We’ve shared some funny pictures in the past that illustrate how distance, not focal length, changes perspective — but nothing beats a video walk through. So, in this short video, photographer Mike Browne explains why you should treat your zoom lens as a series of prime lenses, and not the equivalent of getting physically closer to your subject.
Here are the final shots, one focal length at a time:
Each shot is framed identically using the lens’ focal length, but because the photographer had to move away to properly frame the shot at any given focal length, the perspective still changed. It’s a simple concept, but even if you’ve heard it explained a million times, you should really give it a try yourself.
So, if the video, the pictures, and the fat cat don’t offer sufficient explanation — or even if they do — grab your camera and a willing subject (we find inanimate subjects rarely object to being photographed) and give this experiment a shot.