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Why 35mm is the best, talking head video.
Old 01-16-2020   #1
Ko.Fe.
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Why 35mm is the best, talking head video.

https://youtu.be/74hJ7EacgWE

You could skip first quater of this video, real talk start after it.
Very civilized presenter and very true words for me.
Maybe because I'm 35mm person as well.
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Old 01-16-2020   #2
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It’s a very subjective topic. I never understood the “normal” lens of 43mm because that masks so much of what I see. I’m more at home with the SWC and when it comes to “regular” cameras, the 28. Or the 50.
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Old 01-16-2020   #3
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I agree; it's my favorite prime. (followed closely by 85)

On the other hand, compared to a zoom, we can often miss the moment by having to "zoom with our feet" or change lenses. If I had to choose between a 35/2 and a 24-120/4, it would be a tough call. (thinking of the 3rd generation 24-120 VR Nikkor...)
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Old 01-16-2020   #4
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43mm is close to the diagonal measurement of the 36mm negative.

I have no clue if the field view of normal human vision matches the viewing angle or angle of coverage of 35mm lens when matched to a 35mm negative - because images become degraded in our peripheral vision - but I like the proposed theory.
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Old 01-16-2020   #5
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I'm a 35 person as well. Occasional flirtations with 28 and cold feelings toward 50...
I don't use 35 because I think it's 'better'; more of a convenience thing. Where I live there is a lot of space so I can (usually) take a few steps forward or backward to get whatever angle of view I want from the scene.
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Old 01-16-2020   #6
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Maybe the designer of the Olympus 35RC saw this video. I like it's 43mm lens. BUT I have a 35mm f/2 permanently on my K1
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Old 01-16-2020   #7
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43 is just as no go for me as 50. Slightly, tiny bit wider than 50.

I have no idea who came with 50 as kit lens.
My guess, it was just cheapest way to make and nothing else. It is tele suitable for portraits. Perhaps, back then it was less crowded everywhere. At least, according to population statistics.
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Old 01-16-2020   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Maybe the designer of the Olympus 35RC saw this video. I like it's 43mm lens. BUT I have a 35mm f/2 permanently on my K1
I like the 70s fixed lens rangefinders, but hate the 45 mm focal length they often came with. 40 is better, but still too tele.

Finally, I found the Yashica Electro 35 CC, with its 35/1.8. If only there were repair parts available so that Mark Hama could fix mine and get it back to me... Meanwhile, I'm using a 35/2 on my Nikon FE2 and a 28-105 on my N90s.
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Old 01-16-2020   #9
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On 35mm cameras, I have used 55, 50, 45, 40, 35, and 28mm lenses as my "normal" lens. As others have said, which one is best is very subjective. Personally, the 35mm is my favorite.

I currently use the following 35mm lenses:
Vivitar 35mm f/2.8 with M42 mount (recently replaced with a Pentax Takumar 35mm f/3.5)
Nikon 35mm f/2 with Nikon F mount
Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AIS with Nikon F mount
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 with Leica M mount

With these lenses, I can capture about 50% of the general subjects that I need to photograph.


35mm Wide-Angles by Narsuitus, on Flickr
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Old 01-16-2020   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narsuitus View Post
As others have said, which one is best is very subjective. Personally, the 35mm is my favorite.
Henry Wessel 28mm
HCB 50mm ???
Alot of the Viet Nam photographers used 50mm on their Nikon Fs
John Carter 50mm only on his IIIf (1964-2011)
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Old 01-16-2020   #11
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I think it is subjective. People have different degrees of peripheral awareness. The 40 mm Rokkor lens covers exactly my field of awarenes and is perfect for the street/landcape photography I do. When I see an attractive composition I can simply raise the camera and shoot it without moving (which is good because moving closer or further away will usually destroy the composition that attracted my attention in the first place), assuming I scan/print myself. 35mm is a little wider than my field of attention; however, photo labs will tend to crop scans/prints so that from a 35 mm lens you will be left with about 40 mm field of view on the scanned image. I can take my 35 mm images to the lab but I have to scan my 40mm images myself because they get cropped too narrow by the lab.
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Old 01-16-2020   #12
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The 35mm and the 50mm are my favourite lenses for the 36x24 format.
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Old 01-16-2020   #13
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I don't hear an explanation there why 35mm is supposed to be the best. Everything he says could also apply to 50 or 28 or even wider. And obviously many do pick these or something else.
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Old 01-16-2020   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
I don't hear an explanation there why 35mm is supposed to be the best. Everything he says could also apply to 50 or 28 or even wider. And obviously many do pick these or something else.
Actually, monochrome memories guy did mentioned why 50 is not 35, in his video. And why 35 is better than 50.
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Old 01-16-2020   #15
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for me, 35mm is more of an acceptable approximation of 40mm. definitively prefer a little bit longer (45mm .. 58mm), but it's a preference that changes on a daily basis.

if wide, i tend to go to 20mm or 21mm.

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Old 01-16-2020   #16
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I opened this thread thinking it was about 35mm film.

On topic, I have 35mm lenses, but I have never actually used them. They just never seem to fit what I want to do.

My "normal" is an 85mm and my wide is a 28mm. I do almost everything with these two focal lengths. For Portraiture, I would use 85mm, 100mm, and 135mm. I read people here talk of 50mm as a portrait lens, but that only makes sense to me for environmental portraiture.

For new photographers, I think a 50mm focal length is more flexible than 35mm. 50mm works for everything from close-ups, to environmental portraits, to scenery. It may not be ideal for any one of these, but it can do it all in a pinch.

(I watched a little over half of the video, but I didn't find it persuasive.)


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Old 01-17-2020   #17
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In my 14 years of full on photography, I began with a 50mm... But as it turns out, THE most used prime I use the is 35 Summicron and 35 Summaron. Following that is my 24/2.8 Zuiko. But, my most used angle is the 35mm, it just works for everything. Even if I see the world at 90mm at times, but mostly I see in 35mm. Interesting.
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Old 01-17-2020   #18
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I have no idea what a 'natural' field of vision would be, this said with the unstoppable march of the cellphones, wide angle lenses are now the new 'standard'.
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Old 01-17-2020   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Perhaps, back then it was less crowded everywhere. At least, according to population statistics.
It really does come down to this... what space do you have to work with and how close is comfortable for you. There is no “one size fits all” in photography. Only what works for what you want to accomplish.
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Old 01-17-2020   #20
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Regarding the "natural human field of view" type of arguments, they're complete nonsense. We don't see a two-dimensional image of the world with defined borders. We construct a mental three dimensional image of the world in our minds, the eyes scan around to acquire information for that. How else would you explain that we (those of us who's eyes can accommodate near and far) don't usually notice things out of focus except in very specific situations of looking through a hole in the fence or so, even though our eyes do have limited dof? How else would you explain we don't experience any geometric distortion, even though there is no way of projecting an image of a three-dimensional world into two dimensions that is free of distortion (rectilinear lenses turn heads into ovals in the corners, fisheyes bend straight lines)? Even at any moment of time with eyes fixed at one position, peripheral vision is something around 150 degrees vertically, but we can also notice only what's in an arbitrarily small field if we're highly concentrated. There really is no naturalistic argument to be had, everyone needs to find their own reasons for choosing focal lengths.
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Old 01-17-2020   #21
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RG used the 50mm DR quite a lot. It was interesting to hear his explanation on a COOPH video... the undestorted, life-like when enlarged 1:1 (also and importantly determined by viewing distance).
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Old 01-17-2020   #22
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'Retinax' has a good handle for his analysis...perhaps he's an ophthalmologist?
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Old 01-17-2020   #23
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well, Barnack used a 42mm Summar on the UR Leica. Do ya think he Knew Something? :-)
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Old 01-17-2020   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Out to Lunch View Post
'Retinax' has a good handle for his analysis...perhaps he's an ophthalmologist?

Hehe no the handle comes from the Kodak camera. The only thing thing in my analysis that relates to my formal education is distortion from projections, I learned about them regarding maps, but it translates to lenses to a certain degree.

I will add that there is an argument to be made for maintaining the angle of view from capture to presentation: One could print an image to a such a size that, from a certain viewing position, one would see a have the same angles between image objects that the photographer had from the capture position. Or one could, from a fixed print size and viewing position, choose a focal length to achieve this.
Regardless of the question what would be gained, it would be rather impractical as it would require sticking with one focal length and rigid mode of presentation. That's probably why we don't see this argument made often. But it would make a lot more sense than the often repeated "natural field of view".
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Old 01-17-2020   #25
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I think, it was one mistake made by author of the video. FOV is such a red herring. Just like "film Leica M" on the other day.
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Old 01-17-2020   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Out to Lunch View Post
I have no idea what a 'natural' field of vision would be, this said with the unstoppable march of the cellphones, wide angle lenses are now the new 'standard'.

28 mm is not set in stone for cellphones. For a long time I had an older cellphone that was significantly narrower than 28 mm and really liked using it. It was when I got a newer phone with a 28 mm FOV that I stopped finding the cellphone useful for photography; it seldom occurs to me to use the cell for pictures anymore for this exact reason.
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Old 01-17-2020   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
28 mm is not set in stone for cellphones. For a long time I had an older cellphone that was significantly narrower than 28 mm and really liked using it. It was when I got a newer phone with a 28 mm FOV that I stopped finding the cellphone useful for photography; it seldom occurs to me to use the cell for pictures anymore for this exact reason.
Before my iPhone XS was stolen, I was using the 56mm lens exclusively... l loved it. I like everything between 28-85mm, but if I have to choose one lens, it is a 50mm. Even more so now that wide angles are seemingly used by everyone.
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Old 01-17-2020   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Regarding the "natural human field of view" type of arguments, they're complete nonsense. We don't see a two-dimensional image of the world with defined borders. We construct a mental three dimensional image of the world in our minds, the eyes scan around to acquire information for that. How else would you explain that we (those of us who's eyes can accommodate near and far) don't usually notice things out of focus except in very specific situations of looking through a hole in the fence or so, even though our eyes do have limited dof? How else would you explain we don't experience any geometric distortion, even though there is no way of projecting an image of a three-dimensional world into two dimensions that is free of distortion (rectilinear lenses turn heads into ovals in the corners, fisheyes bend straight lines)? Even at any moment of time with eyes fixed at one position, peripheral vision is something around 150 degrees vertically, but we can also notice only what's in an arbitrarily small field if we're highly concentrated. There really is no naturalistic argument to be had, everyone needs to find their own reasons for choosing focal lengths.

Well, there is something to the argument if you assume a standard comfortable solid angle (area/distance^2) for viewing the print/screen. You have to stand closer to the print to see a 18 mm print distortion-free than you do for a 50 mm print, for example. You can certainly stand that close to the 18 mm picture, but at that distance most people can't take in the whole image at once, or (if older) may not have the requisite near-vision acuity for it.
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Old 01-17-2020   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
Well, there is something to the argument if you assume a standard comfortable solid angle (area/distance^2) for viewing the print/screen. You have to stand closer to the print to see a 18 mm print distortion-free than you do for a 50 mm print, for example. You can certainly stand that close to the 18 mm picture, but at that distance most people can't take in the whole image at once, or (if older) may not have the requisite near-vision acuity for it.
I don't understand your formula but yes, that idea is what I also added in my response to Out to Lunch. I hardly ever hear that expressed though and it doesn't seem very practical. And that can't be what people mean when they talk about "natural human angle of view" or whatever because it's just geometry, human vision doesn't figure into it except to determine print viewing distance.
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Old 01-17-2020   #30
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misleading, I was hoping for a video on why 35mm is better than 120

I understand some of the guy's point on 35mm but don't fully agree with it.
personally I would rather go 28mm or 50mm.
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Old 01-17-2020   #31
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Bottom line...all newly fangled phones have wide angle lenses. And yes, some have zooms and other options but the basic lens is a wide angled one.
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Old 01-17-2020   #32
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I used to think I was a 35mm guy until I realized that I was cropping most of my 35mm shots. So, I picked up a 50mm and find it simpler to compose images from my personal comfort distance. Don’t get me wrong I still use a 35 and love it for certain things where space is a bit tighter, but primarily I’m loaded with a 50mm these days
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Old 01-17-2020   #33
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When the 35mm SLR was king, 50mm was about the shortest lens that could be designed that didn't have to use optical trickery to clear the mirror. In fact many 'standard' lenses were even 55mm to 58mm. Of course 35mm rangefinders (and today mirrorless digital) do not have that restriction.
That said, I like my 50mm field of view, and fast, cheap, small, and reasonably good lenses were made in the millions...back in the days of film.
For many of us, our first 35mm SLR was sold with a 50 as a matter of course, we didn't even think to ask why.
In my youth, friends, new SLR owners, would often ask 'what lens should I get next?'
My basic return question was, 'well, when taking pictures, do you often find yourselves backing up, trying to get more in the picture, or, when looking at your prints thinking, 'everything looks too small, I should have been closer.'
Depending on what the answer was, and sometimes it was a little of both, I might suggest a 28mm or some compact 135 f2.8 (or if weight and size was an issue, even a f3.5).
My strong advise however was only to buy one lens, and then shoot for a few months before deciding if they now needed the other lens option also.
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Old 01-17-2020   #34
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I consider 35mm (on 24x36) to be the most 'normal' of normal focal lengths.
Why?
Because it's the least gimmicky rendering lens that, excepting very close focus, can give an overall impression of everything being in focus.
The 50mm, even at f/16, can't sharply show both a person 2 meters away AND the environment around them. One can be in focus, the other will be distinctly blurred or soft.

My theory is that back in the early days of Leica and Contax, the 50mm was the widest lens that could have both decent image quality and a reasonable price. They couldn't make an affordable and good 35mm 'till some years later.
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Old 01-17-2020   #35
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Took a look, and persevered for a few minutes, but quickly found I prefer a Talking Heads video to a talking head video.
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Old 01-18-2020   #36
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For me it is very simple 35mm on a FF camera matches the way I see. When I work on the streets it is usually my MM and my 35.
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Old 01-18-2020   #37
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What was the reason for all the 40 mm fixed lenses in 70s cameras, and why did they stop making those?
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Old 01-18-2020   #38
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Given the depth of field issues of a wide angle lens, I've always felt the 50mm focal length as the "normal" or natural lens for the human eye. I do agree, however, the 35mm is far more versatile and interesting focal length once mastered. A lot of it depends on subject/environment too, obviously. But a camera with a single 35mm lens is a great minimalistic outfit.
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Old 01-18-2020   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarcophilus Harrisii View Post
Took a look, and persevered for a few minutes, but quickly found I prefer a Talking Heads video to a talking head video.
I hear you.
He is not as easy to digest as pop music, which I also like. Personally, I'm finding it difficult to understand very smart people. Sometimes I have to listen twice. Here is fresh interview with Noam Chomsky from Jan 10th and I didn't get most of he was saying.
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Old 01-18-2020   #40
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What about 15, 21, 24 and 28mm? Not so many moons ago, zoom lenses had a bad reputation but lens technology has evolved. I now often use a Fuji 2.8/16-55mm lens and it gives me whatever wide-angle option I fancy for whatever moment.
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