Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera

DPA Webinars, Focal Length, Distortion and Perspective

Digital Photo Academy and LivinginHD present a free monthly series of photography webinars on Your host, John Bentham answers many questions live during the webinars. Additional questions, answers and tips are posted here on where you can also view the archived webinars.


Zoom Lenses VS Prime Lenses: With common usage and vast availability of good quality Zoom Lenses there is a tendency for people to forget or ignore the point of a zoom lens. Many people, especially those new to photography or new to zoom lenses assume the lens just brings you in closer if you can’t get close to your subject…. Gets you across the street so to speak. For example if you’re at the zoo and an animal is far away most people just zoom in without realizing they are affecting change to the perspective and distortion in the photo in addition to the change in focal length. Years ago most photographers and certainly most pros only shot with prime lenses. A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length such as a 50mm lens instead of a lens with a zoom range of 14-45mm. Years ago Zoom lenses were not very good, they were not very sharp compared with prime lenses. Now due to better manufacturing techniques and processes aided by CAD (computer assisted design) zoom lenses are great. However, to shoot photography well, essentially to be a good photographer you can’t be lazy. If you really should walk in closer to get a good shot, you should make the effort because zooming in will alter the photograph drastically. If the photo calls for a closer vantage point don’t just zoom in, actually walk your feet in to shoot the shot.




Distortion and Perspective: These examples, shot with 24mm, 41mm and 60mm focal lengths on a zoom lens illustrate the different properties of focal lengths and zoom lenses and the pitfalls to avoid when shooting portraits or architecture. Both in the building and in the mans face you can see obvious distortion and severe perspective changes. Usually you don’t want to add that type of distortion in most photo situations. Get to know your lens and what the different focal lengths will do. Bear in mind the X-Factor (see also DPA X-Factor tip) will affect the focal length of any lens, zoom or prime. 2_image5.jpg

Webinar Submission Specs:
All DPA students can submit photographs for inclusion in the Digital Photo Academy, LiHD Webinar, Online Photo Class Series. If you would like to submit your photographs for an upcoming webinar, read the following. Each webinar has a specific theme or topic. You can see the date and topic of the next webinar at, Tip of the Day, Online Photo Class. Note that webinars are edited and formatted days in advance, thus please submit your photos at least a week in advance of the webinar, late submissions can not be added. Photographs are chosen, and edited, for their applicability to the webinar theme, artistic and technical merit, and content length. If your photograph is NOT chosen, it will be archived and may appear in a more appropriate future webinar.

Submit your photographs to

By submitting your photographs for consideration, you grant and authorize, The Digital Photo Academy, and Panasonic, the following rights: The right to use your photographs in the content and promotion of the webinar series, and for use on each company’s respective website. You further authorize your photographs may be archived online and/or in a database, and allow unrestricted internet availability of any webinars containing your photographs. You further authorize the use of your photographs in any future webinars. By voluntarily submitting your photographs for consideration you agree to the aforementioned without any legal claims, or claims for remuneration, whatsoever. You, as the photographer, retain the copyright © of any submitted photographs. The aforementioned companies will make best possible efforts to apply proper photo credit and acknowledgement with your photograph whenever possible and practical.


©2007-2018 Digital Photo Academy | How To Use Your Digital Camera