Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2016/09/22

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Subject: [Leica] How did 50mm become the "normal" lens for 35mm cameras?
From: mark at (Mark Rabiner)
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2016 16:23:18 -0400

Would be great if we could find an article on this somewhere but I think,
Henning that when were are in hunter far off mode we are concentrating in
small objects in the distance and are way less aware of our peripheral
vision.  But its still there.  Its a real figure ground Gestalt thing and I
will admit to being well read on that a long time ago its how I survived the
Freshman dorm; Fritz Perls. I can Bing him now its so much easier.  He's not
been discredited it turns out.  And of course its not physiology but
psychology though there is an overlap.

I have learned a lot looking at my searches of my Metadata on my Adobe
Bridge as I don't use Lightroom and it tells me after doing a search
exactly which focal lenghts I  use the most in all the zooms I've used over
a long period and  fixed focal lengths as well in the results.. So I can see
if I should make sure to have a fixed focal length lens near numbers which
pop up a lot. I have been t though on  a pattern though now over a few years
not using zooms much at all. But building up a lens kit much like the focal
lengths found in a Leica M kit. Starting with the ones in the traditional
frame lines.  Though its a DSLR and not Leica glass.
I've been shooting mainly with new glass a 50, 35, 80 and soon a 20.
All 1.8's from Nikon. All with identical interface. All for Nikon cutting
edge glass design. Not Leica but you could do worse.

On 9/22/16 3:10 PM, "Henning J. Wulff" <hjwulff at> wrote:

> I agree with that, Mark. But I would also add that circumstances and what 
> you
> see/are looking at changes your personal 'angle of view' significantly. 
> When
> I'm shooting wildlife or something else that is generally small and at a
> distance, due to my concentration I see more 'long focus' at that point 
> with
> 200-400mm being a likely range. Similarly, when I'm shooting architecture, 
> my
> eyes scan a lot and my concentration on that make an 'angle of view' are
> definitely a lot wider, especially with interiors. In fact, one of the 
> cameras
> I used to really like a lot because it 'saw' what I saw was the Noblex 
> series,
> with a 24/28mm equivalent vertical and 130? horizontal view without the 3d 
> to
> 2d distortion in the extreme corners. Then again, when I'm just walking 
> down
> the street, 35mm matches my main area of concentration while 85-105mm 
> matches
> my focus when I'm talking to people one on one. That's what makes that a 
> good
> portrait lens, in conjunction with the ability to get rid of distractions 
> when
> using appropriate apertures. 50mm works with a small (2 or 3) group of 
> people
> or concentrating on a specific event on the street.
> Henning Wulff
> hjwulff at
> On 2016-09-21, at 3:03 PM, Mark Rabiner <mark at> wrote:
>> Its just that the unaided eye does not really have a frame it looks 
>> through.
>> Its sees the whole room but is only concentrated on a small object in it.
>> Its a tele mounted in a super wide.
>> So its darned hard to impossible to state what the angle of the unaided 
>> eye
>> is.  Its a sharp 180mm in a bokeh infused 12mm. I don't think we can round
>> these two numbers off and come up with something. As I understand it some
>> people use their peripheral vision differently.
>> On 9/21/16 4:58 PM, "Lew Schwartz" <lew1716 at> wrote:
>>> I believe that Bill C. is correct. It's relative to what you see with 
>>> your
>>> unaided eye.
>>> -Lew Schwartz
>>> On Sun, Sep 18, 2016 at 3:13 PM, Mark Rabiner <mark at> 
>>> wrote:
>>>> The normal camera lens now if you want to define normal as "most used by
>>>> the
>>>> most photogs most often for most stuff" is the wide angle zoom. Which 
>>>> has
>>>> come to be the 18 to 35 zoom. This for photojournalists as well as
>>>> commercial photogs and probably fine art dudes too. It started out 
>>>> being a
>>>> 20 to 35. But time flew.
>>>> I had a 12-24 for my cropped Nikons which translates to that.
>>>> Not sure if I'm going to get a 20mm 1.8 to go with my new 35 1.8 and 50 
>>>> 1.8
>>>> and do some quick back and forth running or go with the zoom.
>>>> --
>>>> Mark William Rabiner
>>>> Photographer
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Leica Users Group.
>>>> See for more information
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Leica Users Group.
>>> See for more information
>> -- 
>> Mark William Rabiner
>> Photographer
>> _______________________________________________
>> Leica Users Group.
>> See for more information
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

Mark William Rabiner

In reply to: Message from hjwulff at (Henning Wulff) ([Leica] How did 50mm become the "normal" lens for 35mm cameras?)