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

Lens compression is when your lens “compresses” the background of an image. Well, no. That’s 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 and more to do with camera distance. Check it out below:

Contrary to what you might’ve learned, lens compression isn’t really a thing. Telephoto lenses don’t “compress” images. This phenomenon everything to do with the distance between your camera and your subject, or to use another word, your perspective.

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