I poked around the garden until I found a  spot with the right amount of light and shade. I took some test shots to be sure it would work, then called my model to come and pose. This first shot was taken at 105mm, f/6.3, s1/50, ISO200. I practically had to get in her face, but the quality of the photo is good. I could fill the frame and there seems to be no distortion.

This shot was taken with the same lens at 54mm. I shot at f/6.3, s1/80, ISO200. I was able to shoot at a more comfortable distance; however, to fill the frame completely I would have needed to be much closer. Still, this seemed like a workable focal length for this kind of shot.

Shooting at 18mm, f/3.5, s1/250 gave a real fish-eye look to the shot. I guess this is good to know if I really want to create this kind of distortion. The model’s nose appears to be huge, as does her forehead. The face is both curved and flattened because of the lens distortion.

This is shot with a 50mm prime lens and is far and above the best of the lot.  I shot at f/8, s1/125, ISO 200. At some point last spring when I was doing a lot of headshots something I read warned against using prime lenses because of the distortion. I have to say I think this is not the case. It might be so if you really moved in close, but in this series of head shorts, the prime lens was the best of all.

I am glad of this exercise to put my fears about prime lenses to rest. It is good to know the advantages and weaknesses of my various lenses.


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About idaswears

I left the U.S. for Cornwall 4 years ago. Since then I have spent my time writing, walking and studying the English. It's not always easy being a Yank in Cornwall, but it's always fun and rewarding.
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