Diagram: The Effect Of Using Different Lenses on a Crop Frame Sensor

Here’s a diagram created by Reddit user GeneralSarsby that shows the effective field of view of lenses of various focal lengths when used on a 1.6x crop factor sensor. You can also download the source svg if you want to edit or build upon it.

Image credit: Diagram by GeneralSarsby and used with permission

  • Kyoshinikon

    Typical canon based graph…

  • stm


  • Chris Newhall

    The problem with comparisons like this is that while the effective field of view does change with sensor size, most people don’t take into account the fact that the amount of compression (telephoto lenses) and distortion (wide-angle lenses) stays the same no matter what size sensor you are using a lens with.

    That 35mm Nikon lens might seem like a great option for a 70mm equivalent portrait lens on your Micro 4/3 camera but it’s not going to have that nice flattening effect on the subject’s features that you get from a true 70mm.

    (I guess this kind of shows that but not very well).

  • Anonymous

    Not really true. The compression effects come from the distance you are from your subject, not focal lengths. The depth of field changes significantly, which can markedly affect a portrait, but the features will be affected the same in terms of perspective distortion in either sensor size.

    It’s the same across all the formats, and true in film. It’s an AOV and distance issue all around. All this equivalent stuff is junk.

  • Anonymous

    Which is obviously why he only shoots Nikon…

    WTF do you expect, he’s helping out, not doing all the work for you. Can’t convert focal lengths across brands?

  • Daniel Fealko

    I don’t know that I’d refer to the practice of using equivalent focal lengths as “junk,” but it’s definitely not the whole story, as you point out.  A different term than “equivalent” might be better when making comparisons, to avoid confusion.  It really is all about AOV and distance.

  • Anonymous

    I just meant “junk” as in how we now relate everything to 35mm format, as if it is the standard by which everything else is measured. I realize it’s a standard format in consumer terms, but not the go-to for everything optics. Being an all-formats shooter (I dont have a bike big enough for LF however), it’s laughable not to treat each system as it’s own tool, rather than “can it do what this other thing was meant for?” Using wrenches for hammering doesn’t make sense, neither does shooting portraiture with an micro 4/3 camera. Not that it can’t be done, but if you are hunting for that “look,” use the right effin tool.

  • mrbeard

    as someone who hasnt used 35mm, this crop factor means nothing to me, i frame my shots according to the lens i use. i agree with christian, this comparing x against Y serves no purpose

  • Gary Orona

    No purpose? Really? Newsflash… once upon a time and for many, many decades 35mm film was a standard and guys like me who were classically trained in Zone System and have shot just about every format (still, motion picture and video both analog and digital) ever developed by Mankind referenced good ole 35mm film as a standard by which we could visualize what (as an example) a 50mm focal length lens might frame. (Roughly) Medium format 80mm (depending on the exact size) 4×5= 135mm and so on… my mind says okay 50mm standard for 35mm frames like this SO I can use that to compare…

    FRAME OF REFERENCE. That’s all. Nobody is trying to step on anyone else’s ego-monster.Every time I hear these rants I just shake my head. How about a little respect for the roots of photography. Never mind, have no respect. It’s not important… may the realm of chaos rule.

    Gary Orona

  • Anonymous

    As someone who has been around photography for so long, you should understand this better than most. Zone was not born out of 35mm, it came from LF, and 35mm is a spec in the history of photography. You use a “standard” length lens for standard shots, not a “35mm 50mm focal length equivalent.” I’m not saying that 35mm hasn’t been used like a standard, but it’s not the only way pictures are taken, and should not be the only point of reference for anyone to consider lens choice. I mean, when a 10-30mm zoom is a standard zoom for a mirrorless, they should be calling it a standard mirrorless zoom, not make the purchaser do silly math to equate it from apples to oranges.