Have you ever wondered how your lens’s focal length effects the angle of view you can see? Well here’s a handy little chart to show you the comparisons…

lens focal length angle of view

You can see based on the chart that the longer the focal length of your lens, the narrower the angle of view. And it’s logical right, the more you zoom in, the less you’re able to see on the edges.

In Part One of this two part series, we’ll discuss what focal length best suits what you are taking pictures of!

How What You’re Shooting Determines the Focal Length You Will Choose

Depending on the subject of your photos, you will choose the appropriate focal length lens to use

Super Wide Angle

These lenses include your ‘fisheye’, 14mm, and 20mm lenses. The extremely wide angles of these lenses makes them especially good for landscape photography and architecture photography.

Wide Angle

Standard wide angle lenses include your 24-35mm focal length range. These are great landscape photos, large group photography, and everyday snapshots.


The 50mm focal length lens most accurately mimics the field of view that the human eye actively sees. This is why 50mm is a go to focal length for many photographers, and it is a great choice for snapshots as well as small group and individual portraits.

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Medium Telephoto

These lenses in the 70-100mm range are a great fit for portraits given their narrower field of view, the way they compress the background behind the subject, and the more accurate representation of facial features (wide angle lenses can make faces look bloated or distorted – more on that in a future blog post).


The standard telephoto focal length range, from 135-300mm, allows photographers to get close to otherwise distant subjects. The lenses translate well for sports and wildlife photography as well as for portraits and events.

Super Telephoto

The super telephoto group of lenses, from 300mm-600mm, is a highly specialized group. Not only are these lenses extremely bulky, but they are prohibitively expensive. So, what are they used for? These extreme focal length lenses are used for wildlife, bird, and sports photography – when you can’t get close to the action OR you don’t WANT to get close to the action!

A Visual Representation of Lens Focal Length and Field of View

The graphic below approximates a visual representation of how the angle of view decreases as the focal length of the lens increases.

lens focal length and field or angle of view crop

But why is that the case? Well, it has to do with what focal length actually is.

Did You Find This Post Helpful?

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Want to learn more? Check out part two of this series!

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