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Has ultrawide angle become an overused cliche?

 
 
Shiva Das
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      07-26-2010
In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> On Mon, 26 Jul 2010 09:10:02 -0400, "David Ruether"
> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> >"Ryan McGinnis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> >news:4c4d0899$0$24965$(E-Mail Removed).. .
> >
> >> I love ultrawide, don't get me wrong -- but it's not some magic type of
> >> lens where you can point it at anything and come out with a great photo.
> >> I think photographers who are more drawn to lines and shapes and
> >> symmetry tend to love ultrawide, and people who love lines and shapes
> >> will find those kinds of lenses to be astoundingly intuitive to compose
> >> with. But anecdotally, I've also known photographers who are less
> >> interested in lines and shapes and are heavily annoyed by the necessary
> >> distortion of ultrawide and thus are a bit lost in figuring out how to
> >> compose a shot in ultrawide.
> >> - --
> >> - -Ryan McGinnis
> >> The BIG Storm Picture -- http://bigstormpicture.com
> >> Vortex-2 image licensing at http://vortex-2.com
> >> Getty: http://www.gettyimages.com/search/se...=Ryan+McGinnis

> >
> >I second this... With the exception, of course, of the use of the word
> >"distortion" here - I think substituting "unfamiliar perspective imaging
> >characteristics" in the above is more accurate and less misleading...
> >There is true lens distortion (the failure of a lens to follow accurately the
> >perspective type of the lens), but this is not it. Confusing the two does
> >not help.

>
>
> It also doesn't help when people associate perspective with the lens's
> focal length. Perspective is purely a function of viewpoint and its
> relationship with the subject. The focal length of the lens is
> irrelevant.


In "Photographic Lenses: Photographer's Guide to Characteristics,
Quality, Use and Design" Ernst Wildi has two sets of photographs using
progressively longer lenses from 38mm to 500mm Hasselblad lenses (20mm
to 255mm equivalentin 35mm film format).

The first sequence, one shot per lens, is taken standing in the same
spot looking at the same scene. The second sequence is of a lovely lady
on the beach and he moved the camera to keep her the same size in each
image.

It does a great job of showing how focal length and distance affect
perspective
 
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Bruce
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      07-26-2010
On Mon, 26 Jul 2010 09:54:10 -0400, Shiva Das <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
>In article <(E-Mail Removed)>,
> Bruce <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> It also doesn't help when people associate perspective with the lens's
>> focal length. Perspective is purely a function of viewpoint and its
>> relationship with the subject. The focal length of the lens is
>> irrelevant.

>
>In "Photographic Lenses: Photographer's Guide to Characteristics,
>Quality, Use and Design" Ernst Wildi has two sets of photographs using
>progressively longer lenses from 38mm to 500mm Hasselblad lenses (20mm
>to 255mm equivalentin 35mm film format).
>
>The first sequence, one shot per lens, is taken standing in the same
>spot looking at the same scene. The second sequence is of a lovely lady
>on the beach and he moved the camera to keep her the same size in each
>image.
>
>It does a great job of showing how focal length and distance affect
>perspective.



Yes, that is the classic method of demonstrating that perspective is
independent of focal length.

It is to be found in many books on photography, yet people still keep
making the same mistake over and over again, thinking that perspective
is dependent on focal length.

 
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David Ruether
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      07-26-2010

"David Ruether" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:i2k3ml$8ac$(E-Mail Removed)...
> "Bruce" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> On Mon, 26 Jul 2010 09:10:02 -0400, "David Ruether"
>> <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>>"Ryan McGinnis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>>news:4c4d0899$0$24965$(E-Mail Removed) ...


>>>> I love ultrawide, don't get me wrong -- but it's not some magic type of
>>>> lens where you can point it at anything and come out with a great photo.
>>>> I think photographers who are more drawn to lines and shapes and
>>>> symmetry tend to love ultrawide, and people who love lines and shapes
>>>> will find those kinds of lenses to be astoundingly intuitive to compose
>>>> with. But anecdotally, I've also known photographers who are less
>>>> interested in lines and shapes and are heavily annoyed by the necessary
>>>> distortion of ultrawide and thus are a bit lost in figuring out how to
>>>> compose a shot in ultrawide.
>>>> - --
>>>> - -Ryan McGinnis


>>>I second this... With the exception, of course, of the use of the word
>>>"distortion" here - I think substituting "unfamiliar perspective imaging
>>>characteristics" in the above is more accurate and less misleading...
>>>There is true lens distortion (the failure of a lens to follow accurately the
>>>perspective type of the lens), but this is not it. Confusing the two does
>>>not help.


>> It also doesn't help when people associate perspective with the lens's
>> focal length. Perspective is purely a function of viewpoint and its
>> relationship with the subject. The focal length of the lens is
>> irrelevant.


> Correct, and a good point. Also, associating "WA distortion" etc. with
> specific FLs can result in odd results, as in a rectangular-perspective
> 10mm can be a super-wide on some formats (with the associated
> "distortions" , and it can also be a "distortionless" long FL on other
> formats. 'Course, a rotating-slit camera or a stitched digital panorama
> with their altered effective sensor shapes can also affect the perspective
> type of the system (in this case, the perspective type is "cylindrical").
> Understanding perspective can be fun! 8^)
> --DR


Ooops! I let slip by, "Perspective is purely a function of viewpoint and
its relationship with the subject." "Perspective" is also a function of the
specific perspective type the lens/sensor-shape renders when making
the image...
--DR


 
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Twibil
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-26-2010
Have paint brushes become cliched for painting things?

(Hint: It's a tool. And like all tools it doesn't tell you how to use
it. You could paint like Monet or you could paint a house.)

Same tool.
 
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Chris Malcolm
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      07-28-2010
In rec.photo.digital David Ruether <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> "Ryan McGinnis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:4c4d0899$0$24965$(E-Mail Removed)...


>> I love ultrawide, don't get me wrong -- but it's not some magic type of
>> lens where you can point it at anything and come out with a great photo.
>> I think photographers who are more drawn to lines and shapes and
>> symmetry tend to love ultrawide, and people who love lines and shapes
>> will find those kinds of lenses to be astoundingly intuitive to compose
>> with. But anecdotally, I've also known photographers who are less
>> interested in lines and shapes and are heavily annoyed by the necessary
>> distortion of ultrawide and thus are a bit lost in figuring out how to
>> compose a shot in ultrawide.


> I second this... With the exception, of course, of the use of the word
> "distortion" here - I think substituting "unfamiliar perspective imaging
> characteristics" in the above is more accurate and less misleading...
> There is true lens distortion (the failure of a lens to follow accurately the
> perspective type of the lens), but this is not it. Confusing the two does
> not help.


I've been wondering for some time how to describe that popularly
miconceived "wide angle distortion" of a wide angle rectilinear
lens. Your "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristics" is
excellent!

Since that "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristic" is exactly
what would be produced by a pinhole camera with no lens at all, and
can simply be removed by moving your eye close enough to the print to
recreate the camera's angle of view, I've never liked the idea of
calling it "distortion".

--
Chris Malcolm
Warning: none of the above is indisputable fact.
 
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David Ruether
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      07-28-2010

"Chris Malcolm" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> In rec.photo.digital David Ruether <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>> "Ryan McGinnis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:4c4d0899$0$24965$(E-Mail Removed)...


>>> I love ultrawide, don't get me wrong -- but it's not some magic type of
>>> lens where you can point it at anything and come out with a great photo.
>>> I think photographers who are more drawn to lines and shapes and
>>> symmetry tend to love ultrawide, and people who love lines and shapes
>>> will find those kinds of lenses to be astoundingly intuitive to compose
>>> with. But anecdotally, I've also known photographers who are less
>>> interested in lines and shapes and are heavily annoyed by the necessary
>>> distortion of ultrawide and thus are a bit lost in figuring out how to
>>> compose a shot in ultrawide.


>> I second this... With the exception, of course, of the use of the word
>> "distortion" here - I think substituting "unfamiliar perspective imaging
>> characteristics" in the above is more accurate and less misleading...
>> There is true lens distortion (the failure of a lens to follow accurately the
>> perspective type of the lens), but this is not it. Confusing the two does
>> not help.


> I've been wondering for some time how to describe that popularly
> miconceived "wide angle distortion" of a wide angle rectilinear
> lens. Your "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristics" is
> excellent!
>
> Since that "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristic" is exactly
> what would be produced by a pinhole camera with no lens at all, and
> can simply be removed by moving your eye close enough to the print to
> recreate the camera's angle of view, I've never liked the idea of
> calling it "distortion".
> --
> Chris Malcolm


Ah, I like your example for showing why super-wide rectangular
perspective images are not "distorted" (accomplished by replacing
familiar "reality" with the "distorted" images under the appropriate
conditions and then finding no appreciable differences in the views....
So much of this is simply logical!
--DR


 
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David Ruether
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-28-2010

"David Ruether" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:i2pjoa$m58$(E-Mail Removed)...
> "Chris Malcolm" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> In rec.photo.digital David Ruether <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> "Ryan McGinnis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>> news:4c4d0899$0$24965$(E-Mail Removed)...


>>>> I love ultrawide, don't get me wrong -- but it's not some magic type of
>>>> lens where you can point it at anything and come out with a great photo.
>>>> I think photographers who are more drawn to lines and shapes and
>>>> symmetry tend to love ultrawide, and people who love lines and shapes
>>>> will find those kinds of lenses to be astoundingly intuitive to compose
>>>> with. But anecdotally, I've also known photographers who are less
>>>> interested in lines and shapes and are heavily annoyed by the necessary
>>>> distortion of ultrawide and thus are a bit lost in figuring out how to
>>>> compose a shot in ultrawide.


>>> I second this... With the exception, of course, of the use of the word
>>> "distortion" here - I think substituting "unfamiliar perspective imaging
>>> characteristics" in the above is more accurate and less misleading...
>>> There is true lens distortion (the failure of a lens to follow accurately the
>>> perspective type of the lens), but this is not it. Confusing the two does
>>> not help.


>> I've been wondering for some time how to describe that popularly
>> miconceived "wide angle distortion" of a wide angle rectilinear
>> lens. Your "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristics" is
>> excellent!
>>
>> Since that "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristic" is exactly
>> what would be produced by a pinhole camera with no lens at all, and
>> can simply be removed by moving your eye close enough to the print to
>> recreate the camera's angle of view, I've never liked the idea of
>> calling it "distortion".
>> --
>> Chris Malcolm


> Ah, I like your example for showing why super-wide rectangular
> perspective images are not "distorted" (accomplished by replacing
> familiar "reality" with the "distorted" images under the appropriate
> conditions and then finding no appreciable differences in the views....
> So much of this is simply logical!
> --DR


Ah, a bit more to add to the above... If a "distorted" fisheye photo is
projected onto a hemispherical surface and the eye is placed properly
at the center of the circle at the hemisphere's rear, the view will also
be undistorted, and an angle of view that is impossible to achieve with
rectangular perspective can easily be achieved with the fisheye view.
--DR


 
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Robert Coe
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      07-31-2010
On Wed, 28 Jul 2010 11:52:42 -0400, "David Ruether" <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
:
: "Chris Malcolm" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
: news:(E-Mail Removed)...
: > In rec.photo.digital David Ruether <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: >> "Ryan McGinnis" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
: >> news:4c4d0899$0$24965$(E-Mail Removed)...
:
: >>> I love ultrawide, don't get me wrong -- but it's not some magic type of
: >>> lens where you can point it at anything and come out with a great photo.
: >>> I think photographers who are more drawn to lines and shapes and
: >>> symmetry tend to love ultrawide, and people who love lines and shapes
: >>> will find those kinds of lenses to be astoundingly intuitive to compose
: >>> with. But anecdotally, I've also known photographers who are less
: >>> interested in lines and shapes and are heavily annoyed by the necessary
: >>> distortion of ultrawide and thus are a bit lost in figuring out how to
: >>> compose a shot in ultrawide.
:
: >> I second this... With the exception, of course, of the use of the word
: >> "distortion" here - I think substituting "unfamiliar perspective imaging
: >> characteristics" in the above is more accurate and less misleading...
: >> There is true lens distortion (the failure of a lens to follow accurately
: >> the perspective type of the lens), but this is not it. Confusing the two
: >> does not help.
:
: > I've been wondering for some time how to describe that popularly
: > miconceived "wide angle distortion" of a wide angle rectilinear
: > lens. Your "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristics" is
: > excellent!
: >
: > Since that "unfamiliar perspective imaging characteristic" is exactly
: > what would be produced by a pinhole camera with no lens at all, and
: > can simply be removed by moving your eye close enough to the print to
: > recreate the camera's angle of view, I've never liked the idea of
: > calling it "distortion".
: > --
: > Chris Malcolm
:
: Ah, I like your example for showing why super-wide rectangular
: perspective images are not "distorted" (accomplished by replacing
: familiar "reality" with the "distorted" images under the appropriate
: conditions and then finding no appreciable differences in the views....
: So much of this is simply logical!
: --DR

And a further point is that some of these perspectives aren't as unfamiliar as
they seem, because the human eye-brain system normalizes the image in a way
that a camera can't. For a simple example, put on your eyeglasses and rotate
your head clockwise and counter-clockwise. You will (correctly) see your
glasses move while the scene remains upright. But this is a bit
counterintuitive, since from the point of view of your eyes, it's the scene
that moves. That's what makes it so devilish hard to keep the horizon level
while looking through the viewfinder of a camera. You see the horizon as
level, even when the camera doesn't.

Bob
 
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Robert Coe
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      07-31-2010
On Mon, 26 Jul 2010 05:19:17 -0700 (PDT), RichA <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: On Jul 25, 10:57*pm, Ryan McGinnis <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
: > Hash: SHA1
: >
: > On Jul 25, 9:45 pm, Me <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: >
: > > RichA wrote:
: > > > Ultrawide angle shots don't need
: > > > compositional thought in order to have an impact.
: >
: > > That's an hilariously ignorant statement.
: >
: > Seconded. *Ultrawide makes finding lines and shapes a bit easier,
: > but it's pretty easy to take a boring-as-crap ultrawide shot, just as
: > it's pretty easy to take boring photos at most other focal lengths.
:
: Not really. The distortion provided by UW shots automatically conveys
: a dyanamism that non-ultrawide shots don't have, so even if no thought
: has gone into them, they are going to have an emotional impact on most
: viewers.

Perhaps, but that emotional impact may not be what you hoped for. I'm still
getting used to my new ultrawide and adjusting to the fact that the tricks one
uses to compensate for inadequate lens width, such as photographing a wide
building with the camera pointed at its corner, can produce garish results
with an ultrawide. The emotional impact of more than a few of my recent
pictures has been to make me want to retch. ;^)

Bob
 
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Robert Coe
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      07-31-2010
On Mon, 26 Jul 2010 10:32:07 -0700, Paul Furman <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: RichA wrote:
: > On Jul 25, 10:57 pm, Ryan McGinnis<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: >> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
: >> Hash: SHA1
: >>
: >> On Jul 25, 9:45 pm, Me<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
: >>
: >>> RichA wrote:
: >>>> Ultrawide angle shots don't need
: >>>> compositional thought in order to have an impact.
: >>
: >>> That's an hilariously ignorant statement.
: >>
: >> Seconded. Ultrawide makes finding lines and shapes a bit easier,
: >> but it's pretty easy to take a boring-as-crap ultrawide shot, just as
: >> it's pretty easy to take boring photos at most other focal lengths.
: >
: > Not really. The distortion provided by UW shots automatically conveys
: > a dyanamism that non-ultrawide shots don't have, so even if no thought
: > has gone into them, they are going to have an emotional impact on most
: > viewers.
:
: Yeah but a poorly composed ultra wide shot is likely to invoke disgust
: rather than the boredom of a poorly composed normal view <g>. So it's
: not exactly a safe shortcut to fame. The exception is an ultra wide shot
: at the beach with no foreground, which will indeed look boring. Fisheye
: lenses are really tough to make good photos with because it usually just
: looks weird and bad.

So far, Bowser is the only photographer in our group who has shown that he can
consistently produce good pictures with a fisheye. And he chooses his subjects
very carefully to make it happen.

Bob
 
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