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What's the different between 25mm lens and 27mm lens? (3 replies and 3 comments)

Nan Li
7 days ago
Nan Li 7 days ago

Hi Roger

Recently Im studying about the choice of different size of lenses. What I understand is superficial: when you want to show the environment or the information in the background, you choose wide lens. When you want to compress the background or you want to reduce the distance, you choose long lens. Other than that, I have no idea when to use what lens. I know those are way not enough.

We all know usually we have 18mm/25mm/35mm/50mm/85mm as the basic lens set, We also know that there are many other size like 16mm/21mm/27mm/40mm/65mm. To me, I dont see any different between 25mm and 27mm or 35mm and 40mm. My question is Why should I use 40mm instead of 35mm, or 27mm instead of 25mm rather than push my camera in or out  a little bit? Does that 2mm-5mm really matter to you? Can you talk about the lens language for the story telling? Like the difference between 35mm, 40mm and 50mm for the OTS? The difference between 18mm and 21mm for wide shot, etc.

 

Thank you so much.

Best,

Nan

Roger Deakins
5 days ago
Roger Deakins 5 days ago

2mm or 3mm does matter to me a great deal! I was only yesterday agonizing whether to shoot a particular shot on a 32mm or a 35mm. There are not only practical reasons for choosing a certain lens, the restrictions of a set etc., but there are aesthetic reasons to do with the perspective you are giving to the viewer. I think it is good that an audience is not consciously aware of what lens is on the camera at any one time or the subtle differences that the lens choices is making to their reading of the scene but if you, a cinematographer, can't see a difference ......!  Perhaps you should photograph a face with a variety of lenses whilst keeping the size of that face constant in the frame. It should be apparent how the perspective shift of a lens alters your perception of the character and their relationship to the background.

Nan Li
5 days ago

Thank you so much. I do see the different in terms of the perspective shift and the difference of the background. Probably the way Im thinking is wrong. I always consider about how efficiency I can achieve on set. 2mm does matter I fully understood.

Is it possible you can talk about the particular shot you were agonizing? What point made you agonize? What was your decision? Did you agonize on set or when you did the pre-production?

Thank you again.

Cinematographer Reggie A Brown
4 days ago

The 2mm difference also adds a different "feel" as well. I much prefer a 14mm to a 16mm. The 14 always feel better. You have to do a lot of shooting and that sense will come. Also, the same size mm lens from different companies will look and feel different as well, even when being used on the same camera. You can get a 35mm Canon lens, Sigma lens, and a Zeiss and you can see a difference with those. In my test with those lenses, Canon glass is usually a little wider. You'll also notice a difference in the distortion. Put a camera on a tripod and don't move the tripod when you change lenses, then do an A/B comparison and you'll see a difference.

Nan Li
4 days ago

Thank you.

Roger Deakins
2 days ago
Roger Deakins 2 days ago

The shot I was agonizing about concerned shooting in a tight space. I wanted to shoot a shot with a 35mm but I couldn't get the camera back far enough to get the frame I wanted but the 32mm gave me a wider perspective than I really wanted. I think I shot with a 35mm when it came to it. I really didn't agonize for long as you never have time for that!

Nan Li
1 day ago

Got ya. Thank you so much.

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