Toecabulary: Angle of view

Toecabulary - Angle of view

Toecabulary is the comprehensive glossary of photography terminology and techniques. Every week, you get to learn a new term defined and depicted in stunning photographs and videos. Click here if you wish to refer to this Dictionary of Photography in its entirety, or, click here to read all our weekly Toecabulary posts that discuss various concepts of photography in great detail.

Just how much of a scene can a camera take in and capture as an image? This angular extent that a camera lens is capable of containing in its vision, measured diagonally, is called the ‘angle of view’.

It depends on the camera format and the focal length of the lens, and in today’s Toecabulary, we will learn how these factors affect the ‘angle of view’. Watch this space for photographs depicting this.

One of the main factors that affect angle of view is the focal length of your lens. When focal length increases, the angle of view decreases, and so, the camera only captures as much of the scene before your eyes as can be contained within its angle of view. In simpler terms, the focal length of your camera is inversely proportional to the angle of view.

Here, image 2 shows less of the scene than image 1, as the focal length used to make image 2 is longer than that used to make image 1.

The angle of view depends on not only the lens but also the camera format, that is, the sensor size. The angle of view is more when you use a 35mm full-frame camera than what an APS-C format camera is capable of capturing, all else being the same. This is demonstrated by the two images here.

Image 1 was shot with a full-frame camera, and hence shows a wider view. Image 2, on the other hand, is an image of the same scene shot with a crop-sensor APS-C camera, and shows a reduced angle of view.

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