27mm or 50mm for every day shooting

alaiosalaios Major grinsPosts: 668Registered Users Major grins
edited September 25, 2014 in Technique
Hi all,
I typically carry a small camera with me all day. So far I have been using a 50mm equivalent lens but the whole package was getting a bit bulky...
Now I am thinking of the trying the compact lens (very very compact) that gives an equivalent of 27mm..

I need you advice though on what type of distortion this focal length produces. How to avoid it and what kind of scenes that include people I can shot (I guess I should not do any close up).

I would like to thank you for your reply


  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,443Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 23, 2014
    Alex, what camera ( or sensor size at least ) are you using? Your profile does not include your camera choice.

    The sensor size, along with the focal length, determines the perspective of an image.

    What is a wide angle lens on a large camera is a strong telephoto on a camera with a small sensor like a point and shoot.

    I do not own a camera without an interchangeable lens, except for my cell phone, as I feel too constrained with just a single lens, but I shoot all kinds of things from landscapes to wildlife to macros and close ups, so a single lens would be too limiting "for my taste".

    On the other hand, Henri Cartier-Bresson did quite well with a 50mm ( or very close to 50mm) lens for the vast majority of his work. His images, though, were of people and their immediate environment.

    So what kind of subjects do you prefer to photograph?
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 24, 2014
    thanks for trying me help again.
    I am talking about nikon 1 series with their 1 inches sensor (2.7 crop factor). I have two lenses the 10mm=27mm equivalent and the 18.5==50mm equivalent.
    With the 10mm lens I can fit it easier in my jacket.

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 21,251Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 24, 2014
    The Field-Of-View (FOV) of an effective 27mm lens is definitely in the wide angle category.

    A Wide angle lens will potentially distort the horizon and cause vertical lines to converge, and are not very intimate with human subjects, unless you get very close to the subjects. When you get close to human subjects, the closest parts of the subjects will get distorted in that they will appear larger than normal. You can use software to correct, somewhat, for both of these distortions in post-processing, but that changes the entire scene too, and you wind up with a considerable crop.

    I tend to use wide angle FOV to show human relationships, a group or crowd of individuals. To show singular individuals, longer focal length lenses can allow greater subject intimacy without being "in their face" close to the subject. You may also crop the image in order to gain subject intimacy, but you lose subject detail if you crop too much. Close cropping also changes Depth-Of-Field (DOF) with respect to the original scene.

    Specific to the Nikon One series and your lenses, the 1 Nikkor AW 10mm f/2.8 and 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 have very different DOF properties at maximum aperture. The 10mm f/2.8 lens has a 1 1/3rd smaller aperture than the 18.5mm f/1.8, and the wider FOV "plus" the smaller aperture mean deeper DOF, meaning that the 10mm f/2.8 lens will always be less able to separate the subject from the surroundings. (The subject and surroundings, foreground and background, will be more in-focus together.) With less ability to separate the subject from its surroundings I fear that your images will appear always very similar in feel.

    There are times when increased DOF is a benefit, but many times reduced DOF places greater emphasis on the subject.

    To summarize (and specific to people images), I suggest using your 10mm lens when you want to show people and their surroundings or people in a group to show relationships. I suggest the 18.5mm lens used more for singular individuals and couples, where the ability to separate the subject and surroundings is a benefit. The larger aperture of the 18.5mm lens may also mean faster shutter speeds (at the same ISO setting) and/or shooting in more subdued lighting.
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • alaiosalaios Major grins Posts: 668Registered Users Major grins
    edited September 25, 2014
    thanks a lot for you nice answers you give me all the time. I am more inclined to stay with the 10mm as it would be harder and more challenging to work with increased DOFs. I am not looking just for a snapshoot device but also for something that would somehow "challenge" me a bit.

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