What is Angle of View in Photography?

Photography is a captivating art form that enables us to capture and freeze moments in time, preserving them for posterity. One crucial aspect of this art is understanding the concept of the ‘Angle of View.’ Well! It refers to the extent of the scene or subject that a camera lens can capture and include in the resulting photograph.

It is often measured in degrees and determines how much of the surrounding environment or subject matter will be visible in the final image. The angle of view is influenced by the focal length of the lens, with wider-angle lenses capturing a broader view and narrower lenses. It focuses on a smaller, more zoomed-in portion of the scene.

So, understanding the angle of view is essential for photographers. As it directly affects composition, perspective, and storytelling within their images.

How to Adjust Angle of View

Adjusting the angle of view in photography primarily involves changing the focal length of your camera lens. The focal length determines whether you have a wide-angle view or a telephoto view. Here are the steps to adjust the angle of view:

Select the Appropriate Lens

Different lenses have varying focal lengths, and each offers a different angle of view. Wide-angle lenses, such as 16mm or 24mm, provide a broad perspective and capture more of the scene.

Standard or kit lenses (typically around 35mm to 50mm) offer a more neutral perspective. While telephoto lenses (e.g., 85mm, 200mm) provide a narrower, zoomed-in view.

Zoom In or Out

If you’re using a zoom lens, like an 18-55mm, you can adjust the angle of view by zooming in (increasing the focal length) or zooming out (decreasing the focal length). Zooming out will widen the angle of view, while zooming in will narrow it.

Change Lenses

To achieve a significantly different angle of view, you may need to switch to a different lens. For example, if you’re using a telephoto lens and want a wider angle, you would switch to a wide-angle lens.

Use Prime Lenses

Prime lenses have a fixed focal length (e.g., 50mm, 85mm) and don’t zoom. To adjust the angle of view with a prime lens, you need to physically move closer to or farther away from your subject.

Consider Crop Factor

If you’re using a camera with a crop sensor (APS-C, Micro Four Thirds, etc.), remember that the effective focal length of your lens is multiplied by the crop factor. This effectively narrows the angle of view compared to a full-frame camera with the same lens.

Compose Your Shot

Once you’ve adjusted the angle of view, take time to compose your shot. Consider how the change in perspective affects the overall look of your photograph, including the relationship between foreground and background elements, depth, and the sense of scale.


Don’t be afraid to experiment with different angles of view to see how they impact your photographs. Wide-angle views can create a sense of vastness and drama, while telephoto views can isolate subjects and compress the background.

Review and Adjust

After taking a few shots, review your images on your camera’s LCD screen or in post-processing software. If necessary, make further adjustments to achieve your desired angle of view and composition.

What is the Difference between Focal Length and Angle of View?

Focal length and angle of view are related concepts in photography, but they represent different aspects of how a camera lens functions:

Focal Length

Definition: Focal length is a physical property of a camera lens and is usually measured in millimeters (mm). It determines the distance between the lens’s optical center and the camera’s image sensor or film plane when the lens is focused at infinity.

Effect on Image: Focal length primarily affects the magnification and perspective of the image. A longer focal length (e.g., 85mm, 200mm) results in a narrower angle of view and magnifies distant objects.

It makes them appear closer and larger in the frame. Shorter focal lengths (e.g., 24mm, 35mm) provide a wider angle of view and capture more of the scene.

Example: A telephoto lens with a focal length of 200mm will produce a narrow angle of view, suitable for capturing distant subjects or isolating a specific part of a scene.

While a wide-angle lens with a focal length of 24mm will offer a broad perspective, ideal for landscapes or cramped indoor spaces.

Angle of View

Definition: Angle of view refers to the extent of the scene or subject that a camera lens can capture and include in the resulting photograph. It is typically measured in degrees and represents the angular measurement from one side of the frame to the other.

Effect on Image: Angle of view describes how much of the scene or subject will be visible in the frame. It is influenced by the focal length of the lens, with shorter focal lengths providing a wider angle of view and longer focal lengths offering a narrower angle of view.

Example: A wide-angle lens with a 24mm focal length might have an angle of view of 84 degrees, capturing a vast portion of a landscape. While a telephoto lens with a 200mm focal length might have an angle of view of only 12 degrees, isolating a small portion of a distant subject.

How to Calculate a Camera’s Angle of View?

You can calculate a camera’s angle of view using the following formula:

Angle of View (in degrees) = 2 * arctan ( (Sensor Dimension) / (2 * Focal Length) )


  • “Angle of View” is the desired angle you want to calculate, typically in degrees.
  • “Sensor Dimension” refers to the size of the camera’s image sensor or film plane in the direction you are interested in (width or height). It’s usually expressed in millimeters.
  • “Focal Length” is the focal length of the camera lens you are using, typically in millimeters.
  • “arctan” is the arctangent function, which you can find on most scientific calculators or use mathematical software.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to calculate the camera’s angle of view:

  1. Determine the sensor dimension:
  • For a full-frame (35mm) sensor, the width is typically around 36mm and the height is around 24mm.
  • For other sensor sizes (e.g., APS-C, Micro Four Thirds), you’ll need to find the specific dimensions for your camera model.
  1. Identify the focal length of the lens you plan to use.
  2. Plug the values into the formula:
  • Divide the sensor dimension by 2.
  • Multiply the result by the focal length.
  • Take the arctan (inverse tangent) of this value.
  • Finally, double the result to get the angle of view in degrees.

For example, let’s say you have a full-frame camera with a 50mm lens:

  • Sensor Dimension (width) = 36mm
  • Focal Length = 50mm

Angle of View = 2 * arctan((36mm / 2) / 50mm)

Angle of View ≈ 39.6 degrees

So, with a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera, you would have an approximate angle of view of 39.6 degrees.

To Conclude

The concept of the ‘Angle of View’ in photography is a fundamental element that plays a crucial role in how photographers capture and compose their images. As you continue your photographic journey, remember that it’s not merely a technical aspect.

It’s a powerful tool for visual storytelling and self-expression in the captivating realm of photography.