September 3, 2016 at 7:34PM

You voted '+1'.

What is a wide, normal, tele,... lens?

Hi, I'm new to the world of filmmaking. I was reading The Filmmaker's Eye by Gustavo Mercado and he talks about wide, normal, and telephoto lenses. I was wondering what focal lengths are considered wide, normal, and telephoto. My camera is a 70D(aps-c, 1.6x crop).


In the world of FF35, 50mm is normal. With a 1.6x crop factor, that would mean approx 35mm is normal. Thus, a 10mm-22mm zoom would be extreme-wide to wide, a 16mm-35mm zoom goes from wide to normal, and a 24-105mm zoom would be medium-wide to telephoto.

In the Cine world (S35, which is approx 1.4x crop factor) there's a wide range of "normal" from 25mm to 36mm, with 27mm and 32mm getting particular love. Different directors have their preferences for where to anchor their perspective. Some use the same lens no matter what. Others switch it up quite a bit. Generally speaking, though, the cine world tends to not change focal lengths nearly as much as the average photographer might. They will consciously decide which specific perspectives/fields of view they want to use, for what purpose, and will use them sparingly. Mostly for establishing shots, or for high-emotion shots.

September 4, 2016 at 2:39AM, Edited September 4, 2:39AM


Thank you for the reply. I have a question about sticking to the same focal length. Say in a scene where two people are talking to one another I've noticed there's a lot of medium shots and medium close up shots... Do they, generally, shoot it with one lens and just recompose the shot between the medium shots and medium close up shots?


September 7, 2016 at 6:19AM

The Abel Cine Field of View calculator is a great tool to figure what lens is wide / normal / tele depending on the camera format you are shooting with...

September 5, 2016 at 8:59AM, Edited September 5, 8:59AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Thank you for the link to that site. That's an awesome tool!


September 7, 2016 at 6:21AM

18mm or 20mm - wide angle
24mm - medium
28mm or 35mm - normal
50mm - moderate portrait, mild telephoto
85mm - portrait, telephoto

September 10, 2016 at 1:10PM


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