Focal Lengths

Focal length is the distance in mm from the optical centre of the lens to the focal point, which is located on the sensor. A focal length of 50 mm is called 'normal' as this is the way we see things with the naked eye, which yields a picture angle of 46 degrees.

Wide angle lenses (short focal length) capture more because they have a wider picture angle, whilst tele lenses (long focal length) have a narrower picture angle.

Lenses with shorter focal lengths produce images with larger depth of field. For instance, a 28 mm lens at f5.6 produces images with greater depth of field than a 70 mm lens at the same aperture.

Compact cameras have short focal lengths and therefore have great depth of field throughout their range. A shallow depth of field can be used to isolate the subject from a busy background. On a compact you will have to use the Macro mode to achieve this.

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