The Lens Compression Myth: What’s Really Happening to Your Images When You Switch Focal Length

This post is by V Renée from No Film School

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Is lens compression a myth?

Many of you might be familiar with the concept of “lens compression,” a phenomenon that makes the size of background elements within a frame appear larger than they actually are, but some of you might not agree on what is causing said distortion, though it’s often said that what makes elements appear larger or smaller depends on which lens you shoot with. However, Lee Morris of Fstoppers tackles this hotly debated topic in the video below, suggesting that the “compression” of telephoto images has less to do with focal length more to do with camera distance. Check it out below:

Morris wrote an article about lens compression back in 2016, in which he claimed the phenomenon, or at least the most common understanding of it, didn’t actually exist. He describes a conversation he had with a friend about lens compression, the misconceptions surrounding it, and how pervasive the myth actually was.

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