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Old Aug 24, 2011, 2:21 PM   #1
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Default New Challenge Aug 24 - Sep 8 -- To Zoom or To Walk??

In my opinion, the zoom lens was one of the more significant developments in the past quarter century. It is wonderful what one can do with it. On the other hand, however, it has made us all lazy!! Why walk up closer to your subject when you can just zoom?

What many of us don't realize is that when you zoom in on a subject, the perspective does not change. All the zoom lens does is enlarge the center part of the scene being viewed and discards the edges. For most applications, this is not a problem.

However, this is not always the case. Visualize the following scenario. You are looking at a building with a large portal gate in front of it. You can see the building through the open gate but not behind the pillars/posts of the gate or the fence/wall to either side. When you zoom in, you still can't see behind the wall. You see the same image enlarged. However, if you walk toward the gate, features behind the wall become visible. Now, how important is it to you whether or not you see those hidden features?

For the next two weeks, we are going to explore the concept of zooming versus walking. Find a scene similar to what I described above. There doesn't have to be a large gate or fence. There could be a couple of large trees at the sides of a sidewalk leading up to the building. The trees may be hiding part of the building. What I would like for you to do is to shoot three shots. These shots are as follows:
  1. Pick a location about 50 ft from the "portal" and shoot a shot at the 50mm setting or the lowest available setting greater than 50mm.
  2. Without moving, zoom in and shoot another shot of the portal.
  3. Return your lens to the 50mm setting used in the first shot and walk (yes, you get some exercise in this challenge!) toward the portal until you think you are about the same location shown in the zoom shot and shoot a third shot.
Now compare the second shot with the third. I think you will be quite surprised by the difference and by how much you miss when zooming in.

Try this experiment in different locations with different objects in the foreground. Please show us all three photos and explain what you did.

Please put To Walk or Zoom in your subject line and have some fun with this one. If you have more than one zoom lens, try it with a long telephoto zoom and then repeat the exercise with a wide-angle zoom.

Enjoy (I hope) and enjoy the benefits of walking!

Cal

Last edited by calr; Aug 27, 2011 at 10:19 AM. Reason: Clarification.
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Old Aug 24, 2011, 4:54 PM   #2
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G'day Cal

Excellent description of the new task at hand
I refer people to "vote with their feet" ~ move to a different location to get a better result

I may submit some images as well - time will tell
Regards, Phil
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 10:21 AM   #3
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Note the changes made to the challenge description. I previously used "wide-angle" as my description of the reference setting. A setting of 50mm much more closely duplicates a standard or prime lens on most DSLRs.

Cal
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 2:49 PM   #4
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Interestingly many of the latest Biweekly Shoot Outs have been about perspective distortion with the different ways we see it. It as all the same and it would seem that once someone understands perspective distortion that all the rest would be self evident but that doesnít look to be the case. I havenít seen (what I would consider) a good definitive article on the web for describing what different people perceive as perspective distortion (as just the one thing it is and not as parts of something) and how it relates to photography. To me understand perspective distortion is as important as understand the fiction of DOF and how it relates to photography. So having these shoot out is going to help people I just think that it will also help if they understand it as all the same thing. DAZ
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Old Aug 27, 2011, 9:57 PM   #5
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The tutorial here uses three photos to show how perspective is same for different lens lengths but it differs with distance to subject. It's first two photos meet the requirements for the first two in this challenge. Does it's third photo match the third requirement in this challenge?
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 11:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItDontMeanAThing View Post
The tutorial here uses three photos to show how perspective is same for different lens lengths but it differs with distance to subject. It's first two photos meet the requirements for the first two in this challenge. Does it's third photo match the third requirement in this challenge?
The link is some of what I am talking about and is better then most, I just would like to see something more comprehensive. In this one I do like the part about picking the prospective and then the lens. It also has good written examples of why so many may have a problem with prospective distortion and lenses. DAZ
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Old Aug 28, 2011, 9:10 PM   #7
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The tutorial that ItDontMeanAThing posted can be helpful for many people.

Another very good one that I read many years ago (shortly after getting my first DSLR) is here: http://photoinf.com/General/Klaus_Sc...erspective.htm
Go to the "Focal Length and Perspective" section (about third way down the page).

The various settings and the same scene (row of trees with a background) make it very clear, imho.

I look forward to taking a few shots and participating in this challenge.

Cheers

Paul
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Old Aug 31, 2011, 11:26 PM   #8
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I didn't post the tutorial because it was a tutorial. I posted it because has a three photo sequence which may or may not match the three requirements of this challenge. calr modified the challenge, commented on it, and added a sticky but hasn't answered my question.
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Old Sep 1, 2011, 9:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ItDontMeanAThing View Post
I didn't post the tutorial because it was a tutorial. I posted it because has a three photo sequence which may or may not match the three requirements of this challenge. calr modified the challenge, commented on it, and added a sticky but hasn't answered my question.
I apologize for not addressing your question. I didn't notice that there was a link in your post and I wasn't sure what set of photos you were referring to. I have now looked at the tutorial you referenced and although it comes close to what I was talking about, it is not quite there. In that tutorial, the last photo clearly illustrates a difference in perspective due to a change of position. However, due to the use of an extreme wide-angle lens, the perspective is greatly distorted, almost to the point of being humorous. This is not what I am looking for. The idea that perspective changes when the camera position changes but not when zooming has been illustrated perfectly by Mtngal's set with the brick window. There is no distortion there but the difference between zooming and moving the camera closer to the subject is very evident and this difference should be considered when planning a shot.

The distortion introduced by extreme wide-angle (<20mm) lenses can produce some really strange looking effects and since there seems to be some interest, we may do a future challenge on that subject.

I hope I have clarified things here. There has been a great deal of confusion in this challenge and I apologize for not making things clearer.

Cal
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Old Sep 1, 2011, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calr View Post
I hope I have clarified things here.
Yes you have, thank you.
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