How Much Effect Does Lens Focal Length Have? - part 3 of 1 2 3

by Mike McNamee Published 01/04/2013


The shields are completely unresolved at 70mm, the pixels are just a mush of grey. By 135mm you can detect that some kind of relief structure is on the wall, by 200mm it is resolved as a shield and by 300mm you can make out the fluted pillars either side. The highly detailed sculptures which adorn the outside of the building, include ones of Britannia and Neptune, as well as others representing peace, war and storms.

There are also sculptures of the Zodiac and the coat of arms of the United Kingdom's allies during the First World War. Similar changes in detail are apparent in other parts of the image and two more examples are shown.


Overall the exercise was quite startling, the difference between 70mm renderings and a 200 or 300mm is huge. Comparing our scaled test images against the original and even allowing for differences in scaling method, time of day (noon daylight and dusk), it is obvious that using a longer focal length trumps all other methods of preparing or scaling or sharpening the image by such a margin that it must be the favoured route wherever possible.

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1st Published 01/04/2013
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