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Field of view

A measurement of the subject area visible to the camera.

The field of view (FoV) is the extent of the observable world that is seen at any given moment. In the case of optical instruments or sensors it is a solid angle through which a detector is sensitive to electromagnetic radiation.

In the context of human vision, the term "field of view" is typically only used in the sense of a restriction to what is visible by external apparatus, like when wearing spectacles or virtual reality goggles. Note that eye movements are allowed in the definition but do not change the field of view.

If the analogy of the eye's retina working as a sensor is drawn upon, the corresponding concept in human (and much of animal vision) is the visual field. It is defined as "the number of degrees of visual angle during stable fixation of the eyes". Note that eye movements are excluded in the definition. Different animals have different visual fields, depending, among others, on the placement of the eyes. Humans have a slightly over 210-degree forward-facing horizontal arc of their visual field, while some birds have a complete or nearly complete 360-degree visual field. The vertical range of the visual field in humans is around 150 degrees.

The range of visual abilities is not uniform across the visual field, and varies from animal to animal. For example, binocular vision, which is the basis for stereopsis and is important for depth perception, covers 114 degrees (horizontally) of the visual field in humans; the remaining peripheral 40 degrees on each side have no binocular vision (because only one eye can see those parts of the visual field). Some birds have a scant 10 or 20 degrees of binocular vision.

Similarly, color vision and the ability to perceive shape and motion vary across the visual field; in humans color vision and form perception are concentrated in the center of the visual field, while motion perception is only slightly reduced in the periphery and thus has a relative advantage there. The physiological basis for that is the much higher concentration of color-sensitive cone cells and color-sensitive parvocellular retinal ganglion cells in the fovea – the central region of the retina, together with a larger representation in the visual cortex – in comparison to the higher concentration of color-insensitive rod cells and motion-sensitive magnocellular retinal ganglion cells in the visual periphery, and smaller cortical representation. Since cone cells require considerably brighter light sources to be activated, the result of this distribution is further that peripheral vision is much more sensitive at night relative to foveal vision (sensitivity is highest at around 20 deg eccentricity).

In photography, the field of view is that part of the world that is visible through the camera at a particular position and orientation in space; objects outside the FOV when the picture is taken are not recorded in the photograph. It is most often expressed as the angular size of the view cone, as an angle of view. For a normal lens, the diagonal field of view can be calculated FOV = 2 arctan(SensorSize/2f), where f is focal length.

Key Terms

birds
definition
degrees
eye
eyes
field view
fov
note eye movements
visual field
visual field humans

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Acronymn

FOV

Synonymns

Field of view
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Last modified on May 14 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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