Thursday, September 13, 2012

Understanding Lens Multiplication with DSLRs

Most interchangeable lenses were originally created and rated for the 35 mm film plane of traditional SLRs. If you compare the area of a 35 mm film plane with the area of most digital image sensors’ image planes, you’ll see  that the area of most digital image sensors is a bit smaller. The focal length of a lens changes when it is put on a DSLR with a digital image sensor smaller than 35 mm. This smaller image plane effectively increases the focal length of the lens because more of the image circle coming out of the lens is cropped. For example, if you put a 100 mm lens on a DSLR that has a 24 mm digital image sensor, the focal length of the lens is multiplied by a factor of approximately 1.3. A 100 mm lens with a 1.3x multiplication factor effectively becomes a 130 mm lens (100 mm multiplied by 1.3). Another reason to take lens multiplication into account is that shooting wide-angle images becomes increasingly difficult when using cameras with smaller digital image sensors. For example, if your digital image sensor is 24 mm, you require a lens with a focal length less than 24 mm to achieve a wide-angle view. Check your camera specifications for the size of your digital image sensor.

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