Normal Human Perspective

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Flotsam

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I once read an article where they went back and photographed landscapes that were painted by classical painters and they found that the perspectives, the size relationships of near and distant objects, was best replicated using a 135mm lens. Of course field of vision would have been different.
 

fparnold

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Let's ask an idle question, then: for those of you who wear eyeglasses, do you prefer a longer or shorter lens? My peripheral vision is bad, so I find that a 55 on 35mm or 210 on 4x5 looks like my normal field of view. (Otoh, personally I prefer a somewhat wider lens for composition)
 

jjstafford

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Flotsam said:
I once read an article where they went back and photographed landscapes that were painted by classical painters and they found that the perspectives, the size relationships of near and distant objects, was best replicated using a 135mm lens. Of course field of vision would have been different.

That makes sense. If you note how painters measure for scale (stick your paintbrush and thumb in front of the scene), note how it encourages a narrow view. Perspectivists had similar constraints.
 

blansky

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I think the natural human being sees at about 35mm ( on a 35mm). But that is sort our field of vision.

However when we look at something, we tune out the peripherals and zoom in on our subject matter or what caught our attention.

So if we are overlooking a valley we have sort of a panoramic view but when something catches our eye we zoom.

In martial arts there is a state in which you look and see everything ( an opponent or opponents) and look at nothing. That's a pretty wide angle. If we were to look at something, our attention would be directed there and we could be caught off guard.

In photography we are constantly zooming in and finding our subject matter, so we have a pretty cool zoom lens with a low f stop.

That's my take.


Michael
 

jjstafford

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blansky said:
[...]
In martial arts there is a state in which you look and see everything ( an opponent or opponents) and look at nothing. [...]
Michael
If only John Belushi had lived long enough to do The Samurai Photographer.
 

gnashings

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I won't pretend to know the answer - I was always told that 50 mm is a "normal" lens... but frankly (although its probably my favorite 35mm lens), I find that that is far from the truth.

Something that got me thinking: I just picked up a new set of eye-glasses today, and as usual, I keep seeing the frames and its giving me headaches! I know that this will go away, it always does after my brain adjusts... but, while cleaning the house today, quite by accident I found a long lost and presumed dead pair of sunglasses. They are Ray Ban Aviators, and I picked them up with some fondness (I got them when I was 17!), well, once the emotions subsided, I realized my glasses were still pissing me off. I took them off. I looked at them. I looked at the ray bans. I looked at my prescription glasses again. My spectacles are about a quarter of the area (lens) of the sunglasses! Wearing the Ray Bans felt like I just put on a facemask by comparison! And then I realized something:
Aviator sunglasses are known as such because they were designed for pilots to protect them from the sun. No thought was given to fashion, it was a case of form following function (and then it became fashionable, whatever..). A shape was concocted that covers the human field of vision as thoroughly as possible. My eye glasses were designed by a fashion designer, and hence are not worth the box they came in, optically speaking.
So, our eyes are in fact, a wide angle lens indeed. However, they feed the information to a brain, not onto a piece of "celluloid", a paper or a screen that can be taken in from a distance. Therefore, we make decisions about what we care about and what we do not care about. We often (mostly) look but do not "see" ( and I do not mean that in any philosophical way - just physically). So perhaps the perfect "normal" lens would be an ultra wide angle lens that would make all the performance testing types cringe (or sallivate atthe possible write ups). A lens that was really sharp in the middle, and not at all at the sides. A really, really cheap lens!
And one more thing: all things we see have one thing in common - they are in front of our eyes. Our field of vision is not - its in us so to speak, on our own little "film plane indicator" ( I would love to see someone with that little cirlce with a line through it tattooed on their head...). So, we extrapolate what we want to see from the information available, where as in a picture, we are inclined to take the whole thing in. Could we see more? Surely. Do we want to? NO, actually, it hurts our heads to try.
OK, well, I am sleepy. I need go beddy bye. I apologize for this rambling post - I doubt it proves anything... hope someone will get a lugh at it... since looking back now I believe I lost the plot there somewhere.
 

benjiboy

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Hm, Ray-bans found after thirty years , your house cleaning sounds about the same as mine.
 

gnashings

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Bentley Boyd said:
Hm, Ray-bans found after thirty years , your house cleaning sounds about the same as mine.

I think I deserve a degree in archeology every time I undertake this... :smile:
 

colrehogan

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Me too. I've been cleaning house all week. Today, some of the junk leaves the house. Still a lot more junk to go, but I can only keep it up for a while. :sad:
 

modafoto

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bjorke said:
  • 50mm - one eye open
  • 35mm both eyesopen

I agree to this...but sometimes (when at the beach in the summertime) I miss having the 400 mm eyes to enjoy the girls without having to appear like an old dirty bastard :tongue:
 

Dimitri

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You all, are confusing me.

I thought the the generally accepted lens is the one giving an angle of view of about 46 degrees, which is close to the human angle of view.

This will translate to a 46mm lens in 35mm format.

(At least this is more or less the most common textbook defintion I've been accustomed to.)
 

modafoto

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Dimitri said:
You all, are confusing me.

I thought the the generally accepted lens is the one giving an angle of view of about 46 degrees, which is close to the human angle of view.

This will translate to a 46mm lens in 35mm format.

(At least this is more or less the most common textbook defintion I've been accustomed to.)

How do you calculate it?
 

srs5694

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As has been stated before in this thread, the human field of view is much wider than 50mm or even 35mm, in 35mm camera terms. Try looking at a fixed point and then moving your hand around from behind your head. Even keeping your eyes firmly planted straight ahead, at some point you'll become aware of your hand, and that point is much wider than 35mm. My guess is that it'd be somewhere between 16mm and 20mm, but that's only a guess.

This analysis, however, is incomplete. Part of the trouble is that the human eye has two different types of photoreceptors: Cones detect color but aren't very sensitive to dim light, while rods are more sensitive to dim light but can't distinguish colors. Cones are concentrated near the centers of our visual fields, while rods are spread out mostly in the periphery. Topping it all off, our ability to detect detail differs according to where in the visual field something falls -- it's better in the center than in the periphery, because we've got more photoreceptors in the center than in the periphery.

Putting this all together, if you wanted to simulate in a photograph what people see, you'd have to get a very wide lens (as above, 16mm to 20mm would be my guess), take a photo, and then use darkroom or digital techniques to wash the color from and blur the outer areas. Of course, we don't perceive the world this way, but that's a matter of our ability to attend to certain features (usually in the central areas) and our brains' ability to interpolate and create things that seem, consciously, to be quite different than they are, in terms of the raw inputs. (Did you know we've got visual blind spots where our optic nerves leave our eyeballs? You'd never know it in day-to-day visual tasks, but proving it is easy -- put two dots on a blank piece of paper, close your left eye, look straight at the left dot, and move the paper back and forth. At some point, the right dot will seem to vanish -- that's your blind spot. For me, with dots two inches apart, the blind spot appears when the paper is about 4-5 inches from my eye.)

In sum, there really is no lens that will truly reproduce the human visual field. Film (or digital sensors, for that matter) and the human retina are just too different for there to be a simple one-to-one correspondence.
 

Flotsam

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I think that there are two issues here, 1) field of view and 2) perspective. A 40mm lens on a 35mm camera might aproximate the field of view but the size relationship between near and far objects will be out of proportion and unnatural because of the wide angle effect. A 135mm lens would offer a more familiar relationship between foreground and distant objects but would only cover a small slice of the scene as you see it naturally.

My theory is to come close to a true human perspective you would use a longer lens on a larger format camera to match both the prespective and field of vision. I have found that a 40mm on a 35mm is fairly comparable to a 150mm on my 4x5 camera. That might be an interesting place to start.

This is just my theory, feel free to contradict it.
 

jjstafford

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Flotsam said:
I think that there are two issues here, 1) field of view and 2) perspective. A 40mm lens on a 35mm camera might aproximate the field of view but the size relationship between near and far objects will be out of proportion and unnatural because of the wide angle effect.

This is just my theory, feel free to contradict it.

Depends on how wide apart your eyes are. :smile: Really - ever notice W's eyes are close-set as a rattler's? Makes him think Iraq is next door.
 

srs5694

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Flotsam said:
I think that there are two issues here, 1) field of view and 2) perspective. A 40mm lens on a 35mm camera might aproximate the field of view but the size relationship between near and far objects will be out of proportion and unnatural because of the wide angle effect.

First, as I and others have stated, the field of view of the human eye is far greater than that of a 40mm lens on a 35mm camera. Of course, that's not the whole story.

Second, from the same position, the perspective will remain the same no matter what focal length lens you use. (Of course, a fisheye lens will distort things, but that's another issue.) That is, you'll get the same size relationships from a full-frame photo taken with a 135mm lens as you'd get from an appropriately cropped photo taken with a 35mm lens. Likewise when changing formats (35mm to medium format, say). The size relationships change only when we shift position (or use weird lenses, like fisheyes or shift lenses).

The premise of the question -- that there's a best match between a lens focal length and what humans see -- is simply invalid. The human eye, the human visual cortex, and higher-level human perceptual systems are simply too different from those of a camera and film to make the comparison meaningful. See my rather lengthy earlier post for why.
 

micek

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Considering that throughout history the normal (i.e. average) human perspective on things has been defined by poverty and the attempt to overcome it, I would say that the equivalent lens to the human perspective would be the lens you cannot afford and do not buy...
 

gnashings

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micek said:
Considering that throughout history the normal (i.e. average) human perspective on things has been defined by poverty and the attempt to overcome it, I would say that the equivalent lens to the human perspective would be the lens you cannot afford and do not buy...

hehehe:smile: - yet at the same time kind of too true
 

jd callow

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Considering that throughout history the normal (i.e. average) human perspective on things has been defined by self interst, and exploitation of the weak or fallen...





oh never mind.
 

blansky

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I would say that the AVERAGE human perspective is not about personal self interest but about the good of the tribe, group, and/or family. If not we probably, as a species, would not have survived.

The human predators and the parasites are the exception.

If we are looking for the lens for the AVERAGE perspective then naturally we would have a 50mm. Cheapest, most practical and least creative.


MIchael
 

jjstafford

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blansky said:
I would say that the AVERAGE human perspective is not about personal self interest but about the good of the tribe, group, and/or family. If not we probably, as a species, would not have survived.
MIchael

Social psychology is clearly not the object of this thread as evinced by the truly uninformed, impressionistic opinions espoused. Why not stick to the subject of physical psychology, visual perception?
 

jd callow

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jjstafford said:
Social psychology is clearly not the object of this thread as evinced by the truly uninformed, impressionistic opinions espoused. Why not stick to the subject of physical psychology, visual perception?


Then what we need is a lens that approximates a normal lens, but has an angle of view of a fish eye. It would need to be able to focus like a macro or micro and in doing this become a very short lens or telescope to emulate an extremely long lens, and, of course, everything in between. That lens doesn't exist.

I'm thinking the comparison can be viewed as pointless if kept to the physical and becomes interesting when...


Oh never mind.
 

Flotsam

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I'd like to find a "Beer Goggle" lens that sees the world from the perspective a guy who is sitting in a bar at 2:00 in the morning after a full night of drinking copious amounts of beer. Every woman looks like a super-model. :cool:
 

jjstafford

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Flotsam said:
I'd like to find a "Beer Goggle" lens that sees the world from the perspective a guy who is sitting in a bar at 2:00 in the morning after a full night of drinking copious amounts of beer. Every woman looks like a super-model. :cool:

I had one of those lenses, but the camera must have been loaded with Coyote Ugly film.
 
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