You can use the free Field of View tool to help calculate and visualize how different camera and lens combinations will affect shot composition.
To use the tool, you specify a number of inputs. The most important is the sensor size of your camera (e.g. full frame, or APS-C etc.), which is a key determinant of the field of view available with different lenses. If you don't know the sensor size, don't worry - we have a list of common format types you can choose from.
The second most important parameter is the focal length. If you're using a 50mm prime lens, then you can set this to '50'. If you're using a 70-200mm zoom, then you would choose a value in that range. If you're unsure which lens you might need, you can experiment with a range of values to help with lens selection.
The tool shows you both numeric values and a 3D visual representation of the field of view of the chosen camera/lens combination.
The tool is free to use and works on both desktop and mobile devices.
There are a number of other inputs available:
- Sensor height/width (mm): you can enter the values directly, or choose from the type/format preset lists to get the required values. If a format you need is not listed, you can enter the values directly in the height/width field. You can normally find these values on the manufacturer's camera specification page. If you can't find an exact match in our list of presets - don't worry too much. Using an approximate match will likely be accurate enough.
- Teleconverter: if you're using a teleconverter with your camera, you can set the value here. By default, this should be left at ×1.
- Azimuth (°): this is the direction in degrees, measured from north, that you camera is facing. If you set this value, the range of azimuths covered by the camera/lens combination is displayed. This is useful in combination with the geodetics tools in Photo Ephemeris to determine if a subject or the sun/moon etc will be in the field of view.
- Pitch (°): this is the elevation angle the camera is pointed at relative to the ideal horizon (0°). Adjusting this will adjust the altitude coverage range for the camera/lens and update the 3D model. This is useful to determine if you have enough vertical field of view to incorporate the top of a building or the sun/moon in your shot, when used in conjunction with the geodetics tools in Photo Ephemeris.
- Height above ground (m): this sets the camera height above the ground and adjusts the 3D model accordingly.
- Portrait: check this box if you're planning on shooting with your camera in portrait orientation
- Focal Length (mm): the focal length is controlled using the slider below the 3D model. You can adjust it dynamically to see how the field of view responds to different values.
For all Inputs except Focal Length, click the 'Update' button to apply your changes. Values are saved in your browser between sessions, so you can pick up where you left off. (Note: values may be lost if you don't visit the site for several days, or if you clear browser data between sessions - this is a browser privacy feature.)
Focal Length Slider
Focal length is controlled using the slider below the 3D model. You can restrict the slider to typical focal length ranges (wide, mid, telephoto), to help with more precise adjustment. Common 35mm focal lengths are marked on the slider - you can click on these directly, or drag it to other values in between.
The precision of the slider changes depending on the range selection:
- Wide: 0.1mm
- Mid: 0.5mm
- Telephoto: 1mm
The output of the tool is shown below the input form. The following numerical values are displayed:
- Selected Focal Length (mm): the focal length selected via the slider (below) is shown to confirm what the displayed field of view refers to
- Horizontal Field of View (°): the horizontal field of view in degrees. It is independent of the camera position and orientation, other than for the Portrait setting
- Vertical Field of View (°): the horizontal field of view in degrees. It is independent of the camera position and orientation, other than for the Portrait setting
- Azimuth Coverage (°): when the camera is pointed towards the input azimuth (see above), this data shows the range of azimuths lying within the horizontal field of view. E.g. for a horizontal field of view of 30°, if the camera is pointed due south (180°), the azimuth coverage will be 165° to 195°.
- Altitude Coverage (°): when the camera is pointed to the input pitch (see above), this data shows the range of altitudes lying within the vertical field of view. E.g. for a vertical field of view of 20°, if the camera is pitched at +10°, the altitude coverage will be 0° to +20°.
The 3D model indicates the effective field of view according to your input settings. The camera is positioned at the eye level of the photographer figure (height 1.6m, 5' 4") and points to a simple 3D model of a tree (height 24m, 78') at a distance of 100m (328').
The field of view is represented by the green 'frustum': you'll see this change as you vary the inputs.
If the camera height above the ground is set, the photographer appears standing on a virtual column (red).
You can adjust the camera by clicking and dragging on the 3D model with your mouse or trackpad (or finger on mobile devices). The easiest way to understand how the interaction works is to imagine you are rotating a ball centered on the model by dragging on its surface.
You can zoom in and out using a two finger pinch and drag gesture (or mouse middle wheel).
Additionally, on desktop/laptops you can pan by holding down the Shift key and dragging, or by dragging with two fingers on mobile devices.
Azimuth and altitude guides give a visual indication of the field of view coverage. For example for a 35 mm focal length on a full frame 35mm camera pointed at azimuth 92.5°, the azimuth coverage is 73.6° to 111.4°:
At 108mm with the camera pitched at +10°, the altitude coverage is 0.0° to +19.0°:
You can use these coverage guides to help with shot planning, particularly when used in conjunction with the geodetics tools in Photo Ephemeris.
This tool is intended primarily for use by outdoor photographers. The model used to estimate field of view is based on a simple theoretical approach which works well in most situations, but may be inaccurate for some lenses and focussing distances. The tool is not suitable for scientific applications or for photographic setups using macros lenses or close focussing distances.
Got suggestions for improvements to this tool? Write to us with your ideas!
- "Low Poly Man | With Rig" by Robin Butler is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution.
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