Focal Length Confusion

Why do we persist in referring to lenses by focal length or '35mm equivalent'? Anyone taking up photography now may never shoot with 35mm film. You should campaign to categorise lenses by its horizontal angle. A wideangle lens may view 75 degrees horizontally, while a long lens may view an angle of just 10 degrees. Thus, for those who think in 35mm film, a 28-200mm becomes a 56-10 degree zoom. This way it does not matter what chip size, film format or lens are used together, it is easy to understand what any lens 'sees', whether you are assessing a lens on the smallest digital compact through to a 50-megapixel Hasselblad.

WE SAY It would make sense for compacts, but for DLSRs it would be trickier, since the angle of view of a lens would vary depending on whether it was mounted on a full-frame, APS-C or Four Thirds camera. Any new system would also have to be adopted by everyone, including the manufacturers, and we'd have to put the Effective Focal Length (i.e: 35mm equivalent) in brackets afterwards till people got used to the new description.



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Tony Glover HI

By now we're resigned to the fart that we have to pay significantly more for our goods than our cousins across the pond, but news that the list price for the Canon EOS 500D body works out £300 cheaper in the US than in the UK (around £569 instead of £869) takes it to another level. How can such a price differential be justified? I know this doesn't just affect cameras but it's galling that we're paying through the nose for everything we buy. With that kind of differential I could fly to New York, buy it and come back and still, just about, save money. If I bought a lens to go with it I'd save even more. Why?


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