Focal Distance: Simplified Explanation [Examples]

In this article we will talk about the focal length of a lens. A great unknown for most beginners, and a (fundamental) ally when you know it.

I will explain what focal length and angle of view are, the differences between the different types of lenses according to their focal length and in which situations it is convenient to use one or the other so that you can get the most out of them.

You can’t miss it! Be prepared, it’s a long article. Mind you, I’m going to make it as simple as I can, but very complete, so you’ll have all the information in one package. You’ll want to save it to come back to it more than once.


What is focal length?

Focal length is the distance between the optical center of the lens, and the sensor or focal plane onto which the image is projected. It is also known as “focal length”, and is measured in millimeters.

In photography, the longer the focal length, the more “zoom” the lens will have, and the less of the scene it will capture. The shorter the focal length, the “farther away” things will look, let’s say, but the framing or angle of view will be much wider instead.

Better to see it with the following examples, same scene, from the same position, with different focal lengths.

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