General Question

rebbel's avatar

What configuration on my camera would most closely match the human eye?

Asked by rebbel (30906points) July 9th, 2010

When i see an object or an action with my eyes and i want to have the exact same view of that object or action with a photo camera, which configuration would i need on my camera?

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12 Answers

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

You would require a human nervous system to process the image data.

dpworkin's avatar

If you are talking about field of view, for 35mm film, a 55mm lens is considered a “normal” lens.

Thammuz's avatar

Suggestion: we have cameras that can do a better job than the human eye, output thatwill then be bolied down to human eye level anyway.

Why bother with having the output exactly like that of the human eye, when the eye will anyway bring it down to itslevwel afterwards? Just do it to a superior level and use that!

rebbel's avatar

I was talking about what @dpworkin asked me, field of view.
Does your answer also apply to digital camera’s, @dp?

martijn86's avatar

Well yeah, @dpworkin, but wrong. 50mm eq. is considered normal because looking through such a lens, objects don’t scale much, it’s pretty 1:1 but still a crop of what you really see. It was therefor often the smallest and cheapest to make lens and thus by default fitted on older camera’s.

Facts: The human eye field of view with two eye’s is 140 degrees horizontal and 80 degrees vertical. (A center crop of an 8mm lens with the following dimentions: 1.75:1) Our iris adjust in different light conditions just like a diafragma so the F-stop would be variable.

What can be calculated is the surface of the retina (sensor size), the distance from the lens to the retina (2,5 cm) and the size of the pupil. Applying these facts on an 8mm lens and you will only have to balance ISO sensitivity and shutter speed.

The result will be a correct representation of the human vof and the depth of field.

martijn86's avatar

Correction, on an APS-C sensor you are looking for 8 or 10 mm and on full frame 12 or 15. Something like that.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@dpworkin is correct. With traditional 35mm full frame camera, the 55mm focal length is considered the proper 1:1 ratio with the human eye for perspective and distortion. However, this is for infinity focus only. For distances of approximately 20’ and closer, an 85mm is the proper distortion. Closer still, at 100mm. The best macro work is 100–200mm.

No one makes a 55mm lens any longer, so you’d have to find a used one or buy zoom. Minolta disagreed with the formulation, and made their normal lens a 58mm.

Medium format requires a 75mm, or 80mm, or 90mm for normal depending upon if you’re shootiing 6×4.5, 6×6, or 6×7 respectively.

But you asked about digital. And that also depends upon the format.

Nikon, Canon, Sony all make full frame cameras where the 55mm lens formula would fit. Some people, including myself, have the original Minolta Rokkor 58mm modified to fit on the Sony. But these manufactures, and Pentax, among others, also make smaller chip DSLR’s that vary between a 1.3x or 1.5x crop factor. So you would have to get something like a 30mm to 35mm lens to act as a normal lens. This Sigma 30mm f1.4 is the typical answer for those wanting a high quality low light normal lens for their cropped sensor DSLR.

OK then there is Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, and others who have adopted what’s called the 4/3’rds chip. These cameras double the focal length, so a 25mm acts like a 50mm, an 8mm acts like a 16mm, a 400mm like an 800mm and so on.

They also have what’s called a Micro 4/3’rds, which acts the same, but takes a different series of lenses that move the rear element closer to the chip. You can’t use Micro 4/3rds on regular 4/3rds, but you can use the regular on the Micro with an adapter.

Then we have the Sigma system with a 1.7x crop factor. You can do the math on that one.

Then we have the new series of pseudo full chip point and shoot cameras. They are generally half frame at 1.5x, so a 28mm setting on the zoom would be closer to the normal 56mm on full frame.

Then we have the standard mini chip point and shoot cameras. They may advertise 10mp – 15mp, but that’s accomplished by cramming smaller photo sites into a smaller chip size, which increases noise levels. Their chips vary wildly in size and crop factors depending upon manufacturer, so only the brochures or instruction manuals would know the answer to your question.

Then we have camera phones…

rebbel's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “Then we have the Sigma system with a 1.7x crop factor. You can do the math on that one.
You would think so?

Thanks for that lengthy, informative answer.
Although it is too technical and with jargon that i can’t grasp, i will save it for future use (when going to a camera shop, for example).

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Easiest solution is to get a 1.5x crop factor camera with the Sigma 30mm. That’s the most affordable high quality solution to reproduce the traditional 35mm camera with 55mm lens. Comes up a bit short, but has a fabulous journalistic perspective. Reminds me of the old Kodak Brownie or Polaroid Alpha 1 SX70 perspective. It’s nice.

But the Sigma lens was actually designed for the Sigma SD camera with 1.7x crop. That’s as close to the standard look you can get. And that Foveon chip is odd, but has the highest pixel sharpness rating of anyone. Odd slow software too, with no options.

And you can’t always trust the zooms. Lets say you’ve got a 28–70mm. It’s probably more like a 30–67mm. And set it to 50mm could be 47mm in reality. Even the fixed lenses aren’t spot on. A 30mm might measure as a 32mm in reality. Just find something in that range and go with it.

dpworkin's avatar

I’m too old to know about digital photography, but my son is a professional photographer, and if you want me to, I can ask him.

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s a spectacular view of the Milky Way in visible light, and both the shorter and longer waves of the spectrum. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

rebbel's avatar

Thank you, @dpworkin , for that kind offer, but i think i have gotten enough info from you all to keep me busy for a while!

Thank you @all , and thank you @gailcalled for that nice link!

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