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Angle of View

The size of the field covered by a lens, measured in degrees.
Angle of View

In photography, angle of view (AOV) describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

It is important to distinguish the angle of view from the angle of coverage, which describes the angle range that a lens can image. Typically the image circle produced by a lens is large enough to cover the film or sensor completely, possibly including some vignetting toward the edge. If the angle of coverage of the lens does not fill the sensor, the image circle will be visible, typically with strong vignetting toward the edge, and the effective angle of view will be limited to the angle of coverage.
In 1916, Northey showed how to calculate the angle of view using ordinary carpenter's tools. The angle that he labels as the angle of view is the half-angle or "the angle that a straight line would take from the extreme outside of the field of view to the center of the lens;" he notes that manufacturers of lenses use twice this angle.

In this simulation, adjusting the angle of view and distance of the camera while keeping the object in frame results in vastly differing images. At distances approaching infinity, the light rays are nearly parallel to each other, resulting in a "flattened" image. At low distances and high angles of view objects appear "foreshortened".

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Digital sensors are usually smaller than 35 mm film, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35 mm film, by a constant factor for each sensor (called the crop factor). In everyday digital cameras, the crop factor can range from around 1 (professional digital SLRs), to 1.6 (consumer SLR), to 2 (Micro Four Thirds ILC) to 4 (enthusiast compact cameras) to 6 (most compact cameras). So a standard 50 mm lens for 35 mm photography acts like a 50 mm standard "film" lens on a professional digital SLR, but would act closer to an 80 mm lens (1.6 x 50mm) on many mid-market DSLRs, and the 40 degree angle of view of a standard 50 mm lens on a film camera is equivalent to a 28–35 mm lens on many digital SLRs.

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Last modified on July 14 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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