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normal lens...multiple options


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#1 alvaro cortes

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 08:32 AM

Hi guys, I'm a cinematography instructor and evey time I have to talk about the normal lens, I have multiple options about what it understands for a normal lens. There's more than one Cinematography Instructor, and of course, more than a NORMAL LENS idea: (Example for 16mm format)
1.- Normal lens is twice the diagonal of the format (12.7mm in 16mm, so the normal lens is 25mm).
2.- The diagonal of the format (12.7mm in 16mm, so the normal lens is 12mm).
3.- The format (so the normal lens is 16mm).

So, the NORMAL LENS is 12mm, 16mm and 25mm.

Any new option?? please vote.

best regards to you,


alvaro cortes
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#2 G McMahon

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 09:13 AM

When you say "normal lens", are you referring to the look in comparison to the eye. If so I believe the 50mm lens on 35mm format is normal, and I believe you half the focal length for 16mm? (I always get that confused, good thing you can always look through it)

G. McMahon
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#3 Alex Haspel

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 10:28 AM

a lens with a focal lenght of the image size's diagonal is called a normal lens.
for 35mm still photography it's (roughly) 50mm, for 16mm it's 14mm, and for 35mm 1:1,37 it's 32mm
so, a normal lens always has angle of view (if this is correct english term) of about 46 degrees, which is said to match humans angle of view.

Edited by haspel, 14 August 2006 - 10:33 AM.

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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 August 2006 - 12:11 PM

When you say "normal lens", are you referring to the look in comparison to the eye. If so I believe the 50mm lens on 35mm format is normal


Yes, but is that the 8-perf horizontal 35mm still camera format or the 4-perf vertical 35mm motion picture format? And what about when 4-perf is croppsed to 1.85? Obviously a 50mm looks more wide-angle on an 8-perf camera than on a 4-perf camera. See here:

http://en.wikipedia....iki/Normal_lens
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