Wide lenses cause distortion, and other photography myths busted

YouTube video

I’ve always been of the belief that it’s important to be accurate when it comes to discussing the technicalities of photography. That includes using the right terms and knowing what you’re talking about. Shouldn’t there be some kind of minimum standard?

I know that all sounds very elitist and gate-keepery of me, but apparently, I’m not alone. That opinion is also shared by photographer Tyler Stalman.

Wide Lenses Cause Distortion

This is one of the more interesting myths. There are, obviously, lens aberrations that cause distortions such as barrel or pincushion. However, wide-angle lenses don’t inherently distort reality. Inversely, long focal lengths don’t cause “compression”.

I’ll let you watch the video above to understand why, and yes there are caveats, but in short, it’s how far away from stuff we are that determines perspective.

It’s a misunderstanding in photography that’s been tackled before. Several times. Also, yes, cropping and zooming are effectively the same thing, optically speaking. The only difference is you’re losing resolution when you crop.

Not the only controversial one

Tyler touches on a few other potentially controversial topics in his video. Are tripods really an essential photography tool? Do you actually understand what people mean by “colour science”? And is it really unprofessional to use flash?

There are a lot of myths discussed in this video, although the majority of the time is spent on the wide-angle lens debate. These aren’t the only photography myths out there, though. What photography myths do you always see people getting wrong?

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